Weekly Walk Around the News

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of February 1, 2013; An Open House for the next phase of the Burke-Gilman trail, a lack of equal access to transit for those with strollers, and making left turns at intersections safer for pedestrians.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Kerry Dirk

February 1, 2013

 

Local

Interested in learning about the next phase of development for the Burke-Gilman trail? At 10 am on Saturday, February 2, Seattle Children’s will hold an Open House at University of Washington’s Gould Hall. The purpose of the open house is to share design options for the trail connection at Hartman. Activities for kids will be provided, including free bike safety checks and a bicycle safety and fun workshop. 

Last Thursday evening brought the first gathering of Eastsiders who want to keep the Eastside rail corridor. The Eastside Trailway Alliance is questioning Kirkland’s plans to turn the key corridor segment into a trail, which includes a 5.75-mile portion. 

With 77% of obese children becoming obese adults, programs like the Safe Routes to School are needed to provide students with a safe and healthy way to start the day.  A newly formed Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Advisory Committee is building a SRTS Action Network in Washington. Please join this list-serv based community of people that includes Feet First, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Cascade Bicycle Club, Transportation Choices Coalition, and the Child Obesity Prevention Coalition. 

The Centennial Trail now extends all the way to Skagit county. Future projects will connect the Centennial Trail to the Burke-Gilman and the Sammamish River trails.

Curb bulbs, or extensions of a sidewalk that can decrease crossing distance for pedestrians, may not work at all intersections. For example, they can make turning awkward or challenging for some larger vehicles. 

A pedestrian in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood was killed after being struck by two vehicles Monday night. 

 

National 

Despite the desire to make sure all users have equal access to transit, a 2011 review of 42 transit agencies found that riders with strollers face a unique challenge. Riders often face drivers who resent having to lower the bus at multiple stops and may even be refused a ride during rush hour.  Fortunately, some cities have tried to accommodate those with strollers by removing a few seats to created designated stroller areas. 

The “Reshaping Suburbia” Conference will take place in Portland from June 23-27. The conference is designed to study how suburbia can be transformed into more livable, walkable spaces. 

A new tumblr called the Stumblr allows residents of San Diego to upload pictures of the worst sidewalks.  

A recent study confirms the benefits of red light cameras at intersections.  In particular, odds of a violation occurring at least 1.5 sections into the red phase, the most dangerous violations, fell 86%.

Vancouver is considered more walkable than both Seattle and Portland, according to Walk Score. New York and San Francisco are still tied for first with a score of 85.  

New York is changing its left-turn lanes after a study found that pedestrians are more often injured in left-turn crashes than right-turning ones. Several left turns were removed from intersections, which are more dangerous to pedestrians given that the driver’s line of sight is often more limited. 

The city of Charlotte, NC has started a new campaign to keep sidewalks free to debris and other obstructions associated with solid waste collections. 

Walkable urbanism may be more important to our foreign policy than one might think, a writer argues in the Atlantic Cities. Americans are increasingly leaving the suburbs for urban centers, which will reduce the demand for oil and enable us to live more sustainably. 

Many cities are converting their one-way streets into two-way streets. Two-way streets are said to be more pedestrian and bike friendly, easier to navigate, and better for local businesses. 

 

International

Texting and walking can leave you sopping wet, as one women discovered while walking straight into a canal.  The canal is located a short distance from the bottom of a set of stairs.

Canada is trying to decrease the number of pedestrian-related deaths and currently considering lowering speed limits of high pedestrians routes. Studies have shown that lower speeds during pedestrian accidents can increase the chance of survival from 5 to 80 percent.

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

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