NCBW Newsroom - Regional and Local Actions
-> According to an Oct. 2nd post to the Safe Routes to School listserve by Margaux Mennesson of the SRTS National Partnership, "Here's a success story worth sharing about how a coalition of 40 groups in Minnesota came together to advance a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program for the state.
"The coalition was formed in 2012 to work to fund a MN-based Safe Routes to School program. Despite a budget shortfall in 2013, the state legislature approved coalition-backed legislation providing $500,000 for two years for the Safe Routes to School program. Then, with support from a Voices for Healthy Kids grant, the coalition was able to hire a legislative campaign coordinator and communications coordinator for the 2014 session. Despite competition for funding, and thanks to targeted communications campaign and strong coalition, the legislature approved $1 million for SRTS infrastructure funding. It also increased funding by $250,000 per year for non-infrastructure spending.
Read the full story here: http://bit.ly/1yLrkWL.
-> According to a Sept. 30th Transit for Livable Communities (TLC) article, "On September 17, the region’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) took a historic vote to include social equity considerations in its scoring of project funding applications. The new equity points, among points in a number of traditional transportation criteria (usage, age of facility, etc.), do two essential things. One, they give a slight preference to projects (roads, transit, and bicycle/pedestrian) benefitting people of color, people living in poverty, and especially people in racially concentrated areas of poverty. Second, they connect transportation and housing outcomes, by aligning points with efforts by cities and counties to increase the availability of affordable housing...
"TLC has long sought to direct a greater share of TAB funding to projects that provide greater access by transit, bicycling, and walking—particularly for those who can’t afford to, or choose not to, own a car. We have also advocated for road repair and retrofit projects rather than mostly building new and bigger facilities. Despite sustained advocacy and a new regional policy emphasis on social equity and sustainability as articulated by Thrive MSP, (the Met. Council’s long-range plan), changing transportation funding priorities was no easy task.
"Shifting priorities to leverage improved social equity could be achieved through one of two key policy changes: One, spending an increased share of funds in areas of concentrated poverty or racially concentrated areas of poverty. Or two, keeping the same geographic distribution of funds (which has been closely attended by TAB members for decades), but shifting a greater share of total funding to transit and bike/walk options, which low-income residents and people of color disproportionately rely upon. TLC has long been a champion of both strategies. Ultimately, the historic TAB vote followed the first path. A vote next spring, when specific projects are selected, will determine the split between road, transit, and bicycle/pedestrian investments... "
-> According to an Oct. 1st WTNH-TV article, "A new law is cracking down on reckless drivers. The Vulnerable User Law holds careless drivers accountable who injure or kill pedestrians and cyclists (Senate Bill No. 336, Public Act 14-31 An Act Concerning the Penalty for Causing Harm to a Vulnerable User of a Public Way: http://1.usa.gov/1s8ZUVU)... According to federal and state crash data from 2006 to 2012, 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists were killed or injured while using Connecticut roads...The law requires a fine to be imposed on reckless drivers who cause death or serious injury and they will be slapped with up to $1,000 fine..."
-> According to an Oct. 6th CityLab article, "...Now Kansas City, Missouri, has joined a small group of municipalities, Los Angeles among them, that have passed ordinances specifically addressing such harassment. The Kansas City ordinance [PDF] was carefully designed to avoid potential challenges based on the right to free speech under the First Amendment. It prohibits certain actions aimed at 'intimidating or injuring’ people on bikes, on foot, and in wheelchairs. Explicitly listed among those actions are throwing objects or swerving a vehicle toward such a person, threatening, and '[placing] such person in apprehension of immediate physical injury.’ Penalties could include fines up to $500 and as much as six months in jail. (Service animals are also covered by the ordinance.)...
"In California, where cities including Los Angeles and Berkeley have passed anti-harassment ordinances tailored to protect bicyclists in particular, advocates have argued that they are necessary because too often, overburdened prosecutors don’t do anything about reports of threatening and dangerous behavior unless serious injury results. The Los Angeles and Berkeley ordinances differ from Kansas City’s in that they make harassment of people on bikes a civil offense, allowing bicyclists to go directly to civil court in order to pursue their claims..."
-> According to a Sept. 24th Co.Exist article, "As America’s obesity problem has moved closer to crisis levels, public officials ranging from Michelle Obama to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been alternately celebrated and mocked for their high-profile efforts to help citizens lose weight. Yet it’s likely that no politician has had more success at helping constituents on this very personal issue than Oklahoma City’s four-term Republican mayor, Mick Cornett, who used to run one of the most obese cities in the nation.
"On January 1, 2012, five years after he received national attention for challenging his city to go on a joint diet, he announced they’d hit their weight loss goal: A total of 47,000 residents had together achieved the mayor’s goal of shedding 1 million pounds...
"But it turns out hitting the weight loss goal was only the beginning. It won't do much good if the city just goes back to its old ways. To keep off the pounds, Cornett believes permanent, longer-term changes are needed, which is why Oklahoma City’s streets, sidewalks, and parks are now in the process of getting a makeover...
"Partly using proceeds from a one-penny sales tax passed in late 2009, it’s now in the process of making a slate of improvements, including a 70-acre park that will link the city’s downtown with the Oklahoma River, a new streetcar line and river kayaking facility, a senior wellness center, and hundreds of miles of jogging, walking, and biking trails. It’s also making sure there are gyms in all grade schools and is narrowing all the downtown streets to add trees to wider, more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks..."
-> According to an Oct. 3rd OR DOT release, "The second annual Oregon Drive Less Challenge, spearheaded by the Oregon Department of Transportation and its partners, kicks off next week with an ambitious goal: eliminating one million vehicle miles traveled in 14 days. Running Oct. 6 through Oct. 19, the challenge aims to connect Oregonians with green, healthy travel options. Participants are encouraged to pedal their way, walk, share the ride and tap into transit and train travel throughout the challenge...
"To join this year's Oregon Drive Less Challenge, sign up for free at DriveLessConnect.com. Then, from Oct. 6 through Oct. 19, simply log bus, train, bike, carpool, vanpool, walk, skateboard and/or carshare trips for work, errands or play, plus teleworking, for the chance to win prizes totaling more than $15,000 in value..."
-> According to a Sept. 9th Urbanful article, "Leaders in the District of Columbia need to do more to make the city friendly to older adults–not just the thousands of millennials flocking to the city each year–by focusing on age-friendly policies that create more inclusive mobility options for the increasing older population, according to a new report from the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG).
"CSG’s report, Moving an Age-Friendly DC: Transportation for All Ages (http://bit.ly/1xlWZti), identifies both deficiencies and solutions in the existing infrastructure and service options for older adults in D.C. Three key areas for improvement are, 'the pedestrian environment; public transit; and coordinating paratransit, community transportation, and private transportation services.’..."
-> According to a Sept. 16th City of Seattle release, "Nearly 1,100 cyclists daily using new facility. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) today released data for the new Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane (http://bit.ly/ZsG1Ok) that shows bicycle ridership has tripled due to the new facility. With the conversion of the former one-way bike lane to a two-way, protected bike lane, an average of 1,099 bicyclists a day used the new lane on September 9, 10 and 11 according to electronic counters. This is three times the daily number of cyclists that had previously used the former one-way bike lane... Installed by SDOT, the facility opened Monday, September 8 with new pavement markings for two-way bike traffic, green pavement markings where turning cars cross the bike lane, separate traffic signals for bicyclists and motorists turning left, and plastic posts separating the bike lane from the left turn/parking lane..."
-> According to an Oct. 1st release, "The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is pleased to announce its three new Walk Friendly Communities (WFC)... Silver Level: Bellevue, Wash., and Bronze Level: Portsmouth, Va. and Sisters, Ore... The 'Walk Friendly’ title means a city or town is being recognized for its success in working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort....
"The program will begin accepting applications for the ninth round on Nov. 3, 2014, with the deadline for submission on Dec. 15, 2014. Interested communities are encouraged to visit http://bit.ly/10SYBZU to learn more about the program and review the community assessment tool..."
-> According to a Sept. 24th article, "Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced 150 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) in 39 states and the District of Columbia (http://bit.ly/1xo22JD). The largest group of awardees in the program's history, this latest round grows the ranks of BFBs to more than 800 businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in 46 states and the District of Columbia. (http://bit.ly/1EsDUKM)..."
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