Weekly Walk Around the News 8/03/12

Walk around the News for August 3rd 2012

weekly walk around the news                       Walk Bike Ride

Posted by Rose Petersky

August 3rd 2012

 

Local

Sound Transit is considering implementing a daily fee at Park & Rides in order to relieve overcrowding and congestion in lots and allow more people to have access to the Park and Ride who commute later in the day. No changes are planned until at least 2013. Feet First applauds Sound Transit’s efforts at looking at parking pricing as a strategy to reduce the demand on the system.

The July-August Walk Bike Ride Challenge is currently underway. Participants have currently saved 2,255 miles of car trips. The Seattle Department of Transportation has reported that Ballard residents have saved the most miles at 495 so far, followed by West Seattle with 221 and Capitol Hill with 135. Get involved…and sign up today and see how far you can go by foot, bike or bus.

Remember the pedestrian/bicycle bridge Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Pinehurst and Maple Leaf Neighborhood Councils, tirelessly fought for over I-5 between North Seattle Community College and the planned Northgate light-rail station?  Well,  a new study by the King County Department of Transportation concludes that a cable-stayed or steel trussed pedestrian bridge would cost between $16.2 and $18.5 million, less than the original estimate of $20 million. This means, the City of Seattle and King County, along with the  5 million in dedicated funding set aside by Sound Transit, will have a little less grant writing to do.

National

Steve Mouzon of Original Green has proposed that walkability varies between different cities and countries based on how pleasant of an experience the walk can be, and proposes a new way to measure walking, Walk Appeal

Parks are currently being built alongside the Bronx River in New York City, long thought of as abused and highly polluted. Hunts Point Landing is slated to open later this summer, and Starlight Park will open next year. 

In the past seven years, the reported injuries to distracted walkers have more than quadrupled. This is due to pedestrians who text or talk on their cellphones while walking. Several US states and cities are proposing safety campaigns in response. Utah has adopted an ordinance outlawing pedestrians from using electronic devices while crossing light rail train tracks under penalty of a $50 fine.

Denver is proposing a $7.4 billion expansion to its rail system, which originally opened in 1994.  This expansion will add up to 122 miles of light rail within the next 10 years. The proposal seeks to allow rail users to have access to the mass transit without having to drive to stations.

Midland, Michigan approved a Complete Streets policy for its future transportation endeavors. Complete Streets are streets that are designed to be safely accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists. Atlanta is also considering the implementation of a Complete Streets policy.

International

Vancouver, BC is considering improving Water Street in Gastown within the next 12-18 months, which has now become an ugly mix of asphalt and cobblestone. Traffic engineers are considering a variety of solutions to this problem, including closing the street to all car traffic besides delivery vehicles.

Toronto acquired a new chief planner, a move that could improve the chilly relationship the city’s mayor has with its pedestrian and bike communities. 

Other

Facts about urban trees:

  • The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
  • If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3 percent less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12 percent.
  • One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.
  • A number of studies have shown that real estate agents and home buyers assign between 10 and 23 percent of the value of a residence to the trees on the property.
  • Surgery patients who could see a grove of deciduous trees recuperated faster and required less pain-killing medicine than matched patients who viewed only brick walls.
  • In one study, stands of trees reduced particulates by 9 to 13 percent, and the amount of dust reaching the ground was 27 to 42 percent less under a stand of trees than in an open area.
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