Ready, Set, Go! — PBIC Launches Walk Friendly Communities

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has introduced a new program, Walk Friendly Communities (WFC). The recognition program is a livability initiative in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and FedEx to encourage communities to adopt or recommit to a higher standard of safe walking. The program involves assessing communities' conditions related to walking (including safety, mobility, access and comfort), providing feedback and technical support, and recognizing those that set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking.

"Walk Friendly Communities will show how cities and towns across the country are creatively improving walkability and demonstrating leadership in addressing pedestrian safety concerns," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.

The call for applications for WFC opened nationwide on November 1. Interested communities are encouraged to explore the online assessment tool and evaluate walking gains and challenges in their community. The comprehensive assessment tool helps communities survey walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity.

While WFC is a recognition program, communities that are looking to improve the condition of walking in their area are also urged to apply. PBIC staff will provide technical assistance to WFC applicants throughout the submission process and deliver feedback on how those communities can address pedestrian issues and shape the future of walking in their area. For more information on the WFC program, visit www.walkfriendly.org, or to access the archive of the WFC Webinar "An Introduction to Walk Friendly Communities," visit www.walkfriendly.org/webinar.cfm.

Important WFC Dates:

November 1, 2010 — Application Opens
December 15, 2010 — Application Deadline


PBIC at Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2010

PBIC staff members ventured to Chattanooga, TN during the month of September to attend the 2010 Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference presented by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking. The Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference is a biennial event that attracts a variety of audiences from the bicycling and walking community. The theme for this year's conference was Bringing Livable Communities and Regions to Scale. More than 600 bicycle and pedestrian professionals convened in the city of Chattanooga to exchange ideas, views and strategies. PBIC staff distributed popular materials and resources at various exhibits, which can also be found on the Web sites:

PBIC staff also led a number of presentations at the conference. To access PDF versions of PBIC's presentations or descriptions of the pre-conference workshop training, click on the available links below:


PBIC Introduces New Webinar Series — Designing for Pedestrian Safety

This summer, PBIC launched a new Webinar series entitled "Designing for Pedestrian Safety." Modeled after the PBIC and Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) in-person training courses, the new Webinar seriesexplored a variety of topics including road diets, intersection geometry and signalized intersections. Webinar presenters have included Charlie Zegeer, director of the PBIC; John LaPlante, director of engineering with T.Y. Lin International; Peter Eun, FHWA RC Safety Engineer, Fred Ranck; FHWA Resource Center Safety Design Engineer and many others. The series consisted of eight parts, with each Webinar focusing in on a specific subject matter surrounding pedestrian safety.

With attendance numbers reaching up to 1,000 viewers per Webinar, the Webinar series participation indicated a strong and growing interest in pedestrian design education. Attendees participated in in-depth discussions of specific engineering treatments. "These Webinars are a great aid for those who work in traffic/transportation," said one attendee. "It also helps focus attention on training for road design for pedestrians and bicyclists." Each Webinar has included a question-and-answer session for attendees to submit questions for response from the panelists. The Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar series is intended to help communities address pedestrian safety issues through design and engineering solutions.

This series is one of several Webinar series that PBIC offers. In addition to Webinars, PBIC also provides in-person trainings, as well as university-level curriculum. For more information on the Designing for Pedestrian Safety Webinar Series or to access archived Webinars, visit www.walkinginfo.org/training/pbic/dps_webinars.cfm.


Featured Case Study: Improving Pedestrian Conditions on a High Traffic Arterial San Francisco, California

Problem

19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard in San Francisco is a state-controlled, six-lane urban arterial with pedestrians, transit users, motorists and trucks mixing in a constrained right of way. Current problems with the road include low transit speeds and unreliability resulting from heavy traffic; high on-street parking demand and parking encroachment onto the sidewalk; difficult pedestrian crossings; and an unwelcoming streetscape that lacks design features suitable for a city's gateway facility.

Background

San Francisco's 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard is a major multi-use transportation corridor. Designated as California State Highway Route 1, it is an essential and heavily used north-south gateway for vehicles on the western side of the City, moving traffic toward the Golden Gate Bridge and points north. It is four miles long and has 32 signalized intersections. The highway carries more than 85,000 vehicles per day and serves high numbers of transit users. Several key bus lines operate along the corridor, serving more than 14,000 passengers per weekday, and more than 20 bus and light rail lines cross it, making 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard a major transfer location. Finally, it also functions as a major local city street, with a dense and diverse array of adjacent land uses that include single-family, multi-unit and assisted living residences, parks, local businesses, a major shopping center, schools and the San Francisco State University campus. As part of these functions, the corridor serves nearly 80,000 daily pedestrian trips and supplies much-needed on-street parking along much of its length.

Working with the community and partner agencies, four main areas of need were identified:

Solution

The 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard Transportation Plan considered ways to improve travel conditions for the six-lane highway's multiple users. The goal of the plan was to improve the balance in the way the street functions for these various users. To develop a comprehensive and prioritized list of infrastructure solutions and other actions to improve conditions in the corridor, the 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard Transportation Plan first assessed existing conditions. A literature review was conducted, which included previous multi-modal studies and surveys. Additional data were collected to assess transit ridership, operations, speed and delay; vehicle traffic volumes and delays; and pedestrian volumes and collisions. Field surveys were taken to assess conditions relating to streetscape elements and on-street parking. Finally, the plan used the San Francisco County Transportation Authority's (SFCTA) travel demand model and the Synchro traffic analysis tool to supplement information on existing conditions and analyze current needs.

A special emphasis was placed on evaluating collisions involving pedestrians. Over a five-year period, there was an average of 12 pedestrian collisions each year. The bulk of these occurred during daylight hours. Two-thirds were preceded by vehicle turning movements, split evenly between left and right turns. Fifty-seven percent of the time the driver was cited for failing to yield to the pedestrian. Of those pedestrian collisions with non-turning vehicles, most resulted from motorists running the red light or pedestrians crossing before vehicles cleared the intersection. Half of collisions with straight-through vehicles were cited as the motorists' responsibility.

The planning process solicited substantial community input as part of the needs assessment. The SFCTA communicated information to the public via the Internet and an e-mail distribution list that grew to more than 120 citizen and community groups. In addition, two sets of community workshops were conducted in the neighborhoods surrounding the 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard, preceded by postcard mailings to residences along the corridor. The first set of workshops focused on corridor needs from the community's perspective. A common theme from this set of workshops was the need for improved pedestrian safety. The second set of workshops focused on proposed improvements for the corridor.

Using the results of the initial assessment, the plan identified a toolbox of improvements to address key needs. Six intersections were selected to represent the range of intersection types and conditions along the corridor. These six intersections served as the test sites for conceptual designs that deployed the toolbox of improvements. The plan presented and incorporated input on the six conceptual design prototypes from the community and partner agencies.

Table 1: Improvement Toolkit

Toolkit Item Improve pedestrian safety Improve streetscape conditions Improve transit operations Calm traffic operations
ADA upgrades
New traffic signal (with pedestrian countdown)
Advanced limit line
New street/decorative lighting
Edge line
Special crosswalk striping/paving
Median planting
Bus bulb
Corner pedestrian bulb
Thumbnail
New transit shelter
New tree
New sidewalk
Transit boarding island

The plan then applied the set of agreed-upon improvements from the six prototype intersections to all intersections within the corridor to obtain a comprehensive list of desired improvements. The plan also developed a list of early actions relating to education, enforcement, and engineering that could be done to improve conditions in the short term.

In summary, the plan's recommendations focused on improving conditions for multimodal travel with a strong emphasis on pedestrian safety. Proposed improvements include new traffic signals; accessibility upgrades including curb ramps; bus and pedestrian bulb-outs at intersections; an edge line stripe to define the parking lane, encourage motorists to park completely on the street, and calm traffic; median plantings; and special crosswalk treatments.

Results

Spurred by a spate of pedestrian fatalities, community groups organized to focus media attention on pedestrian safety and won vocal support from local and state elected officials to make multimodal improvements. This atmosphere prompted a high level of coordination between local and state transportation agencies and ultimately proved integral to success. The state transportation agency (Caltrans), which exercises design jurisdiction over the corridor, agreed to consider the multimodal improvements proposed in the Transportation Plan. This coordination allowed improvement ideas to move from analysis and conceptual design to funding and implementation.

To facilitate funding, speed implementation, and address the highest needs first, the corridor's intersections were prioritized into three groups, depending on the intersection's pedestrian volumes, transit ridership, vehicle traffic, and collision history.

Since the plan's adoption, the partnering agencies have been able to implement several of its recommended improvements. Local and state funding sources enabled installation of new mast arm-mounted traffic signal heads and pedestrian countdown signals, as well as ADA-compliant curb ramps, re-striped crosswalks, advance limit lines, and additional street lighting. In addition, the agencies implemented the edge line stripe, which, combined with targeted parking enforcement, reduced parking encroachment onto the sidewalk. The speed limit along the corridor has been reduced from 35 miles per hour to 30 and a double-fine zone was created to increase the incentive for safe driving.

Bus and pedestrian corner bulb-outs, recommended at 22 intersections along the corridor to facilitate better transit and traffic operations as well as better crossing conditions for pedestrians, are in the preliminary engineering phase.

19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard is a multi-faceted transportation corridor with multiple users and functions. By using data analysis and community input, the Transportation Plan established the need to balance differing user needs with improvements to multimodal travel conditions. The Plan used a set of proven design tools for improving pedestrian and transit conditions that did not have adverse impacts on auto travel and applied those improvements selectively to intersections along the corridor based on local conditions.

Cost

The exact improvements proposed at each of the 32 intersections vary with the specific intersection's existing conditions, constraints, and needs as expressed by transit activity, pedestrian volumes, vehicular traffic, and collision history. The total estimated cost for these improvements is over $14.5 million. The overall cost estimate was developed by applying recent unit cost figures for the various toolbox items.

Table 2: Estimated Unit Costs

Item Unit Cost
Traffic signals/countdowns
Advanced limit lines
ADA upgrades
$486,500
per
intersection
Special crosswalk striping $2,500 each
Special crosswalk paving $10,000 each
Median plantings $25 per linear feet
Bus bulb-out $65,000 each
Corner (pedestrian) bulb-out $40,000 each
Pedestrian refuge/thumbnail $15,000 each
Trees $1,500 each
Sidewalk improvement $25 per square foot
Street light $5,000 each
Fire hydrant relocation $50,000 each
Catch basin relocation $50,000 each
Curb and gutter $50 per linear feet
Transit boarding island $150,000 each

The edge line stripe was a separate, stand-alone project; the cost was estimated to be $75,000. Proposition K (a half-cent transportation sales tax) provides some funding for improvements in the corridor, but not enough for all identified improvements. SFCTA plans to pursue other sources of funding to leverage Prop K funds, including future regional grant programs, state programs and private and federal sources.

Web sites

More information about the 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard Transportation Plan is on the San Francisco County Transportation Authority's Web site: http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/308/154/

The draft final report can be found here: http://www.sfcta.org/images/stories/Planning/19thAvenue/PDFs/
sfcta%2019th%20ave%20draft%20final%20report%20040308.pdf

Contact

David Parisi
Parisi Associates Transportation Consulting
58 Alta Vista Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941-1316
(415) 388.8978
david@parisi-associates.com


New Resources

The National Transit Oriented Development Database

Livability Transportation Guidebook: Planning Approaches that Promote Livability

What is the Bicycle Commuter Act and what are the tax benefits for biking to work?

How do I tap into CMAQ funding for my bicycle/pedestrian project?

New York City's Summer Streets

Recreational Trails Program: Preliminary Report on State Trail Projects

Transportation Enhancements: A Summary of Nationwide Spending as of FY 2009

Enhancing America's Communities: A Guide to Transportation Enhancements

Communities Benefit! The Social and Economic Benefits of Transportation Enhancements

Innovative Financing for TE Projects

Innovations in State TE Management

Finding Matching Funds for Trail Projects


Announcements

PBIC Seeks Bike to Work Day Mentors

Bicycling offers a number of potential health benefits, and many worksites and communities have initiated Bike to Work events to help support bike commuters. PBIC is currently looking for people experienced in organizing successful Bike to Work events/programs to serve as "Bike to Work Mentors" for other communities and organizations seeking to begin a Bike to Work program. Please contact Max Bushell at bushell@hsrc.unc.edu for more information or to become a "Bike to Work Mentor."


FHWA Exemplary Human Environment Initiative Awards 2010 Recipients

In its third year, the Exemplary Human Environment Initiative (EHEI) honored those transportation projects that set the bar for creating or improving conditions for human activities. The goal of the EHEI is to enhance the experiences for people using the Nation's transportation system while keeping in mind natural environmental consequences. Award categories included encouraging non-motorized transportation, enhancing environments for human and educational and training programs. EHEI award designations are decided in joint consideration with the Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives (EEI). For more information on FHWAs EHEI or to review the 2010 award recipients, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ehei/memo_2010awards.htm.


HUD Awards Nearly $100 M in New Grants; Sustainable Planning Jobs and Economic Growth

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding close to $100 million in new grants to foster more livable and sustainable communities. On October 14, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that 45 regional areas will get funding through a new initiative meant to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

HUD's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program will support State, local, and tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, in the development and implementation of regional plans that incorporate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development. Many of the grants will leverage existing infrastructure and all reward local collaboration and innovation. For more information on the new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, visit http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2010/HUDNo.10-233.


EPA Launches New Technical Assistance Program for Sustainable Growth and Development

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will be providing technical assistance to eight communities throughout the country for sustainable growth and development issues. Follow the link to read more about the program and partnerships. The assistance will help local governments address infrastructure constraints, protect water quality, set development standards, and create options for housing and transportation.

The projects will be established in Washington, D.C.; Saginaw, Mich.; Wheat Ridge, Colo.; Chicago, Ill.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Concord, N.H.; Cumberland and Cobb counties in Ga.; and a statewide project in Rhode Island. The smart growth assistance projects will focus on key topics central to the partnership's work: cross-departmental coordination of sustainability policies, cities undergoing economic transition, infrastructure financing, historic preservation as part of downtown revitalization and, incorporating climate change adaptation as part of long-term plans. For more information on EPA's new initiative, visit http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/8090ce59be9c99d0852577c0005ca9fa!OpenDocument


Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues in the News

New Bike Path: Making an old city more bike friendly
The Baltimore Sun
07/19/2010
New ads promote pedestrian, bicycle safety
FOX 41
07/23/2010
Cyclists, pedestrians share paths
North Shore Times
07/27/2010
New pedestrian safety signal unveiled in Salt Lake City
Fox 13
07/29/2010
San Juan to Ban Cars, Make "Walkable City"
Planetizen
07/30/2010
London saddles up for new bike hire scheme
BBC News
07/30/2010
Getting a handle on bicycle safety
Northeast News & Tribune
08/11/2010
Newnan launches pedestrian safety campaign
The Citizen
08/12/2010
Mayor wants better bike safety on L.A. roads
KABC
08/16/2010
DC Installs New Pedestrian Crosswalk Beacons
WUSA 9
08/21/2010
Pedestrians to get more time to cross streets
The Oakland Tribune
08/24/2010
Villaraigosa unveils new bicycle safety ad
KABC
08/24/2010
Parking spaces disappear for bike hire scheme
Brisbane Times
08/26/2010
Plan in place to connect Sonoma County in bike and pedestrian paths
The Press Democrat
08/29/2010
Bike, pedestrian plan wins national award
Nashville Business Journal
08/30/2010
Park Avenue Prepares for Crosswalk Timers to Protect Pedestrians
DNAinfo
08/31/2010
Walking, biking combat obesity
The Herald News
09/13/2010
Pedestrians rule in Sydney traffic speed limit slowdown
The Sydney Morning Herald
09/13/2010
Union Square Gets Revamped
The Epoch Times
09/23/2010
Volunteers count cyclists, pedestrians
Glendale News-Press
09/27/2010
St Louis plans bicycle commuter center
Bike Radar
09/28/2010
Valet bike parking eases commute
USA Today
10/06/2010
Rail Appears to Encourage Non-Automobile Commutes
The Transport Politic
10/13/2010
HUD Awards Nearly $100 Million in New Grants to Promote Smarter and Sustainable Planning for Jobs and Economic Growth
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
10/14/2010
Cycling surges in the land of the automobile
BBC News
10/20/2010
Connecting communities through cycling
South Delta Leader
10/22/2010
City begins countdown to 1,500 safer crossings with pedestrian signals
NY Daily News
10/22/2010

Upcoming Events

7th International Bridge Engineering Conference
12/01/2010
San Antonio, TX
Safety and Operation of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons(HAWKs) Webinar
12/02/2010
Web-based
Council of State Governments' 2010 National Conference
12/03/2010
Providence, RI
7th World Congress on High Speed Rail
12/05/2010
Beijing, China
TISP 2010 Annual Infrastructure and Regional Resilience Conference
12/07/2010
Dallas, TX
National Conference of State Legislatures Forum and Meeting
12/08/2010
Phoenix, AZ
Bike Boxes Webinar
12/15/2010
Web-based
79th Winter Conference of Mayors Meeting
01/19/2011
Washington, DC USA
National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
01/19/2011
Arlington, VA USA
Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting
01/23/2011
Washington, DC USA
10th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth
02/03/2011
Charlotte, NC USA
Environmental Health 2011
02/06/2011
Salvador, Brazil
41st Annual American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) Convention and Traffic Expo
02/13/2011
Phoenix, AZ USA
2011 Active Living Research Conference
02/22/2011
San Diego, CA USA
Public Health Preparedness Summit 2011
02/22/2011
Atlanta, GA USA


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