Weekly Walk Around the News 1/11/2013

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of January 11, 2013.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Kerry Dirk

January 11, 2013

 

Local

Transportation Advocacy Day will take place next month, on February 12, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration is now open, and carpool options to Olympia are available. 

Interested in using transit to take a hike? A new Seattle hiking group, Seattle Transit Hikers, will meet every 2-3 weeks to explore transit-accessible trails in the area. 

Wayfinding design may be lacking for the light rail system at the airport. A recent traveler and Puget Sound region local documents his experience using signs (or a lack thereof) to show how visitors to the city, or even those new to the light rail, might struggle to find their way. 

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor Project is a multi-year effort to improve traffic safety on Lake City Way/State Route 522.  A Task Force will meet on January 16 from 2:30-4:00 pm at the Lake City Community Center (at 12531 28th Ave NE). 

On Tuesday, a 32-year-old man was struck by a bus and then walked to a nearby Starbucks for coffee. The man was taken by ambulance to Harborview and is currently in satisfactory condition. 

 

National 

Zipcar has made important announcements in the last few days. First, they will be testing a no annual fee driving pilot program in Toronto and Vancouver, BC.  This plan, called the “Access Plan,” will allow drivers to use Zipcars on weekdays, excluding holidays. Second, Zipcar recently announced that Avis Budget group has agreed to acquire Zipcar for $12.25 per share in cash.  Remember that Feet First members receive $25 in Zipcar credit. 

A free discussion entitled “Public Health and Walking: Turning Programs and Policy into Action” will take place on Wednesday, January 30 from 11:00-2:00 pm PST. Registration is now open for this interactive phone discussion, which is sponsored by America Walks and the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

Sebastopol, a city in Sonoma County, recently passed an ordinance that makes it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to sue threatening or harassing drivers. The ordinance, one of few in the nation, was promoted heavily after a series of fatal incidents involving vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists.

New fiscal cliff legislation now allows public transit riders, who work at participating companies, to claim up to $240 a month in work-related commuting costs from taxable income.  This is an increase from $125 a month.   

A new study, which analyzed traffic data between 2008 and 2009, found that male pedestrians who are hit by cars are 2.3 times more likely to die than females. The researchers hypothesize that males may be engaging in riskier behaviors that lead to greater injuries. 

Walk Score has identified the 9 most walkable ski towns in North America. Telluride in Colorado, Whistler, and Sun Valley’s Ketchum, ID fill out the top three, with other cities from Colorado, California, Albert, Montana, and Utah making the list. 

A renovation project in Lancaster, CA changed a busy boulevard to a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Since the completion of the project, there have been 49 new businesses added along the boulevard, 800 new permanent jobs added, and collisions with personal injury were cut by 85 percent.  

A recent study found that obesity is declining among preschool-aged children of low-income families. Although the researchers were not able to pinpoint exactly what led to the decline, they did suggest growing recognition of the importance of physical activity as one possible explanation.

What draws drivers to mass transit? Researchers from Sweden have three suggestions to convince more drivers to make the switch. These suggestions include the following: 1) Transit agencies should pay more attention to rider perceptions, 2) Motivations that cause people to drive instead of ride, especially comfort and convenience, should be targeted, and 3) Context matters in that programs should target those groups most likely to become transit riders. 

New research suggests that transit ridership may not be linked to a city’s business core, as metro areas that go to a number of job centers have seen ridership increase. The researchers found no relationship between transit ridership and the strength of a central business district. 

A new study found that women who walk at least three hours a week may lower their risk of a stroke by 43 percent. The study, which looked at 13,576 men and 19,416 women between the ages of 29 and 69, did not find a reduction in stroke risk for men. 

A new report from the Obesity Prevention Program shows findings from a 2011 study of New Hampshire city and town policies that support healthy eating and active living. Resulting local policy ideas include an increase in sidewalks, crosswalks, and lighting, more bicycle lanes, and enhanced safety in and near parks. 

A man is currently on a mission to walk from Virginia Beach, VA to the West Coast in 196 days. Javier Janik plans to represent 196 different countries by wearing a shirt each day that displays a different flag. 

Electric cars are known for being quiet, but this makes them dangerous to pedestrians. The government is now proposing electric and hybrid cars should make a sound that can be heard when the vehicles are traveling slower than 18 mph. 

 

International

Although nearly 15 million walking trips take place on Mumbai pavements each day, the city is extremely lacking in sidewalks. Walking is the only means of travel for many households, yet between 2003 and 2008, there was a 45 percent increase in the number of registered vehicles. A recent study showed that over 75% of road fatalities in the city involve pedestrians. To educate people about these conditions, a local activist has started the Walking Project

A new road safety campaign begins this year in Abu Dhabi, sparked after 151 people were killed in 954 pedestrian-vehicle incidents in UAE last year. The campaign, called “Pedestrian Safety is Our Responsibility,” will run through the end of February.

Bubble wrap is no longer just for protecting packages. A bus stop in Milan now provides waiting passengers with sheets of bubble wrap sized according to their expected wait. The idea is that popping bubble wrap will make your time occupied, which feels shorter than unoccupied time.

 

 

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