Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fire up your feet

Photo courtesy of Fire Up Your Feet
Parents and teachers looking for ways to promote physical activity at their school can check out this program from the Safe Routes to School Partnership, Fire Up Your Feet. The program website offers a variety of resources, including videos, printable handouts, webinars, and activity ideas to encourage students (and their families) to walk and bike more. There's also a fundraising component to the site that provides online tools to help schools set up walkathons and fun runs to raise money--a much healthier choice than the cookie sales I remember from my childhood.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This Week on Foot

Courtesy of NY Times
This week there's been much buzz about a recent story in the NY Times wondering Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists? --which of course also gets people wondering about the same issue for pedestrians. When Pedestrians injured by cars: whose fault is it? The NYPD seems to think a share of the blame lies with those pesky pedestrians who refuse to take appropriate precautions.Not only should pedestrians wear reflective clothing, NYPD tells them to carry flashlights at night. Never mind that NYC Motorists Killed Three Pedestrians on City Sidewalks Today. Obviously flashlights would have solved that problem. Elsewhere in the country authorities aren't quite so forgiving of vehicles who harm pedestrians, like in Pennsylvania where a Bus driver who ran red light, hit pedestrian can't get jobless benefits, Pa. court says.

Meanwhile other regions are working hard on improving pedestrian safety SANBAG Wins Award for Transit Access Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians and Spring Hill hopes to land state grant for pedestrian paths. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it's only After teen's death, Berliners want safer pedestrian crossing

The week has also been full of stories that should be obvious by now. Bike, pedestrian plans should be integrated, official says, and Planning, design plays role in community walkability. And did you know that As people move closer, less need for roads and transit?

Finally this week, here in San Diego Mayoral Candidates Talk About Livable Streets, while elsewhere we contemplate Sesame Street and Children’s Perception of City Life and Suburbia and the American Dream. Hopefully the dream has sidewalks.

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.