Walk Friendly Communities Program Update
Communities across the U.S. submitted applications to be considered for the first round of Walk Friendly Communities designations in December 2010. Walk Friendly Communities is a new nationwide recognition program, maintained by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) with funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and FedEx, to encourage towns and cities to establish or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments. Applications are currently being reviewed, and the program plans to announce the communities who received a Walk Friendly Communities designation in April 2011. Communities who did not submit their information in December can continue to work toward the next round of applications, which will open on May 1 and close on June 15. To access a printable version of the application, or to learn more about the program, visit www.walkfriendly.org.
PBIC Unveils New Bike to Work Website
PBIC has launched a new Website, www.biketoworkinfo.org, focused on providing resources for planning Bike to Work events. The site also includes an interactive forum, profiles of successful events and a convenient event planning timeline. Ask questions about bike commuting and network with other bike commuters, find helpful tips about bike safety and maintenance, get help starting an event in your community or access resources about bike commuting on the site. Feel free to provide us with any feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope this resource can help you discover your inner bike commuter! Join the growing community of bike commuters and discover the fun and freedom of bicycling to work.
What's New with PBIC Webinars?
PBIC wrapped up the "Designing for Pedestrian Safety" Webinar series in December 2010. In February, PBIC featured 'FHWA Resources for Ped/Bike Professions' from its "Livable Communities" Webinar series. This Webinar discussed the various resources available to those interested in pedestrian and bicycle issues and how they can efficiently implement them into their communities. Hosted by Dan Nabors of VHB, PBIC Director Charlie Zegeer, Libby Thomas with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center and Tamara Redmon, Pedestrian and Bike Safety Team Leader at FHWA, the Webinar covered tools and resources such as BIKESAFE, How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and the Resident's Guide, among others. This Webinar is available for download at www.walkinginfo.org/webinars in the "Livable Communities" series.
This spring, PBIC will launch the new "Pedestrian Safety Action Plan" (PSAP) Webinar series. Similar to the eight-part "Designing for Pedestrian Safety" series, the PSAP series is an in-person training workshop that has been modified and developed into a Webinar series and provided free of charge. More information about the "PSAP" Webinar series will be available in April. Visit http://www.walkinginfo.org/training/pbic/index.cfm to learn more about training courses offered through PBIC.
Featured Case Study: Strength in Numbers: The Central Florida Bike Bus
Image Source: Jason Buckner
Strength in Numbers: The Central Florida Bike Bus
Commuting to work by bike as a single rider is often a less attractive alternative than commuting in groups, due to a lack of understanding regarding the legitimacy of cycling on major high traffic roads, the mindset of motorists that only cars belong on roads and cyclists should stay out of the way, and the lack of civility among modes on major roads in the United States.
Many major roads in municipalities across the United States do not have dedicated bicycle infrastructure, making cycling intimidating for novice riders. This lack of infrastructure can dissuade cyclists from commuting to work, if such an option exists. It also hinders individual riders who don't feel comfortable using major roads.
One way to surmount the problem of riding on major roads is to ride in groups. Riding in a group increases the visibility of bicyclists, which increases safety; it increases the comfort level of all riders in the group and in particular for novice riders; and it legitimizes the presence of cyclists on roads. Group rides, however, are often difficult to organize and, while helpful for novice riders, are often not feasible on a daily basis.
Image Source: Jason Buckner
Following their car breaking down, a couple in Orlando, Florida decided to start the Central Florida Bike Bus. A Bike Bus is comprised of a group of riders all heading in the same direction and, like a public transit bus, runs on a fixed schedule and along a certain route. This type of system allows riders to "get on" or join the bus at their discretion along the way and also to "get off" whenever convenient.
The Bike Bus was based on an idea from local high school students, who had started a similar project in 2009 (4 on a Quarter 2009). It began as a way to build community around the university, educate motorists on cycling equality, and increase the visibility of cyclists on the roads while still maintaining a positive relationship with motorists, according to program contacts. Florida Bicycle Laws indicate that the bicycle is classified as a vehicle in the same sense as a motor vehicle, must follow all rules of the road, and must ride close to the right side of the road, unless the bicyclist is passing another vehicle, passing a fixed object, preparing for a left turn, or when a lane is too narrow to accommodate both the bicyclist and motor vehicle safely (Florida Department of Transportation 2010). By stipulating that all Bike Bus members follow these laws on major roads, the Bike Bus serves as an example of how bicycles and motor vehicles can use the same facility without conflict.
The Bike Bus is organized with one experienced rider leading the group and the other bringing up the rear, the leader serving as an example of riding etiquette, while the other ensures that no one gets left behind. As stated before, all members of the Bike Bus are expected to obey the rules of the road and are strongly encouraged to wear helmets and safety vests. As the Bike Bus is an inclusive program and essentially a community ride, the bus only travels as fast as the slowest rider. The organizers ask that new people wanting to join the Bike Bus leave a message on the ride board section of the Website so they know where to expect the new rider on the road.
The Bike Bus began with just two riders and has since expanded to five regular riders with other occasional riders as well. In terms of the route, the Bike Bus currently runs from near downtown Orlando to the University of Central Florida at 7:00 AM and returns at 5:00 PM. With the program only in its beginning stages, it is certain to grow - not only to more routes in Orlando, but most likely to other cities as well. The Bike Bus, as a fun, safe, and visible way to travel to work, also raises the profile of bicyclists as legitimate road users along major roads.
As the Central Florida Bike Bus has only been in existence since August of 2010, only a few riders have become regulars, while many more have been occasional riders. With the growing emphasis on lowering a person's carbon footprint and a shift toward considering pedestrians and bicyclists in infrastructure planning to a greater degree, the Bike Bus is likely to become more popular in the future.
Central Florida Bike Bus. (2010). Central Florida Bike Bus. Retrieved from http://commuteorlando.com/bikebus/home/.
Florida Department of Transportation. (2010). Bicycle Laws. Retrieved from http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/ped_bike/laws/ped_bike_bikeLaws1.shtm.
4 on a Quarter. (2009). Peace, Love, Hope, and High School Students. Retrieved from http://fouronaquarter.com/2009/12/peace-love-hope-and-high-school-students/.
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.
- Houston METRO – Making Room for Bikes (PBIC Case Study)
- Greensboro's Downtown Greenway (PBIC Case Study): Successful Revitalization through Active Transportation
- Advocacy and Public Health: Partners for Walkable, Bikeable Communities (PBIC Case Study)
- Cycle Track Design and Implementation in Washington D.C. (PBIC Case Study)
- Strength in Numbers: The Central Florida Bike Bus (PBIC Case Study)
- Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders
- Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas
- Measuring Walking and Cycling Using the PABS (Pedestrian and Bicycling Survey) Approach
- Evaluating the Impact of Neighborhood Trail Development on Active Travel Behavior and Overall Physical Activity of Suburban Residents
- Benefits of Complete Streets: Complete Streets Fact Sheets
- Public Lighting for Safe and Attractive Pedestrian Areas
- Sight Line - Designing Streets for People with Low Vision
- The role of traffic violations in police-reported bicycle crashes in Queensland
- Recommended Procedures for Testing and Evaluating Detectable Warning Systems – NCHRP Report 670
- Association of Workplace Supports With Active Commuting
- The Australian National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016
- Synthesis of Active Traffic Management Experiences in Europe and the United States
- Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool
- Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study
- Evaluation of Shared Lane Markings
- Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks
- Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan: Recommendations for Research and Product Development
- Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan: Background Report
- Evaluation of HAWK Signal at Georgia Avenue and Hemlock Street, NW in the District of Columbia
- Methods of Increasing Pedestrian Safety at Right-Turn-on-Red Intersections (Final Report, 1985)
- Getting Back on Track: Aligning State Transportation Policy with Climate Change Goal
- Crossing Solutions at Roundabouts and Channelized Turn Lanes for Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities
- Pedestrian Crash Trends and Potential Countermeasures from Around the World
- Across the Arterial: Mid-block Shared-Use Path Crossings of Multilane Roadways in California
FHWA Launches new Webpage for Bicycle Facility Compliance
In response to inquiries surrounding bicycle facility compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the Federal Highway Administration's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and MUTCD team have developed a table that lists the status for different types of facilities. The new Webpage, Bicycle Facilities and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, provides a listing of numerous facilities in categories such as bike lanes, cycle tracks, signals, and other signs and markings. For each treatment, information is included about its status in the current MUTCD, as well as information regarding any ongoing experimentation. The tool is intended for use by planners, engineers, and other transportation professionals who would like to learn more about the status of different types of bicycle facilities in the MUTCD. Visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/mutcd_bike.htm to learn more.
Registration and Call for Presentations Open for the Safe Routes to School National Conference
Registration is now open for the third annual Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Conference, "Building Connections: Schools + Streets + Communities" on August 16 – 18, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minn. Whatever your experience level with SRTS, you're invited to attend this dynamic conference, advance your important work and build the connections — in your schools, streets and communities. For more information on registration or call for presentations, visit http://www.saferoutesconference.org/.
SRAM Partners with Alliance and League to Double Federal Funding for Bicycling Facilities
The League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking & Walking are pleased to announce a new, three-year campaign to double federal funding for bicycling and walking by 2013. The Advocacy Advance initiative is backed by renewed support from SRAM, an innovative maker of bicycle components.
The League and Alliance have been awarded up to $1.2 million from SRAM over the next three years to unite active transportation advocates across the nation and give them tools and resources to secure increased funding from existing federal transportation programs for critical bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Cities Release Bikeway Design Guide
New manual reflects spread of innovative street designs in U.S.
A coalition of transportation commissioners from major American cities has launched a new design manual for bicycle-friendly streets. The new "Urban Bikeway Design Guide" is a publication of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an association that shares transportation practice and experience among its members and represents cities in national transportation issues.
The focus of the guide is street facilities, including cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, which provide more separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic. Guide users can view detailed plan drawings, three-dimension renderings of the designs, and pictures of actual projects from around the country. The NACTO Guide can be adopted by individual cities, counties, or states as either a stand-alone document or as a supplement to other roadway guidance documents.
Development of the Guide was supported by the SRAM Corporation and the Bikes Belong Foundation.
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.
- Study: Walkable neighborhoods have happier people
- USA Today
- New pedestrian lights aim to increase safety
- Wisconsin State Journal
- City looks to promote cycling with downtown bike racks
- Poulsbo Lays Out Vision for a More Pedestrian-Friendly Future
- Kitsap Sun
- President Signs Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act
- New Glendale traffic safety warnings in English, Armenian, Spanish
- LA Times
- RTA plans 100 bicycle stands across Dubai
- Emirates 24/7
- States' Lawmakers Turn Attention to the Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians
- New York Times
- Village of Lemont Receives $48K to Fight Obesity Epidemic
- Lemont Patch
- Cyclists found a friendlier Boston in 2010
- The Boston Globe
- Moderate exercise such as walking 'boosts memory power'
- BBC News
- Rahm Emanuel details plans to expand city's bike network
- Chicago Sun-Times
- Lees-McRae to Offer Minor in Cycling
- Go Blue Ridge
- Arlington's plans make more room for bike lanes
- Online program teaches students traffic safety
- Hawaii News Now
- Local elementary school building campus bike track
- Tucson Velo
- Bike paths reduce injuries: study
- The Montreal Gazette
- Making music while you ride: Portland proposes groovy 'Sonic Cycle Lane'
- Cash boost to encourage cycling in London
- BBC News
- Public Buses Warn Pedestrians to Watch Where They Step
- Government Technology
Upcoming Pedestrian and Bicycle Events
- What Healthy Communities Need from their Transportation Networks: Preventing Roadway Fatalities and Injuries Webinar
- 2011 APA National Planning Conference
- Boston, MA
- I-TED 2011: International Transportation Economic Development Conference
- Charleston, WV
- 13th Conference on National Scenic and Historic Trails
- Abingdon, VA
- Performance Measurement for Transportation Systems: Fourth U.S. and International Conference
- Irvine, CA
- 3rd International Conference on Roundabouts
- Carmel, IN
- 2011 Main Streets Conference
- Des Moines, IA