Weekly Walk Around the News

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of June 17, 2011.

Walk Around the News

Posted by Derrick Van Kirk June 17, 2011 

 

Local

The City of Seattle will receive an unplanned $20 million to add to their transportation budget to help a number of street, bridge, or pedestrian bicycle projects move forward next year.  The money will come from selling what is known as the Rubble Yard along Aurora Avenue North, to the state for the north portal of the planned Highway 99 tunnel.

Last week, the Kitsap Complete Streets Leadership Forum brought together government leaders and advocacy groups to begin the first phase of the Countywide Multi-modal Transportation Plan.

Sound Transit held an open house to share the latest designs and construction plans for the Brooklyn light rail station last week.  The materials presented at the open house are posted on the Sound Transit website. 

The Everett Herald gives a Snohomish County perspective on last month’s Dangerous by Design report released by Transportation for America.  According to the Herald, many pedestrian accidents occur on roads where no shoulder exists and pedestrians are forced to walk on the fog line.  Include the rain, routes with hills and curves, and dark clothing worn by pedestrians, and you have a dangerous situation for pedestrians.

At a recent public forum hosted by the City of Blaine to gather public input on development of the downtown core, residents expressed a desire to increase walkability in the area.

 

National

Earlier this week, a report released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research concludes that seniors who live in rural areas are more likely to suffer from health problems that stem from their built environment.  The report gives recommendations for rural areas to consider ‘senior walkability plans’ that include upgrades to sidewalks, lighting, and the addition of benches and seating on routes often used by seniors.

This is an interesting take on the direction of US housing after the housing recession.  Instead of continuing down the auto-centric path of suburban cul-de-sac communities far from the city center, we are headed toward a people-centric style of housing that may eventually become desirable for families as well as child-less urbanites.

 

International

In a recent post for Sharable Cities, Jay Wallijasper wonders why there are so few car-free streets in North American cities.  According to Wallijasper, we are missing out on what many European and South American cities enjoy – “bustling pedestrian zones that have become favorite spots for young people to gather, lovers to linger, kids to romp, women to show-off their new clothes (and discretely admire the looks of passers-by), men to admire the looks of passers-by (and discretely show-off their new clothes), and everyone to feel part of the wider community.”

A walkable city is also an age-friendly city, according to this article about the city of Hamilton in Ontario.  A more walkable neighborhood has many benefits for older adults including opportunities to visit with friends, family and neighbors, access to local amenities and services, and access to public transportation.  Walkability also promotes better physical and mental health which leads to maintained independence and a better quality of life.

 

If you come across any interesting pedestrian news or stories, please send a link to derrick@feetfirst.org.

 

Photo of shoes courtesy of Flickr user blond avenger under the Creative Commons license.

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