PBIC Announces Inaugural Walk Friendly Communities!

WFC awards

After evaluating applicant communities from across the United States, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is excited to recognize 11 towns and cities as Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), for their initiatives and achievements in various categories related to walking including safety, access, mobility and comfort.

US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood featured the selected Walk Friendly Communities on his blog "The Fast Lane" and the communities were also spotlighted on First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" blog. The blog postings highlighted walking as a healthy and safe transportation option and congratulated the communities on their commitments to walkability and safety.

Click on each community name to learn more about why it was recognized as a Walk Friendly Community.

Platinum Level

Gold Level

Silver Level

Bronze Level

PBIC also acknowledged the following communities with honorable mentions for their progress toward walkability and safety in their area.

Honorable Mention

"The WFC designation recognizes communities that help set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking," said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. "We were pleased with the response we received for the first round of this new program and are very excited to see communities use this program to further their pedestrian efforts." Pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain alarmingly high in the U.S. at the same time that there is an increasing groundswell of support for active transportation across the country. Communities are channeling this support for livability and taking advantage of the many benefits of walking — improved safety, environmental and personal health, reduced traffic congestion, enhanced quality of life, and economic rewards.

Officially launched in October 2010, the WFC program is funded by FedEx and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. As PBIC wraps up the first round of WFC, it also announces the next call for WFC applications. The application process for the second round of WFC opened on May 1 and will close on June 15. Interested communities are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to learn more about the program and review the application.


Join the Ride! Bike to Work Week 2011

screenshot of bike to work website

Bike to Work events are being hosted around the country in honor of Bike to Work Week, May 16 – 20, and Bike to Work Day on May 20. The League of American Bicyclists recognizes May as National Bike Month, promoting bicycle riding, safety and Bike to Work events. Biking to the office provides an excellent alternative to driving while also reducing traffic congestion, helping the environment and saving money. While the yearly cost of owning and operating a vehicle is over $9,000, or 18 percent of the average household's income, owning and maintaining a bicycle can cost as little as $120 per year i. In addition to the economic and environment advantages, bicycling to work is a great opportunity to increase social contact with others, strengthen relationships and to add to a healthy sense of identity and place.

In March, PBIC launched www.BikeToWorkInfo.org, a comprehensive website that houses resources for bicyclists of all levels and groups that are interested in starting events. Site visitors can find downloads for event organizers, tips for individual riders, facts for the news media as well as information for employers and sponsors. Below are a few resources to assist in planning your Bike to Work event.i

"Brake" in on the Conversation: Bike to Work Forum 

Want to celebrate Bike to Work Month, but aren't sure where to start? You're not alone! There are others out there that are just starting their Bike to Work events, as well as experienced event planners and organizers. On the www.BikeToWorkInfo.org forum you can network with others to exchange creative ideas, share successful tips and ask questions to help you plan and launch your event.

Visit the Bike to Work Forum to join the conversation!

Gearing Up: Bike to Work Resources to Get Started

Looking for a way to start a Bike to Work event at your job? Or maybe you're an employer that's interested in engaging employees in new a Bike to Work program? Below you will find a variety of resources to kick off a Bike to Work initiative in your area.

Bikeability Checklist

This helpful resource, developed by PBIC, provides a measure of bikeability for your community and also suggests possible actions any bicyclist can take to improve less than ideal conditions for bicycling.

The Bike to Work Commuter's Booklet

This resource from the League of American Bicyclists provides all you need to know about biking to work. While many of the sections of the booklet are fleshed out in greater detail on Bike to Work website, this resource combines them all in an easy-to-print format.

Bicycle Safety Tips

Safety is the most important aspect to consider as a novice bicyclist on the road. This resource provides tips to help improve road safety for everyone.

Follow the Lead: Successful Bike to Work Events and Programs

If you are looking for example Bike to Work events or programs to start your own, the Programs in Motion section of www.BikeToWorkInfo.org includes a section with successful examples to follow. Here are a few success stories to showcase ideas that could work for your Bike to Work event.

Back-to-Work Bike-to-Work Challenge in Tucson, Arizona

The Back-to-Work Bike-to-Work Challenge encouraged Tucson residents kick off the New Year by biking to work. The event utilized a bike breakfast, user-generated trip logs, and giveaways to generate interest and increase publicity.

RBF Consulting: Corporate Bike to Work Challenge

The company's first ever Bike to Work Day was intended to encourage employees to bike to work as a healthy and fun alternative to their typical commute. The idea was introduced by members of RBF's Wellness Works Committee, which helped to publicize the event and obtain corporate support for Bike to Work Day throughout the firm's office in Irvine, California.

Yay Bikes! Columbus, Ohio's Bike to Work Challenge

The Bike to Work Challenge is a friendly competition between employers in the Columbus, Ohio area. To win the Challenge, a company/organization must achieve the highest bicycle mode share within its bracket over an 11 day period.

i The League of American Bicyclists


Find Bicycle and Pedestrian Resources in Your State

state map screenshot

Identifying state-by-state resources on the PBIC website is now even easier! PBIC has launched a tool that allows site visitors to search for bicycling and walking tools by state. By selecting a state on the interactive map, users can find state contacts including the pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, case studies from the selected state, selected bicycle and pedestrian plans, and bike maps - making the search for local resources more efficient and convenient.

Visit www.walkinginfo.org/states or www.bicyclinginfo.org/states today to see what resources are available in your state.


May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

fitness

As we say farewell to winter months and frigid temperatures, many of us are anticipating warm weather to help us get out and become more active. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is celebrated during the month of May. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health. Often we don't consider the activities intertwined into our daily routine as physical activity, but brisk walking or a short bicycle ride can fulfill the daily physical fitness requirements. Here are a few tips to integrate physical activity into your normal routine.

Even beyond the month of May, remember how bicycling and walking can fit into your everyday routine.


Featured Case Study: Complete Streets Implementation in Sacramento, California

Problem

Streets should be designed to accommodate all users, promote sustainable transportation, and make neighborhoods and the urban core more livable. However, where a city has quickly expanded into a previously rural area, country roads may be widened to accommodate more motor vehicles without considering the needs of other users. This happened in Sacramento, California. Challenged to improve deficient streets, the city adopted complete streets policies, plans and standards to meet its goals.

Background

In Sacramento, large annexations and years of double-digit population growth drove the expansion of low-density, automobile-oriented residential and commercial development. Many wide arterial streets were built and older, rural roads were widened to accommodate more vehicles, without much consideration for the needs of other road users, particularly pedestrians. By the late 1990s, the city faced a legacy of missing sidewalks, curbs, gutters, bike lanes, street lights and street trees; residents complained of high traffic speeds and missing pedestrian amenities. Traffic calming measures helped reduce speeds on existing streets but were expensive and did not address design issues for new streets. Growing concerns about air quality and pedestrian safety, as well as pressure from developers, who argued that earlier standards were too rigid, and residents, who demanded more livable neighborhoods and better pedestrian amenities, fostered the necessary political environment to support new street design standards.

Solution

Image Source: Edward J. Cox

In 2004 the city of Sacramento adopted revisions to its street standards. The process included public involvement and outreach to specific stakeholder groups, including emergency responders, the disabled community and developers. These Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards were intended to enhance the pedestrian environment, promote alternate transportation modes, and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

The resolution adopting the new standards states in part that, "The city street system should encourage alternate mode use, especially walking and bicycling, by working toward a balance of all street users." It lists eight objectives for city streets and shows cross sections of streets that include planting strips between the sidewalk and curb for the purpose of growing shade trees, vertical curbs instead of the longtime standard of rolled curbs, reduced parallel parking lane widths and increased bicycle lane widths. These cross sections are used for all new streets and wherever possible in retrofit situations.

When the Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards were adopted in 2004, Sacramento did not have an explicit Complete Streets policy. However, the existing general plan was amended to include the new standards and the city's Pedestrian Master Plan (2006) references them. The 2030 General Plan, passed in 2009, specifically refers to complete streets as a citywide mobility goal and recommends implementation policies (Section M 4, Goal M 4.2).

Results

Since the new standards were adopted, Sacramento has used the following methods to complete its streets:

New streets

Most new streets are coincident with new development, and will be completed first. Because cities can impose new standards, new streets can include all provisions for all users at one time. It is useful to look at recently constructed streets to see how the current standards can be updated, a process the City of Sacramento used to make the "Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards."

Adding sidewalks

Image Source: Edward J. Cox

The most significant element of a complete street is a walkway for pedestrians. Sometimes a sidewalk can be added where the curbs, gutters and even trees already exist. If the public right of way has sufficient room, an infill sidewalk might be installed. The cost to add only sidewalk is relatively inexpensive; Sacramento has realized greater savings by using city road maintenance crews to do the work. When sidewalks are added to streets without curbs and gutters, more detailed attention is required for proper drainage.

Adding bicycle lanes

The addition of bicycle lanes has multiple benefits for street users. Bicycle lanes create a greater separation between automobiles and pedestrians; the perceived narrowing of the travel lanes can help slow motor vehicles. When used for maneuvering space for parallel parking, bike lanes help to reduce conflicts.

The best opportunity to add bicycle lanes is when the street is being re-surfaced. This process offers a blank slate with which to work. It may be possible to add bicycle lanes by shifting the centerline of the road, putting parallel parking on only one side of the road, or some other rearrangement of the roadway. Other streets may have too much pavement space, and a solution might involve striping a second/adjacent bike lane where the pavement is better quality, or to paint out excess paved areas.

An important precursor is a bikeway plan that identifies streets that should be considered for bicycle lanes. This plan is referred to when specific street segments are to be resurfaced.

Dropping travel lanes

Sometimes called a road diet, the more specific term "lane drop" is used where a road's capacity is greater than the space needed for the motor vehicle traffic using it. The excess roadway space is then redistributed to provide for bicycle lanes and other functions. A traffic analysis should be prepared to verify that there are no significant issues with removing a travel lane.

One of the simplest lane drop projects occurs when there are two travel lanes in one direction and one lane in the other direction. Typically daily traffic demands on a road are equal for both directions, so it may be possible to drop the extra lane.

Image Source: Edward J. Cox

Another kind of lane drop can be done on three-lane, one-way streets. Once it was determined that there would not be any significant impact on traffic, Sacramento converted some of its one-way streets from three lanes to two lanes. The resulting space was divided into left and right side bicycle lanes. This lane drop has made pedestrian crossings shorter and left turning easier for cyclists.

Elsewhere, conversions from two lanes in each direction to one lane each way with a center two-way left turn lane has resulted in better traffic operations, since left turning vehicles are no longer in the path of forward moving vehicles.

Two-way conversions

During the 1950s, Sacramento converted several two-way streets into one-way operation as a means of solving congestion problems. After 50 years of three-lane one-way operation on some of its central city streets and the addition of new freeways, there has been a movement to convert streets back to two-way operation. This has produced more pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets. Making two-way conversions requires a large amount of preparation, including public outreach and traffic studies. Two-way conversions can be costly as well, since additional signal equipment is needed at intersections and at railroad crossings.

Shortening crossings

Shortening the crossing distance can assist pedestrians in crossing a street. Excess pavement can be blocked out. Even better, corner bulb-outs can be installed to cut down on the crossing distance. Wider bicycle lanes on the approach side of a signalized intersection can be used in lieu of right turn slip lanes. This alternative to the "pork chop" island allows for one straight crossing as opposed to multiple interactions between pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Widening the sidewalk

In areas where a large amount of pedestrian traffic is expected, it is appropriate to widen the sidewalks. These projects usually involve modifying old infrastructure, which in some cases is historic. Special attention with respect to details such as curbs and railings is required, so as to not introduce any inconsistent elements into historic fabric.

Adding parking

Adding automobile parking has been an effective method to create visual friction to slow down motorists and to provide a buffer for the pedestrian. While parallel parking is a frequently used application, angled parking also has been used successfully. Of great interest to bicyclists is the use of back-in angled parking. By having cars back into the angled stall, there is better visibility between bicyclists and motorists as they leave the parking space.

Parking isn't just for automobiles: bicycle parking is now a recognized city function. Sacramento has converted former parking meter posts into bicycle parking devices. Other bicycle parking programs are forthcoming and may include city-sponsored bicycle parking racks.

Engaging the street

Most discussions of complete streets involve adding elements in the public right of way. On urban streets, however, completing the streets goes beyond the sidewalk to include buildings that engage the street. In particular, buildings with residential above ground-floor retail will keep eyes on the street. The result is a safer and more inviting environment for pedestrians. Outdoor dining areas are often desirable; however, they should be done with sensitivity to maintaining clear access for the people with disabilities.

Conclusion

As existing cities begin to embrace bicycle and pedestrian friendliness within the public right of way, new developments will follow suit. Place-making principles of the city grid with short blocks and through streets are now being introduced in new developments to encourage citizens to be less dependent on automobiles.

The path to complete streets involves balancing competing interests such as the need to make wide sidewalks for large groups of pedestrians versus the need to maximize developable land, or the need to keep crossing distances short versus making intersections that accommodate trucks. There is no single cure for all conditions. Sacramento continues to make incremental improvements to maintain momentum and eventually complete all the city's streets.

References and additional information

Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards Ordinance:  http://cityofsacramento.org/dsd/reference/resolutions-and-ordinances/documents/Resolution-2004-118-Pedestrian-Friendly-Street-Standards.pdf

Sacramento Pedestrian Master Plan (2006): http://www.cityofsacramento.org/transportation/dot_media/street_media/sac-ped-plan_9-06.pdf

Sacramento 2030 Master Plan (Mobility section): http://www.sacgp.org/documents/04_Part2.04_Mobility.pdf

Success Stories: Sacramento's Pedestrian Friendly Street Standards. Posted on Healthy Transportation, September 11, 2006. http://www.healthytransportation.net/view_resource.php?res_id=4&cat_type=improve

Moving forward: Completed "complete streets" projects as of May 2010 http://www.cityofsacramento.org/transportation/dot_media/engineer_media/pdf/ProjectHandout_11x17_2010.pdf

Sacramento Transportation and Air Quality Collaborative. Best Practices for Complete Streets. 2005. http://www.cityofsacramento.org/transportation/dot_media/engineer_media/pdf/bp-CompleteStreets.pdf

"Planning for Growth Through Complete Streets: Sacramento, California". In Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices. APA Planning Advisory Service Report Number 559.

Contact

Edward J. Cox
Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator
City of Sacramento
915 I St., Room 2000
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-8434 
ecox@cityofsacramento.org

New Resources

The following resources have been recently added to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian- and bicycling-related materials. To search the library, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library or www.bicyclinginfo.org/library.

The Role of FHWA Programs in Livability: State of the Practice Summary
FHWA's Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program
Effective Delivery of Small-Scale Federal-Aid Projects
Bicycle Facilities and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure
Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street
Evaluation of Innovative Bicycle Facilities
Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons for New York
Bicycling Renaissance in North America? An Update and Re-Appraisal of Cycling Trends and Policies
Complete Streets Policy Analysis 2010
PBIC Case Study
Bridgeport Way: The Role of a Major Arterial in Town-Making

Announcements

APBP Announces Winners of Women Cycling Photo & Video Contest

In honor of Women's History Month, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) hosted a video and photo contest in conjunction with its Women Cycling Project. APBP launched the Women Cycling Project to identify why fewer women and girls cycle for transportation in the U.S. and Canada and to collect existing best practices communities employ to encourage more women and girls to cycle.

First place was awarded to an 8-minute video, Beauty and the Bike, produced by the Darlington Media Group of Darlington, England. This lively video is also a teaser for a 55-minute documentary film that follows two groups of young women (one from Darlington, the other from Bremen, Germany) who examine why teenage girls do or don't cycle. To view the first place video, visit http://www.walkinginfo.org/videos/pubdetail.cfm?picid=39.

Second, third and fourth prizes were awarded to photographers Elly Blue (Portland, Ore., 2nd prize), Suzanne Nathan (Chicago, Ill., 3rd prize) and Shawn Turner (College Station, Tex., 4th prize) who offered their images of women and girls cycling to the PBIC Image Library. The prize video and photos can be viewed at http://www.womencyclingproject.info/. In choosing the winners, APBP selected entries that best advanced the goals of the Women Cycling Project — to encourage more women and girls to cycle for transportation.

The Access Board Seeks Comment on Access to Shared Use Paths

The Access Board seeks public comment on a new initiative to develop accessibility guidelines for shared use paths which provide a means of transportation and recreation for various users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, and others, including people with disabilities. The new guidelines will provide technical provisions for incorporating accessibility into the construction or alteration of shared use paths covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and, in the case of those federally funded, the Architectural Barriers Act.

Through a notice published on March 28, the Board invites comment on the guidelines to be developed, including their scope of coverage and the definition of "shared use paths." The Board also seeks feedback on draft technical provisions that address various features of paths, including surface characteristics, width, grade and cross slopes, changes in level, surface joints and openings, protruding objects, gates and barriers, and intersections and curb ramps. The notice explains these provisions and poses questions to the public on specific topics. Shared use paths are primarily designed for bicyclists and others for off-road transportation, such as commuting to work, as well as for recreation purposes.

Submitted comments are due by June 27, 2011. The notice can also be accessed, and comments submitted, through www.regulations.gov. For further information, contact Peggy H. Greenwell at greenwell@access-board.gov (email), (202) 272-0017 (voice), or (202) 272-0075 (TTY).

IIHS Releases Pedestrian Status Report

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a Pedestrian Status Report detailing how pedestrians may benefit from technology to avoid crashes. According to the report, 224,000 pedestrians were struck between 2005 and 2009 in a frontal crash with a single passenger vehicle. The report examines the strides that automakers are making to improve technology to reduce the number of pedestrian-car crashes. Visit http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4603.pdf to read the full report.

NHTSA Reports Statistics on Traffic Safety for Vulnerable Populations for 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its 2009 Traffic Safety Fact Sheets on bicyclists, pedestrians and children. During 2009, there were 33,808 traffic fatalities in the United States, including 4,092 pedestrians and 630 bicyclists. Click on the links above to learn how these three vulnerable populations were represented in that statistic.

Take the National Walking Survey Today!

Help America Walks collect valuable information on who walks, and why we walk. This survey will take only 5 minutes to complete! America Walks encourages the broadest possible participation in the National Walking Survey. Feel free to post, tweet, or forward this message.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues in the News

The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from around the world. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.

New impact lab for car and pedestrian safety
Health Canal
3/11/2011
Cycling group reaching out to motorists to peacefully share the road
The Augusta Chronicle
3/13/2011
At 103, he's a three-wheeled wonder
Los Angeles Times
3/14/2011
Perth to slow down to 40kph
InMyCommunity
3/21/2011
Cyclists say biking is money for local economy
NBC DFW
3/24/2011
Bicycles empower women and boost economic development in Uganda
The City Fix
3/24/2011
Walking workstation brings workout to desks
ABC7
3/25/2011
San Francisco's newest bicycle improvements literally glow
CBS Local
4/1/2011
Activists give out reflective belts to night walkers
North Jersey
4/4/2011
Americans prefer smart growth communities
Smart Planet
4/5/2011
City Market to open bicycle hub
Fox 59 Indianapolis
04/06/2011
City discusses pedestrian safety for seniors
Santa Monica Mirror
04/07/2011
County planning updates could lead to interactive maps
North Jersey
04/10/2011
The City Of Spartanburg introduces reflect for safety monday
CBS 7
04/18/2011
Hub set to launch bike-share program
The Boston Globe
4/21/2011
St. Albert bike helmet rules work: study
St. Albert Gazette
4/27/2011
Vehicle 'dragnets' planned for Santa Monica Farmers' Market
The Los Angeles Times
4/30/2011
New bike boulevard planned for Palo Alto
Palo Alto Online
5/09/2011
Rep. Blumenauer to unveil 'Commuter Relief Act' in Portland
Bike Portland
5/09/2011
Honolulu's cell phone ban may extend to crosswalks
KHON2
5/09/2011
Philadelphia ranked the #1 big city for bike commuting per capita in the U.S.
Uwishunu
5/10/2011
Move over motorists: New law gives cyclists space
Metro Atlanta
5/12/2011

Upcoming Events

APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference
5/22/2011
Memphis, TN
2011 Main Streets Conference
5/22/2011
Des Moines, IA
CNU 19 - Growing Local
6/1/2011
Madison, WI
National Household Travel Survey Data Workshop
6/6/2011
Washington, DC
79th Annual Conference of Mayors
6/17/2011
Baltimore, MD
Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference
6/20/2011
St. Louis, MO
3rd Safe Routes to School National Conference
8/16/2011
Minneapolis, MN
2011 International Conference on Ecology and Transportation
8/21/2011
Seattle, WA


Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.888.823.3977
Fax: 919.962.8710
www.walkinginfo.org
www.bicyclinginfo.org