Weekly Walk Around the News 3/30/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of March 30, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

March 30, 2012

 

Local

The Duwamish River Trail has opened in West Seattle. You’ll find two and a half miles of flat trail starting from the lower South Spokane Street Bridge, following West Marginal Way Southwest, southward to the First Avenue South Bridge with views of wildlife, marine industry, and downtown.

On Thursday, Seattle transit agencies hosted an open house to seek feedback on plans to both eliminate the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle and ask all passengers to pay on entry. These changes are due to come into effect at the end of September, aiming to save money and preserve transit.

With the weather heating up just a little, we can start thinking about “Summer Streets” in Seattle, where urban streets are open to the public for a few hours, giving them a glimpse of a better future for the city. Currently scheduled events include Ballard, Alki, Greenwood/Phinney, and Rainer Valley.

 

National

After a week perched on the edge of our seats, waiting to see if the House could pass a transportation bill to match the Senate’s bill (MAP-21) before the clock ran out on the current federal transportation program and motor fues tax…the House and Senate have now passed a 90 day extension. While they were waiting, T4A also put together a detailed summary of MAP-21.  

April 4th is the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day! They encourage everyone to go to work in sneakers and take 30 minutes out of their day to go for a walk. If you want to promote the day at your place of work, they also have a toolkit full of resources to get you started.

The Project for Public Spaces has criticized a report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recommending we keep older drivers safe by making roads wider and straighter. Guess what? Wider, straighter roads are really not the way forward for interconnected, walkable neighborhoods.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Bridging the Gap” has released two new reports that emphasize the important of the built environment in encouraging physical activity, they are:  “Income Disparities in Street Features that Encourage Walking” and “Using Local Land Use Laws to Facilitate Physical Activity” – fantastic resources.

Safe Routes to Schools will be holding a webinar on the very important question of how to secure funding for your SRTS program. Check it out on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, from 10-11am PDT.

The Atlantic Cities wonders whether urban areas getting quieter would make them more attractive, and so make denser living situations more desirable, and so promote walkable neighborhoods! This article takes you on a nice tour of the history and science of noisy neighborhoods.

A new study has evaluated a neighborhood park audit tool designed with, and for the use of, community stakeholders.

We waste 1.9 billion gallons of gas sitting in traffic (about 5% of all gas used by American motorists), according to a study by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Better Towns and Cities looked at who would win the NCAA Championship if they were being judged on…WalkScore. (Spoiler: Marquette).

International

 A UK based group “Vision 2030” is using research and 3D imaging to pave the way for drastically reducing car transport in UK urban areas.

Walkonomics highlights a project from the Netherlands, in which police spent 16 hours a week tackling issues typically associated with street walkability– traffic speed, street cleaning, poop clear up…and, over a two year period, saw intriguing drops in serious crime rates, including burglary (22%) and vandalism (31%).

Yesterday, the leader of a program promoting walking and physical activity in Cuba, called “Step into Cuba,” was named a “Lets Move! And Physical Activity Champion for Change” by the White House.

 

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

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