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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff # 9: Guerrilla Crosswalks

LA has DIY parking spaces and sharrows, Greece has Donkey Stickers, and as Treehugger reports Sao Paolo, Brazil now has its own band of guerrilla street improvers aimed at improving conditions for Brazilian pedestrians. Armed with white paint, they cleverly waited until no local traffic engineers would be paying attention (i.e. during World Cup games featuring Brazil) to paint crosswalks and "Slow Down" signs at dangerous intersections around the city.

I can almost feel the collective shudder as city attorneys simultaneously cringe at the liability issues this raises.

Photo courtesy Treehugger/Urban repair squad @ Apocalipse motorizado

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff # 8: Rate My Street

Rate My Street is a  UK-based site that allows users to rate their favorite (or least-favorite) stretch of street based on eight key factors (e.g. pavement width, trip hazards, clean/attractive). There's also a space to add a detailed description of street conditions or tips about nieghborhood character. Given the general dearth of data about pedestrian conditions in cities, this could be a really useful tool for planners as they try to understand and improve walkability:

Along the same lines, Car Free Chicago has put together a similar site for transit stops in the city:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff # 7: Photovoice

I love this project, sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide, that handed cameras to kids in seven differnt countries and asked them to document the pedestrian environment in their neighborhood. Many of the problems that children identified in Photovoice: Children's Perspectives on Road Traffic Safety were addressed in subsequent roadway improvement projects, leading to safer walking for kids worldwide. What a great lesson for children about the power of pedestrian advocacy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff #6: Parklets

Count on San Francisco to come up with a program that turns Pavement into Parks (and on Streetfilms to make a movie of it):

Inspired events like Park(ing) Day and New York's pedestrian plazas, the joint effort of the mayor's office, public works and planning departments, and the MTA creates temporary mini parks in unused (and often unusable) patches of public street right-of-way. Although the parks are currently dismantled after an intial trial run, the idea is to make the most popular ones permanent fixtures in the SF streetscape.

What I really admire about this idea (aside from the improvements to the pedestrian environment, of course) is its brilliant political strategy. Putting up a "temporary" park bypasses much of the bureaucracy and political finagling that would be required to build a permanent park. Once the temporary park is place, people fall in love with it. Suddenly there is a group of park supporters who will help fight to make the park permanent--a group who probably never would have existed if the temporary park hadn't been built in the first place. In other words, sometimes the only way to get a good idea implemented is to put the proverbial cart in front of the horse...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff #6: Skinny Streets

Who could resist a story (from Grist) that starts with a headline like that? It led me to the blog of photographer and self-proclaimed urban planning geek David Yoon, who passes the time creating pictures of what LA streets might look like on a road diet. Here's one example from Santa Monica, which shows how narrowing a street can transform it from pedestrian acquaintance to pedestrian friend. You can see more at Narrow Streets Los Angeles.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cool Pedestrian Stuff #4: Crosswalk Art

Adding a little visual interest to your otherwise uneventful crossing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cool Pedestrian Stuff #3: "Divans"

A 1911 New York Times article describes this "novel auto invention" that was intended to prevent vehicles from knocking down and crushing pedestrians. As the article explains, the "scissorlike fender" attached to the front of private vehicles and streetcars and scooped up errant pedestrians, bearing them along in a "sort of divan" until they could be safely deposited elsewhere. The inventor claimed that the device had been proven effective at vehicle speeds up to 60 mph, though I'm skeptical that any encounter with an object traveling so fast--no matter how cushy--would be comfortable for a pedestrian. (Of note: the article blames these crashes on the "careless pedestrian" who steps thoughlessly in front of moving vehicles. Hmm, sounds familiar.)

Researchers today continue to investigate solutions for decreasing the impact (sorry, bad pun) of pedestrian crashes. One solution is to create vehicles that can sense when they are hitting pedestrians and implement appropriate safety mechanisms. In this example, designed by Bosch, the vehicle automatically raises its front hood when it hits a pedestrian to help decrease pedestrian injury.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cool Pedestrian Stuff #2: Donkey Stickers

Living out the dreams of frustrated pedestrians everywhere, the Streetpanthers are a group of activists who have taken the job of enforcing pedestrian laws into their own hands.

Their work takes place primarily in Thessaloniki, Greece. Aside from maintaining a website, online forum, blog, and 1,800-member facebook page, the Streetpanthers roam the streets planting "donkey" stickers on vehicles parked in crosswalks, on sidewalks, and generally anywhere that interferes with pedestrians' ability to safely navigate the streets.

The stickers say something along the lines of "I'm a donkey, I park where I want and ignore the rights of pedestrians"...though from what I gather the original Greek might not be quite so polite.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cool Pedestrian Stuff #1: PedFlags

These little guys caught my eye on a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest--a region that tends to get dreamy-eyed and giggly at the mere mention of alternative transportation modes.

I thought they were a new innovation, but it turns out that the City of Kirkland's PedFlag program has been in place since a series of pedestrian fatalities in 1994 led the city to bump up its efforts to address pedestrian safety.

After a group of rogue pedestrian advocates set up their own version in a Seattle suburb, the Seattle Department of Transportation implemented a one-year pilot program to test out the idea themselves. SDOT plans to decide this fall whether or not to continue the program.