Friday, October 12, 2012

This week on foot

Photo credit: Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune

In a surprising twist, this week we learn that More parks don't mean more walking. At least according to one study. At least there's no question that more safety can lead to more walking, which is why
Arizona road-safety focus switches to pedestrians. And it's not just Arizona-- there was a Statewide pedestrian safety campaign launched in North Carolina, Hamilton can improve pedestrian safety with more 'complete streets' and the oddly-named DARN, Keller Williams and ADA complete walkability study for downtown Asheville. I guess Washington D.C. is ahead of the curve with Foggy Bottom: One Of D.C.'s First 'WalkUP' Neighborhoods.

Elsewhere in the country State Transportation Officials Doing More To Keep Train Fatalities, Suicides Down, and it's a battle of Parking versus pedestrian in Willoughby district, while a new Stevenage giant cycle lane creates pedestrian confusion in the UK.

Meanwhile, we're wondering: Pedestrian crossing signs in Windber: help or hindrance? I guess they're not wondering in New Jersey, where Eight communities in Hunterdon County will receive 'Stop for Pedestrians' signs.

It's bridges, not signs, that have some people raising their eyebrows here in LA, where Critics question $20M pedestrian bridge at Lankershim Boulevard. Oh well, at least they're Thinking outside the box on a walk through Paw Paw

 Finally this week, check out the IG of the Day: Walking Communities.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #25: BestWALK

Walk audits just got a little easier (for San Diegans, at least) with the new BestWALK app from WalkSanDiego. From WSD:

Why don’t we walk? One of the primary reasons is that our streets (and therefore our neighborhoods, communities, and quite literally, our lives) are designed around the automobile. BestWALK was designed to help us take back the street. Join friends and walkers of all ages to use the BestWALK smart phone app and rate what it’s like to walk in your community. Your efforts will create a regional Walk Scorecard rating walkability in our neighborhoods and cities and contribute to a map of improvements for future funding.

WalkSanDiego has downloaded a street network into the BestWALK phone app that allows the user to document how easy and pleasant it is to walk and cross the streets of cities throughout San Diego County.

We have a network of 4,000 streets waiting to be rated! Ratings are provided for both intersections and street segments. The data you enter not only produces a rating, it also populates a map of improvements needed around the region. The more information we have on walkability around the San Diego region, the better equipped we are to advocate for improvements. With your help, we can advocate for specific improvements.

Dowload it today and help WSD reach their goal of 30,321 ratings--and also check our their new blog on the blogroll.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Walk to School Day!

Every October for the past 15 years, kids around the world ditched their (parents') cars and jumped on the walking school bus to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Last year there were over 4,000 registered schools participating, and this year over 400 schools in California have events planned.

Rates of children walking or biking to school have decreased steadily over the past four decades, from nearly 50 percent in 1969 to a paltry 13 percent in 2009. Not surprisingly, parents cite concerns over safety as the key reason they don't allow their kids to walk to school, which is why programs like Safe Routes to School are so important. Get the full list of schools and info about how you can join in here.

Happy walking!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Ped Stuff #24: Rode Dog

Rode Dog is a new anti-distracted-driving app that's the brainchild of a...child. Well, at 11 she might take issue with that characterization, but it's still an impressive accomplishment for someone who's still years away from driving herself. Victoria Walker won an AT&T hackathon--and $20,000-- to develop the app, which will allow users to hijack the phones of members of their "packs" (i.e. family and friends) when they text and drive, using the devices to "bark" incessently at the texters until they put down the phone and concentrate on driving.

No word yet on whether it can be used to curb other annoying behaviors. Can we work on something that will let me use my phone to zap the people who cut me off in traffic because they're talking on their phone?

Friday, September 14, 2012

This week on foot

photo: Seattle PI

This week we learn that 11 Seattle intersections bad for pedestrians, but fortunately Seattle neighborhoods look for ways to increase walkability like this West Seattle traffic alert: Pedestrian upgrades for 35th/Alaska. Elsewhere in the country a Spate of Minnesota of pedestrian deaths prompts warnings, and  ‘Urban intervention’ tests downtown pedestrian space in Colorado, and  Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week Kicks Off in Virginia.

Closer to home Thousand Oaks tackles traffic safety and they're Unraveling Ped & Bike Tension In Santa Monica, while Pedestrians killed in Walnut Creek, SF and LA by distracted drivers.  They're struggling with Pedestrian Unfriendliness on La Brea, Old LA Maps at Art Walk, and there was a Pedestrian killed in Hollywood hit-and-run crash--but at least in Santa Barbara there are some Practical Pedestrian Pathways.

 Outside the US there's a message for Pedestrians: Zebra crossings not safe in Finland. At least Walkability takes off in Pembrokeshire National Park in Wales...

Speaking of which, here are some Concrete Ideas for Promoting Walkability. If that's not enough for you, UCLA offers city planners manual for creating parklets, living streets. Dallas seems to be using some of those ideas, as For Four Days This Month, Knox Will Become Dallas' First "Complete Street". Also Glen Ridge passes Complete Streets policy--seems like everyone is learning about Making Neighborhood Streets “Skinny” and Safe.

There's a lot of buzz this week about a new study from Leinberger: Walkable Urbanism Is the Future, and DC Is the Model. Some reviewers note that while "Walkable urban" places enjoy economic success, but face social equity challenges, while others wonder about a Walkable Tyson's Corner? Over VDOT's dead streetscape. But at the end of the day it's a positive Study: Shift to walkable urban places is good news for economy -- which is good, because If You Want Walkable Development, You Must Show That It Pays.