Weekly Walk Around the News 1/13/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of January 13, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

January 13, 2012

Local

The Washington State Department of Transportation has, with support from Feet First and a range of other organizations, submitted a report to the State Government outlining a new grant program. This new program will support projects working towards “Complete Streets,” whose aims include making our streets safe and accessible to all users, i.e. including “pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of all ages and abilities.”

The SR 520 floating bridge and highway will be closed from January 13th-16th. See the  Washington State Department of Transportation’s website for details.

The Seattle Design Commission Chair announced the winners of the Commission’s 2010-2011 Design Excellence Awards last week, for representing the values of “inspired design, contextual integration, innovative sustainability, social inclusion, exemplary partnerships, effective investment, and impeccable execution.” Among the winners were included Summit Slope Park Development and the King Street Station Multimodal Hub Strategy.

One UW staff member who really…really thought about how to best improve his commute..

 

National

PolicyLink, ISAIAH and TakeAction Minnesota have released a report assessing the potential positive and negative impacts of the introduction of a light rail line running between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. The report points out that the rail link may gentrify the area and is unlikely to bring jobs for those with lower educational attainment. As such, there is a risk that the low income communities, through which the rail link passes, may be unwillingly displaced by the development.

Transportation for America commented on the death of a young boy crossing a large, busy road in Atlanta with his father, which may have been preventable had there been cross walks within a reasonable distance.

Better Cities and Towns offered advice this week on how to fight off, or at least come prepared for, counterarguments to “Smart Growth” (the sort of planning agenda that often results in more walkable communities)  from “Conspiracy Theorists,” Libertarians and Mainstream Tea Party Supports. Could be useful at the next planning meeting.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has been awarded a three-year renewal grant of just under $3 million. The money will go towards projects including increasing federal funding, sharing best practices, advancing state-level policy reforms, and publications demonstrating the significance of the built environment to health promotion.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for the Safe Routes to School National Course Instructor Training, to be held April 23–26, 2012, in Sterling, Virginia.  Up to 12 individuals may be selected.

Better Cities and Towns also reported on the results of a tax increase on the use of parking garages in Vancouver, British Columbia. After a year under the new tax, use of parking garages fell by 9%, as people found other ways to get downtown, suggesting that, if you do make it difficult to park, people will find (healthier/more environmentally friendly?) ways around it. What difference might this make? A new book has been released called “Rethinking the Parking Lot,” which speculates on how the world could change if the US’s approx. 500 million spaces were conceptualized as public space waiting to be used.

Rails to Trails Conservancy reported on the “Silver Comet Trail” in Alabama and Georgia, once a line carrying the famous train from which it takes its name, now a trail in regular use hosting its first 200 meter running relay race.

The Active Design program will be holding a Webinar entitled “Becoming a Fit City: Top Opportunities in Healthy, Active Design” on Wednesday, January 25th, from 11am-12:30pm PST. 

The theme of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2012 Active Living Research Conference is “Disparities in Environments and Policies that Support Active Living.” The conference will be taking place March 12th-14th in San Diego, CA. Visit the conference website for more info. 

 

International

Take a look at this gallery of pictures of “Bikes Alive” protesters demanding improved road safety for pedestrians and cyclists around Kings Cross Station in central London, UK.

 

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

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