Weekly Walk Around the News 1/20/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of January 20, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

January 20, 2012

Local

The National Park Service has announced the community based projects it’s staff will be supporting in 2012. Their goal is to offer support for developing “sustainable communities that give every American places to walk, ride, paddle, and explore and connect with nature.” 

Follow this link to see all the projects happening in Washington State in 2012, including a range of trails and the Vancouver-Portland Youth Action Plan, helping to fight childhood obesity.

 

National

My husband was kind enough to point me to a fascinating article from the LA Magazine. Mapping a social and economic history of downtown parking, the article takes you on a tour through the events and personalities that have shaped our understanding of parking in US cities. The focus is on LA where, the author suggests, the city is being fundamentally shaped around the need for parking.

Last month, the Economist published an intriguing article about the science of predicting pedestrian behavior. Amid a range of great pedestrian factoids, the author describes how, as crowd density increases, people behave less like cognitive beings, and more like particles. This all has implications for emergency exits and crowd control- well worth a look.

Better Cities and Towns commented on a new study, based in Southern California, which found that more ‘traditional’ neighborhoods, with a high density of businesses at their center, encourage (not entirely surprisingly) more walking than those with their businesses strung out along a major roadway. However, the study also suggests that, for people to be drawn to walk to a central commercial area, it has to be large enough to draw in patrons from beyond walking distance. As such, it also needs to be well connected to local transportation options.

Better Cities and Towns also reported on a study from North Carolina suggesting that transit stations can reduce crime in their vicinity.

The Guardian commented on a study showing that the number of pedestrians injured while wearing headphones, while still relatively small, has tripled in the last 6 years.

The HUD announced that The Partnership for Sustainable Communities (designed to “to better coordinate federal programs and policies to create more housing opportunities, increase transportation choices, strengthen economic development, and support existing and inclusive communities”) will be holding a teleconference to update supporters on it’s progress last year. It will be held on Friday, January 20th, 12:30-1:30PST. Please RSVP to Germaine Walker (germaine.m.walker@hud.gov) by 12 pm on Thursday, January 19th for conference name: 2012 Sustainable Communities Update (234035)

In an article on Better Cities and Towns, author Chalres Mahron reflected on how we’ve come to accept decline, rather than maturation, in our neighborhoods.

Time Magazine discussed the evidence for children engaging in physical activity improving their performance at school– another argument for making it easier to walk to and from school.

 

International

Thanks to Spiegel Online for this illuminating comparison of pedestrian signals from across the world- something of an insight into cultural distinctions!

 

 

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

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