Weekly Walk Around the News

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of April 29, 2011.

Weekly Walk Around the News

Posted by Derrick Van Kirk April 30, 2011

Local

Although this was from a few weeks ago, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington posted this story about working with Feet First to bring the Safe Routes to School program to South King County.  

According to this article from the Bellingham Herald, SSB 5326 (also known as the Vulnerable Users Bill) passed the State Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The Walk Friendly Communities program, which is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and maintained by The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), released its inaugural list of eleven pedestrian friendly cities.  According to the press release, Seattle tops the list as the most “Walk Friendly Community” based on the following criteria:  safety, mobility, access, comfort, and a “commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety.”

The City of Shoreline recently conducted a transportation master plan open house in order to get feedback from the community regarding transportation policies and improvements being proposed.  For people who missed the open house, an online questionnaire is also available to be submitted to the City by May 16th.

 

National

From the New Hampshire Union Leader, this story describes a movement to create walkability through a program called Retro-Fitting NH Neighborhoods.

Construction began on an impressive 94 foot long and 34 foot high pedestrian bridge in Tempe, AZ which will enable walkers, runners, and bicyclists to safely cross a large reservoir without having to deal with traffic.

This article from the Times Union of Albany, NY takes a stab at answering this question: Even though people prefer walkable communities, why are neighborhoods built for cars?

Some Baltimore pedestrians, fed up with having to wait through an inordinate amount of traffic signal changes that they say defer to motorists, are attempting to force the city to make good on the recently passed complete streets initiative.  As you can see here, here, and here, it will be interesting to see how the city reacts to these complaints.     

This Dallas area blogger advocates for closing a major freeway that runs through the city.

San Antonio is looking to improve walking by asking residents for feedback about current walking conditions in the city.  Interestingly, an urban planner from Seattle was hired as a consultant on the pedestrian survey.

The University of Arkansas is attempting to create a more walkable campus.

Check out this plan to build a wooden pedestrian bridge in Brooklyn that will span 396 feet and zigzag “gracefully through a clutch of tall oaks,” while descending 30 feet in elevation – quite an engineering feat indeed.  

According to this post from Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council Staff blog (a worthy resource for all things environmental), an increasing amount of cities across the country are adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies. 

 

International

Officials in the city of Al Ain, the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates, have finished the first of a three phase project to improve pedestrian safety in the city.

According to This Big City, an urban sustainability blog, walkable streets that include widened pavements, extra trees, improved lighting, and new way finding signs are good for the local economy.

This Neighborhood Walkability Checklist from the Heart Foundation of Australia somehow wound up in my inbox.  Although it isn’t necessarily news, it is nonetheless interesting. 

 

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

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user blond avenger under the Creative Commons license. 

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