Weekly Walk Around the News 4/6/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of April 6, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

April 6, 2012

 

Local

The University of Washington’s “U-Pass,” which encourages UW members to take greener ways to work than driving, will be 20 years old this year

The 35th Avenue Planning Committee has been holding Coffee Talks and, this week, our own Lisa Quinn, Paula Reeves of WSDOT and Kevin O’Neill from SDOT spoke about Walkable Communities. You can check out our North East Seattle Trails map here

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is teaming up with the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and Seattle Parks and Recreation on a project called Art Interruptions.  The project “encourages artists to install artworks on city sidewalks and parks and offer passers-by a brief interruption in their day with a moment of surprise, beauty or humor.”

The Linden Avenue North Complete Street Project will begin in late May. The project will redevelop Linden Avenue North between North 128th and North 145th Streets, creating buffered bike lanes to separate bicycle traffic from motorists and pedestrians and adding a pedestrian crossing near the Community Center. 

In the last couple of months the Waterfront Seattle Project has been holding community forums to discuss the future of the waterfront. Community feedback has called for a focus on pedestrians, places for people to gather and engage in activities, spaces for artists, education, blending of urban and natural….

 

National

Wednesday was the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day!

The third annual American County Health Rankings were released this week. Click here to play with all the data on environmental and behavioral health risk factors in your county and here for their creator’s comments on what’s changed this year.

Atlantic Cities reported on the growing problem of obesity in the US, which could be attributable, in part, to unwalkable and uncyclable neighborhoods. 

Some recent research suggests that having a highly sedentary lifestyle can increase risk of death, even if you exercise too. 

Starting on April 1st  (for good reason), Philadelphia introduced special ‘e-lanes’ to their sidewalks for a week. These lanes were specially designed for pedestrians choosing to text, watch videos or otherwise be distracted by their digital devices. Thanks to the Huffington Post for this one.

The New York Times calls for us to see parking lots, not just as ugly facilitators of driving, but would-be awesome public spaces.

Better Towns and Cities suggests that one realistic route to walkable neighborhoods is a return to what they describe as the “Missing Middle” housing types “such as duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts, mansion apartments, and live-work units.” These housing types increase neighborhood density without asking people to buy outside their comfort zones.

Better Towns and Cities describes the 10 steps to complete streets:

1. Design for pedestrians first.

2. Remember that proportions matter.

3. Design the street as a unified whole.

4. Include sidewalks.

5. Provide bicycle facilities.

6. Provide shade.

7. Plant street trees in an orderly manner.

8. Provide parking on-street and mid-block.

9. Make medians sufficiently wide.

10. Use smart lighting.

The Washington State Department of Health announced that US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program has awarded grant funding to Forterra the Building Sustainable Communities Consortium to provide technical assistance to communities in development projects. They can offer assistance in Compact infill development, Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), Local Infrastructure Financing, Complete Streets and Active Transportation, Healthy Communities, Citizen Engagement in the Planning Process. 

 

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

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