Thursday, December 6, 2012

This Week on Foot

Photo courtesy southwest riverside news network
With the holiday season comes the traditional Santa Claus crosswalk sting, this week in Moreno Valley where Crosswalk offenders busted by Santa Claus decoy in Moreno Valley . But they really should have been doing it in British Columbia, where Caution urged after 17 pedestrians hit in 7 days-- or maybe Maryland, where Protecting pedestrians proves an elusive goal . Milbrae is another good candidate, where Caltrans slow to boost pedestrian safety on hairy Millbrae road --and they might not celebrate Christmas in all of India, but a similar exercise would surely be helpful in Bangalore, because Bangalore is a no-walking zone.

Fortunately, they're Reducing pedestrian perils  in Tampa and Rallying for pedestrian safety in Canada, while Raleigh looks to make overpasses more pedestrian friendly  and in Boston Quincy councilors focus on pedestrian safety with renewed vigor. Elsewhere in the country This Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Connect Brooklyn Heights To Brooklyn Bridge Park , and College Street project a pedestrian 'show stopper' , while Program studies ‘walkability, bikeability’ of schools in Iowa City and the City Maps Out Sidewalk Plan in New Haven.

Finally this week we learn of 10 Techniques for Making Cities More Walkable, and A “Movement For Movement” Puts Walking Front and Center. Oh, and with all the talk of holiday spending out there these days, it's worth noting that Cyclists and Pedestrians Can End Up Spending More Each Month Than Drivers

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One Step at a Time - CouchSurfing Across the U.S.

If you've been following me for a while, you'll remember how two years ago I hosted advocate and walker extraordinaire George Throop on the first leg of his journey across the US on foot to promote daily physical activity (like walking!).

Since then he's made it to North Carolina, and has only a few short states to go until meeting his goal of walking from Washington (state) to Washington (DC). Here's a short video with the latest on his journey, but you can get the full story of his travels (including an awesome map of his route) on his website Enjoy the Walk. Keeping enjoying it, George!

Friday, November 30, 2012

This Week on Foot

An easy way to keep cars out of pedestrian space? Build narrow streets like this one in Peru.

It's been a busy week for pedestrians outside the US. In India, advocates continue to fight for pedestrians rights, as the Plight of suffering pedestrians comes to the fore, and they point out that the landmark Tank bund continuous to be unsafe for pedestrians. There's also a Call to give pedestrians right of way  in New Zealand, and the First pedestrian subway in Salalah , while in Canada, a Pedestrian-only street pitched for Fredericton. The only dark note is the Pedestrian tunnel 'too expensive' for crash junction in the UK.

Closer to home, things aren't as rosy. San Pedro's Huge Ponte Vista Project is Now More Suburban. Then there's a Search underway for driver who killed pedestrian in Gardena, while the Pedestrian killed in Newport Beach identified. Fortunately, efforts are underway in parts of the country to prevent deaths like these. A Pilot program aims to improve pedestrian safety in Utah, Tufts looks to improve pedestrian safety, and there are Smart growth proposals along Route 9 in Boston. The Balt. Co. Council approval keeps path for cyclists and pedestrians clear and a Ceremony officially opens Oak Cliff’s Bishop Avenue ‘complete street’ in Texas.

Meanwhile, we wonder: is a Huge Pedestrian Bridge Coming to Indiana Dunes? And would it improve walkability? Because as we're reminded this week, Walkability increasingly drives developers and real estate market. If you want to know how to create that walkable environment, check out Jeff Speck’s Walkable City, Digested --or, if you Want a better city? Tear out the freeways, tear up the asphalt, says speaker . And they do want it in Georgia, where Residents want safety, walkability addressed in master plan for 15th Street corridor

Finally this week, we learn about the  The Best U.S. Cities For Public Transit: Portland, Chicago Outrank New York City. One key factor for good transit? Walkability...

The Latest and Greatest Pedestrian Research

Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Analysis of police collision files for pedestrian fatalities in London, 2006-10
This study analysed 197 police fatal files where a pedestrian was killed in London in the period 2006–2010, with the overall aim of providing a better understanding of how fatal pedestrian collisions in London could be prevented. The files were broadly representative of fatal pedestrian collisions in London over the period. The fatal files were coded into a database based on Haddon’s Matrix, which included items related to the environment, the pedestrian, vehicle(s) and their driver(s)/rider(s) in terms of pre-event, event and post-event. The project identified the factors or primary interventions, which if they had been in place may have prevented the collision occurring (primary prevention). Further, the project considered the causes of the injuries and where practical identified the secondary interventions, which if they had been in place may have reduced their severity. Several groups of fatalities were identified as being of special interest because of particular characteristics of the collisions. These groups generally accounted for a substantial proportion of the fatalities. In each case, the collisions within each group were analysed in terms of who was involved, the contributory factors, injuries and possible countermeasures.

Investigation of Pedestrian/Bicyclist Risk in Minnesota Roundabout Crossings
Many cities in the United States are installing roundabouts instead of traditional intersections, due to evidence that roundabouts dramatically reduce fatal and severe injury crashes compared to traditional signalized intersections. However, the impact on pedestrian safety is not clear. This project was developed to investigate pedestrian accessibility in Minnesota urban roundabouts, addressing complaints from pedestrians regarding difficulties in crossing and safety. The methodology followed in this ongoing research is typical of other observational studies. A sufficiently large number of observations on the interactions between pedestrians or bicycles (peds/bikes) and vehicles at two modern urban roundabouts in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota were collected and reduced. These observations have supported a two phased analysis. Phase 1 involved the extraction of general information describing the crossing event, such as who yielded, the location of the crossing, or the number of subjects involved. Phase 2 looked deeper into these factors by considering the conditions inside the roundabout before the vehicle proceeds to the crossing and meets with the ped/bike. The results presented, although containing no surprises, do highlight and categorize the existence of friction between pedestrians and drivers at roundabout crossings. Also the identification of factors affecting driver yield behavior and pedestrian wait time do offer good background for modeling such interactions.

Layer Object Recognition System for Pedestrian Sensing
There is a significant need to develop innovative technologies to detect pedestrians or other vulnerable road users at designated crossing locations and midblock/unexpected areas and to determine potential collisions with pedestrians. An in-vehicle pedestrian sensing system was developed to address this specific problem. The research team used stereo vision cameras and developed three key innovations, namely, the detection and recognition of multiple roadway objects; the use of multiple cues (depth, motion, shape, and appearance) to detect, track, and classify pedestrians; and the use of contextual information to reject a majority of the typical false positives that plague vision-based pedestrian detection systems. This report describes the approach and tabulates representative results of experiments conducted on multiple video sequences captured over the course of the project. The conclusion derived from these results is that the developed system is state of the art when compared to the best approaches published in literature. The false positive rates are still higher than desired for the system to be ready for commercialization. This report also provides steps that can be taken to improve the performance in this regard. A real-time system was developed and demonstrated in a test vehicle.

Active Traffic Management (ATM) applications, such as variable speed limits, queue warning systems, and dynamic ramp metering, have been shown to offer mobility and safety benefits. Yet because they differ from conventional capacity investments in terms of cost, service life, and operating requirements, how to incorporate them into the planning process is not clear. To facilitate such incorporation, this study developed guidelines for considering ATM deployments. The guidelines consist of four sets. The first set identifies required infrastructure and operational conditions, such as sensor placement and queuing behavior, to apply a particular ATM technique at a given site. The second set presents sketch planning analysis methods to estimate the operational and safety benefits of applying the particular technique at the site; these may be refined with the third set concerning a more detailed (and accurate) simulation analysis. The fourth set concerns continued monitoring of an ATM deployment at a given site. Also provided is a framework for incorporating ATM concepts into the regional planning process. The framework is illustrated with a hypothetical case study of variable speed limits implemented on I-66 in Virginia. Although Virginia metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and the Virginia Department of Transportation already consider operational initiatives to some degree within the planning process, a key finding of this study is that there are several ways to strengthen the inclusion of operational initiatives. These include (1) using the guidelines developed in this study; (2) linking ATM initiatives to the MPO’s Congestion Management Process; (3) facilitating the computation of operational-related performance measures such as total vehicle- hours of delay; and (4) emphasizing, when applicable, the safety and environmental aspects of ATM. The rationale for such aspects is not to promote ATM as being more effective than other types of investments but rather to compare ATM objectively with these other types of investments. For example, Appendix A illustrates how to compute a benefit-cost ratio where costs include capital and operations expenditures for the ATM and where benefits include monetized values of vehicle-hours of delay plus crash costs. In this manner, the benefit-cost ratio for an ATM project may be compared to the benefit-cost ratio for other operational or capacity projects.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Upcoming Webinars

Photo courtesy of Complete Streets
November 20
Road Diets and Pedestrian Safety
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM PST
Road diets, or the reallocation of road space through reduction in the number of regular traffic lanes, are of interest to communities that may be seeking to reduce traffic speeds, reduce crashes, improve accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists, or achieve a number of other benefits. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has included road diets as one of the nine proven countermeasures it is promoting nationally ( This webinar will present information about the safety benefits of road diets, particularly to pedestrians, and highlight examples of road diet implementation in the United States.
November 29
Bold New Steps: Data and Resources to Propel Local Walking Programs and Solutions
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM PST

Tom Schmid-Senior Evaluation Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity and Health Branch
Laura MacNeil, Planner II, Sam Schwartz Engineering
Scott Bricker, Executive Director, America Walks

The panel presentations will include:
• Overview by the CDC on the trends of walking and why walking is a critical intervention to good public health
• Overview of the new Steps to a Walkable Community guide and on-line technical resources to support citizens, planners and engineers in improving walking
• Overview of technical and support services provided by America Walks to further advance this work.

December 4
Fresh Ideas from the 2012 Oberstar SRTS Award Program — Surprising Partners and Program Approaches
10:00-11:00 AM PST
Kathryn Garvey, President, Safe Routes Chagrin, Chagrin Falls, OH
Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Associate Director, National Center for Safe Routes to School

As the importance of drawing upon community assets to sustain SRTS programs continues to grow, thinking beyond the "usual suspects" as partners is more important than ever. In this sixty minute program, we will highlight partner ideas from four outstanding programs that provide wonderful examples of building strong ties with other community organizations.

2012 Oberstar SRTS Award recipient program leader Kathryn Garvey with the Chagrin Falls SRTS Program will provide specific examples of unique local partners that have been pivotal to their achievements, including a local historical society and a community theater. Nancy Pullen-Seufert with the National Center for Safe Routes to School will offer additional innovative ideas from three SRTS programs that received special recognition as part of this year's Oberstar Award selection process.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Week on Foot

Photo courtesy of

This week we're reminded that for For Pedestrians, Cities Have Become the Wilderness--and The Pedestrian Is a Fragile Species in that wilderness. But some places are taking measures to save the pedestrian from extinction. There are Pedestrian crosswalk, other safety measures on the table for stretch of Ann Arbor-Saline Road where woman died, and a Panel looks to boost pedestrian safety one year after death of 8-year-old Max Wipfli in Wisconsin.

And that's not all. There's a Bike-pedestrian trail plan coming together for Shawano, NLR’s Park Hill to hold ‘walkability workshop’ in Arkansas, the City plans to build sidewalks in older neighborhoods in Las Vegas, and a Breakthrough for Norfolk pedestrian crossing campaigners. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians can take the high road to safety in Pittsburgh, and a New Fort Myers Beach committee tackles pedestrian safety. Heck, It’s now Pedestrian Sunday! in Bhutan. Bhutan!

Of course, there's always a dingy lining to the silver cloud--particularly outside the US this week. In India Bhikaji Cama Place a symbol of ‘utter disdain for public property’: Accessibility audit is necessary! And in Namibia: Pedestrians Should Change Mindset according to this article-- and admit roads are for cars, not people. It makes you wonder, Should Pedestrians be Forced onto Roads? Maybe not, but they should at least have sidewalks for their own--perhaps this is why Pedestrians, drivers plead for bicyclists to stay off sidewalks.

Of course, bikes on sidewalks aren't nearly as dangerous as SUVs that blow through crosswalks, like in the case of the North Hollywood pedestrian fatally struck crossing street is ID'd

It's situations like this that lead us to wonder Can a re-imagined and walkable downtown save America? (or at least keep it safe?) And if so, Is City Council About to Trade Away Philadelphia’s Walkability Advantage? Maybe Philadelphia needs to be reminded that ‘You have to become the anti-strip mall’ to provide good walkability, and of the Links studied between walkability of neighborhoods and obesity.

Finally this week, we learned that in Prescott, Arizona, a DIY crosswalk provider got the recognition he deserved as the City designates downtown pedestrian walkway as 'Sam Steiger Crosswalk'

Oh--one more thing: Submit Your Questions for Ray LaHood to answer about walkability and pedestrian issues.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Where the Sidewalk Starts Heads South

If blogging has been a bit sparse over the past few weeks, it's for good reason: our household is leaving the wilds of Los Angeles and heading to that raucous border town San Diego. I might not have been writing about pedestrian issues much lately, but they have certainly been my mind as we contemplate where to live in our new town.

WalkScore has played an important role in our housing search, and has been telling to test its algorithms out against what we see on the ground. As a reference point, our Woodland Hills home has a walkscore of 78: we don't have sidewalks, closely-spaced crosswalks, or many street trees--but we do have an abundance of commercial and civic sites within walking distance. With three grocery stores, banks, a library, drugstores, a pet store, restaurants, a hardware store, and more within a half-mile of our front door, we could conceivably ditch our car for much of our everyday errands.

On the other hand, as my husband points out, "I don't need to be able to walk to the optometrist, I just want a cool pub nearby." You may remember that he's not the only one who thinks this way. Earlier this year Scott Doyon released his map of "pub sheds" in Decatur, Georgia, his take on measuring walkability by proximity to beer.

It might sound silly at first, but it's actually a valid point. Pubs, like cafes, squares, and parks, function as important "third places" where people in the neighborhood can gather, meet one another, chat about local issues, and generally do the things that build community. While it's nice to be able to get your milk and pick up some doorknobs without getting in your car, running errands on foot doesn't necessarily help to build relationships that lead people to invest in, and feel connected to, their community.

Given this, we're willing to accept living in a neighborhood that has a lower walkscore--as long as we can walk to a wine bar. Fingers are crossed...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Week on Foot

Photo courtesy of
This week people in India are talking about The right to walk with dignity -- and including some performance art to get the conversation started. Meanwhile in Pakistan they're worried that Signal-free corridors cause inconvenience to pedestrians. But in Australia they're blaming the pedestrians for the problem, claiming Pedestrians walk the line with dangerous act of jaywalking. Yes, you read that right. Pakistan is taking a better stance on pedestrian safety than Australia.

Closer to home, Pedestrian struck by minivan In Redondo, PCH closed at scene. There's a High number of pedestrian deaths in Oregon this year, perhaps one reason that  Germantown Teen’s Death Frames Discussion on Pedestrian Safety. And even though we might be Moving toward walkable neighborhoods for older adults, we still need to Fix our sidewalks.

One place with decent sidewalks is San Diego County's National City #1 in walkability, survey shows. Not to be outdone Southeast Atlanta Rallies for "Smart" Development, and New Yorkers consider Revitalizing a Dead Mall (Don’t Expect Shoppers)

As we consider this week What makes a place "walkable"? we think about Why the 'Trick-or-Treat Test' Still Matters.

And now that trick-or-treating is safely behind us, remember that with the change in time this weekend Less daylight could mean more danger for motorists and pedestrians, troopers say

Back in Europe this week we learn about Award for Europe's most beautiful pedestrian bridge, argue that It's time for pedestrians to reclaim our streets with 20mph speed limit, and consider How cyclists and pedestrians can share space on canal towpaths.

Finally, if you're like us and hunting for a house this week, you might want to  check out this list of America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods--all walkable of course. Because walking is what all the hip kids do.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

We're looking forward to taking our little bee out for her second Halloween tonight (and to stealing--er, sorting--her candy). If you're up to the same this evening, remember that Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for pedestrians--especially little goblins and ladybugs--so be vigilant as you navigate the streets out there.

Wondering where to take your werewolves to howl? Check out Zillow's 2012 list of the best cities (and neighborhoods) for trick-or-treating, which incorporates WalkScore's ranking as part of the criteria its uses in compiling the list.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Great Streets

photo courtesy of the bailey post

The American Planning Association (APA) has announced its 2012 list of Great Streets across the country. What is a Great Street, you ask? The APA considers three main characteristics in its evaluation of streets:
  1. Street Form and Composition - Does the street accommodate multiple users? Does it encourage social interaction?
  2. Street Character and Personality - Does the street reflect the local culture? Is it an interesting place to be?
  3. Street Environment and Sustainable Practices - Does the street use green infrastructure? Does it promote sustainability?
This year, the streets that demonstrate all those characteristics are (not in California): 
  • Duval Street in Key West, Florida
  • Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Main Street in Bozeman, Montana
  • Wall Street in Kingston, New York
  • Fifth Avenue in New York, New York
  • Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York
  • Shaker Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Grant Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia
  • Broad Street in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Gay Street in Knoxville, Tennessee
You can view pictures and details about the streets on the APA's website here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And one more

Engineering for Walking and Bicycling: How Is It Changing? How Is Davis Involved?
Oct. 26, 2012 1:30 - 3:00 Pacific Time

Rock Miller of Stantec Consulting will present an overview of his professional career in transportation with highlights on many of the significant walking and bicycling projects he has worked on. Miller's work has helped Santa Monica to be designated as a Walk Friendly City and for Long Beach to become a Bicycle Friendly Community. He just returned after leading a delegation of ITE leaders on a tour of bicycle facilities in the Netherlands. This delegation will prepare a report on how to adapt promising European design approaches to U.S. cities. This work will be incorporated into his presentation.

Miller will also indicate how a growing number of Davis grads of the 1970's and 1980's are now combining their early bicycle transportation experiences with their current positions to help guide the transformation of the U.S. into a more walk- and bike-friendly country.

Register here.

Upcoming webinars

Get Inspired: Ideas to Refresh, Re-energize, and Reframe Safe Routes to School
10/23/12, 10:00-11:00 Pacific Time

Join Mark Fenton, a widely recognized and vocal advocate for the importance of walking and bicycling in communities, for a big picture look at the current state of Safe Routes to School. What have we achieved? Where are we headed? How can we get there? And how does SRTS fit into the larger healthy communities movement?

Mark will share his perspective on what he has observed in the world of SRTS, specifically discussing how key partner groups see SRTS and what we should be prioritizing moving forward. This webinar will leave you inspired, energized and ready to take your SRTS work to the next level.

Mark Fenton is a national public health, planning, and transportation consultant, and an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University in Boston.

Register here.

FHWA Webinar on Transportation and Health
10/23/12, 11:00-12:30 Pacific Time

This webinar will discuss planning research initiatives planned or underway that are related to transportation and health. Speakers include representatives from FHWA, the John A. VOLPE National Transportation Systems Center, the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Puget Sound Regional Council, the San Diego Association of Governments, and Sacramento Area Council of Governments. They will address research underway and highlight case studies and best practices for taking a holistic approach to health in the transportation planning process.

Register here.

Walking in San Francisco: How SF Safety and Walkability Compare to Best Practices
11/16/12 12:00-1:00 Pacific Time

San Francisco has received recognition as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., but also has high levels of pedestrian injuries and fatalities per capita. This talk will cover San Francisco's innovative Pedestrian Strategy and compare it to trend setters such as New York City and London.

Register here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

This week on foot

Photo credit: Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune

In a surprising twist, this week we learn that More parks don't mean more walking. At least according to one study. At least there's no question that more safety can lead to more walking, which is why
Arizona road-safety focus switches to pedestrians. And it's not just Arizona-- there was a Statewide pedestrian safety campaign launched in North Carolina, Hamilton can improve pedestrian safety with more 'complete streets' and the oddly-named DARN, Keller Williams and ADA complete walkability study for downtown Asheville. I guess Washington D.C. is ahead of the curve with Foggy Bottom: One Of D.C.'s First 'WalkUP' Neighborhoods.

Elsewhere in the country State Transportation Officials Doing More To Keep Train Fatalities, Suicides Down, and it's a battle of Parking versus pedestrian in Willoughby district, while a new Stevenage giant cycle lane creates pedestrian confusion in the UK.

Meanwhile, we're wondering: Pedestrian crossing signs in Windber: help or hindrance? I guess they're not wondering in New Jersey, where Eight communities in Hunterdon County will receive 'Stop for Pedestrians' signs.

It's bridges, not signs, that have some people raising their eyebrows here in LA, where Critics question $20M pedestrian bridge at Lankershim Boulevard. Oh well, at least they're Thinking outside the box on a walk through Paw Paw

 Finally this week, check out the IG of the Day: Walking Communities.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #25: BestWALK

Walk audits just got a little easier (for San Diegans, at least) with the new BestWALK app from WalkSanDiego. From WSD:

Why don’t we walk? One of the primary reasons is that our streets (and therefore our neighborhoods, communities, and quite literally, our lives) are designed around the automobile. BestWALK was designed to help us take back the street. Join friends and walkers of all ages to use the BestWALK smart phone app and rate what it’s like to walk in your community. Your efforts will create a regional Walk Scorecard rating walkability in our neighborhoods and cities and contribute to a map of improvements for future funding.

WalkSanDiego has downloaded a street network into the BestWALK phone app that allows the user to document how easy and pleasant it is to walk and cross the streets of cities throughout San Diego County.

We have a network of 4,000 streets waiting to be rated! Ratings are provided for both intersections and street segments. The data you enter not only produces a rating, it also populates a map of improvements needed around the region. The more information we have on walkability around the San Diego region, the better equipped we are to advocate for improvements. With your help, we can advocate for specific improvements.

Dowload it today and help WSD reach their goal of 30,321 ratings--and also check our their new blog on the blogroll.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Walk to School Day!

Every October for the past 15 years, kids around the world ditched their (parents') cars and jumped on the walking school bus to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Last year there were over 4,000 registered schools participating, and this year over 400 schools in California have events planned.

Rates of children walking or biking to school have decreased steadily over the past four decades, from nearly 50 percent in 1969 to a paltry 13 percent in 2009. Not surprisingly, parents cite concerns over safety as the key reason they don't allow their kids to walk to school, which is why programs like Safe Routes to School are so important. Get the full list of schools and info about how you can join in here.

Happy walking!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #24: Rode Dog

Rode Dog is a new anti-distracted-driving app that's the brainchild of a...child. Well, at 11 she might take issue with that characterization, but it's still an impressive accomplishment for someone who's still years away from driving herself. Victoria Walker won an AT&T hackathon--and $20,000-- to develop the app, which will allow users to hijack the phones of members of their "packs" (i.e. family and friends) when they text and drive, using the devices to "bark" incessently at the texters until they put down the phone and concentrate on driving.

No word yet on whether it can be used to curb other annoying behaviors. Can we work on something that will let me use my phone to zap the people who cut me off in traffic because they're talking on their phone?

Friday, September 14, 2012

This week on foot

photo: Seattle PI

This week we learn that 11 Seattle intersections bad for pedestrians, but fortunately Seattle neighborhoods look for ways to increase walkability like this West Seattle traffic alert: Pedestrian upgrades for 35th/Alaska. Elsewhere in the country a Spate of Minnesota of pedestrian deaths prompts warnings, and  ‘Urban intervention’ tests downtown pedestrian space in Colorado, and  Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week Kicks Off in Virginia.

Closer to home Thousand Oaks tackles traffic safety and they're Unraveling Ped & Bike Tension In Santa Monica, while Pedestrians killed in Walnut Creek, SF and LA by distracted drivers.  They're struggling with Pedestrian Unfriendliness on La Brea, Old LA Maps at Art Walk, and there was a Pedestrian killed in Hollywood hit-and-run crash--but at least in Santa Barbara there are some Practical Pedestrian Pathways.

 Outside the US there's a message for Pedestrians: Zebra crossings not safe in Finland. At least Walkability takes off in Pembrokeshire National Park in Wales...

Speaking of which, here are some Concrete Ideas for Promoting Walkability. If that's not enough for you, UCLA offers city planners manual for creating parklets, living streets. Dallas seems to be using some of those ideas, as For Four Days This Month, Knox Will Become Dallas' First "Complete Street". Also Glen Ridge passes Complete Streets policy--seems like everyone is learning about Making Neighborhood Streets “Skinny” and Safe.

There's a lot of buzz this week about a new study from Leinberger: Walkable Urbanism Is the Future, and DC Is the Model. Some reviewers note that while "Walkable urban" places enjoy economic success, but face social equity challenges, while others wonder about a Walkable Tyson's Corner? Over VDOT's dead streetscape. But at the end of the day it's a positive Study: Shift to walkable urban places is good news for economy -- which is good, because If You Want Walkable Development, You Must Show That It Pays.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Safe Kids Infographic

From Safe Kids USA, a nice infographic about children walking--and the dangers they face.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Walk Friendly Communities Announced

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has announced the latest cities to receive the Walk Friendly Communities title. Walk Friendly Communities are recognized for their work to create safe, walkable environments. And here they are:

Gold Level

Silver Level

Bronze Level

From the website:

"We are very excited to add nine to the Walk Friendly Communities roster," said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. "These communities represent a true cross-section of America, ranging from the nation's capital to the small town of Essex Junction, Vt., population 9,300. The variety shows how much this program continues to growcities and towns of all sizes and types can create vibrant and walkable places."
There are now 33 Walk Friendly Communities across the nation. To date, Seattle, Wash., is the only Platinum-level Walk Friendly Community.
The program will begin accepting applications for the next round on Nov. 1, 2012, with the deadline for submission on Dec. 15, 2012. Interested communities are encouraged to visit to learn more about the program and review the community assessment tool.

Friday, September 7, 2012

This Week on Foot

This week we're entertained by this PSA rap about Richmond pedestrian crossing, and by The Best Way to Deal With Crosswalk-Blocking Drivers Ever (aside from pedestrian stings, like the one this week where Thousand Oaks violators get stung in crosswalk stakeouts).

And why are those stings so important? Because Child Pedestrian Deaths Spike During After-School Hours. Because Lack of pedestrian signals poses threat to commuters. Because Safe Kids Worldwide, FedEx Study finds teens at greatest risk for pedestrian injuries. Because WCape road deaths: half pedestrians.

Yet while according to this Report: In D.C. Area, Developers Flock to ‘Walkable Urban’ (leading some to as is The Next Major Real Estate Cycle: Walkable Urbanism?), and Wesley welcomes pedestrian plaza we still have a long way to go in places like New York where an Astoria pedestrian plaza pits merchants against residents.

Elsewhere in the country pedestrian planning is being received more positively, as Chicago unveils 1st pedestrian safety plan and Ann Arbor ranked safest in state for pedestrians; city wants to keep it that way. In that case, Pedestrians, cyclists alike should share road, safety precautions. Speaking of safety precautions, We asked you: Should police ticket drivers for crosswalk violations? (Most people think so).

Finally this week, Canadians note that VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #188: We Could Walk It As Diversely As Berkeley and we wonder What makes a great city street? Consider these examples.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Walk. Bike. Move. Live. Sept. 19.

San Diegans: Join like-minded advocates as WalkSanDiego hosts a Mayoral debate. Here are the details from WSD.

Date:          September 19, 2012
Time:          7:00 PM
Location:   University of San Diego, Shiley Theatre

Come hear mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner in the only debate focused on enhancing and improving quality of life through how we live, work, play and move around in America's Finest City.  Learn the views and opinions of San Diego's 2012 mayoral candidates on community issues that impact you:
  • Improving Transportation Choices (walk, bike, transit, car share, carpool, etc.)
  • Urban Growth and Development (how to improve our communities while accommodating growth?)
  • Locating new employment opportunities (can we commute less?)
  • Livable Communities (creating neighborhoods where people come first, not cars!) 
A networking reception with light refreshments will take place immediately following the one hour debate.
Getting to the Debate:

For transit information: Trolley/Shuttle Info (Bus Route 44 stops right in front of USD)
Complimentary bike valet will be on-site

Get your tickets today at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #23: City Pulse

The latest (bad pun) brainchild of Brain Drain, CityPulse is a network of "beacons" that light up the street literally and figuratively. The fancy lights detects and reports street-level activity in real time, provides information about nearby businesses and tourist attractions, and, as Brain Drain puts it, "offers a new platform for human interactions and entrepreneurship."

From the website:

By spurring pedestrian navigation and citywide connectivity, CityPulse stands to make a huge impact. This place-making program offers a multi-level intervention that stimulates growth in small and new business, facilitates access to community resources and information, and provides a public venue for emerging trends and creativity in the cityscape.

Yet one more way technology is changing the way we move through the pedestrian environment.

Friday, August 31, 2012

This Week on Foot

This week people are talking about Affordable Housing and a Pedestrian Plaza in New York, a
Pedestrian bridge linking downtown, Cultural District dedicated in Fort Worth, and New D.C. traffic cameras to monitor stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks.

But here in LA, it's still all about sidewalks, where Cracks Appear in L.A.’s Grand Transportation Plan, making it no surprise that L.A. councilmen concerned about length, cost of sidewalk survey, and suggest that maybe some of those "thousands" of community activists" can step in.

Pardon me while I get editorial here.
  1. We'd all like the survey to go quickly, but seriously LA--you can't find money to pay for professionals to do this job? It's such a low funding priority that you have to get volunteers to do the work? I'd like to see you try that with roadways.
  2. And speaking of roadways, are you saying that whole "transportation infrastructure creates jobs" argument only apply to building roads?
  3. Finally, please point me towards the thousands of activists advocating for pedestrian issues in LA. We could use their help with some things.
Moving on to other frustrating stories, here's one that notes Most pedestrian accidents happen within sight of crosswalks, (not so) subtly blaming the pedestrian, who obviously must be too lazy to walk out of their way to a crosswalk. Meanwhile here's another that points out that the Driver's seat safer than sidewalk for older adults, a creative variation on the old "driving drunk is safer than walking drunk" argument. And while we're blaming pedestrians for things, how about this Report: 'Distracted walking' endangers teens. Umm, no, I think it's more the vehicles that endanger teens.

But let's not get totally discouraged. This week in ESCONDIDO: Students take to street to fight for health, and Garmin/Navigon announce new pedestrian and public transportation features, while pedestrian-friendly Blue Zones gearing up for official unveiling.

Elsewhere, one lawyer ponders Improving Pedestrian Safety By Reviewing Primary Types Of Incidents, in Florida they insist on No more Frogger for pedestrians, and Israel considers the idea of Pedestrian protectors.

Read more here:

Finally, all those distracted teenagers and young adults roll their eyes at their elders and say, Cars? Not For Us: The Cheapest Generation Explains 'the Freedom of Not Owning' 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No Pedestrian Walking Allowed

A friend from work, and avid long-distance runner, recently brought my attention to the intersection of Santa Clara Avenue and Los Angeles Avenue (Highway 118). Located in unincorporated Ventura County and surrounded by agricultural fields, the road isn't likely to be popular with pedestrians--unless you're an intrepid jogger...or a farm worker who needs to park on the street and walk to your job site. Either way, good luck--because the roadway's designers clearly don't want you there.

So vehement are they in their sentiments that they posted a no-pedestrian crossing sign on every leg of the intersection. Yes, that's right, every one. Meaning if for some crazy reason you need to cross the street, you'll have to walk a mile or so out of your way to find another intersection, or race across the road when you see a break in traffic. Good to know there's a "safe" option.


Monday, August 27, 2012

LA finally gets serious about fixing its sidewalks

Angelenos have heard the statistics many times over the past few years: nearly half of LA's sidewalks are cracked, crumbling, or...whatever term you'd like to use to refer to the mess above. It will take an estimated $1.5 billion to return them to pristine--or at least usable--condition. In the last few years spending on sidewalk repair has been less than one percent of that figure. The city spends about the same on the 2,500 trip and fall claims it receives each year.

But now, the LA Times reports that the city is pondering the first step in a comprehensive program to bring its sidewalks up to snuff: a survey of all 10,000+ miles of sidewalks to document the condition of curbs and gutters, street trees, soils, and other details, and the development of a software program to compile the results. The survey could take three years and cost more than $10 million.

Actual "sidewalk" in Woodland Hills
Why go to all that effort? It would provide justification for the City to place a bond measure on the ballot (possibly in 2017) to fund sidewalk repairs.

Is this the fix Los Angeles' pedestrians have been waiting for? It would move the responsibility for sidewalk repair from adjacent property owners to the City, a move that's sure to please those property owners. It would also demonstrate, if subtly, that the City values pedestrians enough to pay for repairs to their infrastructure too--just like it has always done for drivers.

Those seem like good reasons to move forward with the plan to me, but I'm just one voter. If the bond measure is approved for the ballot in 2017, the City would still have a lot of voters to convince--something it wasn't too successful at in 1998, when a similar measure was rejected by 60 percent. Let's hope Angelenos have come to their senses by now--or that they've really gotten tired of tripping on broken sidewalks.

You can read more details about the survey and possible bond measure here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

This Week on Foot

This week starts with good news for LA, where the City Council Poised to Approve Four More Parklets. while in Long Beach: Finding Ways to Get More People Walk is a priority for officials in that city. In fact, cities across the country are looking for ways to improve walkability. The Lansing council considers millage for sidewalk improvements, a Group hopes to make Westboro bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, Citizens support village sidewalk policies, and Travel is no travail in pedestrian-friendly Wilmette.

So with all this good news, Why are Pedestrian Deaths Rising? Perhaps in part because
Older pedestrians at greatest risk of being struck, and our population is aging. And while we're asking questions, Can we have real crosswalks in New York City? Hard to say, but at least Prospect Park boosters hope to solve a hot-button issue between pedestrians and cyclists.

Elsewhere in the country Pedestrians Keep Dying on Georgia Roads, while Police get cross about crosswalks in Robbinsdale and in TRENTON: National expert says city’s walkability good, bad and needs redesign. In the world of research 7 streets in New Orleans working to revitalize neighborhoods are part of UNO student's research and there's a new Study to evaluate zoning code reforms and physical activity. Perhaps it will explain why Somehow We're Walking More and Walking Less At the Same Time.

Meanwhile, people are explaining the difference between Roads, streets, STROADS and park roads, why a Pedestrian bridge is good for community, and that for Pedestrian signals: Faster than never is better than nothing.

Finally this week, Volunteers needed to rate the walkability of their neighborhoods in San Diego, and we learn how a Huntsville pedestrian's plan for being hit by car may have saved his life. Just don't forget: Pedestrians are always right.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Pedestrian Research

The latest in pedestrian and transportation geekery:

Transport and Health Resource: Delivering Healthy Local Transport Plans
The Transport and Health resource was jointly commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) and Department for Transport (DfT) to support the development and delivery of health conscious Local Transport Plans throughout England.

Local Transport Plans (LTPs) are required to be assessed through Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (European Directive 2001/42/EC) as an integral part of developing, appraising and later, delivering LTPs. Addressing human health is a key requirement of the SEA directive, and health impacts are also covered in the statutory duty to assess for the Impact on Equality, which will need to be carried out for all LTPs.

The Colorado Mile Markers: Recommendations for Measuring Active Transportation

The Project The goal of this project is to help decision-makers (leaders and practitioners) make informed actions regarding active transportation facilities and programs–and to monitor the results of such actions. There are many data collection approaches and indicators in use; there also remain substantial gaps in existing data and lack of standards. This report offers a recommendation for a robust monitoring system to provide decision makers with the information they currently lack and to make it comparable across geographic boundaries.

Smartphone-Based Travel Experience Sampling and Behavior Intervention among Young Adults

This research project aims to develop a data collection application that enables real-time tracking and reporting of the health-related impacts of travel behavior. Using computing, communication, and sensing capabilities of smartphones, an Android phone application was developed to collect real-time travel-related physical activity and psychological well-being data from phone users. The application was tested on multiple Android phones, among which Nexus S and HTC Magic were found to produce comparable physical activity outputs with the commercially available accelerometer. The application was further tested in a three-week field study for its viability for real-time data collection and behavior intervention against unhealthy travel behavior. Twenty-three young adults were recruited and randomized into intervention and control groups. Both groups were asked to install UbiActive on their phone and wear their phone on their right hip during all waking hours for three consecutive weeks. The intervention group was provided information on impacts of their travel behavior on physical activity and psychological well-being. No information was provided to the control group. After the field study, all participants were asked to complete a web-based exit survey that was comprised of questions about their general participation experience and specific concerns about the study design, application, compliance requirements, and privacy issues. Findings from the field study show that UbiActive has high potential in collecting travel-related physical activity and psychological experience data, but limited effectiveness in behavior intervention. Findings from the exit survey provide useful insights into potential improvement areas of the study and the UbiActive application.

The Safe Routes to School Program in California: An Update
Despite efforts to combat increasing rates of childhood obesity, the problem is worsening. Safe Routes to School (SRTS), an international movement motivated by the childhood obesity epidemic, seeks to increase the number of children actively commuting (walking or biking) to school by funding projects that remove barriers preventing them from doing so. We summarize the evaluation of the first phase of an ongoing SRTS program in California and discuss ways to enhance data collection.
Effect of North Carolina's restriction on teenage driver cell phone use two years after implementation
A majority of states now restrict teenagers from using a mobile communication device while driving. The effect of these restrictions is largely unknown. In a previous study, we found North Carolina's teenage driver cell phone restriction had little influence on young driver behavior four months after the law took effect (Foss et al., 2009). The goal of the present study was to examine the longer-term effect of North Carolina's cell phone restriction. It was expected that compliance with the restriction would increase, as awareness of the restriction grew over time. Teenagers were observed at high schools in North Carolina approximately two years after the law was implemented. Observations were also conducted in South Carolina, which did not have a cell phone restriction. In both states, there was a broad decrease in cell phone use. A logistic regression analysis showed the decrease in cell phone use did not significantly differ between the two states. Although hand-held cell phone use decreased, there was an increase in the likelihood that drivers in North Carolina were observed physically manipulating a phone. Finally, a mail survey of teenagers in North Carolina showed awareness for the cell phone restriction now stands at 78% among licensed teens. Overall, the findings suggest North Carolina's cell phone restriction has had no long-term effect on the behavior of teenage drivers. Moreover, it appears many teenage drivers may be shifting from talking on a phone to texting.

And even more!
Integrating Public Health and Transportation Planning: Perspectives for MPOs and COGs
Sharing the Road: Optimizing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Vehicle Mobility
Promoting Active Communities in a Culture of Distracted Driving
Community-Based Participatory Research: A Strategy for Building Healthy Communitiesand Promoting Health through Policy Change