Monday, April 9, 2012

Extreme Walks: Greek Edition

From the always-creative Greeks, a new advocacy video that has been making the rounds. Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

This Week on Foot

As usual, the pedestrian world has been active in the past two weeks. First, the bad news: here in LA,
Red-light scofflaws will catch a break as the City turns off its red-light cameras. And that's not the only challenge pedestrians have been facing. A Phone booth blocks pedestrians from busy Brooklyn intersection, a Metrolink train kills pedestrian in Ventura County, and SI Crosswalks in Need of Improvement.  Yes, all over the country Pedestrians Yield For Cars, Hope They Don’t Get Hit. It would appear Few US cities prepared for aging baby boomers--or even their younger pedestrian counterparts.

But pedestrians, don't despair. Plenty of people are Speaking up for pedestrians. In one city Street markings placed for pedestrians safety, Rapid City's New signs aim to make pedestrian crossings safer, and Chamblee uses streetscape project to make city more pedestrian friendly. The 2012 Florida Legislature Helps Bicyclists and Pedestrians and Artists bring life to empty storefronts.There's even some help from Technology: Making a safer path for pedestrians.And at the national level, From Minnesota to Mississippi, America Tells Congress to Preserve Bike-Ped Funding, like in thisGuest commentary: Transportation bill must keep local communities in mind. Sure, It's hard to make Harford bike and pedestrian friendly, but Adopting a corner a simple way to keep street safer. And don't forget How Walkable Streets Can Reduce Crime

It's been a week of police stings, as Police ticket pedestrians, drivers in North Hollywood crosswalk sting and Jaywalking, speeding targeted by police in pedestrian-safety mission. Of course, one mayor took a more creative approach to pedestrian safety: this Texting lane just for laughs, but issue serious. And speaking of serious issues, you can learn about S.F. bicyclist involved in fatal collision discusses incident online. It shows just how important it is to create Complete Streets: Designing Roadways for the Benefit of All--cyclists and pedestrians.

Decisionmakers in the Los Angeles region seem to understand that, as this week SCAG adopted a RTP/SCS touted far and wide for its commitment to alternative transportation. “This Plan Will Make Air Pollution a Relic of Our History”  some claim. Time will tell if that's true, but at least SCAG seems to be a little more forward-thinking than leaders in Imperial Beach, where  Pedestrian Scale Lighting With Solar Panels Shot Down by City Council

Finally this week we learn How Local Transportation Decisions Can Put Public Health Front and Center, and are reminded that A Picture Worth 1,000 Arguments for More Walkable Streets.

Let's argue for more walkable streets, shall we?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lessons from SCAG's Complete Streets Training

Last week SCAG offered a full day of training on implementing Complete Streets, courtesy of its Compass Blueprint Toolbox Tuesdays program. Here are a few of the key lessons and resources from the training. You can download copies of the training materials here.

Incorporate all users into street designs
AB 1358 (the California Complete Streets Act) requires jurisdictions to incorporate complete streets into the Circulation Element of their General Plans as they are updated, but does not provide specifics as to how this should be accomplished. The training identified four steps to implementing Complete Streets:

1.       Adopt a general Complete Streets policy
2.       Identify a project/coordination team that can implement new regulations
3.       Develop pilot programs to create and refine detailed Complete Streets design criteria
4.       Review criteria and amend based on results of pilot programs

Complete streets should accommodate all roadway users, including vehicles, transit, bikes, and pedestrians, paying particular attention to those with reduced mobility (e.g. people in wheelchairs) and vulnerable users (bikes and peds). Complete streets should also incorporate stormwater best management practices like bioswales where possible.  

Complete streets generally do cost more to plan, and require more coordination between local agencies (planning, engineering/public works, fire) and the public. For example, a project like the Allision Avenue Streetscape Plan would cost as much as $150,000 to design and another $1.3 million to construct for about 3,000 ft of roadway.
Dallas Complete Streets Manual
San Ysidro Community Plan Update
Allison Avenue Streetscape Plan (La Mesa, CA)
Ocean Park Boulevard (Santa Monica, CA)
Mission Avenue (Oceanside, CA)

Design streets based on function, not “classification
In the past streets have been constructed according to a one-size-fits-all hierarchy (e.g. major arterials, collector streets, local streets) using generic street design standards that were applied to all roadways regardless of purpose. These standard designs, which remain in place in many jurisdictions, lead to over-engineered streets with wide travel lanes and inadequate facilities for non-motorized users. They also fail to take into consideration the purpose and neighborhood context of a particular roadway, ignoring the fact that some roads are, to use a term from the training, “destination roadways,” and not roads intended to move as many people as rapidly as possible.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's National Walking Day

photo courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune

The American Heart Association has declared today National Walking Day, and is encouraging everyone who's able to walk to work. Since I think my 90-mile commute would be a little challenging on foot, I'm planning a daytime walk around my office. You can read about one intrepid San Diego walker's efforts to make it to and from her job in one piece here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Leaving No Stone Unturned: Tips and Tricks for Funding Your SRTS Program

Another great webinar from SRTS and America Walks:
Tuesday, April 24 10:00 AM PDT

One of the greatest challenges that Safe Routes to School organizers face is obtaining funding for their programs. Whether it is for small incentives for the students, healthy snacks for walk or bike to school days, flyers and advertisements for events, or eventually hiring a staff member, finding funding is an important part growing your program. Unfortunately, it can often seem like a daunting task.

In this sixty minute webinar, we will help make fundraising for your SRTS program less intimidating by providing tips and tricks on where to find funding an how to go about obtaining it. First, Scott Bricker, Executive Director of America Walks will provide an overview of the issues surrounding fundraising and advice on how to hash out your goals and objectives. Next, Ian Thomas, Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition, will go into an in-depth discussion of what type of budget your program may need, potential sources of funds, and tips for successfully raising money from those sources. Finally, Kathy Smith, a Program Officer from the Partners for Health Foundation, will provide a Foundation's perspective on grant applicants and provide tips on how you can "look" ready for funding.

Register here.