Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week our friends down south are making great strides towards pedestrian friendliness, as Bolivia bans cars for 'Day of the Pedestrian'. Yet other parts of the world aren't so promising. In Toronto, there's a Scramble intersection under city scrutiny, and Cyclists defend using sidewalk where pedestrian was struck and killed. But the quest for walkability carries on. In Vancouver the Public pushes for a pedestrian zone, and in India a study shows us that Rajkot, Surat need dedicated pedestrian space.

Closer to home there's much talk about Reese Witherspoon’s Accident: Are Pedestrians Really In Growing Danger. The definitely are, at least in Montana where Friends, neighbors remember bicycle-pedestrian advocate who died in crash.

Meanwhile, over at Streetsblog they're wondering, With a Growing Effort Toward Safe Routes to Schools, Why Not Safe Routes to Universities? It's a good question, given that here in California a Safe routes to school equity bill signed into law, while in Minnesota State schools nab $3.8M windfall for sidewalks
Elsewhere in the country, Fairhope pedestrian safety project teaches civics lesson--one that perhaps they haven't learned in Maryland, where Montgomery police pledge to step up ticketing of jaywalkers, in contrast to Utah, where Park City's walkable vision ahead of planning curve.

Finally, From the archive, 8 September 1921: Right or Left? Pedestrians need to be told how to walk properly along those things "Americans call sidewalks."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Volunteers Needed for LA Bike and Ped Count

An urgent request from the LA Bicycle Coalition:

We are conducting our 2nd bike and pedestrian count in the City of Los Angeles next week over two days. Tuesday, Sept 13th from 7 to 9am and 4 to 6pm and on Saturday, Sept 17th from 11 to 1pm. We still have a ton of locations all across the City of Los Angeles that need your help and the help of your friends & neighbors.

If you could sign-up to volunteer, just for one of the count times it will make a tremendous impact towards the collecting this vital active transportation data. What isn't counted is not funded, and currently the City of Los Angeles and LA County in general are lagging in collecting data on bicycles and pedestrians.

This count is our opportunity to get out there and make sure we are counted. So whether you ride a bike or walk to transit, this count is being held to count YOU!

So please help us make this count possible by signing up to count today. More information can be found here. Login here and see the locations, dates and times available and sign-up today!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Upcoming Walking Events

September 16 12:00-1:00 PM (PT)
Visioning San Diego Lunch Forum

WalkSanDiego will feature Elyse Lowe, Executive Director of Move San Diego, as the guest speaker for its next Visioning San Diego Lunch Forum on September 16, 2011. Ms. Lowe will announce the beginning of The MOVE Alliance, a new program recently formed by her organization to review, recognize and endorse well designed development projects in the San Diego region that enhance residents’ transportation options and provide for more sustainable growth.

Lunch: $5.00 in advance, $7.00 at door
RSVP here by 9/14/11

September 20 10:00 AM (PT)
Safe Routes Webinar: Creating BUZZ Around Your SRTS Event
Each year students from schools in more than 40 countries join together to celebrate walking and bicycling during Walk to School Month in October. Organizing your students for Walk to School Day (WTS) or another walking event is a great way to invigorate an existing Safe Routes to School program or kick off a new one. This webinar will highlight a unique and fun WTS event and provide tips on how to get the word out, involve media, and bring attention to your WTS activities.

For more information please contact Michelle Gulley

September 27, 11:00 AM (PT)FHWA Webinar Series: Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinars

Part 5: Signalized Intersections
Presented by Michael Moule, President, Livable Streets, Inc.
and Fred Ranck, FHWA Resource Center Safety Design Engineer
Register at View the Recording here

The Ins and Outs of In-Roadway Flashing Lights

Photo courtesy of Streetswiki

Driving through Santa Monica over the long weekend we encountered a pedestrian waiting at one of these--and a dilemma. Being the well-trained pedestrian-advocate's partner that he is, my husband slowed to stop for the pedestrian--just as the vehicle next to us sped up to catch the green light at the next intersection.

It got me thinking about the safety of in-roadway flashing lights, and the danger of crossing multi-lane roads. First, some info on the lights: they're a relatively new technology (the first was installed in Santa Rosa in 1993), and because of this we don't have a lot of good data on their long-term effectiveness. However, the folks at the PBIC have put together a useful summary of the available research. Some key points:
  • Some improvement in yielding to pedestrians has shown at most locations where in-roadway flashing lights have been installed, but it is not always dramatic or consistent across all conditions.
  • The effect of in-roadway flashing lights on vehicle speed is unclear. Some studies showed a reduction in vehicle speeds following treatment installation, while others showed no reduction or mixed results.
  • The two studies of in-roadway flashing lights at multi-lane roads also produced inconsistent results in terms of whether or not the treatment improves yielding to pedestrians, leading the PBIC to recommend that "caution should be exercised, and perhaps additional treatments implemented if [an in-roadway warning light system] is considered for uncontrolled crosswalks at multi-lane locations."

Friday, September 2, 2011

This Week on Foot

As summer ends and the school year ramps up, this week we're offered Back to School Red Light Safety Tips for Millions of Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorists and urged to Keep an eye out for pedestrians. And it's not just about the kids: an AARP forum urges steps to improve pedestrian safety for another vulnerable population, the elderly. 
Of course, some jurisdictions are being more proactive with regard to pedestrian safety. Pleasant Hill addresses pedestrian safety with crosswalk signs, while in Tennessee Decatur Gets $261,541 Grant For Pedestrian Bicycle Project and in Missouri a City receives extra $5.9 million for bicycle and pedestrian improvements. At the advice of walking expert Dan Burden Casper tries new street parking in Wyoming, and in Kansas the Douglas plan is a nod to street's past (that is, its more walkable past). Even Houston Is On The Way to Becoming A More Walkable Urban Destination.

In less positive news, we learn that As the Motor City, metro Detroit dangerous for pedestrians; limited sidewalks a problem--however one commenter suggests we Protect Pedestrians by Removing the Sidewalks and using woonerfs instead.

Either wayMotorists urged to go slow at pedestrian crossings, in part due to the new challenge of pedestrians distracted by mobile devices. On that topic, this week we learned that Listening to music more distracting than using a mobile phone (at least for pedestrians).

Of course, even more dangerous for pedestrians is excessive drinking...particularly when it results in passing out in the road. Towards that end: Don't drink and lie, police warn pedestrians. Also beware your footwear. According to Police: Flip-Flops Blamed In Pedestrian Crash in Boulder, Colorado.