Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fire up your feet

Photo courtesy of Fire Up Your Feet
Parents and teachers looking for ways to promote physical activity at their school can check out this program from the Safe Routes to School Partnership, Fire Up Your Feet. The program website offers a variety of resources, including videos, printable handouts, webinars, and activity ideas to encourage students (and their families) to walk and bike more. There's also a fundraising component to the site that provides online tools to help schools set up walkathons and fun runs to raise money--a much healthier choice than the cookie sales I remember from my childhood.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This Week on Foot

Courtesy of NY Times
This week there's been much buzz about a recent story in the NY Times wondering Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists? --which of course also gets people wondering about the same issue for pedestrians. When Pedestrians injured by cars: whose fault is it? The NYPD seems to think a share of the blame lies with those pesky pedestrians who refuse to take appropriate precautions.Not only should pedestrians wear reflective clothing, NYPD tells them to carry flashlights at night. Never mind that NYC Motorists Killed Three Pedestrians on City Sidewalks Today. Obviously flashlights would have solved that problem. Elsewhere in the country authorities aren't quite so forgiving of vehicles who harm pedestrians, like in Pennsylvania where a Bus driver who ran red light, hit pedestrian can't get jobless benefits, Pa. court says.

Meanwhile other regions are working hard on improving pedestrian safety SANBAG Wins Award for Transit Access Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians and Spring Hill hopes to land state grant for pedestrian paths. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it's only After teen's death, Berliners want safer pedestrian crossing

The week has also been full of stories that should be obvious by now. Bike, pedestrian plans should be integrated, official says, and Planning, design plays role in community walkability. And did you know that As people move closer, less need for roads and transit?

Finally this week, here in San Diego Mayoral Candidates Talk About Livable Streets, while elsewhere we contemplate Sesame Street and Children’s Perception of City Life and Suburbia and the American Dream. Hopefully the dream has sidewalks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure Costs

"But how much will it cost?"

Even with broad support for creating pedestrian-friendly environments, finding funding to implement infrastructure improvements like sidewalks or median islands nearly always presents a challenge. This new report from the UNC Highway Research Center, Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements, is a key resource for the first step in the funding process: figuring out how much money you need.

Using data from projects across the country, as well as interviews with planners and engineers implementing the projects, the report provides a broad set of information about costs for a variety of improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, including signals, striping, signs, traffic calming measures, bicycle parking, and more.

The information is presented in a series of tables outlining the median, average, minimum and maximum cost for each type of infrastructure. Here's an example of one table showing the cost of installing a crosswalk.

Click to enlarge
This is the first time I've seen a such broad cost summary in one report--typically planners are forced to rely on their own (sometimes limited) experience to come up with cost estimates, or conduct a more limited version of research the report authors have included here. Having all of this information available in one report is a valuable resource for anyone working on pedestrian or bicycle projects.

Friday, November 8, 2013

This week on foot

Image courtesy of 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin
This week we wonder, Do Your City’s Streets Make Room for People Too? A Handy Visual Test helps answer that question.

Meanwhile, with the time change this week we're reminded that When the clocks go back, pedestrian-car accidents go up. Fortunately, across the country people are Taking steps to keep pedestrians safe--oh wait, that's not really an article about keeping pedestrians safe? Well, here's A Response to Today’s Blame the Victim Op/Ed in the Los Angeles Times. Speaking of blaming the victim, Portland Works to Combat 'Distracted Walking' (hopefully also distracted driving), and there were No Charges for Driver Who Was “Too Short” to See the Pedestrian He Killed this week. Not discouraged yet? Across the country MD highway planners to pedestrians: you’re on your own.Thanks.

But some places really are working on Pedestrian Safety: Delta is leading the way with high-tech crossings, the City Council Approves Road Diet in the City of Riverside and Pedestrian islands added to Rail Trai in Ukiah. And other parts of the country are also working on their pedestrian friendliness: Las Vegas Strip news racks could get the ax, and they're Walkin' in T-Town // The Makings of a Walkable City--because Walkability Is New Word For Development, didn't you know? Maybe you should read about Walkable Communities and the Future of American Cities.

Outside the US, we learned this week that Hamilton roads second most dangerous for pedestrians in Ont.. In response, City pledges safer streets for Hamilton pedestrians. Elsewhere in Canada, people have realized that Density inevitable; the issue is planning. Meanwhile in the UK there's a Landscaped pedestrian bridge to be built over the Thames, and in the Dubai 'Every resident is a pedestrian' - but can you park and walk? Let's hope so...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Most Walkable Cities 2014

Image courtesy of WalkScore
There's still two months left in 2013, but WalkScore is already looking ahead to a new year by releasing its 2014 list of the Most Walkable Cities in the US. To the surprise of no one, New York, San Francisco, and Boston top with list with neighborhoods like Little Italy and Chinatown (New York) and Haymarket and the North End (Boston) highlighted as the most walkable spots within already pedestrian-friendly cities.Here's the full list:

1. New York (Walk Score: 87.6) 
2. San Francisco (Walk Score: 83.9) 
3. Boston (Walk Score: 79.5) 
4. Philadelphia (Walk Score: 76.5) 
5. Miami (Walk Score: 75.6) 
6. Chicago (Walk Score: 74.8) 
7. Washington, D.C. (Walk Score: 74.1) 
8. Seattle (Walk Score: 70.8) 
9. Oakland (Walk Score: 68.5) 
10. Baltimore (Walk Score: 66.2)

You can find more information about the top cities and WalkScore's methodology on their website. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cool Ped Stuff #28: Key to the Street

Ever dreamed about what your bland, pedestrian-unfriendly street might look like if you could spruce it up a bit? Key to the Street is a new design tool created by Jessica Lowry and Murali Allada that let's you use your phone as a starting point to transform any street. Not only does the app provide the ability to redesign your street with features like landscaping or bike lanes, it helps keep you up to date on potential improvements that are already in the works by linking to city projects in the area. You can even use the app to share your ideas with decisionmakers or other advocates.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Upcoming Webinars

November 6, 12 pm PST

NACTO's New Release: Urban Street Design Guide
National Association of City Transportation Officials

A well-illustrated, concrete vision for the future of city streets, NACTO's new "Urban Street Design Guide" charts the principles and practices of the nation’s foremost engineers, planners and designers working in cities today. This webinar will address how this resource will change the face of our nation's streets, the ways you can use it in your community, and how specific topics and elements in the document differ from conventional practice.
Register here.

November 7, 11 am PST

Shared Use: Is It In You? Engaging Key Stakeholders in Shared Use Strategies
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Making use of school facilities that would not otherwise be used after school hours allows for a more efficient use of public space and money, and is a promising strategy to combat childhood obesity. This webinar will focus on providing tools to engage key stakeholders in the discussion around shared use agreements.
Register here

November 21, 11 am PST

Empowering Lower-income Communities to Take Advantage of MAP-21 Funds
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

More street scale projects can be built in lower-income communities and communities of color by training advocates nationwide on how to have successful meetings with local elected officials about existing funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects, including the new MAP-21 funds. This webinar will focus on the tools the National Partnership has created and the need to activate our National Active Transportation Diversity Task Force and other partners at the local and state level.

December 4. 11 am PST

Developing Effective Practices for Snow Removal: Why is it Worth all the Effort? 
Easter Seals Project Action 

Ensuring safe and independent travel for people with and without disabilities in the event of snow can be difficult. A national standard for effective snow removal for pedestrians does not currently exist. Join this webinar to look at snow removal issues and explore ideas for possible solutions to be considered at the local level. Presenters will discuss how snow effects the independent travel of people with disabilities as well as effective practices in snow removal for public transportation as well as for the broader community with a Complete Streets perspective.

Friday, November 1, 2013

This week on foot

Photo courtesy of YouTube
Even with Halloween just behind us, we continue to wonder this week Trick-or-Treat: Is Your Neighborhood Walkable Enough for Halloween? Our neighborhood was good by some measures, but without streetlights we had a little trouble finding our way from house to house. If only we had Starpath glow-in-the-dark spray coating will light up roads in the UK.

Meanwhile, this week we learn about Commuting’s Hidden Cost, and from a MIT Study: Benefits of Placemaking Go Deeper Than Better Places. There's definitely a Walkability Factor: New report shows neighborhood trend. But, Is a walkable neighborhood out of reach for you? Hopefully not, since the dangers of unwalkable neighborhoods are abundant, like in the UK where Mystery fatality raises pedestrian safety issues or in LA where a Pedestrian dies after being hit in Hollywood; Good Samaritan nabs driver.

Fortunately, even if your neighborhood isn't walkable, there are things you can do. Take the example of this Workshop aims to make Wilm. more pedestrian friendly--or you could put your street on a diet, like Flint’s Ingenious Plan to “Right-Size” Its Streets With Road Diets, or  7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles Goes on a Diet. And what's good for safety is good for housing values, as Homes within walking distance to shopping, dining, parks are more attractive in today's real estate market.

Elsewhere in the country, a Pedestrian signal on Fourth Avenue still confusing but doing its jobYpsilanti plans to construct pedestrian crossing with HAWK signal on Michigan Avenue and Broadway is the new face of complete streets in Seattle. Are you Thinking of a Ballot Measure Campaign for Active Transportation? Maybe you should, because Increasing pedestrian safety will take more than tougher laws. And if you're looking for inspiration, A Tour Along Historic Central Ave. is a Good Reminder that People are the Essence of Spaces.