Showing posts with label Cool Ped Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cool Ped Stuff. Show all posts

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cool Ped Stuff #31: Let's Walk To...

I can publish a blog post, but that's about as fancy as my technical web skills get.
Fortunately, there are a slew of people out there who are way better at this stuff, and they're using their skills to figure out new and creative ways to use all the neighborhood-level data about land use and transportation that's becoming more accessible every day.
Let'sWalkTo a fun site that let's users search for bars, restaurants and entertainment (you know, the essentials)--plus some other key amenities--by walking time. The goal is to facilitate walking and make it easier for people to get out and explore new locations on foot. Here's shot of what the site looks like in my neighborhood:

I don't really need to be convinced to walk places in my own community (unless it's raining. Californians are weird that way), but I could see myself relying on this site a bunch when I'm in a new neighborhood or a city I'm not familiar with. The site is still pretty new, so try it out and send along any suggestions for improvements.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cool Ped Stuff #30

The most fun you can having waiting for a light to change, and it might even discourage pedestrians from crossing against the light. (Or we could time signals so pedestrians don't have to wait so long, but that's another post).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cool Ped Stuff #29 : Kids, Poop and CO2

With two kids under three years old, the unfortunate fact is that poop plays a disproportionate role in my life.

Happily, that's not the only reason that Worse Than Poop, a new film idea from mother-son collaborators Vanessa and Elliot Warheit, resonates with me. The movie is intended to teach kids about the pollution problems created by too much driving. Toward that end, it will use animation and a pretty gross (read: kid-friendly) metaphor to help viewers visualize the true output of carbon dioxide that we create when we drive. The film will also highlight all the other fun, cool ways to get around besides driving, which would make it a great tie-in to a Safe Routes to School program or other community efforts to get kids walking and biking more.

However, this is all contingent on the full 3-5 minute show actually being made. The Warheits have a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project that ends on May 31. They're about $6,000 short of their goal--totally reachable if you help contribute now. Read more about Worse Than Poop and see fun photos of Elliot's transportation exploits here.

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, October 7, 2013

Cool Ped Stuff #27: Walk [Your City]

You might remember last year's story about the graduate student in Raleigh who tried to promote walkability in his city by posting his own wayfinding signs in strategic locations. The City balked at the idea at first, arguing it violated sign regulations, but eventually recognized the importance of the idea and adopted the sign program as its own.

Following its success at home, WalkRaleigh used Kickstarter to fund Walk [Your City], a website that allows anyone to create wayfinding signs for their own neighborhood. I tried it out myself and created the sign above--the whole process was super easy and took me about five minutes to complete. Once you've made your signs, you can order them through the site for for about $25 each (including shipping, materials for mounting the sign, and associated web-based directions). 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cool Ped Stuff #26: The Stumblr

This week's Golden Footprint awards highlighted a ton of inspiring projects, from the Mike Gotch Memorial Bike and Pedestrian Bridge in my neighborhood, to the City of La Mesa's Safe Routes to School program that uses an often-overlooked resource (older adults) to help ensure student safety on the way to and from school.

Photo courtesy of The Stumblr
But as a blogger I had special appreciation for the electronic activism, and clever title, of The Stumblr, which received special recognition for providing a platform to "showcase" San Diego's worst sidewalks (and for generating some national buzz about the sad state of our most important piece of pedestrian infrastructure). Brainchild of Voice of San Diego writer Liam Dillon, the site allows anyone to submit a photo of their favorite pedestrian debacle, which Dillon will then display prominently on the page. Judging by the dismay of the city councilmembers present at the awards ceremony, it might just be enough to generate some sidewalk improvements.

I wonder if it would work on the LA City Council?

Yes, there really is a sidewalk under this creative landscaping in Woodland Hills. 

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?

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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #22: Energy-generating sidewalks

This new technology from PaveGen harnesses the energy created by footsteps to generate electricity for nearby infrastructure. It's fun to dance on, but will it solve our energy problems? At least one life-cycle analysis of the technology raises some concerns, noting that it doesn't necessarily generate enough power to offset what it costs to ship and produce. Still, the idea has promise...and gives a whole new meaning to the term "people-powered travel."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #21: Walk with a Doc

Photo courtesy of

Created in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir,  Walk with a Doc aims to "encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country." The idea is simple: each weekend people meet at a set location for a short walk with a local physician. Not only does it promote physical activity, it also provides an informal way for people to talk with a doctor about their medical concerns. Check out the list of locations to find out if there's a walk happening near you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #19: Triple Plays

It's been a while since I've been able to post about all things awesome in the ped world, so this week I've got three for you (with thanks to the America Walks forum for the first two):
Walking Apps
Everybody Walk! is an online campaign to encourage 30 minutes of walking, five days a week for better health. The new Everybody Walk app helps you find walking paths near you, connect with other walkers, and track your own routes and history. Find the links to download it here.
For those hoping for a more poetic (if dark) take on pedestrian safety, the NY DOT has installed these haiku safety signs around the city. The campaign uses 17 syllables and clever graphics to remind pedestrians, cyclists and drivers about the dangers of careless behavior on the road. Read the full story from NPR here.
Video Advocacy
In yet another example of a creative approach to advocacy, our friends at the Right to Walk Foundation in Hyderabad, India just released this new video encouraging drivers to respect the rights of pedestrians in the city.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff # 18: Elmer the Safety Elephant

Elmer the Safety Elephant’s Poem Look all ways
Before you cross the street.
Use your eyes and ears
Before you use your feet.

Courtesy of our friends to the north, Canada's Elmer the Safety Elephant teaches kids how to remain safe in all sorts of circumstances--including when walking to school, which is particularly important because coming up on October 5 is International Walk to School Day. I'll post some info about local activities, but check out the website if you'd like to see what your local school is up to next week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff # 17: The Pedestrian Jar

The Pedestrian Jar - Teaser from pedestrian jar on Vimeo.

This official selection from this year's Toronto International Film Festival was made in response to a recent uptick in pedestrian fatalities in the Toronto, leading director Evan Morgan to wonder, "What can be done to create more awareness of the relations between pedestrians and cars?"

The film is intended to be the first of a series addressing varying perspectives on roadway safety, including the role that pedestrians and cyclists must play in keeping themselves safe in a dangerous setting.

As Mr. Morgan explains, "...whether or not drivers are able to recognize their unfortunate tendencies within the context of this narrative, it doesn't mean that the message will easily translate into practical experience. What I mean is that they'll still likely be overly preoccupied with 'making that right turn', and perhaps fail to acknowledge a pedestrian every now and again.

I think that the value of the movie's message is actually for the pedestrians themselves, who perhaps have learned to take drivers for granted - as though cars will immediately stop for them the second they step out onto the road.

We have to remember that these vehicles are not robots, but are being operated by human beings, who can easily space out or become distracted for any number of reasons. I think the movie's criticism of drivers is relevant in so far as it reminds us to be more vigilant when navigating our city on foot."

In other words, yet more evidence that our streets would be better if only cars WERE robots that drove themselves. But that's a different post...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #15: TV Series

Perils for Pedestrians is a monthly television series promoting awareness of issues affecting the safety of people who walk and bicycle. It appears on public access cable stations in many cities across the United States and is also webcast. Check out the two latest episodes, or view them all online.

Episode 171:
--Meet the public health director for Broome County, NY.
--Learn about New York State DOT's role in greenways.
--Learn about the City of Binghamton's role in greenways.
--Partnerships are key to the greenway system.
--Talk with a blind pedestrian about traffic.

Episode 172:
--Dobbs Ferry, New York, is losing pedestrian access to development.
--A lawyer explains Sovereign Immunity, Tort, Duty, Notice, and their relation to sidewalk defects.
--An elderly woman in Oswego, New York, makes an inventory of sidewalk defects.
--A pedestrian in New York City is concerned about bicyclists that don't follow the rules.
--A look at sexual harassment of pedestrians in New York City.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #16: People Powered Photo Contest

For all you pedestrisn photographers out there, a fun contest from tge Alliance For Biking and Walking:
The People Powered Movement Photo Contest addresses a critical need for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates need high-quality images of biking and walking to make their campaigns and communications both professional and engaging. Our nationwide contest builds our online Photo Library, which provides hundreds of images for Alliance members to download and use at no cost. Support grassroots advocacy by submitting your best biking and walking photos for use in the Alliance’s photo library. Enter the 2011 People Powered Movement Photo Contest!

You could win:
The contest runs through October 31, 2011.
  • Online photo submissions will be accepted from August 1 to September 30.
  • Public voting will open October 1 and close October 31.
  • Winners will be announced in early 2012.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #14: Green (Tree) Crossings

China might have the fastest-growing market for cars, but that also makes it the fastest-growing market for pedestrian advocacy. Enter this awesome crosswalk design/advocacy campaign:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #13: Humor

For anyone else having a tough time getting moving on the first Monday after daylight savings time began, some pedestrian-oriented hilarity to kick-start your morning. First from the folks at Neatorama:

And if that doesn't get you going, try this from the always satirical Colbert Report.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff # 12: Community Walking

I love this great program, sponsored by the City of Grand Haven, Michigan and various other local agencies, to encourage walking and physical activity. The brainchild of Mayor Roger Bergman and founding member Paul Bedient, Walkable Grand Haven encourages citizens to up their daily steps by taking advantage of the city's many trails, sidewalks and pathways. Participants register on the group's website, which allows them to track their mileage, set distance goals, and take part in various walking-related contests and promotions. Most recently the group has decided to walk around the world by March 31. So far they've made it to Newfoundland, Canada--good luck with the rest of the trek!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff #11: Mockumentaries

Behold, the Plight of the North American Bipeds

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff #10: Bloggers

And you thought I was the only one crazy enough to spend my spare time writing about pedestrians. No indeed, there's quite a confederation of us out there. I've listed some of these in my blogroll, but I think all of them are worth checking out (with the help of google translate, if necessary).

In English:
TBD on Foot (Washington, DC)
Pedestrianist (San Francisco, CA)
Twin City Sidewalks (Minneapolis/St. Paul. MN)
Walk Around Portland (Portland, ME)
Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian & Bicycle Blog (Coeur d'Alene, ID)
WalkBikeJersey Blog

In Spanish:
Pedestre "Pedestrian" (Mexico City, Mexico)
Diario de un Peaton "Everday Life of a Pedestrian" (Madrid, Spain)