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REFLECTIONS ON PARK(ING) DAY
-> Celebrating its tenth year, PARK(ing) Day (http://bit.ly/1LNl6X2) is an annual event where artists, activists and citizens turn metered parking spots into temporary public spaces for people rather than cars. PARK(ing) Day got its start when a handful of people asked: Why are drivers the only ones allowed to rent that 8' x 20' parcel of public space? How could it be used differently? Project for Public Spaces Vice President and Director of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, Mark Plotz reflects on the parklet he helped set up outside PPS's Washington, DC office.
With a delicious berry smoothie in hand, and a compelling demonstration just a few feet away of how a 160 square foot patch of asphalt could be used differently, it didn't take long for passersby to make the mental leap about which was the better use: storage for a single car or fun and social interaction for a dozen people? The biggest crowds and smiles came from those we invited to pedal our fender blender. Similarly, having some sidewalk chalk available awakened the inner artist in a few people. The hopscotch game was a big hit with the suits at quitting time on a Friday... http://bit.ly/1G1OeYB
[National PARK(ing) Day is always the third Friday in September—but who says your neighborhood has to wait that long?]
PROMOTING ACTIVE LIVING IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
-> "Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities" (http://bit.ly/1j8p3Pp) summarizes current research on elements of the rural built environment that may be related to obesity and physical activity. It also provides policy implications and a list of important rural-specific built environment measures that have been developed and tested for assessing active living supports, barriers and perceptions. Among other conclusions, the research brief shows that building infrastructure (e.g., wider paved shoulders along rural roads, and pedestrian crossings) and implementing Complete Streets policies that accommodate the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists can help reduce barriers to being physically active.
EPA: SMART GROWTH SELF-ASSESSMENT FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES
-> The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a report (Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities: Madison County, New York: http://1.usa.gov/1OtRKTD) that discusses how a smart growth approach can strengthen rural communities' economies, protect their environment and residents' health, and encourage them to compete with urban areas for workers.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES EU ROADMAP FOR CYCLING
-> The European Parliament recently approved a report (DRAFT REPORT on the Implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: Taking Stock and the Way Forward Towards Sustainable Mobility: http://bit.ly/1V93Ypd) that calls on the European Commission to include the EU Roadmap for Cycling in its next work agenda. The EU Roadmap for Cycling is envisaged as an EU-wide strategy to assimilate and align the current relevant initiatives of the fifteen Directorates-General of the Commission, in addition to allowing for the formation of further policy measures conducive to a modal shift towards cycling. http://bit.ly/1PrKepM
FHWA REVIEW: CREATING INTERNATIONAL BIKE & PED NETWORKS
-> The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) published a report (Delivering Safe, Comfortable, and Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks: A Review of International Practices: http://1.usa.gov/1O9xdCL) examining noteworthy and innovative international designs and treatments that improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. The report covers practices in 11 countries and focuses on such topic areas as signalization, policy change, and network infrastructure.
GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN SLOWS UK TRAFFIC TO 20 MPH
-> More than 15 of the 64 million people in the United Kingdom are now living in communities where the speed limit is 20 miles per hour. The 20's Plenty for Us (http://bit.ly/1Kuu3qp, also see related Streetfilms video: http://bit.ly/1WhVHw0) movement was launched in 2007, and now encompasses 263 local campaigns around the U.K. These grassroots groups have built support for the idea of slower traffic speeds, with the aim of making streets that are safer for people of all ages and more pleasant to live in. http://bit.ly/1MHlj3S
STREETFILMS: CENTRAL LONDON, ENGLAND STREETS TRANSFORMED
-> Streetfilms has released an interview and walking tour with Iain Simmons who is the Assistant Director of City Transportation for the City Of London. The tour included looking at some of the many streets that have been widened for pedestrians, some of the high-quality materials & traffic calming used to keep speeds at 20 mph, and a look at where one of London's Cycle SuperHighways will be installed. Mr. Simmons emphasized that when the public and news media predicts chaos when new bike lanes, sidewalk extensions and traffic calming are proposed, "....the reality is it never, ever, ever does." http://bit.ly/1NLEtUV
LONDON, ENGLAND: SEPARATE CYCLIST & MOTORIST TURNS
-> A new junction [intersection] designed to avoid cyclists being hit by left-turning traffic has been unveiled in London. This is the first junction of its kind in Britain. Cyclists and turning motor traffic will move in separate phases, with left-turning vehicles held back to allow cyclists to move without risk, and cyclists held when vehicles are turning left. There will also be a new ‘two-stage right turn' to let cyclists make right turns in safety. For straight-ahead traffic, early-release traffic lights will give cyclists a head start. These innovations aim to significantly cut the cyclist casualty rate. Around 85% of cyclist accidents happen at junctions, mostly involving turning traffic. The new junction, on the upgraded Cycle Superhighway 2 at Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road, will be the template for junctions to be introduced across London's main road network in future. http://bit.ly/1V9v22c
[Since vehicles travel on the left side of the road in Britain, switch left with right turns above for North American contexts.]
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CYCLING PERCEPTIONS & INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
-> "Changing Perceptions of Cycling in the African American Community to Encourage Participation in a Sport that Promotes Health in Adults" (http://bit.ly/1EUcTmJ) reports on two intervention strategies designed to influence perceptions of cycling among African- Americans. Past research shows that cycling disparities between African-Americans and other ethnic groups are linked to negative perceptions among inexperienced cyclists and non-cyclists. This study examines African-American cycling perceptions and fills a void in addressing the lack of bicycle ridership in the African-American community.
LAUNCH OF CALL TO ACTION ON WALKING & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES
-> If you missed the launch of "Step It Up!, the Surgeon General's Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities," watch the webcast archive. It offers strategies for increasing walking and walkable communities for people of all ages and abilities. Only half of American adults get enough physical activity to reduce the risk of chronic disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Walking is an easy way to start and maintain a physically active lifestyle. The Surgeon General aims to increase walking across the nation by calling for access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll. http://bit.ly/1iLGtBs
RTC: TAKE THE NATIONAL TRAIL USER SURVEY
-> Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has begun the first-ever nationwide survey of trail use to help to create analytical models that can accurately—
- Measure how effectively trail systems have connected—and could further connect—urban areas
- Factor and forecast the demand for, and potential use of, new trail connections
- Assess the impact of trail use on regional tourism and economic development, as well as dollars saved in relation to transportation and health care.
Take the survey online: http://bit.ly/1JoEZ57
TAKE CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS CLEARINGHOUSE SURVEY
-> The Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) Clearinghouse needs user feedback as it plans for a website revamp. Please complete a short survey (http://bit.ly/1MokDgV) by Friday, September 25. CSS is a multidisciplinary approach used by state DOTs for developing transportation projects. It works with stakeholders to identify common goals such as historic preservation, environmental justice, and economic development, in contexts ranging from rural to urban, with the goal of getting the project right the first time. http://bit.ly/1MIcBT1
TAKE THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEY
-> The University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center is conducting a survey (eMedia Use and Preferences for Physical Activity and Public Health) to better understand how physical activity researchers and practitioners receive, seek out, and share information about physical activity and public health. http://bit.ly/1JoYTwO
CITY PLANNERS MUST PRACTICE EVERYONE-BASED DESIGN
-> Day to day, moment by moment, each of us moves in and out of disability. When we can't see because we've lost our glasses; when our arms are incapacitated because they are full with groceries or a baby as we walk through the automatic doors at the supermarket; when we have a migraine headache and can't bear the noise of traffic. In those times, we've tilted into disability. This everyday disability should inform our choices in urban planning and universal design. To some extent, that is happening under the auspices of the "age-friendly city." http://bit.ly/1V8Rs91
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