Weekly Walk Around the News 8/24/2012

Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of August 24, 2012.

WEEKLY WALK AROUND THE NEWS

Posted by Kerry Dirk

August 24, 2012

 

Local

Early findings from the July-August Walk Bike Ride Challenge show that converting car trips to biking has been the most popular option, followed by transit and walking. 

A local pedestrian was struck by a car while walking across Aurora at N. 59th Street on Tuesday evening. 

 On some weekends and weeknights, Montlake Blvd between NE Pacific Pl. and Pacific St. will be closed in order to build the new bicycle and pedestrian bridge for the University of Washington Link Light Rail Station. This will be ongoing until the end of September. For information about closure times, see Sound Transit’s website. 

As the viaduct is replaced, Seattle will gain a new waterfront design. We advocate for separate, designated bike-lanes, walkways, and traffic lanes. A waterfront that can be safely and easily used by all modes of transportation will reduce fatalities, and promote environmentally-friendly travel among residents and visitors alike. Sarah Goodyear of The Atlantic Cities makes the case for separate bike lanes in American cities.  

September 21st is PARK(ing) Day! Create a parking space into a temporary park. This event is supported by the Seattle Dept of Transportation. 

National 

As of mid-August, 82 pedestrians on area roads in Atlanta were killed by motor vehicles in 2012. This statistic, recently released by the Georgia Department of Transportation, shows that the number of pedestrians killed this year is set to exceed last year’s total number of fatalities. 

America Walks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting walkable communities through local advocacy groups, received funding from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with communities to improve walkability. 

A recent economic study by the Outdoor Industry Association reported that outdoor recreation is worth $646 billion a year and one of the fastest growing industries in America.  Specific focus is given to rail-trail systems. 

Although walking has long been applauded for its health benefits, Danny and Katherine Dreyer, co-founders of a movement called Chi Walking, also believe that walking can be a valuable meditation exercise. 

Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland are all creating reinvestment projects in their urban cores in order to revive neighborhoods that have been neglected due to suburban growth. These projects include new parks, common areas, street level retail and apartments to encourage walkability. 

The City Council of Indianapolis approved a Complete Streets plan to add bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks, and bus stops to streets currently under. construction.

The Los Angeles City Council is considering easing up on parking requirements for businesses in order to encourage walking and put less pressure on small businesses in urban areas to have to provide parking. 

Friends of Hudson River Park in New York have established a Neighborhood Improvement District in order to maintain the Hudson River Park, which has suffered from a recent lack of funding in comparison to other New York City parks. 

Nearly two-thirds of new apartment complexes in Portland are being built without any parking spaces. 

 

International

At an International Bellagio Conference in early August (a conference held by the Rockefeller foundation and focused on social, economic, health, and environmental problems), presenters discussed the idea of freeway-free world cities to stop urban congestion and sprawl.  Car-less avenues would include spaces for walkers, bikers, and buses.  

A study by a German insurance industry found that emergency braking systems could help reduce pedestrian casualties by reducing the impact velocity. 

 A call to make Yonge St. in Toronto more walkable. 

Pedestrian-friendly urban design in Ottawa. 

What’s next for China’s urban villages? Former rural areas in China have been remade into urban centers, but their future is now in jeopardy. 

OtherWill 21st century cities be free of the freeway? As the downtown areas of large metros all across the world are becoming car-free, Neal Pierce explores this possibility. 

The case for “strict liability” for the driver in collisions between motorists and pedestrians/cyclists. 

Apple and Google’s cell-phone apps are becoming more segregated based on mode of transportation, with car-centric apps given precedent. 

 

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