Weekly Walk Around the News 6/15/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of June 15, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Helen Lundell

June 15, 2012

Local

Yesterday Feet First representatives attended the Sound Transit Capital Committee meeting to show support for Sound Transit Board Member and Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin’s proposal for a coordinated access strategy for the Northgate Link Light Rail Station. Conlin’s proposal would include offering $5 million from Sound Transit to put towards the $20 million pedestrian bridge over I-5, if other governments would also contribute. This proposal will be further discussed in July. Meanwhile, The Seattle Times notes that “the agency intends to move forward with a controversial 600- to 900-space garage, to include 450 spaces earmarked for transit users and the rest for shoppers at Northgate Mall.”

Feet First, other local organizations, and countless Northgate residents have expressed their concern at Sound Transit’s plan for the large parking complex, and have repeatedly requested ST to do the right thing for Northgate and spend at least as much on making it safe and convenient for the 92 percent of people who will access the future Northgate light rail station on bike, foot or transit as they are for the 8 percent who drive. Stay tuned for more updates on this issue. 

Come and find out about the conceptual design for the future of Seattle’s Waterfront– Thursday, July 12th 5:30-8:30pm, Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center.

SDOT gave a recap of its progress to date on Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan, and let us know that, in 2012: ‘We will construct 10 new blocks of sidewalk, install 25 pedestrian countdown signals, improve walking routes to five schools, rehabilitate 3 stairways and make crossing improvements at 42 locations across the city. “

SDOT celebrated the successes of their efforts to promote Walk to School Week

King Street Station has a new and improved ticket and baggage area.

 

National

The House and the Senate are still negotiating the federal transportation bill, and guaranteed access for local communities to make walking and biking safer is under threat AGAIN (the Cardin-Cochran Amendment). Follow this link to Transportation for America for more information, and to send an email to your local Senators and Representatives. 

Defense Department planning guidelines have stipulated that military bases will be made more walkable. They acknowledge that this will have both quality of life, and economic benefits. The military taking these concepts on board sends a pretty strong message…

We tend to object to strip malls because they place their parking out front, and so focus all attention on car access. However, Geoff Dyer of Better Towns and Cities points out that, actually, it’s not the out front parking that’s the problem per se, but how the relationship between cars and pedestrians is managed.  He compares ‘strip malls’ and their more walkable sibling the ‘multi-way boulevard.’

The Project for Public Spaces notes that, if we want to see people fighting to improve their built environment on a large scale, we “first need to focus on building social capital.” What really makes a place is “casual interactions and friendly encounters.”

Take a look at “City Pulse” released by Brain Drain, currently being developed for St. Louis: “CityPulse is citywide network of beacons that provides pedestrian lighting as interactive art, detects and reports street-level activity in real time, creates civic connections, and offers a new platform for human interactions and entrepreneurship.” 

Yet more coverage of New York’s Accident Investigation Squad apparently failing to adequately investigate, or press charges for, car accidents injuring (or even killing) pedestrians…

We tend to think of arguments for “Smart Growth” being aligned with liberal political leanings. Here, however, is the conservative argument from James Bacon of “Bacon’s Rebellion” – reported in Better Towns and Cities!

We thought that Apple had announced that new versions of the iPhone will not have walking and transit directions — but apparently it will. Rumors are flying out there. 

Atlantic Cities asks if Smart Phone apps that “augment reality” can really encourage us to walk more. They make reference to New York Nearest Subway, “an app that allows you to hold up your iPhone and see the nearest train stations displayed on the video screen” and the Streetmuseum app from the Museum of London, which “overlays your phone’s view of certain modern streets with historical pictures and information.” (I’ve used the Museum of London one, which is awesome). However, they worry that building a reliance on technology to do our navigating for us will degrade the naturally improved sense of direction and environment one attains through walking. 

WalkSanDiego has evaluated their programs and shown that federal investments made at the local level have been shaping healthier communities in the San Diego region.

If you’re trying to connect your community to the great outdoors through community projects or trail building, the National Park Service‘s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program may be able to help you…

The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute has created a new implementation guide: “From Inspiration to Action: Implementing Projects to Support Active Living.”

The Convergence Partnership announced a new funding opportunity for those looking to improve equity through the built environment or healthy food access policy.  The Innovation Fund will provide up to $200,000 as a 50% match. You’ll need to partner with a local foundation, and the deadline is August 9th.

Registration is now open for the 16th Walk to School Day, to take place on Wednesday, October 3. Events that register on the Walk to School website, will be displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the website, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their area.

The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC) has published its Spending Report for 2011. It answers questions including: “What are the country’s transportation funding priorities? What are transportation enhancements? How does your state compare with other states when it comes to spending federal Transportation Enhancement program funds?” (thanks to NCBW for flagging this).

 

 

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

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