#188 Wednesday, November 14, 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.
-> Is the federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding program reaching everyone? Are some state programs leaving some schools and cities behind? What does objective two of the FHWA SRTS Guidance say and why should we care?
These were just some of the questions and issues raised at a panel session concerning SRTS and equity at the National SRTS Conference held last week in Dearborn, Michigan. The session, titled Equity: The 6th 'E', included staff from the Active Living Resource Center (ALRC), Chicagoland Bicycle Federation and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association; and health disparities information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
"The standing-room-only crowd heard how (and why) a lack of safe walking and bicycling routes to school disproportionately affects low income communities and people of color," said Sharon Roerty, director of the ALRC. "The panel explored how adding program pre-requisites (for funding) such as school travel plans or master plans, or any future requirements for local matches, may exacerbate this condition."
Roerty discussed how the SRTS guidance distributed by FHWA stipulates in its objectives that 'state programs should be easily accessible to schools and communities in rural, suburban and urban settings, especially those with fewer local resources and limited ability to afford new initiatives.' The guidance goes on to say that, 'Targeted outreach and technical assistance efforts may be required to ensure that low income communities in urban or rural settings can fairly compete for SRTS funds. Assistance may be needed with technical assessment, preparation of grant applications, or capacity development…' (For the complete text refer to Objective #2, 'Make the Program Accessible to Diverse Participants.' The FHWA guidance document is available on-line at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/srtsguidance.htm ).
NCBW (the parent organization for the ALRC) congratulates the National Partnership for SRTS, the National Center for SRTS, and the Michigan Fitness Council for convening more than 400 practitioners, researchers, program managers, local and national advocates and professionals from across the USA and Canada for the first ever SRTS National Conference.
"There was something at the conference for everyone, and the Michigan DOT aptly demonstrated why it is the first recipient of the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award," said Roerty.
Presentations from the SRTS and equity session and more on this topic will soon be available on the ALRC website: www.activelivingresources.org.
For more about the James L. Oberstar Safer Routes to School Award, see http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/news_room/oberstar_award/
-> According to an Oct. 23rd news release, "New counts show that more people are bicycling in Minneapolis, which has already been named the number two bicycling city in the United States by the U.S. Census Bureau. To help boost those numbers even farther, more than two dozen new projects are in the works that will provide new trails, lanes, and other improvements for cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to Minneapolis' ongoing expansion of bike trails and lanes, the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Project has recently awarded $7 million in federal money for bicycling and walking projects. Only four cities in the country were selected to receive the grant money, with Transit for Livable Communities, a local nonprofit, managing the local efforts.
"According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, walking and bicycling rates in Minneapolis rank higher than other large American cities. The survey shows that in 2006, 2.5 percent of people in Minneapolis regularly bicycled to work, and 7.1 percent walked to work. The City of Minneapolis Public Works Department and Transit for Livable Communities conducted a new round of bicycle and pedestrian counts in September, 2007. Dozens of members of the public and AmeriCorps staff volunteered to help conduct the count at 57 locations throughout the city over a five-day period. Many of the counts showed increases over the previous City count in 2003..."
For more information, contact Shaun Murphy, Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Intern, at: <Shaun.Murphy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>
The Report (4.8mb pdf) is available here:
-> The original invitation was for me to be the keynote speaker at the biennial New Zealand Cycling Conference. After discussing the inefficiency of flying to New Zealand for a two-day conference, they agreed to host me for a week.
The conference was quite well organized, with an outstanding venue. (Concentrating on the task of delivering the keynote was challenging, with the Pacific Ocean resplendent in the background.) There were about 150 people in attendance – quite good for a country of four million. This compares well with the Florida PWPB conference I attended two months ago, and with our own Pro Walk/Pro Bike conferences.
I delivered the keynote, which emphasized the economic case for building bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities. Stealing from James Carville’s admonition to Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign staff, “it’s the economy, stupid” became an often-repeated mantra over the next two days. I was also asked to deliver a plenary session on our NCBW workshop series.
Next, they asked me to close the conference with a few overall reactions. I suggested that the theme of various presentations was transforming recreational riders into commuters. If this is indeed the case, they might consider focusing more on infrastructure – helping people to feel safer – than on programs.
On the evening of the first conference day, dinner was hosted at a local winery, and participants were invited to wear medieval dress. Surprisingly, at least to me, most did. I’ll spare you the photos of me looking somewhat like a preposterous Napoleon (the emperor, not the dessert.) I was seated next to Annette King , New Zealand’s Minister of Transport (their Mary Peters, if you will). Ms. King seems to understand, seems to support the bicycling/pedestrian cause. As she was formerly the Minister of Health, the combination makes her an especially knowledgeable advocate.
On Saturday, after the conference, the Cycling Advocacy Network (CAN), New Zealand’s national advocacy group, invited me to speak again on the advocacy movement in the US. I talked briefly about NCBW, the League of American Bicyclists, the Thunderhead Alliance, Adventure Cycling Association, and America Bikes, as CAN seemed to be involved in pieces of all these. This led to a wide-ranging discussion.
Prior to the conference, I spent a day each in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Auckland is their largest city, with about 1.1 million people in an area about the size of Los Angeles. Given their present difficulty in controlling sprawl, Auckland seems poised to approach Los Angeles in car dependency over the next 25 years. The only cyclists I saw there were messengers and similarly fit young male riders. I delivered two presentations in Auckland, to a total of 60-plus people, consisting of several councilors (city council members), senior staff, and advocates.
The people in Christchurch kept me very busy, with a series of presentations and discussions throughout the day, on topics including the economic case for walking and biking, traffic justice, characteristics of bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities, and success stories. There were more than 60 people in the morning sessions, with another 50 in the afternoon. Here again, the audience consisted of several councilors, staff, and advocates.
The day in Wellington included a noon presentation to 75 people, including the mayor, a meeting and a tour with local planners describing various problem areas, and a meeting with regional planners to discuss their long-range plan. This was followed by a 30-minute interview on their NPR-equivalent station and a mad dash to the airport (a regular occurrence during the week).
Some general impressions:
New Zealand’s best bike facilities match our best: colored bike lanes, bike boxes, bike “mazes” at RR intersections with trails; well designed roundabouts that accommodate cyclists, etc. Yet, like in the US, one is more likely to see poor or non-existent facilities than excellent ones.
All audiences seemed especially interested in my efforts to put bicycling and walking in a larger context (even a sociological context, if you’ll pardon the expression).
While Auckland, at least the downtown area, looks especially challenging for cyclists, Christchurch and Wellington are far more accommodating, with a wide range of cyclists in evidence. (For Wellington, think San Francisco with about half the population.)
About half of the attendees biked at least part of their way to the conference. When I asked the same question at the Florida conference two months ago, the answer was one (Mighk Wilson). Now, who’s up for bicycling to next year’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference in Seattle?
-> According to a Nov. 12th news release, "In order to encourage Spartanburg's residents and visitors to view and utilize the community's transportation alternatives, like bus shelters, trails and bicycle racks, visual artist and resident Kris Neely has teamed up with the City of Spartanburg, SPARTA and Partners for Active Living to encourage residents to move in a new way through the City. Kris has been traveling through Spartanburg in ways that are different from his normal routine. As he does so, he is creating and hiding pieces of art that portray his experience. The community is invited to follow clues listed at his website (see below) to find these small pieces of art. Finders keepers. So far 70 items have been discovered with others still waiting to be sought out. The finder is invited to post a picture of him or herself in the location. The hunt will be ongoing until December.
"Throughout this exciting experience, Spartanburg citizens are encouraged to send in postcard reflections about the way they move through Spartanburg. Poems, art work, and collages are just some of the creative ways you can reflect. (Children are encouraged to participate). These personal reflections will be exhibited in a culminating show in January at the Downtown Passenger Center and on the website. Postcards will be stationed throughout the City at various community locations. Visit the blogspot for specific locations. The entire community is invited attend the culminating art show in January at the SPARTA Passenger Center. Participants who find the artifacts are encouraged to bring them to the final show for display. These pieces will be returned to the finder after the event. Kris will share the larger work that resulted from the studies of movement and systems in the City of Spartanburg. Postcard reflections will be on display. In addition, information about active living, public transportation and public art initiatives in Spartanburg will be available at this event..."
For more info, contact
-> According to a Nov. 12th news release, "Bikes Belong just awarded grants to four great projects in the fall funding cycle. Our investment in bike paths, mountain bike trails, and BMX facilities like these continues to create great places to ride in communities across the country." The projects are:
1. Five Mile Creek Greenway Partnership--Tarrant Aqueduct Connection (Alabama): $5,000 to help construct the first stretch of the Tarrant Aqueduct Trail
For more info, go to:
-> According to the Nov. 12th American Bicyclist Update, "Among the many bond issues and votes taken on Tuesday, November 6 was a proposal for Park City, Utah residents to approve a $15 million bond for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the city. Tuesday's vote tally came down to 1,018 for the bond and 833 against. Park City was awarded the bronze-level BFC designation earlier this year and is host to the IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit in June 2008.
"Community groups Share the Road, Coalition for Safe Streets and Mountain Trails Advocacy Group pitched in to get the bond passed. The city hired Salt Lake City-based Landmark Design to create a trail system to fit in with Park City's unique mountain/urban environment. The study found 105 projects for the city to consider, ranging from a pedestrian bridge to a sidewalk crossing. The city approved $1.9 million for upgrades last year in the council's budget -- but activists wanted more. In August, the Park City Council gave the thumbs up to the $15 million bond."
For a Deseret Morning News article, go to: http://tinyurl.com/33pfrg
-> According to an article in the November Safe Routes to School E-News, "The [Parent Teacher Association] national organization developed a campaign to celebrate Healthy Lifestyles Month during the month of November in support of their year-round Health and Wellness programming. They are challenging each of their 25,000 units to plan a health-related event or activity during November. The overall goal of the proposed project is to increase grassroots participation in national program initiatives and to further awareness of the problems facing students, parents and educators in the arena of health and wellness today.
"More than 5 million members of the PTA national organization are directly served by their programs. The effectiveness of the project will be evaluated by the effectiveness of the grassroots events planned during the month of November as well as the usage of the PTA's nationally distributed Healthy Lifestyles Leader's and Parent's Guides.
"The proposed program is aligned with the following PTA national organization priorities:
For more info, go to:
For more on the Safe Routes to School E-News, go to:
-> In a Nov. 8th note, Terry Eastin, executive director of Mississippi River Trail, wrote, "During a recent comment period for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) 2007 Statewide Plan, the following language was included regarding Bicycling in Arkansas. As soon as the plan was released, there was a public outcry that included mayors, business leaders, cycling advocates, and trail supporters. Below the original language, you will see newly written amended language.
Original text: "Bicycling and walking are not considered major modes of non-recreational transportation in Arkansas. Bicycle and pedestrian activities are characterized as more recreational than as a mode of transportation. This trend is likely to continue for the next 20 years. Neither activity is a highly viable option for transportation in Arkansas...
Revised text: "The importance of bicycling and walking as modes of transportation in Arkansas is growing. As more Arkansans become health conscious, bicycling and walking will become more important. Furthermore, many individuals living in communities with no access to public transportation systems and working at lower wage jobs rely on bicycling and walking as their sole means of transportation...
"Terry congratulated the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department on their quick response to public concerns and the forward-thinking approach that was used in the new language."
-> In a recent note, Danny Pleasant, Deputy Director of the Charlotte (NC) Department of Transportation, wrote, "I am happy to report that on October 22, the Charlotte (NC) City Council approved new urban street design guidelines. The USDG matches appropriate street types to the urban land use context. The guidelines promote smaller block sizes, a denser network of streets, wider sidewalks and planting strips, more natural traffic calming and intersections designed to be pedestrian and bicycle friendly."
Source: Danny Pleasant, Deputy Director, Charlotte Department of Transportation; (704) 336-3879
The adopted policy summary and all the report chapters are available at:
-> According to the Wabash and Erie Canal Park website, "Sunday, November 11th at 2 pm is a big day for the Stearns Truss in Delphi. It culminates nearly two years regular M-W-F work by an ingenious volunteer crew. This whole project started December 16, 2005 in a Pulaski County Commissioner's meeting at Winamac. Four Canal Association volunteers were present. An offer to purchased the 78 foot long relic for $10 was met with a stipulation that it must be removed from the Big Monon Ditch in just three months. That winter the weather was cooperative and the volunteers rallied to disassemble and transport all the pieces to Delphi by March 3rd.
"CELEBRATE!! Volunteers are ready to present their pride and joy. This bridge is a 'one-of-a-kind' lightweight, portable, once rusty, wrought iron span brought from near Medaryville. It is a special lightweight span designed by Wm. Stearns and the last known of its type to exist in the US. The special place where the BIG BLUE BRIDGE spans the canal is in west Delphi behind Pizza Hut/Dairy Queen. It sits over a reconstructed section of the Wabash & Erie Canal. The last task being completed is the handrail and some touch-up of the beautiful blue paint. The bridge sports another color as well as the blue. All iron that was added for safety, but not part of the original, is painted black. This comprises the safety siderail which is made of angle iron with a similar look as the integrated original handrail thus the added materials are black..."
Check out the rest of the story (and the photos!) here:
QUOTES R US
-> "As long as greenhouse-gas pollution is free, it will be abundant. If we want to reduce it, there has to be a cost for producing it."
-> "Well-managed arterials can operate at speeds well above poorly-managed roadways -- up to 15 to 20 miles per hour faster. This means more traffic past your door and better exposure for your business. It also means a more convenient shopping experience for your customers."
-> "The most vibrant neighborhoods in Berkeley [CA] like Elmwood, Westbrae or upper Shattuck are vibrant precisely because they lack high-rise buildings and are built on a dense but human two- to four-story scale."
STATS R US
-> THE COSTS OF OBESITY
- "Individuals who are obese have 30 to 50 percent more chronic medical problems than those who smoke or drink heavily, according to a UCLA study.
- "Roughly 8 percent of private employer medical claims are a result of problems associated with being overweight or obese, according to policy journal Health Affairs.
- "Another study found that obesity-related disabilities cost employers an average of $8,720 per claimant every year for wage-loss coverage.
- "The total cost of obesity to U.S. companies is estimated at $13 billion a year, including health insurance costs ($8 billion), sick leave ($2.4 billion), life insurance ($1.8 billion), and disability insurance ($1 billion), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- "The percentage of U.S. adults classified as obese roughly doubled between 1980 and 2000, from 15 percent to 31 percent, federal researchers found."
-> According to a Nov. 3rd New York Times article, "The mayor of Fayetteville, Ark., gushed through a slide show about how his city was in the midst of great change. Bleak roads and bland shopping strips were being redrawn to a more human scale. Downtown condominiums were going for a million dollars. Streets once silent at night now bustled. Besides being great for the local economy, the mayor, Dan Coody, told his counterparts from other cities gathered here, the redevelopment is also helping Fayetteville go green. 'I'm so excited to be here and talk about this I can't stand it,' Mr. Coody said at the end of his presentation on Thursday. 'Let's all go save the world!'
"They settled for lunch, at least for the moment, but the 100 or so mayors who attended the two-day Climate Protection Summit, convened by the United States Conference of Mayors, heard a clear message: Cities that are 'walkable,' workable and livable add up to the 's' word: sustainable. Cities that are centered on people and public transit, not cars, and built to higher standards of energy efficiency will save money, hum with new development and create jobs to suit a greener way of life. Al Gore said as much in a speech he gave to the mayors via satellite. So did former President Bill Clinton, in an address here on Thursday, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who spoke Friday.
"But many mayors spoke of the struggle of convincing voters that investing in green is good for them. John Robert Smith, the mayor of Meridian, Miss., said he had been criticized for supporting a plan to restore streetcar service in his city decades after autos made it seem obsolete. 'This is one of those things you do in your last term in office,' Mr. Smith said, 'because they'll be sure you've lost your mind.' Part pep rally, part policy discussion, the conference presented two main themes: the federal government must do more than the Bush administration has done to fight global warming; and in the meantime, cities must take up the slack..."
-> According to an article in the Nov. 13th American Council on Exercise newsletter, "With up to 10% of Americans experiencing depression at some point in their lives, depression is a mental illness that has caught the attention of consumers and drug companies alike. In fact, it is estimated that drug companies boast sales of over $10 billion each year and their ubiquitous advertising campaigns, coupled with our society's desire for an easy fix, have reshaped how depression is treated. A much less known fact about the treatment of depression is that since the late seventies, researchers have been examining the influence of physical activity on depressive symptoms, and since that time, research has consistently reported that exercise may be as effective in decreasing mild to moderate depression as more traditional treatment approaches.
"With the high number of Americans who suffer from depression, the expense of traditional therapies and the potential negative side effects and unpredictable results of antidepressant medication, it is critical that treatment alternatives are available to patients. Exercise has been consistently shown to be a viable, yet underused, mental health treatment option. Additionally, unlike drug therapy, exercise has positive side effects, including increased cardiovascular health, muscular strength, improved mood, and weight loss. Exercise is also significantly less expensive than traditional treatments, and may even cost the patient nothing.
"Furthermore, research has shown that it doesn't matter what type of activity patients engage in: aerobic exercise and weight-training activities have equal antidepressant effects. Additionally, the amount of exercise that has been shown to be effective is the same recommended amount of exercise for general health which is 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most if not all days of the week. Although the beneficial effects of exercise on depression are well-documented, the general public isn't always aware of it and healthcare professionals don't always recommend it. Pharmaceutical companies spend significant sums promoting anti-depressant medication as the answer to depression, whereas no comparable well-funded industry group does the same for exercise. But fitness professionals can spread the word..."
-> According to a Nov. 10th WFMZ-TV story, "One Berks County woman is working to ensure the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the county. Today Michele Barrett is establishing a new non-profit organization known as 'Walk, Bike Berks.' The group hopes to work with the community to keep the streets safe for all types of traveling. Members of the new non-profit group feel biking, walking, riding mass transit, and driving a car should be considered equal forms of transportation. Barrett hopes the organization will be able to make uninviting roads accessible to everyone again... like when she remembers riding as a child. 'I cant imagine my children not being able to safely bike or walk throughout their community and right now I don't think that they can.' Members of other national organizations like 'Safe Routes to School', 'Complete the Streets' and the 'Thunderhead Alliance' also took part in today's workshop."
[Ed. Note: There's also a video link on site.]
-> According to a Nov. 14th Providence Journal article, "Some said they were late for work. One man noticed his tires were going flat. One woman said she didn't realize how easy it was to drive fast in her husband's SUV. So, they were speeding past morning commuters on the highways, oblivious to the dark sports car cruising along behind them and motoring to catch up. State Trooper Amanda Brezniak was working a shift going after speeders and aggressive drivers -- those who menace the motorists around them by tailgating, cutting between cars without signaling, or using the breakdown lane like it's their personal highway. She was blending in with traffic by driving the unmarked car, one of several that the state police use to catch aggressive drivers.
"Finding speeders and bad drivers on Rhode Island roads is like fishing in a well-stocked pond. Brezniak estimates that she tickets about 16 people in an average shift. She'd probably get more, if checking the driver's history and writing the summonses didn't take a little time. After stopping a Central Falls man who was driving up to 80 mph on Route 146, Brezniak left the radar on while she wrote out the ticket. The speed limit is 55. The radar screen glowed with the speed of cars and trucks passing her: 66, 67, 70. People rail against drunken drivers and motorists who yap on the cell phones. However, speeding causes more than half of the deaths on Rhode Island's roads -- higher than the national average of 30 percent -- and accounts for about the same percentage of fatalities as drunken driving. And, it's as commonplace as any day's commute..."
-> According to a Nov. 7th Seattle Times article, "The seven most common chronic diseases -- six of which can be caused or worsened by obesity -- are costing employers $1.1 trillion in lost productivity, a recent study says. The Milken Institute, an economic think tank, released its research last month showing that these common diseases -- including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure -- have an annual economic impact in the U.S. of $1.3 trillion. The kicker is that much of the cost is avoidable, researchers say. Because employers supply most of the nation's health benefits, the onus likely will fall on them to improve the health of their employees.
"'Among the avoidable risk factors is obesity, which happens to be the fastest-growing risk factor in any of the ones we profiled in our study'" said Kevin Klowden, a managing economist with Milken. A 2003 study found obesity and overweight conditions contribute as much as $93 billion to the nation's annual medical bill. 'Obesity is clearly an issue for employers,' said wellness expert James Early. He is medical director of Solutions for Life in partnership with Via Christi Regional Medical Center and director of clinical preventive medicine for the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.
"It's a problem that's not going away ... and employers are having to find ways to help rein in those costs. Many are starting with a prevention and wellness policy," he said. 'It's not just about (discounted) gym passes anymore. It's much more complex.' Last year, employers nationwide absorbed premium increases ranging from 8.3 percent to 9.6 percent among the most popular health plans, according to a health plan survey by United Benefit Advisors, an association of independent brokers. This year, employers projected they will see increases ranging from 11.4 percent to more than 12 percent, a jump that could cripple some businesses already struggling to maintain viable employee benefits..."
-> According to a Nov. 1st Baltimore Sun article, "The costs of busing children to school in Maryland have more than doubled in the past 15 years, according to an anti-sprawl group, which says the escalation is a 'hidden cost' of poorly planned development in the state. In a report released today, 1000 Friends of Maryland says taxpayers spent $438 million last year on busing children to public schools, compared with $215 million in 1992. Citing data from the state Department of Education, the group says that nine of Maryland's 23 counties -- including Baltimore, Howard and Frederick -- saw busing costs more than double. Costs increased even in five counties where the number of students riding the bus declined, the report says.
"Cost increases for fuel, insurance and new buses undoubtedly played a role in the increased spending of public school systems on busing, Schmidt-Perkins acknowledged. While those factors may be largely beyond local and state control, she maintained that government officials can curb transportation costs by requiring more compact development and siting schools within walking distance of the neighborhoods they serve. 'There's other places that money could go,' Schmidt-Perkins said. 'These dollars are urgently needed in school maintenance, in teacher salaries, in arts programs, gym programs. And they're being poured into school buses in order to get kids to school.'..."
-> According to an Oct. 29th Forbes article, "It's no secret that Americans have grown accustomed to a lifestyle of convenience where cheap 700 calorie cheeseburgers are only a 10-minute drive away. But this way of life is literally killing us. That's because it's eating habits like this that contribute to our ill health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is associated with 112,000 deaths each year in the U.S., and contributes to an increased risk of contracting chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. What's also to blame? Lack of exercise and sloth.
"We set out to discover which cities were the worst offenders when it came to leading a sedentary lifestyle. Our list is 20 cities long and is topped by Memphis and New Orleans. It also includes surprising entries like Miami and San Diego. We created our list by collecting data on body mass index (BMI), physical inactivity and TV watching habits for the country's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas. For information on BMI and physical inactivity, we turned to 2006 data from the Centers for Disease Control and its comprehensive Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which surveys metropolitan areas annually on a range of health issues. For BMI, we added the percentage of obese or overweight people and ranked cities based on the combined number..."
-> According to a Nov. 14th Newsday article, "Charles Wang's 5.5-million-square-foot application for a planned development district, filed late Tuesday with the town of Hempstead, aims to transform the [Nassau] Coliseum and its surrounding 150 acres of county-owned land into 'a state-of-the-art venue which will serve as an economic and socioeconomic engine,' bringing new jobs and tax revenues, higher property values and a focal point for the Island. It will also, they say, keep the Islanders from leaving...The development proposal, copies of which were given to Newsday and some other media outlets in advance, is being viewed as a watershed moment for Nassau County. Will its residents embrace a new vision of development that accepts urban scale and density on the promise that it will deliver vibrant, walkable communities where the next generation can afford to live?
"Or will they see it as just another attempt to jam too many buildings onto too small a piece of land, with too much traffic and not enough parking? The Lighthouse project, originally named for a now-scrapped 60-story tower that was to be its centerpiece, is the keystone of Thomas Suozzi's 'New Suburbia' land-use plan for central Nassau, and the filing is expected to focus new energy on the county's proposed new transit network that still has yet to settle on a mode or route. Wang and his partner, RexCorp Realty chairman Scott Rechler, promise to follow green-building and smart-growth neighborhood development principles and include bicycle and jogging trails that connect with Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Museum Mile and wind all the way to Eisenhower Park..."
-> According to a Nov. 3rd Ventura (CA) Star article, "A jury Friday awarded $12.5 million in damages to the family of a dentist killed in an accident while riding his bicycle last year. Glenn Garvin, 49, an avid cyclist, was struck by a vehicle and killed on Sept. 16, 2006, while riding along Westlake Boulevard. The Thousand Oaks resident was a member of the city's traffic advisory board and a bicycle safety volunteer. His family filed a wrongful death suit against the driver, Norma Seigel, 82, of Thousand Oaks.
"The president of the Ventura County Bar Association said he believes Friday's award of damages is one of the highest ever involving a personal injury or wrongful death suit in Ventura County. 'I am not aware of one, off the top of my head, that can top that,' said attorney and bar president Jonathan Light. The Garvin family's lawyer, Mark Hiepler, praised the jury's decision. 'I am pleased a jury of conservative Ventura County people saw the value of the life of a father and husband and the value he brought to the community,' said Hiepler..."
-> According to a Nov. 13th Union article, "Temporarily closing off the downtown streets for a more walkable experience, more diverse shopping alternatives and the loitering problem ranked high in a new survey of Nevada City residents. The survey, led by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, was revealed to citizens during a meeting Monday night. Nevada City has never conducted such a study seeking residents' opinions, and it is vital because of the flagging local and national economy, said Kirk Valentine, head of the chamber's marketing committee and owner of the Nevada City Classic Cafe.
"'The most astounding survey result is the numbers favoring closing off the streets,' Valentine said. The survey revealed 89 percent favored closing off the streets for a walkable marketplace. 'In a sense, you're already doing a lot of this,' said Glenda Zanone, a former council member and mayor, pointing to the Victorian Christmas and Summer Nights street fairs. Zanone was one of about 20 people who turned out for Monday night's presentation at City Hall..."
-> According to a Nov. 6th Business Week article, "Minnesota residents drink too much, but they have a low premature death rate. Mississippians don't overindulge, but only a fifth of the population has health insurance. And Vermont seems to be under a lucky star -- few uninsured residents, a very low rate of infectious diseases, and a low premature death rate.
"These are some of results revealed in the 18th annual America's Health Rankings, a report comparing Americans' health, state by state. It was released by the United Health Foundation (UHF) Nov. 5. The UHF, which was founded by the UnitedHealth group in 1999, publishes the report in partnership with the American Public Health Assn. and Partnership for Prevention.
"The UHF said that Americans' overall health has declined by 0.3% as measured by key health indicators, despite progress made in several areas such as reduced cancer rates. It cited factors such as obesity, an increasing number of uninsured people, and the 'persistence of risky health behaviors such as tobacco use and binge drinking.'..."
-> According to a Nov. 14th Inside NoVA article, "There is an increase in money available to spend on transportation in Virginia for the first time in 10 years, and residents of Northern Virginia would like to see a significant chunk added to mass transit spending. That's according to testimony before the Commonwealth Transportation Board Tuesday night in Fairfax County, where regional transportation was viewed through the lens of global influence. '[The] $100 a barrel of oil has now arrived,' said Daniel Kellogg, an Annandale resident advocating for 'non-motorized' zero-emission modes of transportation. He asked the CTB to build more sidewalks and bicycle lanes as it considers the next six years of transportation priorities in Virginia. The CTB kicked off its yearlong process of massaging the state's long-term transportation funding program by listening to advocacy groups, elected officials and concerned residents.
"'The emerging oil crisis will permanently change society, increasing costs in every sector, forcing people to relocate closer to work and to reconsider mass transit options,' Kellogg said. 'The demand for the lowest cost and most reliable option, namely walking and cycling, will increase and the demand for solo driving will decrease.' Douglas Koelemay, the Northern Virginia District CTB representative, said the CTB is changing the way it considers projects, with an eye to the future instead using 'measurements from the past.' 'The imperatives of energy prices and climate change are real,' Koelemay said. What's important is providing people choices when they decide how to get to work or to the store, he said. 'For the first time in 10 years we're injecting new resources into the plan,' he said. 'That means we're not cannibalizing projects. We have the ability to move forward in a number of fronts simultaneously.'..."
-> According to a Nov. 9th Flume article, "At a regular meeting of the Fairplay Board of Trustees on Nov. 5, local resident Marie Chisholm obtained a letter of support from the Fairplay Board of Trustees to apply for a $250,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to cover the cost of moving a donated bridge from CDOT property in Pueblo County to a right-of-way across the Middle Fork of the South Platte River in the Fairplay town limits. The grant is offered from a program called 'Safe Routes to School.'
"Chisholm, who has been singularly successful in obtaining grants for various projects within Park County, explained that she has been trying for many years to get a safer route for pedestrians and bikers, especially for children going to school. The letter of support noted that there has been at least one injury to a child biking to school on the bridge, and the fatality of another child occurred on U.S. 285 not far from the bridge. Plus, Fairplay is at a strategic spot for bicycle enthusiasts who cross that bridge to compete in cross country bike races. The town agreed to participate in the undertaking by sponsoring bike safety classes and advertising the new route through its 'Town Talk' flyers sent out with water bills..."
AND NOW, FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
GIGGLING ROBOT BECOMES ONE OF THE KIDS
-> According to a Nov. 5th New Scientist newsletter article, "Computers might not be clever enough to trick adults into thinking they are intelligent yet, but a new study shows that a giggling robot is sophisticated enough to get toddlers to treat it as a peer. An experiment led by Javier Movellan at the University of California San Diego, US, is the first long-term study of interaction between toddlers and robots. The researchers stationed a 2-foot-tall robot called QRIO (pronounced 'curio'), and developed by Sony, in a classroom of a dozen toddlers aged between 18 months and two years.
"QRIO stayed in the middle of the room using its sensors to avoid bumping the kids or the walls. It was initially programmed to giggle when the kids touched its head, to occasionally sit down, and to lie down when its batteries died. A human operator could also make the robot turn its gaze towards a child or wave as they went away. 'We expected that after a few hours, the magic was going to fade,' Movellan says. 'That's what has been found with earlier robots.' But, in fact, the kids warmed to the robot over several weeks, eventually interacting with QRIO in much the same way they did with other toddlers..."
Note: Watch YouTube video here: http://tinyurl.com/2l9ab4
WALKING TECHNIQUES TO KEEP UP THE PACE
CASTRO VALLEY (CA) SCHOOLS JOIN 'BIKES FOR BOOKS' PROGRAM
LACK OF SLEEP MAY LEAD TO FATTER KIDS
CHINA ENVIRONMENT WOES BLAMED ON LACK OF PLANNING
1000'S OF BIKERS RIDE "BICYCLE FOR EARTH GOES TO BALI"
-> "TRAFFIC CONGESTION AROUND SCHOOLS"
-> "RETAIL SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR BICYCLES..."
-> "MAKING CYCLING IRRESISTIBLE..."
-> "DRIVER DISTRACTION - A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE"
-> "BLUEPRINT FOR AMERICAN PROSPERITY: UNLEASHING..."
-> "2007 TRANSIT BALLOT MEASURES"
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!
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 -- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -- BIKEWALK VIRGINIA
BikeWalk Virginia, a statewide educational and advocacy organization, is seeking a full-time Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for developing and managing a wide range of programs designed to fulfill BikeWalk Virginia's mission: to promote biking, walking and trail use in order to create a more active, safe, clean and healthy Virginia. Specific duties include creating and supporting a network of local chapters, advocacy, special programs and services, and building relationships across the state. This position will be located in Richmond. Compensation range: $50,000 to 70,000. BikeWalk Virginia is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.
For a full job description, visit
-> JOB -- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -- FEET FIRST (SEATTLE, WA)
The nonprofit group Feet First, a leader in the fight to make Seattle and other Puget Sound communities safe and welcoming for pedestrians, is currently seeking a new Executive Director.
With a history of pedestrian advocacy stretching back more than a decade, Feet First has played an important role in encouraging walking and building walkable communities throughout the region. The group's accomplishments range from publishing a popular series of neighborhood walking maps to helping shape and campaign for the 2006 Bridging the Gap ballot measure, which included significant funding to improve the pedestrian experience all around Seattle. Feet First has also been a strong supporter of Safe Routes to School, a program that helps kids walk and bike to school safely.
For the Executive Director position, Feet First is looking for candidates with a strong management background. The ED is responsible for overall organizational leadership and will oversee program development, membership, fundraising, advocacy efforts, and long-range planning. The ideal candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills, experience in community outreach, demonstrated fundraising ability, and staff management experience. Knowledge of, and commitment to, alternate transportation and livable city issues is also highly desired.
-> JOB -- BIKEWAY PGM COORDINATOR -- HOUSTON, TX
Description of Duties/Essential Functions:
Minimum Educational Requirements:
Minimum Experience Requirements:
Salary: $55,172.00 - $67,938.00 Annually. Opening Date: 10/31/07; Closing Date: Continuous.
For more information, go to:
-> RFP -- HWY SAFETY MANUAL MATERIALS -- NCHRP
-> 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:
-> 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, Elizabeth Train, Laura Ringo, Christopher Douwes, Terry Eastin, Russ Fletcher, Dominic Liberatore, Shaun Murphy, Danny Pleasant, Allen Turnbull, Don Burrell, David Hirning, and Roy Rogers.