Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Become a Ghost This Halloween

It's one of the three deadliest nights of the year for pedestrians (the others fall around Christmas and New Year's Eve), particularly for young walkers: deaths among pedestrians between 5 and 14 years are four times higher on Halloween than other nights of the year. If you're trick-or-treating--or driving--make sure to take special care tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week they're thinking a lot about pedestrian safety in Chicago, where Mannequins help kick off pedestrian safety blitz and Red light cameras reduce speeding. Similarly there are Pedestrian crossing improvements considered for Plymouth Road and Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor, and further east the NJDOT to install sidewalks in shopping district and AARP NJ Urges Rep. LoBiondo to Work for Safer Streets. Even as far away as Japan Cops want bikes off sidewalks / Pedestrian safety the aim of crackdown on bicycle road rules

But the cops have other ideas in Austin, where the appropriately-named PEST (Pedestrian Enforcement Safety Team) is going after walking violations as  Police teams scan streets more closely.
Could this be part of a War on pedestrians? Jaywalking tickets rise in Seattle as well, although admittedly pedestrians can sometimes be their own worst enemy, like the Drunken pedestrians faulted in Santa Rosa crashes.

However, the pedestrian certainly wasn't to blame when a Driver hanging up her cellphone admits killing young pedestrian in St. Paul, or a Pedestrian killed in Santa Monica hit-and-run. And it's no wonder that East Palo Alto residents demand more pedestrian safety after 6-year-old’s death.

Speaking of young pedestrians, Angelenos are wondering this week: Is Westwood the Best Neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating in L.A.? Zillow thinks so, but some people (like Curbed readers) aren't so sure...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pedestrian/Bicycle Data Collection and Prioritization Survey

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program and Transportation Research Board would like your help in understanding pedestrian and bicycle prioritization strategies. Please give them a hand by completing a brief survey, available online here.

More info on the project and survey from NCHRP and TRB:

This survey asks about methodologies for collecting and analyzing bicycle and pedestrian data and prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle projects. We seek input from federal agencies, states, MPOs, counties, local jurisdictions of all sizes, transit agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, and public works and utililties departments. We also seek input from private sector transportation professionals, academics, non-profits, activists, and others. EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE A METHODOLOGY, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! We will use this information to develop recommended methodologies for transportation agencies to evaluate and prioritize improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists along existing roads.

This survey should take about 20 minutes to complete (but I finished it more quickly than that, so you probably can too!). Surveys should be submitted by Friday, November 4, 2011.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Trick-or-Treat for your Feet

Real estate site Zillow has once again released its annual list of the best US cities for trick-or-treating. Using data on walkability, population density, crime, and home value, Zillow ranks the top 20 cities for candy gathering, along with the best neighborhoods for little ghouls in each city. (Here in LA, that would be Westwood, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, and Venice.)

  1.  San Francisco
  2. Boston
  3. Honolulu
  4. Seattle
  5. Chicago
  6. San Jose
  7. Washington
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Portland
  11. Minneapolis
  12. Pittsburgh
  13. San Diego
  14. Cleveland
  15. Miami
  16. Denver
  17. Milwaukee
  18. Virginia Beach
  19. Baltimore
  20. Albuquerque 

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week the Transportation Enhancements Program Beats Back Another Assault from the Senate, but we're still in the midst of The War On Kids, the Elderly, and Other People Who Walk--and their pets, like in TEMECULA: Pedestrian, 81, and dog killed Sunday.

And it's not just in California that folks are worried: 2011 pedestrian deaths causing concern in Arizona, and Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Reno. It kind of makes you want to avoid the well-intentioned advice of Transportationist, who suggests you Walk don't run across crosswalks to emphasize the point that roads aren't just for vehicles.

Fortunately in Jakarta they aren't as wimpy as me, where Pedestrians fight for their right to sidewalks. And congratulations are in order for our friends in India, where Model footpaths planned on five roads thanks to their advocacy efforts.

Back here in LA, the City considers making homeowners responsible for sidewalk repairs and legally liable for mishaps, which of course outrages Daily News readers here in the Valley. Fortunately in some places they're more enthusiastic about pedestrian improvements, like in Texas where according to a Dallas council member: Time to act on Complete Streets. Similarly, San Mateo plans to make city streets safer for pedestrians, but funding questions linger.

Funding is also a question for a small city in Canada, where a Pedestrian overpass over roundabout would be pricey. At least it wouldn't be a Bridge to nowhere: Pedestrian bridge linking students to classrooms in southwest Loveland closed. Maybe a better idea is just to add a pedestrian path, like in Pennsylvania where Fahy Bridge to get pedestrian lane next to unsafe sidewalks.

Perhaps New York should try the same thing for some of its neighborhoods, as this week we learned that Midtown is NY's most dangerous for pedestrians. And you thought it was just New Yorkers' bad attitudes that were scary...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tell Your Story

The National Complete Streets Coalition is looking for real-life stories about the importance of complete streets in your community, and successes you've had in implementing them. In particular, they're looking for examples that demonstrate how
  • Complete Streets policies are necessary to accommodate existing users
  • Complete Streets can be achieved within existing budgets.
  • Complete Streets can lead to new transportation funding opportunities.
  • Complete Streets add lasting value.
Follow the directions here to share a few sentences, a quote or photograph about your experiences with complete streets.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Week on Foot

It's a mixed bag in the pedestrian world this week. Pedestrian, bicyclist deaths down in Minn. but it's not so sunny in the town of Hampton Roads, Virginia, where Pedestrian deaths rise to level not seen in 4 years. And then, we're plagued by stories like this one of a Pedestrian hit, injured near hospital, driver takes off, police say in Charlotte, NC.

At least Ann Arbor officials say they're listening to concerns about pedestrian safety ordinance, and in Ithaca, NY the City to expand roadways for pedestrian commute. Closer to home, we learn of Arceo Walk, Small Investment, Big Changes in El Monte --but at the same time, there was a Pedestrian struck, killed on Santa Monica Fwy, a Pedestrian injured in suspected hit-and-run in Ventura, and the 15 year-old pedestrian, killed in Santa Barbara, has been identified.

Meanwhile, rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver Launches "Bad Move" Pedestrian Safety PSA With Online Contest. While I'm sure it's well-intentioned, I can't entirely get on board (so to speak) with a PSA that tells the tale of "a young couple who choose a dangerous place to walk," when so often the problem is that a safe route isn't a choice--I'd rather see a PSA that explains why a Pedestrian-friendly city should be priority for all.

Elsewhere in the world, Inconsistent signals puzzle pedestrians in Montreal--which is perhaps a better state of affairs than in Kingspark where a Pedestrian Crossing Sign Vanishes Days After Installed. At least they've kept their signs in Philadelphia, although it's a little half-hearted to say that Pedestrian yield signs aimed at voluntary compliance.

Next, in a stating of the obvious, Drivers and pedestrians blamed for mishaps in Fredricton, Canada. Perhaps in response to half of that problem. TRW Demonstrates Advanced Pedestrian Detection System With Automatic Emergency Braking.

Finally, we learn of A pedestrians only road for Ahmedabad, and wonder about Suburban sprawl: A Ponzi scheme? Perhaps, but as naysayers point out, Walkability is great, but having a Walmart nearby is better. Good thing there are still folks around to remind us Why walkability is important.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sidewalk Hall of Shame

Inspired by KECT's recent request to submit photos of broken sidewalks in LA, I took a stroll around my neighborhood to "show off" some of the most absurd examples of what passes for a sidewalk in Woodland Hills--AND, since I'm a transpo geek that way, I came up with a point system to rate just how bad they are. Think of it as a sort of anti-WalkScore.
If you squint, it almost looks like modern art on Medina Rd near Baza Ave.
Disconnectivity (0-10)
One of the most critical elements of walkability, this criteria rates whether or not a sidewalk actually takes you anywhere. Like the roller skate without its mate, the lone sidewalk won't get you anywhere if it's not part of network. Sure, it's well and good to have a beautiful smooth sidewalk in front of your house, but if your neighbors aren't on board how far are you really going to be able to walk?
 A dead end at Campo Rd near Celes St.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week has been dangerous for pedestrians and trains, as we learn of a Pedestrian Killed By Amtrak Train In North Hollywood and there were No Safe Option for Jersey Teens Killed on Railroad Tracks. On the other hand, it hasn't been so safe for pedestrians and vehicles, like the Wheelchair-bound pedestrian hit Sunday dies. And it should come as no surprise, as In Crashes, Low Driving Speed Can Cause Serious Injury and Death to Pedestrians, Report Finds.

Fortunately, this week there have also been numerous efforts to thwart pedestrian safety problems. In Nevada, there were Grants to help NLV police target pedestrian safety, and closer to home El Monte Walks Towards a Healthier Future.    Across the country, the MLK corridor to have pedestrian-friendly restrictions on buildings in Winston-Salem, and a Bagley Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit Provides Safe Access to Canada

Speaking of Canada, one Canadian mayor insists that his City must become safer for pedestrians, while in Vancouver a Messy street patterns boost city's walkability. Further abroad they're Building a Joburg for walkers

Finding safe routes is key in successful walking programs, which LA's new Model Street Manual: A Generic Road Map to Sustainable Transportation Planning will surely help do. And LA isn't the only place thinking about good road design: 'Complete Streets' might come to city of Zeeland in Michigan.

Of course, there are always other ways to deal with pedestrian-vehicle this Texas Pedestrian tells driver to buy him a beer, he'd forget about being hit. Proof again that they do things a little differently in Texas, I guess.

And sometimes we do things a little differently here in LA too--don't forget CiLAvia this Sunday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

KCET wants to see your crack

Your sidewalk crack, that is. KECT is compiling a map of the worst examples in LA, and will share some of them on-air in the future. Submit your heinous sidewalk photos by following the instructions here.

My only problem will be picking which horrible sidewalk in my neighborhood to showcase. So many options...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's International Walk to School Day!

Celebrate with your favorite kid by doing the Ped Safety Dance, or check out an activity at your local school. Here are just a few of the fun things happening this week at schools around the region.

Westlake Elementary School
We always invite the City's Bike Patrol and Horse Patrol to International Walk to School Day. We get the word out via a big banner at the front of the school and via the weekly email newsletter sent to all parents. This is the kick off of a year-long program, "Westlake's Walking and Wheeling Wednesdays," in which we have walking and biking events the first Wednesday of every month. We give the kids punch cards to attach to their backpacks which they can get punched every month. There are incentives for walking of biking 3 months in a row and for walking or biking every month of the year.
Linwood E. Howe Elementary School
We will be working with a local Girl Scout Troop to hold a bike clinic the weekend before so that families can get their bikes tuned up and students can learn about and practice bicycle safety. On Walk to School Wednesday, local city and school district officials will meet us in front of City Hall to walk to school. This will be the kick-off event for monthly Walk to School Wednesdays, which will be part of our encouragement efforts for our Safe Routes to School Program. 
William Mckinley Elementary School
We set up stations at all four corners on the way to school. Everyone who walks gets a juice and muffin and a wristband that says "I Walked".

Bell Gardens High School
Bell Gardens will host Safe Routes to School Week during the week of October 17th. The events will promote walking as a viable form of transportation and educate students about new infrastructure improvements, how to walk safely, the importance of physical activity and practicing healthy eating habits.

Tulsa St Elementary School
Cliff Kids sponsors us and donates healthy snacks for those that walk. We have all the walkers sign a banner and hang it up in the Cafeteria area.

Sunset Hills Elementary School
We always have a theme like "Buzz on up to School" or "Hop on up to School" We draw encouraging notes on the sidewalks for the children as they enter the school. We give out toe tokens for the children who walk. we also try to provide a healthy snack to those who walk. We also collect "slightly used" tennis shoes to give to charity.