Friday, July 9, 2010

This week on Foot

This week Tech firms aim to keep wayward walkers on path through a number of fancy innovations like see-through phone screens and phones that use built-in cameras to capture an image of the ground in front of the phone and place it on the screen for users to look at while they type. Unfortunately, no progress in creating a phone that forces walkers/drivers/bikers to stop texting/talking/websurfing and pay attention to the road.

At least there's Help for Pedestrians and Metro Stations in Dehli, where enhanced pedestrian facilities are expected to make transit use easier. Elsewhere in India, Parisar wants pedestrians to stand up for their rights . The NGO, which focuses on sustainable development, hopes their new study of pedestrian access in Pune will help convince authorities to develop a pedestrian policy for the city.

Pedestrians in Jamaica could use a similar policy, as Pedestrian deaths increase despite drop in traffic fatalities. Naturally, the authorities blame poor pedestrian behavior for this problem.

Of course, it could be worse. In Washington, the City of Everett makes kids walk to school to save money. Oh, the horror.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Upcoming Walking Events

Safe Routes to School SoCal Conference Call
July 13, Noon – 1pm
Conference Call Number: (218) 862-1001
Access Code: 1009315#, *6 mute/unmute

Highlights from the Agenda:
  • Overview of what the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the Regional Transportation Plan
  • SB 375 and upcoming California Air Resource Board (ARB) workshops in Southern California and why it matters
  • So Cal SRTS Action Plan update and Action Teams
  • Spotlight on City of LA SRTS Encouragement Project
Balboa Park Walk
July 24, 9:00 am
Meet at 6th Ave. & Laurel St.
Cost: $20

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The (bleak) Future of Personal Transportation

The combination of reading this post from NYC Streetsblog about how pedestrian crashes are the top danger for kids in the Big Apple and this report on the future of personal transportation in the world's mega-cities (hint, the authors don't predict more foot travel) got me riled up for the umpteenth time about the dangers of pedestrian travel, particularly in the developing world. I've copied one of the report's tables that I find particularly distressing:

Likely changes in personal transportation in metropolitan areas by 2025

See all those little "++"s under road fatalities in Latin American and Asian countries? Those represent people dying, folks. And by "people," I mostly mean poor people, because that's the demographic that gets hit hardest--so to speak--by this trend. On top of it all, children, the elderly, and other particularly vulnerable road users are sure to be overrepresented in those statistics, since they are the ones most likely to be killed or injured in vehicle crashes.

All the more reason that the work of pedestrian advocacy groups like the Right To Walk Foundation in India and ABRASPE in Brazil is so important. Now if only we could get something started in Shanghai...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perils of the Pedestrian Push Button

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pedestrian push buttons. Okay, full disclosure? I’ve been thinking about pedestrian push buttons because a few weeks ago a police officer yelled at me for crossing against the “don’t walk” sign.

Yes, yes, I know this is bad behavior for a pedestrian advocate. But here’s the thing: I arrived at the intersection a mere second before the traffic light changed to green. Just as I reached for the button— *click* green light—and there I was stuck waiting through a full signal cycle, even though there was more than enough time for me to safely cross.

I feel there are other walkers out there who can empathize with this situation. They might even be asking, like me, “Why? WHY? must I push the crosswalk button every time or be stuck languishing at the edge of the sidewalk while the vehicles next to me whisk gleefully through the intersection?”

Friday, July 2, 2010

This Week on Foot

This week a new study provides yet more proof that driving too much is a pain in the butt: IBM Global Commuter Pain Study Reveals Traffic Crisis in Key International Cities. But the real pain? Unsuspecting pedestrians who keep getting hit by vehicles in unsuspected places. I suppose I can understand a Pedestrian struck by SUV, in critical condition, but when a Pedestrian in fair condition after hit-and-run in parking lot or a Car hits pedestrian on sidewalk--sheesh, is there nowhere safe for us walkers?

I guess it explains why Lagos Enforces Use Of Pedestrian Bridge--although if you read the description of bridge conditions, you understand why pedestrians are so reluctant to use it...

Well, at least there are More pedestrians in downtown Portland. Guess we can always count on Oregonians to do the right thing by walkers.

And there's at least one other positive bit of news on the walkability front. In the Atlantic's article Charting the Housing Collapse, we learn that homes in walkable neighborhoods have maintained their value better than those in areas where walking is not so easy.