Monday, September 12, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff # 17: The Pedestrian Jar

The Pedestrian Jar - Teaser from pedestrian jar on Vimeo.

This official selection from this year's Toronto International Film Festival was made in response to a recent uptick in pedestrian fatalities in the Toronto, leading director Evan Morgan to wonder, "What can be done to create more awareness of the relations between pedestrians and cars?"

The film is intended to be the first of a series addressing varying perspectives on roadway safety, including the role that pedestrians and cyclists must play in keeping themselves safe in a dangerous setting.

As Mr. Morgan explains, "...whether or not drivers are able to recognize their unfortunate tendencies within the context of this narrative, it doesn't mean that the message will easily translate into practical experience. What I mean is that they'll still likely be overly preoccupied with 'making that right turn', and perhaps fail to acknowledge a pedestrian every now and again.

I think that the value of the movie's message is actually for the pedestrians themselves, who perhaps have learned to take drivers for granted - as though cars will immediately stop for them the second they step out onto the road.

We have to remember that these vehicles are not robots, but are being operated by human beings, who can easily space out or become distracted for any number of reasons. I think the movie's criticism of drivers is relevant in so far as it reminds us to be more vigilant when navigating our city on foot."

In other words, yet more evidence that our streets would be better if only cars WERE robots that drove themselves. But that's a different post...

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."