Monday, April 30, 2012

Are Bike and Pedestrian Committees Boys' Clubs?

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A new study from the Mineta Transportation Institute, An Examination of Women's Representation and Participation in Bicycle Advisory Committees in California, paints a disappointing picture of the role women play--or don't play--in the development of bicycle and pedestrian policy in our state. In a review of 42 government-formed bicycle and bicycle/pedestrian advisory committees throughout California, authors Hilary Nixon and Cathy DeLuca found that women made up only about 19 percent of members on all bicycle advisory committees and 24 percent of members on all bicycle/pedestrian committees. Further, women were the majority on only three committees.

This matters, because women's travel is different than men's. Women do more "trip-chaining" (linking a trip to work with a trip to school with a trip to the grocery store), take more shopping trips, and carry more associated baggage--and children--when they travel than men. Issues surrounding safety and security play a different role in the travel of women than men. Where a man might think nothing of walking down a dimly-lit street or an empty alley, a woman might change her route to avoid them--or choose not to walk at all. This isn't to say men never face danger on the street, but they're less likely to change their travel patterns because of it.

When women's voices aren't part of the dialogue about bicycle and pedestrian policy, the particular challenges that female cyclists and walkers face might never come up. This can lead to transportation systems that don't "work" for the women who rely on them.

In interviews with committee members, the authors attempted to understand the cause of the gender disparity on bike and pedestrian committees. Many of the interviewees cited the "male-dominated nature" of the committees as part of the problem. Not only did it discourage women from joining committees, it made them hesitant to voice their opinions or engage fully in policy discussions.

"When the other members of the committee laughed at bicyclists who were afraid of riding on [a certain road], in an area that terrifies me, I was sure I didn’t belong there."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Week on Foot

The big news this week comes from Walk Score, which answers the question How car-centric is your city? Public transit ranked by the site, with cities like New York and San Francisco scoring big, although LA finished a respectable 11th.

This week also brings much debate over urban form. It's the A second act for the walkable neighborhood as Walkable cities poised to eclipse suburbs, but at least one person argues that ‘Evil’ suburbs deserve more respect.

Some people who don't deserve more respect are drivers in Bangalore, where a new Survey finds Bangalore has India’s worst-behaved motorists. Looks like they are behaving that well in North Carolina either, where Pedestrian deaths on the rise in the Palmetto State. Maybe that's why Pedestrians need a head start at intersections, health chief says. And if that sounds confusing, the Traffic light for pedestrian safety explained in Las Vegas, a city not known for pedestrian safety.

Elsewhere in the country Interstate 17 pedestrian bridge needs flair, some say in Arizona, and in the Seattle area Highland Park Elementary gets $25,000 for child pedestrian safety, and there's a New Approach to Dallas Streets Moves Forward at City Hall.

Back in California, there's a new Report: Federal bike and pedestrian plan a success in Marin , while we learn Where the Sausalito sidewalk ends: A walkers’ paradise? Probably not, but at least Covina moves toward improving pedestrian safety at Metrolink Station. And it's a good thing they are, since it might help address the poor Urban Air Quality Could be Making Children Obese.

Speaking of kids, this week we learn Why Millennials will not buy these 8 products in the future (one of them is a car), and What street hockey can teach us about livable streets.

Finally, in a pedestrian advocacy move after my own heart, Volunteers trek beer From SODO to Green Lake to promote neighborhood walkability . LA Walks, interested in an Angeleno version?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Visualizing Pedestrian Crashes

A nice (or maybe not-so-nice) summary of pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the US.

California Car Accident Lawyer

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #21: Walk with a Doc

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Created in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir,  Walk with a Doc aims to "encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country." The idea is simple: each weekend people meet at a set location for a short walk with a local physician. Not only does it promote physical activity, it also provides an informal way for people to talk with a doctor about their medical concerns. Check out the list of locations to find out if there's a walk happening near you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012