Weekly Walk Around the News 3/2/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of March 2, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

March 2, 2012

 

Local

On February 21st, Mayor McGinn gave his state of the city address, and he had a fair bit to say about transportation, claiming “Here’s another reason people want to live here – we have transit. Not all the transit we want, but enough to make a difference.” He discussed the Transit Master Plan and it’s emphasis on connecting our neighborhoods with rail, forthcoming construction on the First Hill Streetcar and plans for a Ballard to downtown rail connection, among other issues.

Fed up with a silly bus policy, an “activist blogger” has created a petition to King County Metro about their stroller policy. At Feet First, we support policies that make it easier for people to choose to take the bus. Send this link on to other moms and dads and start making the healthy choice the easy choice! 

Join the Seattle Department of Transportation for their First Hill Streetcar Construction open house(s) on February 28th and March 7th. The streetcar project will connect Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, the Central Area, Chinatown International District, and Pioneer Square, and you’re invited to meet the project team and learn more about their plans. Follow the link for times, locations and more details. 

The Neighborhood plan update for Broadview – Bitter Lake – Haller Lake is now complete. Join in a community meeting to start the ball rolling on the new priorities for the area:

  • Creating Linden Ave N Village Center
  • Transforming Aurora Ave. N
  • Building Community
  • Improving Safe Walking and Biking

The meeting will be on Tuesday, March 13, from 
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m,
 at the Broadview-Thomson K-8 School, 13052 Greenwood Avenue North.

 

National

There’s been big news on the troubling House Transportation Bill this week- Speaker John Boehner has announced that his team will be reworking the bill, replacing the 5 year bill with a 2 year proposal and removing the provision to eliminate dedicated public transportation funding. This is a major breakthrough, but nothing is certain yet. Catch up with Transportation for American for more details.

Robert Steuteville of Better Cities and Towns blogged about the features of the Department of Transportation that we should be celebrating, including proposals for: 

  • Adopting a broad “complete streets” policy
  • Adopting (multimodal) Transportation Leadership awards.
  • Combining intercity rail with transit-oriented development

Have a look at Policy Link’s assessment of Obama’s 2013 budget, which considers the budget through the lens of social and economic equity (in which transportation and sustainable communities play a crucial role).

Last week, I talked about “Guerrilla Wayfinding” in Raleigh, North Carolina – check out this BBC video on the movement! Another voice from the wayfinding community, Emily Badger (a professional pedestrian wayfinder), has offered some insight what it really means to design methods of supporting pedestrians exploring a city. There’s more to it than putting up a few signs; it seems to be all about giving people cues that they belong, and that it’s safe to be curious. Unfortunately, it looks like the “illegal” signs are now being taken down.

In New York City, it is startlingly easy to avoid criminal charges if you’re a driver who has injured or even killed another road user. According to the data cited in this Atlantic Cities article, 241 pedestrians or cyclists were killed by drivers last year. Only 17 of the drivers responsible faced criminal charges. 

The Open Streets Project website and the Open Streets Guide have just been launched by the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Street Plans Collaborative. Open streets initiatives “temporarily close streets to automobiles, allowing residents to walk, bike, skate, dance and utilize the roadways in countless creative and active ways.” The website showcases successful examples of Open Streets and allows users to share resources.  According to the site, Seattle’s Bicycle Sunday, organized by Seattle Parks and Recreation, is the oldest Open Streets Project in the USA.

This recently published article, “Toward environments and policies that promote injury-free active living—it wouldn’t hurt” by Health & Place, offers an evidence – based framework for making sure children stay safe while they’re enjoying an active lifestyle, proposing policy initiatives such as traffic calming and pedestrian/bicycle lanes.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Urban Pathways Initiative has released a set of resources: “Urban Pathways to Healthy Neighborhoods: Promising Strategies for Encouraging Trail Use in Urban Communities.” Resources include research on factors contributing to trail use, trail safety, and summaries of important themes in ‘developing, promoting and programming’ urban pathways.

The American Public Health Association will be holding a 6 day course for public health practitioners and advocates on Physical Activity and Public Health in September this year.

 

International

Artist, Simon Beck, spends a lot of time walking through the snow – because he’s turned walking into an art form. This is a pretty serious step up from snow angels or even crop circles; take a look at his large scale, really rather mind-blowing, designs.

 

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

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