Weekly Walk Around the News

 

Posted by Kerry Dirk

 

 

Local

The Seattle Neighborhood Planning team recently received a National Planning Achievement Award for its development of the Health Living Assessment (HLA). The HLA provides a health-based framework, which includes 16 health indicators that identify links between the physical environment and health.

 

In 2008, SDOT began taking steps to improve pedestrian access through construction zones; then the recession hit and construction activity in Seattle came to a standstill. Recently construction activity has picked up, and in consultation with Councilmembers Rasmussen, O’Brien and Licata, the mayor has asked SDOT and DPD to improve pedestrian safety through construction zones.

 

You can now read the Seattle Planning Commission’s latest report, “Seattle Transit Communities – a Citywide Strategy to Integrate Neighborhoods with Transit.” 

 

The Waterfront Seattle 3D surveys are in progress, with initial surveys complete for South Main, South Washington, Columbia, Marion, Seneca, and Union Streets.

 

 

National 

 

Kaiser Permanente recently launched a new version of its Every Body Walk! App.  New features include a more user-friendly design and the ability to share walks via Facebook and Twitter.

 

Chapel Hill has offered free transit since 2002, with an increase in ridership from 3 million passengers in 2002 to 7 million passengers in 2012.  The interim director of Chapel Hill Transit talks about the move to fare-rides and provides suggestions for other communities hoping to do the same.  He suggests, in particular, finding a committed funding partner, maintaining quality service, funding para-transit service, and accounting for policing the system.

 

America Walks will host a discussion forum on Thursday, March 28th called “Re-purposing Public Spaces to Restore Walking on Main Streets & Beyond.” The forum will take place from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and will include stories from audience members who want to talk about examples of re purposing community spaces.

 

A proposed traffic law in Utah would lead to tougher punishments for “endangering a vulnerable user of a highway.”  This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and emergency workers.

 

Even just small amounts of walking can have tremendous health and environmental benefits.  Researchers recently found that increasing walking from 4 to 22 minutes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and decrease global warming-causing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Millennials would much rather give up their cars than their computers or cell phones.  However, survey participants in every other age group valued their cars the most.

 

 

International

 

A recent study found that driving a car is safer than being a pedestrian or cyclist in British Columbia.  15 deaths for pedestrians, 14 for cyclists, and 10 for drivers are expected for every 100 million trips.

 

Toronto police recently kicked off a pedestrian safety campaign called “Do the Bright Thing,”which encourages pedestrians to wear bright-colored and/or reflective clothing.

 

Why do cyclists enrage car drivers? One writer theorizes that motorists despise cyclists because they offend the moral order.  Though cyclists may follow the rules of the road, they are also able to do things that cars cannot, including overtaking queues of cars and traveling at well below the speed limit.

 

Volvo’s recent hatchback V40 comes with pedestrian air bags.  The air bags will inflate if the car hits someone while traveling between 12 and 30 mph.

 

A recent study found that 57 of every 100 people who die on Mumbai’s roads are pedestrians. These findings have led to increased interest in providing better pedestrians infrastructure in the city and creating campaigns to change pedestrian behavior.

 

Jaywalking has become extremely prevalent in Havana, Cuba, and around 1,300 pedestrians are struck by vehicles each year.  Though Cuban officials hope to reduce jaywalking, the problem is not only lax attitudes by pedestrians but also nonexistent sidewalks and few pedestrian crossings.

 

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs recently designated a newAction Network on Sustainable Transport to promote sustainable, low-carbon transport, particularly in developing countries.

 

 

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

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