Monday, November 11, 2013

Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure Costs

"But how much will it cost?"

Even with broad support for creating pedestrian-friendly environments, finding funding to implement infrastructure improvements like sidewalks or median islands nearly always presents a challenge. This new report from the UNC Highway Research Center, Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements, is a key resource for the first step in the funding process: figuring out how much money you need.

Using data from projects across the country, as well as interviews with planners and engineers implementing the projects, the report provides a broad set of information about costs for a variety of improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, including signals, striping, signs, traffic calming measures, bicycle parking, and more.

The information is presented in a series of tables outlining the median, average, minimum and maximum cost for each type of infrastructure. Here's an example of one table showing the cost of installing a crosswalk.

Click to enlarge
This is the first time I've seen a such broad cost summary in one report--typically planners are forced to rely on their own (sometimes limited) experience to come up with cost estimates, or conduct a more limited version of research the report authors have included here. Having all of this information available in one report is a valuable resource for anyone working on pedestrian or bicycle projects.

Friday, November 8, 2013

This week on foot

Image courtesy of 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin
This week we wonder, Do Your City’s Streets Make Room for People Too? A Handy Visual Test helps answer that question.

Meanwhile, with the time change this week we're reminded that When the clocks go back, pedestrian-car accidents go up. Fortunately, across the country people are Taking steps to keep pedestrians safe--oh wait, that's not really an article about keeping pedestrians safe? Well, here's A Response to Today’s Blame the Victim Op/Ed in the Los Angeles Times. Speaking of blaming the victim, Portland Works to Combat 'Distracted Walking' (hopefully also distracted driving), and there were No Charges for Driver Who Was “Too Short” to See the Pedestrian He Killed this week. Not discouraged yet? Across the country MD highway planners to pedestrians: you’re on your own.Thanks.

But some places really are working on Pedestrian Safety: Delta is leading the way with high-tech crossings, the City Council Approves Road Diet in the City of Riverside and Pedestrian islands added to Rail Trai in Ukiah. And other parts of the country are also working on their pedestrian friendliness: Las Vegas Strip news racks could get the ax, and they're Walkin' in T-Town // The Makings of a Walkable City--because Walkability Is New Word For Development, didn't you know? Maybe you should read about Walkable Communities and the Future of American Cities.

Outside the US, we learned this week that Hamilton roads second most dangerous for pedestrians in Ont.. In response, City pledges safer streets for Hamilton pedestrians. Elsewhere in Canada, people have realized that Density inevitable; the issue is planning. Meanwhile in the UK there's a Landscaped pedestrian bridge to be built over the Thames, and in the Dubai 'Every resident is a pedestrian' - but can you park and walk? Let's hope so...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Most Walkable Cities 2014

Image courtesy of WalkScore
There's still two months left in 2013, but WalkScore is already looking ahead to a new year by releasing its 2014 list of the Most Walkable Cities in the US. To the surprise of no one, New York, San Francisco, and Boston top with list with neighborhoods like Little Italy and Chinatown (New York) and Haymarket and the North End (Boston) highlighted as the most walkable spots within already pedestrian-friendly cities.Here's the full list:

1. New York (Walk Score: 87.6) 
2. San Francisco (Walk Score: 83.9) 
3. Boston (Walk Score: 79.5) 
4. Philadelphia (Walk Score: 76.5) 
5. Miami (Walk Score: 75.6) 
6. Chicago (Walk Score: 74.8) 
7. Washington, D.C. (Walk Score: 74.1) 
8. Seattle (Walk Score: 70.8) 
9. Oakland (Walk Score: 68.5) 
10. Baltimore (Walk Score: 66.2)

You can find more information about the top cities and WalkScore's methodology on their website. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cool Ped Stuff #28: Key to the Street

Ever dreamed about what your bland, pedestrian-unfriendly street might look like if you could spruce it up a bit? Key to the Street is a new design tool created by Jessica Lowry and Murali Allada that let's you use your phone as a starting point to transform any street. Not only does the app provide the ability to redesign your street with features like landscaping or bike lanes, it helps keep you up to date on potential improvements that are already in the works by linking to city projects in the area. You can even use the app to share your ideas with decisionmakers or other advocates.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Upcoming Webinars

November 6, 12 pm PST

NACTO's New Release: Urban Street Design Guide
National Association of City Transportation Officials

A well-illustrated, concrete vision for the future of city streets, NACTO's new "Urban Street Design Guide" charts the principles and practices of the nation’s foremost engineers, planners and designers working in cities today. This webinar will address how this resource will change the face of our nation's streets, the ways you can use it in your community, and how specific topics and elements in the document differ from conventional practice.
Register here.

November 7, 11 am PST

Shared Use: Is It In You? Engaging Key Stakeholders in Shared Use Strategies
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Making use of school facilities that would not otherwise be used after school hours allows for a more efficient use of public space and money, and is a promising strategy to combat childhood obesity. This webinar will focus on providing tools to engage key stakeholders in the discussion around shared use agreements.
Register here

November 21, 11 am PST

Empowering Lower-income Communities to Take Advantage of MAP-21 Funds
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

More street scale projects can be built in lower-income communities and communities of color by training advocates nationwide on how to have successful meetings with local elected officials about existing funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects, including the new MAP-21 funds. This webinar will focus on the tools the National Partnership has created and the need to activate our National Active Transportation Diversity Task Force and other partners at the local and state level.

December 4. 11 am PST

Developing Effective Practices for Snow Removal: Why is it Worth all the Effort? 
Easter Seals Project Action 

Ensuring safe and independent travel for people with and without disabilities in the event of snow can be difficult. A national standard for effective snow removal for pedestrians does not currently exist. Join this webinar to look at snow removal issues and explore ideas for possible solutions to be considered at the local level. Presenters will discuss how snow effects the independent travel of people with disabilities as well as effective practices in snow removal for public transportation as well as for the broader community with a Complete Streets perspective.