Weekly Walk Around the News

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of April 22, 2011.

Weekly Walk Around the News

Posted by Derrick Van KirkApril 22, 2011 

Local

In his Crosscut.com article, Roger Valdez, formerly of Sightline Institute, discusses a new Washington State Department of Transportation study and the notion that traditional concrete sidewalks should be reconsidered.  Valdez points to the Cascade project, in which the City of Seattle implemented a natural landscape technique to create pedestrian pathways alongside naturally landscaped strips to address water runoff issues that arise when traditional concrete sidewalks are installed.

Erica C. Barnetts, from Publicola reports on the 125th Street “road diet.”  Feet First’s own Megan Risley has also written about this issue in this post, as well as a post about the positive effects of road diets on Stone Way and Nickerson. Sticking with the road diet theme, here’s another take on what they are and why we need to refrain from using that term according to.

Going back to last week’s news, here is a slightly more comprehensive report on HB 1071 – the “Complete Streets” bill that’s on Gov. Gregoire’s desk.

According to the West Seattle blog, a new pedestrian safety proposal was discussed at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this week.  A representative from SDOT says the city is applying for a state grant to install a “rapid-fire beacon” that would be pedestrian activated at the problematic intersection of California Ave SW and SW Dakota Street in West Seattle. 

Courtesy of the RedmondPatch, this article is one mother’s take on why the walkable City of Redmond is a great place to raise children. 

 

National

According to this article the City of Pasadena, CA is embarking on a pedestrian safety campaign that includes the likes of two poster children named “Dena” (as in Pasadena) and “Otis” (as in Office of Traffic Safety) to educate drivers to “Stop B4 the line.”  Interestingly, the campaign is using an extensive new social media campaign including Twitter, Facebook, and website, with the hopes of engaging a younger audience.  Likewise, according to a city traffic engineer, “Dena” and “Otis” also have “an engaging style and retro feel.”

From DC.Streetsblog.org, an interesting take on last week’s National Realtor Survey where this seemingly-skeptical writer believes that it is rather difficult to make any conclusions based on the results of this survey.  Her biggest concern is that according to survey respondents, “privacy” trumps walkability.  She believes although a discussion about walkability is taking place, the attitude of ‘apartments are great, as long as I don’t have to live in one’ is clear in the survey respondent’s answers.

“Aerotropolis” is the term used by city planners to describe a growing trend in major US cities to develop land adjacent to an airport that will include businesses, retail space, recreational facilities, and apartments all in close proximity to each other.  The Denver plan in particular focuses on density and walkability. 

This CNBC story (click on the read more icon in the right margin for the story) describes walkable cities and showcases the cities that Sperling’s Best Places considers to be the top 10 most walkable cities in the United States.  Seattle comes in at 4th on the list, while Portland and San Francisco come in at 10th and 1st respectively.  One thing that is not entirely clear however, is how Sperling came up with these rankings. 

According to a new study, although adult pedestrians can accurately judge the speeds of oncoming vehicles up to 50mph, children can only accurately judge speeds of up to 25mph. 

 

International   

This is an interesting post by the Vancouver, BC based Minimalist Mom (who also has an interesting ‘about’ page as well) regarding neighborhood walkability and health. Also from Canada, this article about an Ontario program called walkON – a provincially funded program promoting community collaboration and engagement to make cities more walkable.

 

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

 

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

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