Sunday, July 24, 2011

Upcoming Walking Events

July 27
PBIC Webinar: Funding Issues
12:00-1:30 PT

In the final presentation of the Pedestrian SafetyAction Plan Webinar series, instructors will address the critical issueof funding programs, projects and plan recommendations. Specifically,the presentation will discuss how pedestrian considerations can beroutinely included and funded in transportation projects and throughannual maintenance budgets. Information will also be presented onvarious Federal, State, local and private sector funding sources. By theend of the presentation, participants will be able to describe how toidentify funding sources for the development and implementation of theirpedestrian safety action plans.

Register online here.

August 19
Active Living Research Conference
Call for Abstracts

Active Living Research invites abstracts to be considered for presentation at the 2012 Annual Conference on March 12-14, 2012 in San Diego, CA. The theme of the 2012 conference, Disparities in Environments and Policies that Support Active Living, recognizes the importance of engaging experts from multiple disciplines to address the inequities seen in many communities throughout the nation where childhood obesity and inactivity are the highest. Abstracts are due no later than 4:00 pm on August 19.

Additional information available online here.

October 24-27
Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
2011 Professional Development Seminar

APBP’s Professional Development Seminar is a biennial conference distinguished by in-depth seminars and a collegial atmosphere where participants network, share knowledge, and learn to propel policy into practice. Attend this conference for cutting edge training and the newest, best information to advance your work and your career. PDS 2011 takes place in Charlotte, N.C., a living laboratory for Complete Streets implementation. The conference will offer three classroom training tracks:
  • Complete Streets Design and Implementation
  • New Guidelines, Research and Standards
  • Livability and Economic Development.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week the transportation world continues to lament The Lonesome Death of a Child Pedestrian in Atlanta, while expressing its unending frustration with a system that blames the child's mother for problems (e.g. lack of pedestrian infrastructure) that are beyond her control.

Meanwhile, a series of odd crashes this week show that no one--from celebrities to cops--can afford to ignore pedestrians. First the Teen Victim in Lamar Odom Limo Crash Dies, then 'Cash Cab' strikes and kills pedestrian in Canada, and finally a N.Y. Officer to Be Fired After Killing a Pedestrian With Patrol Car.

Perhaps it's stories like these that led Philly to increase distracted driving, biking enforcement, or encouraged the development of a Toyota System Can Sense Pedestrians, Avoid Accidents. Other places are interested in improving pedestrian safety as well. In Canada, a City takes steps to curb deaths, while there are Updated pedestrian signals announced in New Haven and New Crosswalks Improve Pedestrian Safety in Denver. Even Memphis business leader McVean wants cyclist/pedestrian path over the Mississippi.

Further abroad, the story isn't as pleasant. In India, we learn about Kochi: No city for pedestrians, and in New Zealand the Law of the jungle rules zebra crossing. Maybe we should just be Living Large Driving Less...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Research Summary

Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment
The UK-based organization Living Streets recently released a report that explores the potential benefits of investing in the walking environment. It outlines many of the well-known benefits of improving the pedestrian environment, including increases in physical and mental health, improved mobility for specific groups like children and the elderly, environmental and economic benefits.

Among the report's key points:
  • The most significant measured benefit of investments in the walking environment is improved health from increased physical activity
  • User experience (often referred to as journey ambience) is the second largest benefit
  • All the evidence reviewed of evaluations of walking environments showed positive cost benefit ratios, of up to 37.6
  • investment in the walking environment is likely to be at least, if not better, value for money than other transport projects
Attitudes Towards Red-Light Camera Enforcement in Cities with Camera Programs
The objective of this report, published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, was to obtain information on attitudes and experiences related to red light camera enforcement in cities with camera programs, as well as in Houston, Texas, where cameras were removed after voters rejected the program in November 2010. Telephone surveys were conducted with 3,111 drivers in 14 large cities (population greater than 200,000) with long-standing red light camera programs and 300 drivers in Houston.
According to the report, among drivers in the 14 cities with red light camera programs, two-thirds favor the use of cameras for red light enforcement, and 42 percent strongly favor it. The chief reasons for opposing cameras were the perceptions that cameras make mistakes and that the motivation for installing them is revenue, not safety.

Forty-one percent of drivers favor using cameras to enforce right-turn-on-red violations. Nearly 9 in 10 drivers were aware of the camera enforcement programs in their cities, and 59 percent of these drivers believe the cameras have made intersections safer.

Almost half of those surveyed knew someone who received a red light camera citation, and 17 percent had received at least one ticket themselves. When compared with drivers in the 14 cities with camera programs, the percentage of drivers in Houston who strongly favored enforcement was about the same (45 percent), but strong opposition was higher in Houston than in the other cities (28 percent versus 18 percent).
An Assessment of Urban Form and Pedestrian and Transit Improvements
A recent study from the Washington State Department of Transportation looked at the impact of various community design strategies on travel and carbon emissions. The study used data from the 2006 PRSC Houshold Activity Survey and existing sidewalk data in its evaluation, controlling for household characteristics that could influence walking behavior.

According to the statistical analysis in the study, travel pricing and demand management strategies yield consistently large and significant influence on VMT and CO2 generation. For example, filling in a community's sidewalk network so that 70% of streets offer safe pedestrian space reduces vehicular travel by 3.4% and carbon emissions by 4.9%. The analysis also suggests that only moderate increases in sidewalk infrastructure may be needed to yield significant decreases in VMT and associated CO2 emissions.

On the other hand, more aggressive and substantial increases in land use mix may be required before a greater return on investment is realized. Moreover, the authors make the important point that the success of strategies to promote land use mix and sidewalk availability may largely depend on having a local land use and transportation system to encourage alternative mobility options.

It's important to note that the study was hindered by a lack of sidewalk data for much of the region, so the results should only be considered a "first step"--albeit an encouraging one. Eventually the DOT hopes to expand the study when data from more neighborhoods becomes available.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This week on foot

This week the pedestrian world is feeling outraged over the Pedestrian convicted of vehicular homicide in own child's death. To be clear, the pedestrian in question didn't hit her child--a driver who had "a little to drink" did. The mother's crime was trying to cross a busy street at a location without a crosswalk (to do so, she would have had to walk a very considerable distance out of her way). David Herron's piece about the Marietta pedestrian convicted of vehicular manslaughter, while walking does a great job laying out the absurdities involved in this case.

Meanwhile, the news around LA is carmageddon and more carmageddon. As I pointed out yesterday,
'Carmageddon' can be motivation to get out and move--let's show the country that Angelenos don't actually wither up and die en masse when they're forced to consider "alternative" transportation modes.

Elsewhere we're reminded that summer is upon us, which means trips to the shore. In the town of Brick Officials Work to Ensure Pedestrian Safety Near Beaches, while Fort Myers Beach locals ready to purchase more pedestrian signs.

 But pedesstrians interested in spending summer days outdoors have other options as well. In Long Beach they're  Revolutionizing the Road – Parklets on 4th Street, and the Powell Street Promenade Enlivens the ‘Heart of San Francisco’s Downtown’. For folks in Dallas that Want A Pedestrian Zone That Cuts Through Downtown? It Already Exists. Perhaps envy for these cities is the reason that a Del Mar group pushes for vibrant town center.

In other good news for pedestrians, Garden Gate neighborhood to see safer pedestrian routes, and FC, JM roads to get pedestrian signals. In Little Rock US Transportation Secretary LaHood on hand for dedication of Arkansas pedestrian bridge, and a Canadian City strikes deal to build pedestrian tunnel for Toronto Island airport.

But things aren't so rosy on the international front. Pedestrians left to fend for themselves in Bangalore, even though advocates point out that Pedestrians do need space to walk. They're encouraging residents to Come, reclaim Bangalore for the pedestrians. Meanwhile in Jakarta, Pedestrians Violating Act Fined Rp 250,000, while Kiwis wonder Why are Wellington pedestrians so reckless? In response to the so-called "reckless" behavior, a Plea issued for pedestrians to take extra care on region's roads in that country.

Back at home, is it Sharing or chaos? Central Park biking shortcuts get mixed reaction. And speaking of mixed reactions, Ford, Verizon Support Distracted-Driver Law — And Its Loophole. Is that good news or bad news? Maybe it falls into the category of "better than nothing" news...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carmageddon is Nigh

Image courtesy of Good, with a little tweaking by me.

We'll know in a few days if it's truly the disaster the media is proclaiming it will be, or the disaster that never was, but either way this weekend's shutdown of the 405 is a great excuse to ditch your car and check out your neighborhood on foot. If you live in the Valley near me, you can join in Saturday's Carmageddon Walk to Mulholland Bridge, or take an hour to do a walk audit of your neighborhood and then find out what you can do to fix the problems you discover. Enjoy!