Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Week on Foot

There has been plenty of good news on the pedestrian safety front this week. In Utah, HAWK signals aim to make Salt Lake City streets safer, while in Oregon Bandon youth build safe pathway for pedestrians and in Michigan the Legislature approves 'Complete Streets' plan to improve transportation for pedestrians and bicyclists. Perhaps all the initiative for ped safety is blowing over from the UK, where in Derby Cyclists in pedestrian zones face crackdown.

But it's not all bright and cheery out there. Even though the in Georgia a City wants downtown pedestrian-friendly, locals are thwarted in their efforts to install pedestrian safety improvements. As the article describes, the city council was, "...forced to deny a citizen's request to install pedestrian crossing signs around the Court Square because state law prohibits it." Sounds like Georgia could use the help of Peaton Man.

Then there was the Pedestrian struck and killed by car in Balboa Park while wearing headphones, a crash that's sure to fuel the debate over the dangers of distracted walking.

Another pedestrian debate is raging in Florida, where this week we learned about South Florida's sidewalk debate: To pave or not?. On the con side are those who argue that sidewalks,..."would attract all the traffic, dog-walking, people-walking and noise that they bring." I'll refrain from comment on that one, as anything I write is likely to be too snippy for this family-friendly blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Best Towns 2010

Here's how I know I'm getting to my husband: he's started spotting all the articles featuring pedestrian issues in his magazines.

This month it was Outside Magazine's list of the Best Towns of 2010, which picked the westside town of Boise, Idaho (runner-up: Carbondale, Colorado) and eastside Portland, Maine (runner up: Chattanooga, Tennessee) as the best hometowns for outdoor enthusiasts. I would have loved the list no matter what because it includes Port Townsend, Washington--birthplace of my forefathers and mothers and also home to Walkable Communities-- but I was especially pleased with the Outside editors for choosing cities based on whether or not you could "walk--not drive-- from your home, and in a few minutes later engage in the sport you love most."

I think that should be a top criteria for every city. Even if your favorite sport is shopping.

Port Townsend, WA

P.S. The editors did consider Ventura for the list...then rejected due to the high cost of living. Wry sigh.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pedestrians in Canada Take Back The Streets

My toes turned green with envy when I came across this article in the Vancouver Sun about Victoria, BC's move to decriminalize jaywalking in its central business district. Midblock crossings are currently prohibited downtown, but after years of efforts to pedestrianize the area's streets, lawmakers see no reason to keep pedestrians from crossing wherever they see fit ("provided they make reasonable choices," of course).

Granted, Canadian walkers already have a leg up (so to speak) when it comes to crossing the street. Unlike here in California, where midblock crossings are only allowed when at least one of the nearest intersections is unsignalized,* Canada's Motor Vehicle Act allows peds to cross anywhere between intersections as long as they yield to vehicles.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This Week on Foot

The week has been full of ups and downs for pedestrian bridges -- literally, a Neb. pedestrian bridge full of kids dips in middle. Perhaps Nebraska needs to take a look at Oregon's pedestrian bridges, where a Pedestrian span garners another award for Salem.

Yes, things are dangerous out there for pedestrians. Why else would New York hire Crossing Guards To Help Adults Cross Perilous West Street ? (And, why doesn't the City look for more permanent improvements to the street?). 

Fortunately, in nearby in Hoboken, community members are Improving Pedestrian Safety, One Post-It At A Time, and across the world in Kuala Lumpur work has begun on a set of funky-looking paths that are expected to provide a Safer walk for pedestrians. Plus, Grand Rapids christens first official "complete street" for bikers, pedestrians and vehicles.

And it's not just adults who are getting involved in improving walkability. In the Canadian city of Tillonsburg the Day Camp Walkability Challenge promotes healthy, active living for local children. Kids who participate in the program are sent out on foot with walkability checklists in hand to evaluate community walking conditions are learn about pedestrian safety. The program is meant to help kids understand how people, "choose to get around in the community, and to appreciate the personal health and environmental benefits of walking as a means of transportation."

On a final note, this week we say a last goodbye to a walking fixture of LA's Silver Lake community:

Rest In Peace: Silver Lake Walking Man

Monday, July 19, 2010

Upcoming Walking Events

California Air Resources Board
Workshops on greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets -
Stop by and show your support for high targets and investment in pedestrian infrastructure:

LOS ANGELES--Tuesday, July 20 from 9am-12pm
Los Angeles Metro Building
Board Chambers-3rd Floor
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, Ca 90012
SAN DIEGO--Wednesday, July 21 from 9am-12pm
San Diego County Administration Bldg
Board Chambers
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
VENTURA--Friday, July 23 from 9am-12pm
Ventura County Govt. Ctr.
Board Chambers
800 S. Victoria Avenue
Ventura, Ca 93009

Designing for Pedestrian Safety
Free 8-part Webinar Series - Register here.
  • Part 1: Introduction to Pedestrian Safety Design and Planning Principles -Tuesday, July 20 at 11:30 a.m. PST
  • Part 2: Sidewalk Design - Tuesday, August 3 at 11:00 a.m. PST
  • Part 3: Treatments at Unsignalized Pedestrian Crossings - Tuesday, August 17 at 11:00 a.m. PST
  • Part 4: Intersection Geometry - Thursday, September 9 at 11:00 a.m. PST
  • Part 5: Interchanges and Roundabouts
  • Part 6: Signalized Intersections
  • Part 7: Pedestrians and Transit
  • Part 8: Road Diets
Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Design and Planning Summer Workshop
August 16-20, 2010
Portland State University

From PSU: This week-long course will provide practitioners with the fundamentals of pedestrian and bicycle planning and design through an intensive week of interactive classroom and field experience. The course will integrate transit access and connections, bridges, trail crossings, and other special features into the discussion. Project case studies and funding will highlight practical applications of the principles and techniques discussed.
Additional information, and the registration form, here.