Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Walk. Bike. Move. Live. Sept. 19.

San Diegans: Join like-minded advocates as WalkSanDiego hosts a Mayoral debate. Here are the details from WSD.

Date:          September 19, 2012
Time:          7:00 PM
Location:   University of San Diego, Shiley Theatre

Come hear mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner in the only debate focused on enhancing and improving quality of life through how we live, work, play and move around in America's Finest City.  Learn the views and opinions of San Diego's 2012 mayoral candidates on community issues that impact you:
  • Improving Transportation Choices (walk, bike, transit, car share, carpool, etc.)
  • Urban Growth and Development (how to improve our communities while accommodating growth?)
  • Locating new employment opportunities (can we commute less?)
  • Livable Communities (creating neighborhoods where people come first, not cars!) 
A networking reception with light refreshments will take place immediately following the one hour debate.
Getting to the Debate:

For transit information: Trolley/Shuttle Info (Bus Route 44 stops right in front of USD)
Complimentary bike valet will be on-site

Get your tickets today at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #23: City Pulse

The latest (bad pun) brainchild of Brain Drain, CityPulse is a network of "beacons" that light up the street literally and figuratively. The fancy lights detects and reports street-level activity in real time, provides information about nearby businesses and tourist attractions, and, as Brain Drain puts it, "offers a new platform for human interactions and entrepreneurship."

From the website:

By spurring pedestrian navigation and citywide connectivity, CityPulse stands to make a huge impact. This place-making program offers a multi-level intervention that stimulates growth in small and new business, facilitates access to community resources and information, and provides a public venue for emerging trends and creativity in the cityscape.

Yet one more way technology is changing the way we move through the pedestrian environment.

Friday, August 31, 2012

This Week on Foot

This week people are talking about Affordable Housing and a Pedestrian Plaza in New York, a
Pedestrian bridge linking downtown, Cultural District dedicated in Fort Worth, and New D.C. traffic cameras to monitor stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks.

But here in LA, it's still all about sidewalks, where Cracks Appear in L.A.’s Grand Transportation Plan, making it no surprise that L.A. councilmen concerned about length, cost of sidewalk survey, and suggest that maybe some of those "thousands" of community activists" can step in.

Pardon me while I get editorial here.
  1. We'd all like the survey to go quickly, but seriously LA--you can't find money to pay for professionals to do this job? It's such a low funding priority that you have to get volunteers to do the work? I'd like to see you try that with roadways.
  2. And speaking of roadways, are you saying that whole "transportation infrastructure creates jobs" argument only apply to building roads?
  3. Finally, please point me towards the thousands of activists advocating for pedestrian issues in LA. We could use their help with some things.
Moving on to other frustrating stories, here's one that notes Most pedestrian accidents happen within sight of crosswalks, (not so) subtly blaming the pedestrian, who obviously must be too lazy to walk out of their way to a crosswalk. Meanwhile here's another that points out that the Driver's seat safer than sidewalk for older adults, a creative variation on the old "driving drunk is safer than walking drunk" argument. And while we're blaming pedestrians for things, how about this Report: 'Distracted walking' endangers teens. Umm, no, I think it's more the vehicles that endanger teens.

But let's not get totally discouraged. This week in ESCONDIDO: Students take to street to fight for health, and Garmin/Navigon announce new pedestrian and public transportation features, while pedestrian-friendly Blue Zones gearing up for official unveiling.

Elsewhere, one lawyer ponders Improving Pedestrian Safety By Reviewing Primary Types Of Incidents, in Florida they insist on No more Frogger for pedestrians, and Israel considers the idea of Pedestrian protectors.

Read more here:

Finally, all those distracted teenagers and young adults roll their eyes at their elders and say, Cars? Not For Us: The Cheapest Generation Explains 'the Freedom of Not Owning' 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No Pedestrian Walking Allowed

A friend from work, and avid long-distance runner, recently brought my attention to the intersection of Santa Clara Avenue and Los Angeles Avenue (Highway 118). Located in unincorporated Ventura County and surrounded by agricultural fields, the road isn't likely to be popular with pedestrians--unless you're an intrepid jogger...or a farm worker who needs to park on the street and walk to your job site. Either way, good luck--because the roadway's designers clearly don't want you there.

So vehement are they in their sentiments that they posted a no-pedestrian crossing sign on every leg of the intersection. Yes, that's right, every one. Meaning if for some crazy reason you need to cross the street, you'll have to walk a mile or so out of your way to find another intersection, or race across the road when you see a break in traffic. Good to know there's a "safe" option.


Monday, August 27, 2012

LA finally gets serious about fixing its sidewalks

Angelenos have heard the statistics many times over the past few years: nearly half of LA's sidewalks are cracked, crumbling, or...whatever term you'd like to use to refer to the mess above. It will take an estimated $1.5 billion to return them to pristine--or at least usable--condition. In the last few years spending on sidewalk repair has been less than one percent of that figure. The city spends about the same on the 2,500 trip and fall claims it receives each year.

But now, the LA Times reports that the city is pondering the first step in a comprehensive program to bring its sidewalks up to snuff: a survey of all 10,000+ miles of sidewalks to document the condition of curbs and gutters, street trees, soils, and other details, and the development of a software program to compile the results. The survey could take three years and cost more than $10 million.

Actual "sidewalk" in Woodland Hills
Why go to all that effort? It would provide justification for the City to place a bond measure on the ballot (possibly in 2017) to fund sidewalk repairs.

Is this the fix Los Angeles' pedestrians have been waiting for? It would move the responsibility for sidewalk repair from adjacent property owners to the City, a move that's sure to please those property owners. It would also demonstrate, if subtly, that the City values pedestrians enough to pay for repairs to their infrastructure too--just like it has always done for drivers.

Those seem like good reasons to move forward with the plan to me, but I'm just one voter. If the bond measure is approved for the ballot in 2017, the City would still have a lot of voters to convince--something it wasn't too successful at in 1998, when a similar measure was rejected by 60 percent. Let's hope Angelenos have come to their senses by now--or that they've really gotten tired of tripping on broken sidewalks.

You can read more details about the survey and possible bond measure here.