Weekly Walk Around the News
Posted by Derrick Van Kirk April 16, 2011
This new weekly segment, ‘Walk Around the News’ is inspired by Where the Sidewalk Starts and StreetsBlog, both of which have a weekly round-up of news stories and blog postings about pedestrian news and sustainable transportation. In our segment, we hope to capture a small sample of pedestrian news from around Washington State, the nation, and the world.
This news courtesy of the Bellevue Patch—four bicycle and pedestrian safety bill’s are heading to Governor Gregoire’s desk to be signed into law by the end of this legislative session. As mentioned previously, one of our legislative priorities this session included HB 1071 which would create a complete streets grant program. By all accounts, this may indeed become a reality!
In other local news, the City of Renton is one of 32 communities nationwide to receive a US Environmental Protection Agency grant to fund a development plan to improve the pedestrian environment in the Benson community which was built in the 1960’s following the single-purpose zoning model of residential development.
An urban planning firm in Miami, FL had an interesting post about how block size, wide sidewalks, on-street parking, public spaces, and eyes on the street all contribute to an enjoyable walking experience. In Massachusetts, several communities are looking to use trails and plazas to encourage walking while walkability scores for various cities can differ wildly throughout the area. In New York, this story involving the correlation between the installation of a Times Square pedestrian plaza and air quality conditions since traffic has been rerouted has been rather prominent in the past few days. In San Diego this brand new 550 foot pedestrian bridge is one of the longest self-anchored pedestrian bridges in the world. This is certainly on my list as one of the seven wonders of the pedestrian world!
Finally, this National Association of Realtors survey, which claims Americans increasingly prefer more walkable communities, received a ton of attention this week as you can see here, here, and here. Survey respondents reported they would rather live in more walkable communities. The large caveat, however, is they only want walkable communities that can also provide privacy from neighbors and detached, single family homes. Where this trend is headed I’m not sure, but at least some Americans have begun to consider how much better life can be when you don’t have to get in your car every day.
For pedestrian news around the world, a very interesting article about a study from Auckland, New Zealand about how urban density affects children’s health. During the seven day study, a select group of children wore a GPS waist belt that tracked where they went. Each belt also had an ‘accelerator’ recording their physical activity which gave researchers an opportunity to measure the nature of the child’s movements as well. Children were also expected to keep a travel diary and were in contact with the research team at school each day. This article is certainly worth a read.
Finally, from our friends just north of the border in Vancouver, BC, an intriguing blog post about pedestrian and stroller priority in the city. The author writes for the Planning Pool, a website dedicated to urban planning and urban issues in Vancouver.
I hope you have a chance to dig into these stories. Since the world is ripe with news stories, blog postings, and studies about all things pedestrian, providing information to our readers shouldn’t be all that difficult. If you come across any interesting pedestrian news or stories, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of shoes courtesy of Flickr user blond avenger under the Creative Commons license.
Photo of bridge courtesy of Flickr user Jeffrey Beall under the Creative Commons license.