Monday, December 12, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #19: Triple Plays

It's been a while since I've been able to post about all things awesome in the ped world, so this week I've got three for you (with thanks to the America Walks forum for the first two):
Walking Apps
Everybody Walk! is an online campaign to encourage 30 minutes of walking, five days a week for better health. The new Everybody Walk app helps you find walking paths near you, connect with other walkers, and track your own routes and history. Find the links to download it here.
For those hoping for a more poetic (if dark) take on pedestrian safety, the NY DOT has installed these haiku safety signs around the city. The campaign uses 17 syllables and clever graphics to remind pedestrians, cyclists and drivers about the dangers of careless behavior on the road. Read the full story from NPR here.
Video Advocacy
In yet another example of a creative approach to advocacy, our friends at the Right to Walk Foundation in Hyderabad, India just released this new video encouraging drivers to respect the rights of pedestrians in the city.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week we learn that As U.S. road deaths drop, more pedestrians getting struck, although no one seems to be able to figure out quite why that is due to the shameful lack of data on pedestrian travel in the US. Some theories are that more pedestrians are walking in the auto-oriented suburbs, smart phones are contributing to pedestrian distraction, or that alcohol maybe a factor, like the Pedestrian Fatally Struck by Car in Bel Air; May Have Been Under Influence of Alcohol.

But even if they can't figure them out, many officials are trying to do something about those discouraging pedestrian statistics. In Chicago Flags are newest weapon in city's pedestrian safety push, while in London they're taking a Walk on the wild side: Pedestrians could soon be given equal footing with cars (not entirely sure what's so "wild" about that...). In Tennessee Lawmakers Want Safe Solution After 8th Pedestrian Dies, to which I'm sure pedestrians across the state are saying "it's about time." In Las Vegas the it's the Parent of girl killed in traffic accident working to help improve pedestrian safety, where we're reminded No, you don't get points for hitting pedestrians.

Finally, You Like Walking in the City? So Do Plenty of Others, although Pedestrians reluctant to use overhead bridges. And outside central cities Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity -- Even in the Suburbs. So Take a Walk, If You Can (although if your neighborhood is like some of parts of India, that might be tough to do...). 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And we're back!

With some nice photos of the walkable Northwest. Here are a few streets in Oregon that caught my eye as we traveled. Note the buildings that front the sidewalk, nice street furniture, and wide area for walking in this pic of Hood River:

With a street like this in Albany, with on-street parking and a relatively narrow space for vehicle travel, a zebra crossing can be enough for a pedestrian. Note also the street trees, decorative lighting, and (again) buildings fronting the sidewalk that are "human" scale.

I liked how this pocket park in Ashland made use of what might otherwise be wasted space, and in doing so made the entire area feel like it belonged to both pedestrians and vehicles.

But it wasn't just the street design that made Oregon so pedestrian-friendly, it was the clear culture of equality between pedestrians, bikes, and vehicles. I'm not quite sure how they've managed it, but somehow Oregonians have created cities where driving is downplayed, sharrows abound, and not stopping for a pedestrian is a gross violation of social norms. Maybe they put something in the microbrew?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not intended to be ironic, but...

A bit of trivia from our travel route: the 1958 Oregon State Dept. of Transportation promotional slogan was "Oregon freeways...a symbol of 2nd century progress." Take off the "Oregon" and I think that pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ten Reasons I'm Thankful for Walkability

1. Even my most expensive pair of shoes is cheaper than new tires.
2. There are no one-way sidewalks.
3. Unlike at the gym, if the person next to you grunts or wears too much perfume, you can walk away.
4. It's better at reducing healthcare costs than Congress.
5. No one celebrates International Drive to School Day.
6. A lot of people in the street = block party. A lot of cars in the street = roadblock.
7. You can't get a ticket for walking too fast.
8. Building a sidewalk next to your community doesn't increase asthma rates.
9. Bumping into someone you know while driving isn't a pleasant surprise.
10. You don't burn off Thanksgiving dinner by going for an after-meal drive.