Weekly Walk Around the News 11/4/2011

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of November 4, 2011.

Weekly Walk Around the News

Posted by Helen Lundell

November 4, 2011

 

Hello all!

I have just taken over the Walk Around the News Blog, and know that I have some big shoes to fill! My hope is to serve as a resource for you, giving you access to the hot active-transportation topics in the news and research press for the week. With so much being said out there, it can be hard to keep up.

Of course, I’d really love to hear from you while I’m putting the blog together each week. If you ever see a story or an article you think looks interesting, or even see something in life while on your travels, let me know! On the other hand, if there’s ever anything you’d like to hear more about and would like me to do some digging for you, shoot me an email and I’ll see what else I can find to share on the next blog. 

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you! Safe travels!

 

Local

Voting for Proposition 1 in Seattle, designed to direct $204 million to transit, sidewalks and bicycle improvements, is under way now…until Tuesday, November 8th. The campaign would double the investment for sidewalks. Feet First has given not only time, but money towards the campaign. We support more places for people to safely walk. See the Streets for All Seattle website for more information.

The recently released Seattle Department of Transportation 2010 Traffic Report, in light of the city’s Road Safety Summit held a couple of weeks ago finds people walking bear disproportionate number of traffic deaths and tickets

 

National

Multiple advocates for sustainable transportation options express concern that the maximum tax-free allowance for vanpool is set to plummet by 46 percent in 2012, from $230 to $120 per month. In contrast, the parking tax-free limit is set to go up $10 to $240. Check out the official IRS press release

The Rails to Trails Conservancy celebrates the US Senate rejection of an amendment to siphon the only dedicated source of funding for walking and biking (“Transportation enhancement funds”) into bridge repair. Opponents to the amendment argued that we should not be encouraged to believe we have to choose between active transportation and safe bridges. In fact, funds that could go to bridges are often siphoned towards roadways.

The Montana Policy Review’s most recent issue focuses on the impact of the built environment on quality of life and economic prosperity. They report, amongst many other topics, successes of their Safe Routes to School programs. 

According to Streets Blog, experts suggest market trends favor sustainable transportation options. The South Eastern Research Institute has found that eight out of 10 people want to live green, and John Martin (the CEO of the Institute) speculates that “Generation Y” (born between 1982 and 1994 the descendents of the post-second world war boom “Generation X”) is less inclined to buy a car and “…isn’t looking for a dream home; they’re looking for a dream lifestyle and that includes walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented neighborhoods.”

Check out the 2011 National Walking Survey. The survey found (along with many other interesting findings) that among infrequent walkers, the second-most cited reason for not walking was neighborhood-related barriers, such as not enough sidewalks or being wary of speeding traffic.

Treehugger.com notes that you can now cross the Hudson River on…a park, if you travel a couple of miles north of NYC. The railroad bridge transformed into a park, named “Walkway Over Hudson,” was opened in October 2009.

Walkscore reports that you can now search for your vacation hotels and B&Bs by Walkscore rating. 

The Seattle Times reflects that the rebuild of New Orleans after Katrina has made for a more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly city.

 

International

Members of the European Parliament are calling for speed limits on residential roads and single-lane roads without cycle tracks to be reduced to 30km (20 miles) per hour throughout the European Community. 

The Guardian reports that zebra crossings (black and white striped crossings with only beacons to draw attention to them) are facing extinction in the UK and are being replaced by crossings with additional safety features (such as red lights telling motorists to stop). This is, in part, a response to a 2007 study by New Zealand researchers which found that zebra crossings without additional safety features can actually increase pedestrian accidents. 

The Seattle Times writes that Sao Paulo, Brazil is stepping back and looking for a more pedestrian friendly future. Having suffered the consequences of lightning growth and poor urban planning in the second half of the 20th century, an international team of urban planners are calling for a 2.2 mile elevated highway, carrying busy traffic through the city’s center, to be pulled down. 

 

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

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