#187 Wednesday, October 31, 2007
CenterLines is the bi-weekly e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking. CenterLines is our way of quickly delivering news and information you can use to create more walkable and bicycle-friendly communities.
-> The preliminary schedule for the run-up to the September 2008 Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in Seattle, Washington has been posted at:
"The Puget Sound local host committee is keeping the gas turned up, and things are shaping up to be a full week of events you're not going to want to miss," said Gary MacFadden, the PWPB conference director. "As the preliminary schedule indicates, we're going to have conference-related workshops and special meetings starting on the Saturday prior to the conference opening, and going all the way through the following weekend after the conference closes."
MacFadden also noted that once again presentation proposals for the conference will be handled with an on-line submission process. "We're nailing down the theme and tracks for the conference right now, and we expect to have the call for presentations out in late November," he said. "Then once again we'll lock three or four people in a room with multiple copies of the expected 300 proposals, and tell them to shape an unforgettable program. And they'll do just that."
For updates on the conference, keep an eye on the conference pages at:
-> According to the Oct. 25th Cascade Bicycle Club Braking News, "On Monday, Oct. 29, the Seattle City Council will be briefed on the ambitious Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. We expect the plan to be adopted by resolution in the weeks following this meeting. The Cascade Bicycle Club has been a driving force behind the plan's development, and we'll be there to hold the Mayor and Council accountable to their pledge to make Seattle the most bicycle friendly city in North America. Its vision: connecting communities via a 450-mile network of trails, bike lanes and bicycle boulevards."
-> The Active Living Resource Center (ALRC) staff has just completed the 2007 round of City Safe Routes to School programs. We recently received word from our friends in Atlanta (GA) and Garfield (NJ) that the schools we worked with during our spring round of City SRTS have made considerable progress on all their "E’s." In Garfield, the SRTS efforts are being spearheaded by Darleen Reveille, of the City’s Public Health Department. Since our May workshops, Darleen has received grants from the State of New Jersey and a local non-profit for work on SRTS. One school hosted its very first Walk to School Day this fall. A third grade class is leading the charge at the other school, where a teacher has started a monthly Walk to School Day. She hopes to move to a weekly event by the end of the school year.
In Atlanta, Terri Dumas of PEDS (Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety) has been hard at work at Capitol View and Benteen elementary schools to make (desperately needed) infrastructure improvements happen. At one school the city has rebuilt the sidewalk in front of the school to separate students from traffic and prevent parking on the sidewalk. More impressive is the news that more parent volunteers have come forward to help with walking children to school. At the other school the Atlanta Police Department assigned 30(!) officers to ensure that the most recent Walk to School Day would be a huge (and safe) event.
Our October visit to Hartford (CT) was our last set of City SRTS workshops for the year, so we thought we’d try something different: an art contest. To get everyone into the spirit of the workshops (and thinking like kids) we asked each person to draw a map of his/her walk to school. Ten minutes later it was pencils-down and time for Show & Tell.
The results? Twenty and thirty years ago there were scary dogs, neighborhood creeps, and dangerous intersections—just like today. We told the adults we would be hanging up their artwork in the school’s hallway after the workshop. Since we didn’t get that chance in Hartford, we thought we would use CenterLines to make good on our promise.
For more on our initial visit to Garfield NJ visit http://www.activelivingresources.org/saferoutestoschool10.php
For more on the Hartford CT workshops visit http://www.activelivingresources.org/saferoutestoschool9.php
Following on the success of its previous brochure, "Bicycle Safety: What Every Parent Should Know," the Active Living Resource Center (ALRC) team has just introduced a new brochure. Titled "10 Really Good Reasons Exercise Is Important For Your Child," the new brochure walks parents through reasons they can share with their children as to why exercise is so important.
"Like its predecessor, we aimed this brochure at parents as the "messengers" who can sit down with their kids (or better yet, take a walk with them!) and explain why exercise is important, and how to work that exercise into daily life," said John Williams, the brochure's author.
And like the bicycle safety brochure, the new brochure will also be offered as artwork; local groups will be able to have a logo and tag-line placed on the last page of the artwork, and permission granted to make and distribute copies of the brochure.
"Before we begin offering the artwork, we want CenterLines readers to download the brochure, give it a thorough look, and make any suggestions for changes," said Williams. "The bicycle safety brochure was made a better brochure because of input from people in the bike/ped field. We want to take the same approach with this new brochure.
To download a preview brochure, visit: http://www.activelivingresources.org/kids_exercise_brochure.pdf . http://tinyurl.com/37e3dy
PS: Williams also noted that you can still request artwork for the What Every Parent Should Know About Bicycling at:
-> According to a note from Mark Wyatt, Executive Director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, "The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has expressed disappointment in the actions of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors who recently banned the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) or any events of similar nature from occurring on the public roadways. The action was rash, short sighted, and failed to consider not only the consequences, but also the real problems of an unbalanced transportation system designed solely around cars.
"Since many of the facts were not made public in court, there have been assumptions published in the articles reporting the incident. What we do know is Crawford County's liability was imposed by their choice to settle the lawsuit. Since the case was not decided in a court, fault remains undecided and precedent does not exist. The lack of a precedence may demonstrate how much of a liability really exists.
"Bicyclists killed due to road defects are a rare exception and an exponential number of bicyclists have been killed in Iowa due to crashes with motor vehicles. Rather than banning bicycling events, counties in Iowa should encourage more bicycling. Investments in roadway maintenance, bicycling and walking facilities, and safety education will pay big returns for communities.
"What happens from here? The Iowa State Association of Counties has discouraged any more counties from taking the same action as Crawford County did. Many more counties are going on record to say they welcome the ride to their county. There is no doubt we will see some sort of action proposed when the Iowa Legislature convenes on January 14, 2008.
"There is also no doubt that Iowa's situation has implications on other rides, bicycle level of service, and liability issues. It is also obvious the issue reaches far beyond Iowa's borders since over 6,000 riders per year live outside Iowa. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is creating support and encouraging relations with new partners. One of our most important partners will be grassroots cyclists and we will need your support more than ever."
-> According to the Sept./Oct. edition of Access Currents, "The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), along with the [U.S. Access Board], the Federal Highway Administration, and the Maryland Department of Transportation organized a consumer evaluation of devices used for directing pedestrian traffic around work zones in the public right-of-way. Held at Maryland state Department of Transportation headquarters in Hanover, Maryland, the event enabled volunteers with blindness or low vision to test and evaluate various products, including barricades, channelizing devices, 'talking' lights, and detectable warnings.
"In opening remarks, Access Board Chair Tricia Mason noted that the goal is to provide adequate detection for all pedestrians, including those with residual vision and those who use canes, dog guides, and hand-trailing techniques. Manufacturers were in attendance and received suggestions from test participants on possible ways to improve the effectiveness of their products. The evaluation results will be compiled, analyzed, and disseminated to the industry, regulatory agencies, and others."
-> Several people were gathering at a railroad crossing in Orangeville to show me their existing trails and their ideas for creating new ones. The participants included the head of the city planning department, the head of the parks department, and several trails advocates. The last person to arrive rode in on his mud splattered mountain bike. It was Rob Adams, the mayor of Orangeville. Without knowing anything about his politics, I knew he would have my vote.
This pattern was often repeated throughout my recent week in Ontario: getting the opportunity to work with elected officials and staff who understand the need to improve accommodations for walking and biking. Not all do, of course. Some say the right things, but are reluctant to step up. Others don’t even go this far. But most would echo the words of Chris White, Mayor of Guelph-Eramosa. He argues that a perfect storm of economic need, fear of sprawl and its accompanying homogenization of once special rural places, growing awareness of the physical inactivity of community youth, and concerns of deteriorating air quality is gathering to push forward the desire to create more active communities. Here, at the outer edge of the encroaching growth of the Toronto metropolitan area, active communities means trails, new town streetscapes, smart growth initiatives and, especially in the city of Guelph, a push for safe routes to schools.
Good conversation happens here over lunch. Great conversations happen over supper. And one such supper with Mayor Chris White, a member of the town council, and two representatives from the regional public health office was made even livelier by the bottle of Fat Bastard wine supplied by the mayor. While I can’t recall many specifics of the conversation – the wine was surprisingly good – the outcome was clear: a heightened interest in improving access to their conservation district and specific ideas on funding bike and ped improvements in town.
Jennifer McDowell is a recent college graduate, hired by the Mayor of Guelph to be the city’s first TDM coordinator. As such, she has become the city’s chief safe routes to schools advocate. Through her efforts, I participated in three SRTS mini-workshops, leading principals, parents, teachers, school nurses, and the head of the city’s engineering department in walkabouts and discussions around three elementary schools. We kicked around many ideas at these meetings, and at the long lunches that followed. Several next steps were agreed upon, ranging from the prosaic (specific facility improvements, initiating walking school bus programs) to the divine (creating specific accommodations around all elementary schools in Guelph, such as no right turns on red, reduced speed limits, and expanded no parking zones; and charging parents for driving their children into school parking lots). We’ll see how this last one goes.
Then there was the meeting at Minto. The mayor, two councilors, staff from the parks department and economic development agency, and concerned citizens were present to talk about trails expansion, downtown improvements, and applying more stringent expectations on developers. One would have thought we were in Boulder or Portland; the advantages of reverse angle parking, the economic impacts of walkability, the need to insist on sidewalks on both sides of the street in every new development, were all discussed in a town in rural Ontario with a population of 8,500. I didn’t need to say all that much. Perhaps I had planted a few seeds in my previous visit a year before, but whatever the cause, they were clear on where they wanted to go.
Also clear on where they wanted to go were the participants in a trails conference in Dufferin County. Some 50 advocates, professional staff, and elected officials spent six hours talking about how best to expand their trails network to encourage more young professionals to live there, more families to walk and bike together, more children to walk to school safely. I offered a few remarks as their keynote speaker, but I suspect I drew more energy and inspiration from them than they did from me.
Weeks like this are why I do what I do. These people in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region of Ontario are working to improve their communities and the lives of their children and grandchildren. Who wouldn’t want to lend a hand, and be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
-> According to the Oct. 26th OKI-Bicycle E-Info News, "Indiana is in the midst of their second round of Safe Routes To School (SRTS) applications. Michael O'Loughlin, the Indiana Safe Routes To School coordinator, reported that between May 1st and June 29th, 53 applications were received totaling more than $9.2 million. Applications were distributed among the Indiana SRTS Advisory Committee members for review and evaluation. The Committee will meet to complete its recommendations to the INDOT Commissioner for the final project selections. Announcements about the successful SRTS applications in Indiana's second round are expected later this fall. In 2006, sixteen infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities were awarded SRTS funds in Indiana."
-> According to the Oct. 23rd "Making Places Bulletin," The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) "will be offering 'Streets as Places,' a two-day transportation/placemaking training course on November 29-30, 2007. The goal of the course is to introduce participants to new ways of thinking about streets as public spaces and how placemaking can be used to build great streets and great communities.
"It is intended for anyone who is interested in creating a great street, including transportation professionals who want to learn more about how streets can help to build communities, civic and elected officials who realize that greater economic impact can result from changing the way that roads are designed, and citizen activists who understand that the time to change is now.
"Presentations and discussion will center on how streets, roads, and transit facilities can be designed and managed to benefit communities, in addition to serving mobility needs. Practical tools for assessing a variety of street typologies and case studies of cities which have moved beyond solving mobility problems to community building will be presented, and participants will be encouraged to discuss their own projects as well as share experiences and ideas with each other..."
For more info, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3cgdja
-> Canada is out to set a new World Record for the largest number of people walking one kilometre simultaneously. They walked the walk on October 3, 2007 and now will talk the talk IF all goes well. The current record is held by Western Australia with 100,915 participants in September 2006.
Preliminary results for Canada's Guinness World Record Walk attempt will be posted today on the web address at the bottom of this feature. Note that the record won't be official until all data has been verified by Guinness. The World Record Walk was held on October 3, 2007, 12:30 PM EDT.
The World Record Walk was organized by Green Communities Canada:
-> According to an Oct. 22nd news release, "The Bicycle Transportation Alliance's Board of Directors has selected Scott Bricker to be the new Executive Director. This comes following a nationwide executive search process that involved the Board of Directors, members of the BTA staff and the community at-large. The search committee received 13 applications from around the US and Canada and interviewed 4. Following two rounds of interviews, the search committee forwarded its recommendation to the full Board, which enthusiastically approved it at their Board retreat this weekend.
"'Scott has brought a tremendous amount of leadership and vision to the organization as the interim director, and the Board is extremely pleased to appoint him to the post on a permanent basis,' said Board Chair Hugh Bynum. Linda Ginenthal, Chair of the Search Committee said, 'We were very pleased with the quality of the applications we received. There were a number of very strong candidates. But at the end of the day, Scott was by far our top pick based on experience, vision and capabilities. We are thrilled to have Scott as our new ED.'..."
For more info about the BTA, go to:
-> According to a Sept. 11th Purdue University release, "From suburban driveways to the sprawling lots that spring up around big retailers, Americans devote lots of space to parking spaces -- a growing land-use trend that plays a role in heating up urban areas and adding to water pollution, according to a recent study. Purdue University researchers surveyed the total area devoted to parking in a midsize Midwestern county and found that parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers 3-to-1 and outnumbered resident families 11-to-1. The researchers found the total parking area to be larger than 1,000 football fields, or covering more than two square miles. 'Even I was surprised by these numbers,' said Bryan Pijanowski, the associate professor of forestry and natural resources who led the study in Purdue's home county of Tippecanoe. 'I can't help but wonder: Do we need this much parking space?'
"Pijanowski said that his results are cause for concern, in part, because parking lots present environmental and economic problems. They are, for instance, a major source of water pollution, he said. Tippecanoe County parking lots turn out about 1,000 pounds of heavy metal runoff annually, said Purdue professor Bernard Engel, who used a computer model to estimate changes in water-borne runoff caused by land-use changes. Engel, head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said lots are troublesome because pollutants collect on their non-absorbent surfaces and are then easily carried away by rain. 'The problem with parking lots is that they accumulate a lot of pollutants -- oil, grease, heavy metals and sediment -- that cannot be absorbed by the impervious surface,' Engel said. 'Rain then flushes these contaminants into rivers and lakes.'..."
QUOTES R US
-> "Metropolitan areas are the new functional units of our economy. The 100 largest contain the bulk of our nation's economic assets."
STATS R US
-> According to a survey sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and Smart Growth America...
- 75% of those polled said that improving public transportation and building communities that don't require as much driving were better long-term solutions for reducing traffic. Only 21% said that building new roads provided the best solution.
- Americans are more concerned than ever about the impact of growth and development on the changing climate. Nearly 90% believe new communities should be designed so we can walk more and drive less, and that public transportation should be improved and accessible.
- At 84% against, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the privatization of public roads and highways.
- 80% prefer redeveloping our older, existing urban and suburban areas rather than building new housing and commercial development at the edges of our existing suburbs.
-> According to an article in the May/June '07 Sierra magazine, "The early-morning sun glints off the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles. Mar'cel Stribling, a 19-year-old senior at gritty Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, stands on the steps of a gleaming white office tower, making up rhymes. 'I don't wanna be nothing like Kanye West,' he shouts. 'I just want to tell you I'm the best.' Muthoni Gaciku, 14, rolls her eyes and goes back to chatting with her friend Wendy Velasco, 15, about her future career. 'I want to be a food connoisseur,' states the tiny Gaciku, a recent Kenyan immigrant, shifting back and forth in her pigtails and cropped pants. 'That way, I can eat all the time.'...
"She and 17 other students and recent graduates of Crenshaw High School got up before dawn for this annual event for the school's Eco Club/Venture Crew. Other outings, like the five-day backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park or the 'Survivor Challenge' campout in the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, a 370-acre urban park, may offer more in the way of communion with nature. But traversing the all-concrete length of Wilshire Boulevard has its own special allure -- especially in a city where no one walks. 'Three years ago, we did it in the rain,' says Bill Vanderberg, the Eco Club's leader and Crenshaw's dean of students. 'I said, "I'm never doing this again." But the kids never stopped talking about it. They just never stopped bugging me.'
"From its downtown source to its terminus at the Santa Monica Pier, in its meanders through Koreatown to the eight-lane swath it cuts through swanky Westside, Wilshire connects Los Angeles far more than touristy Sunset or Hollywood Boulevards do. Walking it is a proclamation of freedom for kids from the neighborhoods that surround Crenshaw. Because of the strife and stray bullets of warring gangs, few venture far from their home turf, and fewer still do so on foot. It pains Vanderberg, 53, who grew up in the suburbs of New York City. Most of his early outdoor adventures, he recalls, were urban ones: 'We'd get up and hit the street and walk as far as we could just to see where it went. These kids can't do that, ever.'..."
-> The new rental bicycle service in Paris has been a common thread topic in bike/ped list-serves this past year. But we haven't heard much from those who actually live in Paris. In mid-October, Pierre-Yves Geoffard wrote about the bike program in Paris Liberation, as quoted here in The Week. (www.theweekdaily.com)
"The early verdict on the new bicycle service in Paris is in...It has proved such a tremendous success that it is in danger of failing. The idea was brilliant: Place bicycle stations across the city, every 1,000 feet or so, and let riders pick up a bike for just one euro and drop it off at another station across town.
Now that we've been doing that for a few months, though, we've noticed that everyone tends to bike the same routes. So we Parisians find ourselves hurrying from one empty station to the next, equally empty station. All are filled with desperate commuters sharing the same delusion that surely the station after this will have some bikes. When, halfway to our destination, we do finally get hold of a bike, we pedal in ecstasy for 10 minutes or so, only to find that we must ride around for another 30 minutes before we can locate a free spot to park. The planners should have predicted that Murphy's Law would kick in: When you need to rent a bike, all the stations are empty; when you need to park one, all the stations are full."
Okay, so surely there's a Google maps mash-up, or something out of queuing theory -- or perhaps chaos theory -- that could help alleviate these problems? If you've got the answer, you're needed in Paris.
-> According to an Oct. 29th KATV story, "If you've visited downtown North Little Rock recently you've probably noticed some major changes. From new restaurants, to new housing developments, the Argenta district is being transformed. The first authentic Irish pub in the state opened its doors a few weeks ago in Argenta Place. Right above it, construction is underway on office space and high-end condominiums. It's just one of the new project's developer John Gaudin is working on right now. (John Gaudin, Developer) 'We envision a high-end, retail, office and mixed-use kind of environment. Hopefully the surface parking lots will be filled and we'll have a real dense, walkable, urban community.'
"Just down the street, a new seafood restaurant is set to open next month. Nearby on Maple street, plans are in the works for a new development called City Grove that will feature 57 green townhomes surrounding a park. And next to Alltel Arena, at The Enclave, 260 luxury apartments are set to open in January. (Gaudin) 'There's a trend across the country--a movement back to downtowns. And it's unfortunate, about 20 years ago, we all moved away from the river and now there's a real movement to come back to downtown living. It's all about choices. Downtown living--you can live in a condo, which I'll be living upstairs and have nine restaurants within two blocks.'..."
-> According to an Oct. 29th Vancouver Sun article, "Speed bumps -- a Band-Aid solution for bad street planning -- not only fuel drivers' tempers and create noise pollution, they add greenhouse gases to the air we breathe, says a new federal housing agency report. When vehicles slow down to approach a speed bump, then speed up, then slow down for another one, they use more gasoline, emitting more carbon and other noxious gases than they would if travelling at a constant speed, said Fanis Grammenos, senior researcher for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. CMHC has released a report calling for a fused-grid street layout to avoid the problems in both the winding streets of typical suburbia and traditional grid patterns in city centres. And several Canadian cities are doing just that: Calgary, Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., and Stratford, Ont. are encouraging new housing developments to include fused-grid streets. Traffic calming measures have been introduced in many Canadian cities to deal with problematic street patterns, particularly the grid system, but they also create other issues.
"Speed bumps, speed humps (which are wider bumps), raised intersections, traffic circles, stop signs and other traffic calming measures 'increase automobile emissions and noise, reduce air quality and often lead to driver frustration,' the report said. As well, nearby pedestrians and cyclists breathe in more pollutants, especially when their breathing rate is elevated. Accelerating from zero to 40 kilometres per hour in four seconds uses 50 per cent more gasoline than in eight seconds, researcher Grammenos said. Because grid street patterns were introduced in city centres before cars were a major influence, those neighbourhoods are highly walkable, but they're noisier, have higher accident rates and promote traffic gridlock, which also intensifies greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants..."
-> An Oct. 30th News Tribune article asks, "Streetcars? Tacoma needs 'em. Lots of 'em, starting in downtown and connecting to the neighborhoods and business districts. Bike and pedestrian lanes? Need those, too, and fast. Free parking? No way. Tacoma should charge motorists "market rates" to park on the street, and the price should vary based on the section of town and the time of day. And parking garages? The city needs more of them, too, but they should be spread around the fringes of downtown rather than taking up valuable real estate in the city's core. Those were among the recommendations Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson delivered this afternoon to the City Council following months of study and dozens of meetings regarding the city's future parking and transit needs. Most of the ideas were covered in an August progress report, but the final product included some new details and a slight change of emphasis.
"The need for a citywide bicycle and pedestrian system, for example, received a greater sense of urgency. Regarding a streetcar system, Anderson said he envisions a less-expensive fixed-rail system than Tacoma's Link light rail. It would be designed to share the streets with cars and bikes and buses, he said, unlike Link which is separated from other vehicles. Anderson's report lacked specifics about funding, timing and other details. If the City Council approves of the broad outline, he recommended forming an advisory committee to figure out how to implement the ideas. That group could meet for four to six months, he said. It could be nine months to a year before anything final comes to the City Council for approval..."
-> According to an Oct. 8th AMNew York article, "Envisioning a city where bicycle traffic gets priority over automobiles, singer David Byrne, a longtime city bike commuter, hosted a program Saturday that explored ways to make New York's streets more like those of bike-friendly Copenhagen. About 35 percent of the workforce in the Danish capital commutes by bike, said Byrne, the 'Talking Heads' star who visited the city with the folding bicycle he carries around the world with him. Less than one percent of New Yorkers commute by bike. 'The purpose of a city is not to pack in as many cars and parking spaces as possible,' said Jan Gehl, an urban planner in Copenhagen who helped design a system of timed green lights for cyclists that allows them to bike for miles through the city without stopping. All taxis there are required to have a bike rack, and the penalties for hitting a cyclist with a car are extremely high for the driver.
"This summer, Gehl showed off his city to New York Planning Commission Chairwoman Amanda Burden and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who spent two days biking around Copenhagen. 'I've never seen such wonderful ladies who were so sore in their behinds,' joked Gehl. Josh Benson, director of the DOT's bike program, told the large New Yorker Festival audience Saturday that "it's an exciting time to be a cyclist in New York," and said bike ridership has tripled in the past seven years. He described the city's new 'complete streets' philosophy, which includes equal room for cars, pedestrians and bicycles..."
-> According to an Oct. 30th Seacoast editorial, "It's time for more elementary, middle and high school students to take a walk. Or ride a bike. That's the good intent of the federally-funded and locally-run Safe Routes to School program which hopes to lead to a major change of habit for our school-age children. While it seems almost too obvious to talk about the need to encourage walking or bike riding to school, we have become a country that prefers to take the lazy route, car driven route more often than not. Of course, there are cases when children must be driven in a private vehicle or take a bus to school because of geographical or safety concerns.
"The reality, as national surveys have shown, is that for a number of reasons, children are not walking or biking to school. The latest report by the National Household Travel Survey says that less than 16 percent of American students between the ages of 5 to 15 walked or biked to and from school. The total in 1969 was 42 percent. Of course, a decrease in walking or riding to school is but one of many reasons why experts say there is a serious obesity epidemic among school children -- who are spending more time playing video games and in front of the television and less outside simply playing and running around.
"One way to encourage regular activity is to provide safe routes for children to walk and bike to school. The state of New Hampshire is accepting applications now to allocate funds to communities seeking to develop such routes. In New Hampshire, more than 35 school areas in 16 cities and towns have submitted application to for example, fix sidewalks or create bike paths. In New Hampshire, some $926,000 will be awarded to communities. Rye, which held a meeting a last week to educate the community about the important health and educational benefits of the program, requested funds to fix the sidewalk in front of the library and improve a safe route from the junior high to the library..."
-> According to an Oct. 30th Bee article, "Before the home construction crews and bulldozers descended on the flat plain of North Natomas, city leaders made their vision clear: The northern frontier of Sacramento would be a pedestrian-friendly place where people could work, play and shop in the same neighborhood. Not only that, this city within a city would pay for itself. The houses, stores and offices would generate enough fees and taxes to build roads and community facilities as well as pay for public safety and other city services. Eight years and 15,000 homes later, city leaders say the reality has fallen well short of that vision. North Natomas doesn't look or feel much different from nearby suburbs. In some respects, it's more car-oriented than most because its roads are oversized to handle traffic from Arco Arena.
"'It still is a suburban community, and I think what we envisioned was something that would be more than a suburban community,' Councilman Steve Cohn said at a recent council workshop on growth. Land once envisioned for job centers has been rezoned for big box stores, served by broad, traffic-clogged roads. More rezoning proposals are in the works. A promised light-rail line may be decades away, and bus service is sparse. Sound walls separate neighborhoods from sidewalks and streets. On a recent Saturday, Mayor Heather Fargo gave a driving tour to illustrate North Natomas' flaws. 'Look at this poor guy trying to cross the street,' she exclaimed as her car approached the off-ramp from Interstate 80 on Truxel Road, en route to shopping centers on the other side..."
-> According to an Oct. 30th Washington Post article, "It was work on a book about the Civil War that led Richard Moe, then a lawyer, to take an active interest in historic preservation. Yesterday, the National Building Museum recognized Moe's preservation work by announcing he is this year's recipient of the Vincent J. Scully Prize, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to architecture and urban design. As president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Moe serves as one of the nation's leading advocates for architectural preservation.
"Moe will accept the prize, which recognizes 'exemplary practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation and urban design,' at a ceremony on Dec. 13. Previous winners include the urbanist Jane Jacobs, the self-styled architecture critic Prince Charles, the Aga Khan (a philanthropist) and, last year, Witold Rybczynski, the author. Moe, the ninth winner of the prize named in honor of the renowned professor of art history at Yale University, will give a talk after accepting the award. Moe says he will use the occasion to present new evidence about the positive environmental benefits of historic preservation.
"'We've always believed that preservation was an inherently sustainable activity,' Moe said. 'Now we have the data to show it.' Since becoming head of the Trust in 1993, Moe says that it has been increasingly involved with the broader, environmental issues raised by preservation. Sustainability has become a byword in urban design as more and more architects and activists have embraced the idea that buildings should use less power, contribute less to sewers and landfills, and integrate better into walkable, transit-oriented communities. Preserving existing buildings, or adapting them to new uses, has proved an important part of a larger, urban strategy of sustainability..."
-> According to an Oct. 23rd Vancouver Sun article, "Canadian adults, both men and women, are the most obese in a survey of 63 nations that raises new health warnings for our country. A whopping 36 per cent of Canadian men and women seen in family doctors' offices are obese, compared to just seven per cent in eastern Asia, the massive study says. And a further 40 per cent of the Canadian men who saw their doctor, and about 30 per cent of the women, were overweight, though not obese. As well, Canadian men in the survey had the largest waistlines in the 63 nations, a major indicator of health problems to come. Canadian women were above average, but not the biggest. However, it's not a global survey, as a few countries with known weight problems, in particular the U.S., were not included.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list an obesity rate of 32.9 per cent of American adults in 2003-04. But the results published by the American Heart Association's medical journal, Circulation, still represent bad news for Canadian hearts. Montreal cardiologist Jean-Pierre Despres said although 36 per cent of Canadians in the survey were obese, this doesn't represent the overall adult population. Health Canada says the national obesity rate is about 23 per cent. 'But that's far from reassuring,' said Despres, speaking for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
"The high rate of obesity in doctors' offices shows it's the heaviest Canadians who are sickest, he said. 'And if you go to a cardiovascular (unit), the number would be even higher.' The survey's biggest news, he said, is family doctors can accurately measure waistlines and can use this as a tool to learn who is most at risk of heart trouble and diabetes. 'This is the largest study to assess the frequency of adiposity (body fat) in the clinic, providing a snapshot of patients worldwide,' said study lead author Beverley Balkau, director of research at INSERM -- France's national institute of health research..."
-> An Oct. 31st Detroit Metrotimes article asked, "Really, who doesn't have a favorite pedestrian bridge? Mary Beth Carolan doesn't own a car, so she rides her yellow Schwinn with a flowered banana seat across them all the time. But she prefers one particular bridge. 'We have all talked about it,' she says, 'the way it spirals up and down and has two round gathering places. It feels like a secret.' A year ago, Leah Retherford wanted to hang flags on that bridge, above I-75 near the Rosa Parks Avenue exit, not far from old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Carolan improved on her friend's idea by turning it into a flying art show and parade with brew and jams. 'Get in a gallery' or 'sell to a museum' was never on the manifesto. The party, which was held at dusk a couple weekends ago, was just another example of creative types taking it to the streets, seductively slipping art into the civic conversation.
"'Fun was had by all,' says Brooke Hug, who snapped lots of pics. 'It was the perfect day for waving flags around, with the strong winds, and the brightness made for awesome photographs.' Steering bikes with one hand, a heavy metal pole in the other, almost a dozen artists passed the early evening making wobbly laps back and forth. Lindsay Karty (aka Vicki) DJ'd with considerate speakers, crafted from cardboard, a battery and her iPod. The sound system was attached to a baby cart, which was also used for hauling other stuff like extra flagpoles, grommets and zip ties. Karty's anthems blared for at least two hours as folks occasionally braked for a beer and then pushed the pedals again..."
-> According to an Oct. 26th ENN article, "As Tata Motors, one of Asia's leading automakers, prepares to tap into India's middle-class market by releasing the 'world's cheapest car' in 2008, other countries with a long history of car dependence are grappling with ways to limit the social, health, and environmental costs of motorized transport. One alternative is so-called bus rapid transit (BRT), which operates like rail transport but offers more flexibility in routes. The systems are gaining popularity in cities in the automobile-loving United States as well as in rapidly developing nations in Asia and Latin America.
"Tata plans to sell its 'affordable' four-door vehicle at a sticker price of $2,500, or half the cost of the cheapest new car available in India today. As disposable incomes rise nationwide, the vehicle may lead India's 1.1 billion people closer to Western patterns of car consumption -- and bring similar environmental and traffic problems, according to critics. In 2004, India had 145.9 persons per passenger car, and the United States had 2.2 persons per car.
"'Can you imagine if even half of the 1.1 billion Indians owned a car?' Mahesh Mehta, an environmental lawyer based in New Delhi, noted in a recent Washington Post article. 'We should not be following the Western model of car ownership. I think this will be disastrous in India.' As an alternative to more cars, Mehta supports better public transportation to improve the Indian quality of life..."
AND NOW, FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
SOAP CHEMICAL STOPS FISH STICKING TOGETHER
"A contaminant found in rivers and estuaries the world over can 'rob' fish of their ability to sense each other and stay in a tight, cohesive shoal, say researchers.
"The chemical, 4-nonylphenol, does this by overpowering the fish's natural smell-signatures, say researchers. And because these signatures are critical to helping the fish form in groups, the chemical effectively weakens their 'strength in numbers' defense against predators.
"'The loss of the ability to shoal cohesively is serious business for fish. It's a defensive strategy. If fish can't shoal properly, they are extremely vulnerable to predation,' says Ashley Ward at the University of Sydney, Australia, who led the study..."
"KING CORN" COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
THE BASICS OF COMPLETE STREETS
SPICER (MN) CYCLING MAYOR CHARGED IN BAR BRAWL
OIL HITS NEW RECORD ABOVE $92
SOLAR POWER FOR NEW MOROCCAN RAIL LINE
CHILDREN KEPT INDOORS AS BEIJING FOG TURNS TO SMOG
GERMAN CARMAKERS BLAST MOTORWAY SPEED LIMIT IDEA
-> "CITYROUTES, CITYRIGHTS - BUILDING..."
-> "CALMAR EL TRAFICO"
-> "COLLABORATION IN NEPA: A HANDBOOK FOR NEPA..."
-> "TRANSPORTATION PLANNING UPDATE: FALL 2007"
-> "NEIGHBORHOOD DESIGN AND AGING: AN EMPIRICAL..."
-> "VISUALIZATION ISSUES FOR TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES:...
-> "NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORT IN AFRICAN CITIES..."
-> "IMPEDIMENTS TO WALKING AS A MODE CHOICE"
-> "MAKING PERSONAL TRAVEL PLANNING WORK: RESEARCH REPORT"
-> "IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AT UNSIGNALIZED..."
-> "LIVABLE COPENHAGEN: THE DESIGN OF A BICYCLE CITY"
opportunities are available on the National Center for Bicycling &
Walking web site. Add your own items to the on-line calendar...it's quick
and easy. Please be sure your calendar items pertain to training and workshops
in the bicycle, pedestrian, or livable community fields. Go to:
HEY, YOU! SEND US YOUR CALENDAR ITEMS -- PRONTO!
5-7, 2007. 1st National Safe Routes to School Conference: Creating, Building
and Sustaining Momentum, Dearborn, MI. Info:
-> November 7-10, 2007, Atlanta on the Cutting Edge: New Models for Growth and Renewal, Atlanta GA. Info: Leslie Pickel, Event Management Consultant, The Seaside Institute, PO Box 4875, Seaside Branch, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459; voice: (850) 231-2421; email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
9-12, 2007, Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference, Chicago, IL.
Info: phone: (312) 427-4256
-> December 10-12, 2007, World Forum on Sustainable Mobility, Nantes, France. Info:
-> December 13-14, 2007, Building and Rebuilding Traditional Neighborhoods: with Andres Duany, New Orleans, LA. Info: The Seaside Institute, P.O. Box 4875, Seaside, Florida 32459; phone: (850) 231-2421.
-> January 13-17, 2008, TRB 87th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. Info: Transportation Research Board
-> February 13-16, 2008, World Conference on the Development of Cities, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Info:
-> September 2-5, 2008, Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, Seattle, WA; hosted at the Westin Seattle. Watch for info at: http://www.bikewalk.org/conference.php
JOBS GRANTS AND RFPS
-> JOB -- P.A. BEHAVIOR + HEALTH FACULTY -- UNIV. OF GA.
-> RFP -- HWY SAFETY MANUAL MATERIALS -- NCHRP
-> JOB -- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -- THUNDERHEAD ALLIANCE
Application information is also available online.
If you have any questions about the position contact: Noah Budnick, board chair, at noah "at" transalt.org
-> JOB -- PROGRAM MANAGER -- BIKEWALK VIRGINIA
BikeWalk Virginia seeks a FT Program Manager for an exciting new project in Martinsville/Henry County. The Program Manager will be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive model program for integrating biking and walking into the community. Salary $60k. Full job description and application details can be found at:
-> RFP -- 2 CONTEXT-SENSITIVE TRANS. SOLUTIONS GUIDES -- TRB
The Transportation Research Board's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has issued a request for proposals to develop two context-sensitive solutions guides, one for citizens and one for discipline-specific professionals. The term "discipline-specific professionals" refers to individuals who participate in collaborative transportation decision-making by providing specialized information and analyses in their fields of expertise. The guides will explain roles, responsibilities, and opportunities in transportation decision-making from long-range transportation planning through operations and maintenance. PROPOSALS DUE NOVEMBER 5, 2007. For more info, go to:
-> JOB -- PROJECT DIRECTOR -- PARKS & TRAILS NEW YORK
Parks & Trails New York, a statewide non-profit based in Albany, New York, seeks a Project Director to join a team of committed, enthusiastic professionals working to improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers through the expansion, protection, and promotion of a network of parks, trails, and open spaces throughout New York State.
The Project Director helps communities develop a common vision and provides technical assistance in designing, developing, and promoting trail systems; organizes and serves as liaison to a statewide trails coalition; advocates for trail and park funding and stewardship at the local and state levels; and develops and writes print and electronic newsletters, reports, and other publications related to planning, organizing and outreach.
The Project Director is an important member of our team and has the opportunity to manage a variety of projects and develop new program directions. Competitive salary and excellent benefits package. Submit letter of interest and resume to: Project Director Search, Parks & Trails New York, 29 Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207, email@example.com.
The position is open until filled. Full job description can be found at:
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Contributors: John Williams, Bill Wilkinson, Gary MacFadden, Mark Plotz, Sharon Roerty, Bob Chauncey, Chris Jordan, Anne Villacres, Ross Trethewey, Linda Tracy, Harrison Marshall, Russell Houston, Don Burrell, David Hiller, Mark Wyatt, Scott Bricker, Lois Thibault, and James Taylor.