Weekly Walk Around the News 12/9/2011

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of December 9, 2011.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

December 9, 2011

 

Local

On Monday 12/5/11, Seattle Mayor McGinn reported that the Sound Transit voted last week to include $2 million in the budget to conduct an analysis of high capacity transit from Ballard to Downtown. This will be a supplement to the $900,000 grant already received from the Federal Transit Administration.

Our transportation choices, and thus the carbon emissions we produce, influence the environment. The city of Seattle is calling for citizens to both share their own ideas on how we can move towards carbon neutrality in Seattle, and to offer insight into the sorts of strategies that they would support. You can take the survey here.

 

National

The Huffington post reported on a new street safety sign campaign of Haikus in New York City.  One example:

 

A sudden car door

Cyclist’s story rewritten.

Fractured narrative.

 

Profound? If you’re inspired and would like to share a pedestrian road-safety haiku, do send it in and I’ll post them next week.

There will be a National Health Impact Assessment meeting held in Washington D.C. in April 2012 and a new book on the topic entitled “Improving Health in the United States, The Role of Health Impact Assessment” has been published this month.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced recipients of their “Roadmaps to Health” Community Grants. One of the recipients is the PedNet Coaltion from Iowa, which aims to use a Health Impact Assessment to demonstrate the relationship between improved public transit options, employment, and health.

The Project for Public Spaces advocated for the power of “Digital Placemaking,” i.e. using online, digital tools to engage normal citizens in urban development projects, and thus shake up the usual top-down processes associated with urban planning.  They have recently seen success in a project calling for citizens to speak up and  “Re-Imagine the Heart of San Antonio.”

A KCET commentator reflected on the overwhelming challenge of repairing Los Angeles’ sidewalks, 4,600 miles of which were damaged (apparently by the prevalent and destructive ficus tree) as long ago as 1997. The estimated costs of repairs is $1.6 billion, and, not surprisingly, there is some debate over who should foot the bill.

The blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation reported that the Federal Highway Administration and the Road Safety Foundation, acknowledging the unacceptable numbers of deaths on US roads, have got together to award agencies who “demonstrate excellence in roadway design, operations and planning that leads to improved safety.” The winners can be viewed here.

The EPA has announced the winners of its Smart Growth Achievement Award, based on “their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; creating a robust public involvement process; generating partnerships among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models.” One of the winners was El Paso, Texas. The city fought for transit-oriented development to improve transit connections, community, and a sense of safety walking the streets.

The Health Promotion Research provided an update on the Built Environment, Accessibility, and Mobility Study, which investigated the barriers to physical activity faced by adults with mobility disabilities. The end product of the research is an adaptation of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability to account for people with mobility disabilities.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School released a report “How Children Get to School: School Travel Patterns 1969 to 2009.” Check out the full report here.

The New York Times reflected on the significance of public spaces in densely populated areas, with an analytical tour of shared spaces in New York City.

 

International

Treehugger reported that a 3-mile stretch of mainland Europe’s  “A7”, a major artery connecting Denmark and Austria, is going to be covered over…with a park, under which the traffic will continue to flow.

 

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

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