Weekly Walk Around the News

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Feet First’s look at pedestrian news for the week of July 8, 2011

Weekly Walk Around the News 

Posted by Derrick Van Kirk July 8, 2011



This post by a St. Louis area blogger compares the walkability of Seattle to the needed pedestrian infrastructure changes in St. Louis.    



In an effort to mitigate accidents between pedestrians and quiet vehicle on our nation’s roadways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a new rule requiring electronic vehicles to have a noise system that will sound an alert to a pedestrian as the vehicle approaches, in certain situations.  It could be years before this rule takes effect.  NHTSA has until July 4, 2012 write standards for the noise system and has until January 4, 2014 to publish a final rule. 

In Louisville, Kentucky a former railroad bridge is being converted to a pedestrian walkway connecting Louisville with Jeffersonville in Southern Indiana.  The Big Four Bridge project is going to be one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the nation once it’s completed in 18 months. 

According to the Pegasus News, Jay Cooper of Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth believes that the Dallas-Fort Worth area needs to become a more pedestrian friendly community to encourage the growth of small business and the growth of small communities. 

If you’ve ever been less than comfortable pushing the crosswalk button at an intersection without a bottle of hand sanitizer readily available, perhaps this idea is for you.   Instead of pushing a button, this pedestrian traffic switch is activated by a motion sensor that will detect a hand waving over it to inform the light that a pedestrian is ready to cross the street.  No word on how this device would avoid false alarms.

Smart Growth Online describes a new study from the University of Massachusetts that compares bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements with automobile infrastructure improvements in 11 cities in the US.  The study found that pedestrian and bicycle projects produced an average of 10 to 11.4 jobs for each 1 million spent while automobile-only projects produced the least number of jobs per dollar spent, averaging 7.8 jobs for each 1 million spent.



Since the news is generally full of stories about pedestrians getting hit by cars, we rarely include the stories in our weekly walk segment.  However this story, from Toronto, involves a bicyclist being ticketed for reckless driving, something I haven’t seen before. 

In the capital city of Tegucigapla, Honduras, where nearly 600 pedestrian deaths occur each year, street performers have become a voice for pedestrian safety.  By having mimes direct traffic and pedestrians as people cross the street, organizers hope that they are educating drivers and pedestrians about safety.


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


Photo of shoes courtesy of Flickr user blond avenger under the Creative Commons license. 


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