Weekly Walk Around the News 5/4/2012

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Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of May 4, 2012.


Posted by Helen Lundell

May 4, 2012



Jackson Plaza will be brought to life with a new light-based art installation this week, Seattlite. 

On Saturday, Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Futurewise led a group on a walking tour around the good, the better, and the to-be-improved of Northgate (including light rail and a bridge across I-5). SDOT also blogged upcoming improvements in the area, as part of the NE Northgate Way & 5th Avenue NE Intersection and Pedestrian Improvements. Note that there will improvement related sidewalk closures (sidewalk access on the east side of Fifth Avenue NE. Seattle City) this Saturday and Sunday.

Feet First volunteers successfully hand trucked a keg of beer to Latona ub to celebrate Earth Day,and King 5 covered it!

Seattle’s Transit Master Plan has now been signed into law by Mayor McGinn. The plan describes a 20 year vision to improve connectivity between Seattle’s neighborhoods, including an expansion of rail transit. 



WalkScore has released a city ranking, based on residents’ access to public transportation systems. New York topped the charts, but Seattle made it in there at number 7.

Better Towns and Cities! Gave us an intriguing history of the suburban shopping mall, and its impact on walkabout downtowns — featuring Seattle’s Northgate mall, which opened in 1950.

A study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health found that intersections in areas of the highest poverty in Montreal featured an average 6.3 times more pedestrian injuries than in the wealthiest areas. Basically, they found that poorer areas have more traffic, and more traffic leads to more injuries and, thus, greater inequalities. As such, they propose traffic reduction and safer roadway design as potentially important routes to public health improvements in poorer areas.

A study in Tennessee has put a value on urban trees: $640 million per year. And where does that figure? $66 million in heating and cooling expenses- the trees provide cool rooftops against the heat, break cold winds, and absorb $570 million worth of pollutants. 

Where The Sidewalk Starts bloggers suggests that bike and ped committees are all just old boys club — an unhelpful trend, given that women often have quite different transport needs than men. 

Atlantic Cities added its voice to the outcry against the regularity with which drivers who cause accidents avoid criminal charges, and jaywalkers are fined without hesitation. They consider the shift in public sympathies from the pedestrian (at the turn of the century, when the new automobile was seen as something of a public menace) to the car driver of today.  

Take a look at Feet First’s stance on jaywalking in Seattle

The Nation’s Health explained the connection between neighborhood violence prevention and healthy communities, as well as some interventions that have targeting health outcomes through a focus on neighborhood safety.

The House and the Senate are edging towards negotiation of a new transportation bill, after a 3-month extension was passed a couple of weeks ago. Transportation for America looks at the non-transportation oriented, and environmentally unsound, provisions that were thrown into the mix to keep more conservative members happy — the Keystone XL pipeline and re-regulation of coal ash. 

How medians and walkways improve pedestrian safety — a new brief from the Federal Highway Administration.

Here’s a 6 minute video on how transit-oriented development (TOD) facilitates the independence and mobility of older adults, from the AARP Public Policy Institute.

The Smart Growth Network is hosting a National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities over a range of media over the next 18 months. At the moment, they are soliciting short papers posing innovative answers to questions surrounding issues that communities will be facing in the next 15 years, like how we can plan for health and sustainability.

As an offshoot to the 2012 County Health Rankings release, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering $25,000 Roadmaps to Health prizes. These will go to communities who can demonstrate that they identify and empower those with passion for positive change,  they have an understanding of the value of working together and that multiple factors influence health. Intent to apply notices due by May 31st!

The National Center for Safe Routes to School has put together a new resource guide on how to prioritize which problematic infrastructure issues to tackle.



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

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