NCBW Newsroom - The National & International Scene
-> We are looking forward to bringing the next Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference to Vancouver BC in September 2016. It is a city with outstanding active transportation bona fides: a goal of a 50 percent walking, biking, transit mode share by 2020 and a two-thirds mode split by 2040; an all ages and abilities approach to street design; a 265 kilometer bicycling network; and (of course) a strong local advocacy organization in HUB (https://bikehub.ca). The conference has long benefited from Vancouver’s experience in advocating for, planning, designing, and operating a world class active transportation system. Our 2014 program in Pittsburgh featured a number of representatives from Vancouver’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Stay tuned to CenterLines as we get to know our new host city.
-> According to a Sept. 15th League of American Bicyclists article, "Last week in Pittsburgh, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, announced a groundbreaking agenda by US DOT (U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces New Initiative to Enhance Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: http://1.usa.gov/1wB3N8T) to address the safety of people who bike and walk in all 50 states.
"'Safety is our highest priority and that commitment is the same regardless of which form of transportation people choose, including walking and biking,' Foxx told the more than 1,000 attendees at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference. 'This initiative is aimed at reversing the recent rise in deaths and injuries among the growing number of Americans who bicycle or walk to work, to reach public transportation and to other important destinations.'
"Rolling out over the next 18 months, the 'Safer People, Safer Streets' Action Plan (http://1.usa.gov/1tMPtJa) commits the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to identify the causes of bicycle and pedestrian crashes and to work with practitioners, elected officials and advocates to find solutions to reduce injuries and fatalities..."
-> According to a Sept. 15th Streetsblog post, "After a week at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference in Pittsburgh, it was all I could talk about — and luckily, Jeff was an eager audience. In this podcast, Jeff and I talk about the relative utility of a character like Isabella, the new character People for Bikes created to make the case for safe, low-stress bikeways. We dig into the announcement that U.S. DOT is going to take on bike and pedestrian safety as one of its top issues. And we debate the pros and cons of holding the next Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place in Vancouver.
"There were hundreds of workshops, panels, presentations, and tours — not to mention countless side conversations, power lunches, and informal caucuses that were probably at least as energizing as the formal sessions — so my impressions are just one tiny slice of the pie. If you attended this year, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the conference, the host city, and your experience in the comments."
-> (The Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference last week: http://bit.ly/1ARvCri)
"Miss @SecretaryFoxx's speech at #walkbikeplaces last week? (Or just want to re-watch?) Here it is, thx to @jzwetmore -http://bit.ly/XxYk3F--From @completestreets
"No one's asked a pol to justify a bridge by how many people are swimming across a river" @Penalosa_G #WalkBikePlaces - http://bit.ly/1yfEYRH —From @PPS_Placemaking
"Someone put ponytails on Pittsburgh sharrows. They're calling them 'sheryls.'" http://bit.ly/1s5x9uR-- From @BikeWalk
-> According to a Sept. 10th Streetsblog article, "...What if every new bicycle facility were built with the intent of being useful to a young girl? If it were, wouldn't it be good enough for the rest of us, too? That's why, at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference this week, we're launching a new concept to help guide our work. Build it for Isabella (http://bit.ly/1ujWIan).
"Isabella ... is 12. She likes cartwheels, Instagram photos with her best friend, and ice cream cones. Sometimes she even likes school. But without someone to drive her around, she can't enjoy those things, because of the way her neighborhood's busier streets are built. The ultimate goal of the Green Lane Project — and, we'd argue, of all modern bicycle infrastructure — is to let Isabella go where she wants. Not every bike project will be able to serve Isabella. Some streets are just too narrow. Some budgets are just too thin.
"But if any new bike project isn't good enough for Isabella, we would argue that it should have a pretty clear reason why not. As Green Lane Project Director Martha Roskowski wrote in January, it's time to stop building black diamond bike lanes..."
-> According to a Sept. 16th email message from Christy Kwan of the Advocacy Advance Partnership, "I'm just sending a friendly note to all of the advocates out there that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released its Notice of Funding Availability for their Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Pilot Program. Read the announcement on the FTA website (http://1.usa.gov/ZorAer) or download a PDF of the full Notice (http://1.usa.gov/XdL8Az). [Applications are due by 11:59 pm ET on November 3, 2015.] Please note that sometimes the FTA site has problems loading in Google Chrome – so try another web browser if you receive web errors.
"What do all of these words mean?: There's money available from FTA that will support biking and walking improvements and your local transit agency may be considering applying for those funds. The Notice for Funding Opportunity explicitly says that applications must address 6 aspects, including how the project 'increases access to transit hubs for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.' Please check in with your local transit agency if they are thinking about applying to the TOD Planning Pilot Grant Program, and if they are, here's your opportunity to help them scoring additional points on their application by addressing how the TOD project will increase access by walking and biking to transit.
"You can learn about biking and walking improvements associated with transit with the latest Advocacy Advance report called "First Mile, Last Mile: How federal funds help people who walk and bike access transit." You can read the report and watch a webinar recording at: http://bit.ly/1tZhT2U. Lastly, for more additional information on this funding opportunity, please see this blog post from our friends at Transportation for America (http://bit.ly/1o16I2y).
[Editor's Note: FTA's Joanne Waszczak announced at Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Place that FTA funds can be used for pedestrian projects within a half mile of transit, and for bicycle projects within 3 miles of transit.]
[Editor's Note: See also Webinar section below for Winning Strategies: Succeeding in FTA's New TOD Planning Grant Program on September 26.]
-> According to a Sept. 15th CityLab article, "'Bikelash' is a snappy little word that names a condition quite familiar to anyone who's been following the politics of city streets in the United States over the past few years. It describes the resistance and hostility that the increasing presence of bikes on city streets sometimes produces in people who don't ride bikes... Now Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms has made a video interviewing bike advocates from around the country at this year's Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference (5:25 http://bit.ly/1t8XHtw), held earlier this month in Pittsburgh, about their response to bikelash. The consensus seems to be that bikelash is an inevitable part of the evolution of bicycle transportation in North America, a phase that most be gotten through with patience and positivity..."
-> According to a September European Cyclist Federation newsletter article, "ECF's aim, to get 'more people cycling more often', is a win-win situation for meeting both the target of a 40% emissions reduction by 2030 and the EU's energy security goals. Making up a fifth of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, reducing emissions from the transport sector is key to meeting the 40% targets.
"Our 2011 'Cycling More Often 2 Cool Down the Planet: Quantifying CO2 Savings of Cycling' study (http://bit.ly/1qZ2A6x) showed that if the EU-27 were to cycle as much as Denmark, this could meet up to 26% of the 2050 transport sector targets and would reduce the EU's oil imports by 9%. This is in addition to benefits of active mobility such as better health, lowered road congestion and the unlocking of new public spaces..."
-> According to a Sept. 5th CityLab article, "A big reason for opposition to bike lanes is that, according to the rules of traffic engineering, they lead to car congestion. The metric determining this outcome (known as "level of service") is quite complicated, but its underlying logic is simple: less road space for automobiles means more delay at intersections. But the general wisdom doesn't tell the whole story here. On the contrary, smart street design can eliminate many of the traffic problems anticipated by alternative mode elements like bike lanes. A new report on protected bike lanes (Protected Bike Lanes in NYC: http://on.nyc.gov/1r7xuLv) released by the New York City Department of Transportation by the New York City Department of Transportation offers a great example of how rider safety can be increased even while car speed is maintained.
"To see what we mean, let's take a look at the bike lanes installed on Columbus Avenue from 96th to 77th streets... Rather than increase delay for cars, the protected bike lanes on Columbus actually improved travel times in the corridor. According to city figures, the average car took about four-and-a-half minutes to go from 96th to 77th before the bike lanes were installed, and three minutes afterward—a 35 percent decrease in travel time..."
-> According to a September CTS Catalyst newsletter article, "Navigating sidewalks and intersections affected by road construction can be challenging for all pedestrians, but it's especially difficult for those who are blind or visually impaired. To help these pedestrians find their way safely, University of Minnesota researchers have developed a smartphone app that can detect upcoming work zones and provide routing instructions. The project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)...
"The app builds on a previously developed smartphone-based system that was designed to provide visually impaired pedestrians with geometric and signal timing information at signalized intersections... The app uses Bluetooth beacons—which can be attached to signs, posts, or construction barriers in a work zone—that communicate with the GPS receiver on a user's smartphone. When a beacon is detected, the phone vibrates and provides an audio message. The message includes the pedestrian's current location, the location of the work zone, and suggested routing instructions. The user can tap the smartphone to have the message repeated...
"In addition, the research team has received funding from the Roadway Safety Institute (RSI) to expand the project by creating a 'condition aware' infrastructure that can be integrated with the smartphone app. The goal is a system that can self-monitor and keep the information it broadcasts to app users as up-to-date as possible... The team expects the app to be available to the public following the completion of the RSI-funded project."
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