Friday, May 18, 2012

This week on foot

 Photo courtesy of Comox Valley Record

This week has been full of debate over driverless cars. Oops — wrong future! says Google-Funded Pundit: Forget Transit, the Future Belongs to Robocars. But Driverless cars don't change geometry.

On the other hand, students might--like South Brunswick High School Students Seek Sidewalk. And it's a good thing, because this week we learned why Why Seniors, Children, and the Poor Are at Greater Risk of Traffic Deaths, which may explain why Some Comox Valley elementary students get aboard 'walking bus' to stay safe during their walk to school.

Elsewhere in the country Five Points Officials Looking to Make Area Safer to Walk as well, while King County's 'Complete Streets' Hopes To Reverse Health Effects Of Sprawl, Washington-DC Area Planning Board Approves Complete Streets Policy and Essex County Complete Streets Policy Adopted.

But it's not Complete Streets for everyone. Is the world's fastest pedestrian signal in downtown Muncie? I can't say, but I do know a "Diverging diamond" doesn't help make a walkable corridor. And those walkable corridors are important, since New housing forecast mostly good for walkable communities.

And while we're talking about walkability, don't forget that Parks should be pedestrian friendly. So should bridges, like the Pedestrian bridge dedicated to long-time trail leader in Maine. And maybe even...Vegas? I guess it's one of those Walkable Places Where Glitz Is King.

But cars are king in Kenya: Mwau's Car Knocks Pedestrian to Death, reminding us that the question of walking vs. driving is also one of who has the power.

Finally this week, in California the Senate OKs bill to increase fines for cell phone use while driving-- but across the country they've taken the opposite approach: Texting while walking banned in N.J. town.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big Parade This Weekend

Not only do you get to explore LA on foot, you get to do it with a bunch of other people who love to walk in LA! Walks take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Get the details here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2011 LA Bike and Pedestrian Count Results

They claim no one walks in LA, but the results of the LA County Bike Coalition's newly-released
2011 City of Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count suggest otherwise. Counts at just 33 intersections show about 20,000 peak period walkers. Pretty impressive for a city supposedly in love with the car.
Although the report (understandably) focuses primarily on bike travel, it does at least provide some good base data for pedestrian travel in Los Angeles. Hopefully as Los Angeles Walks ramps ups its advocacy efforts, we'll see additional analysis for pedestrians (suggestion for next year: conducting counts during the hours of peak vehicle travel could mean we're missing some of the story about peak pedestrian and bike travel--especially since the counts don't cover the walk-from-school hours). I was particularly interested to see that in many cases the LA counts were higher than those in the US Census journey to work data, suggesting an underreporting of bike and pedestrian travel in the Census. This underscores the importance of devoting more resources to researching pedestrian and bicycle travel--without good data, we're more likely to sell ourselves short (or Congress might).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Like Where the Sidewalk Starts on Facebook!

Where the Sidewalk Starts likes you--and now you can like Where the Sidewalk Starts. The blog has a new Facebook fan page to go along with its great new design! Check out the page to read all the latest posts, as well as other fun stuff about pedestrians and walkability.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This week on foot

Meanwhile, Three pedestrian deaths elicit varied reactions in San Francisco. Maybe they should look to Florida, where in South Beaches: Flags help with pedestrian crossings, or further north, where Chicago unveils wide-ranging transportation plan that features 20 mph speed limits in Chicago and increased crossing times for pedestrians. 
Outside the US, other cities are also getting innovative with their planning efforts, like in Canada where Calgary abandons cul-de-sac design. Elsewhere in Canada, we learn Most pedestrian-involved crashes caused by turning vehicles.  But another study shows that Sleepy teen pedestrians more likely to get hit. And it's not just lack of sleep that's dangerous for pedestrians. Cuba warns of rising rail danger, faster trains, and here in the US FRA Guidance on Pedestrian Safety Still Misses the Real Problem.  

With all this focus on pedestrian safety and walkability, it seems odd that WeHo Tables Sat. Night, Pedestrian-Only Robertson Blvd. Plan. After all, Walkable neighbourhoods: Key to Hamilton's creative industries--why not LA's industries too? Maybe it's just beacuse Downtown ranked the 'most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles' and WeHo is jealous?
Finally, New Urbanism Needs a Re-Boot according to one speaker at this week's Congress for New Urbanism. Perhaps it should focus on the Pub shed: Mapping your five minute stumble distance might get people interested in walkability, right?