Profile: A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities

A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities Cover

The Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety has released A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The Guide includes information, ideas, and resources to help residents learn about issues that affect walking conditions; find ways to address or prevent these problems; and promote pedestrian safety. It provides several Community Success Stories that highlight successful community-oriented pedestrian safety projects and programs. The Guide is organized into five major, user-friendly sections:

  1. Chapter 1: How can I identify problems with walking conditions in my neighborhood?
  2. Chapter 2: Who can help me make my neighborhood a safer place to walk?
  3. Chapter 3: How can the safety of my neighborhood be improved?
  4. Chapter 4: I need more information!
  5. Resource Materials

The Guide also contains several Resource Sheets, including fact sheets, worksheets, and sample materials. These materials can be adapted to meet the needs of a particular community, or distributed to others working to improve pedestrian safety. The Guide provides a thorough introduction to pedestrian safety and includes many references to other resources and materials for those interested in more in-depth information.

To access the Guide, which is available as html and as a PDF file, please visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped/ped_walkguide/.


PBIC contributes to Prevention Magazine's Best Walking Cities

Prevention Magazine has released its 2008 Best Walking Cities. Every year, Prevention partners with the American Podiatric Medical Association to come up with a list of America's best walking cities. This year, they picked the 10 largest cities in each state and ranked them based on dozens of weighted criteria, from expert ratings, percentage of walking commuters, green space and school density, crime and pedestrian fatality data, to car and transit use, air quality, and other variables.

PBIC Program Manager Laura Sandt contributed to the publication's rating of the cities. Sandt was one of 6 experts identified by Prevention to offer expert guidance.

According to the Magazine's study, the 10 Best U.S. Walking Cities of 2008 are:

  1. Cambridge, MA
  2. New York, NY
  3. Ann Arbor, MI
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Washington, DC
  6. San Francisco, CA
  7. Honolulu, HI
  8. Trenton, NJ
  9. Boston, MA
  10. Cincinnati, OH

To view the entire article, please visit www.prevention.com/bestcities

To access the evaluation criteria the publication used, please visit
www.prevention.com/cda/article/what-makes-a-good-walking-city/
db76f6cba5638110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/fitness/walking
.


Improving Access to Transit for Bicyclists

According to data collected from the 2001 Nationwide Household Transportation Survey (NHTS), public transit in America captures 1.76 percent of all personal trips, amounting to about 6.4 billion linked transit trips and 7.7 billion unlinked transit trips. Transit captures about 5.1 percent of all work trips. These percentages are higher in large cities and among persons who do not own a car or do not have a driver's license.

Bicyclists are a great potential market for transit services. People will generally bicycle three to four times as far as they will walk, and this could extend the catchment area of a bus stop or train station from a half mile to two miles. Thus, it is critical that transit stops and their surrounding environments be safe and accessible for bicyclists, in order to protect bicyclists as well as better support and encourage transit use.

However, there are often problems in accessing transit by bicycle:

Successful integration of bicycling and transit cannot be taken for granted: it requires careful planning, good design, and a commitment to making the combination work. In most cases, bicyclists' needs are similar to those of pedestrians and drivers; they need safe and convenient access to transit stops, and two additional elements: either secure, sheltered long-term bike parking, or convenient ways to bring their bikes with them on the transit vehicle (buses or trains).

For more information, please visit the following links:

Bicycles on Buses
www.bicyclinginfo.org/transit/solutions-buses.cfm

Bicycles on Trains
www.bicyclinginfo.org/transit/solutions-trains.cfm

Transit Case Studies
www.bicyclinginfo.org/transit/case-studies.cfm


Featured Training: National Highway Institute Bicycle Facility Design

Description: Bicycle facility design is an emerging subject. The availability of Federal, State, and local transportation funding for bicycle facilities that serve transportation and recreational users is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of facilities being planned and built. Although there are no Federal design standards for bicycle facilities, an "American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities," or a modification thereof, is being used by many States and localities as the design guide. However, designing bicycle facilities often requires not only the use of the AASHTO guide as well as other documents, but also the application of engineering judgment where specific information is not provided. This course will assist planners and designers in learning how to apply the existing standards and how to deal with other technical issues involved.

Target Audience: Federal, State, or local engineers with planning, design, construction, or maintenance responsibilities; bicycle specialists, transportation planners; landscape architects, as well as decision makers at the project planning level.

Length: 1.5 Days

Contact: NHI Training Program Manager Mila Plosky at (703) 235-0527 or mila.plosky@dot.gov. For technical information, contact Gabe Rousseau at (202) 366-8044 or gabriel.rousseau@fhwa.dot.gov.

More information: www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov


Featured Case Study: Trail User Counts and Surveys, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

Problem

Planners and advocates for a new county bicycle/pedestrian trail needed usage data to strengthen grant requests and influence policy and funding decisions.

Background

The Ozaukee Interurban Trail is a paved, 30-mile shared-use trail that connects six communities in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin (immediately north of Milwaukee). Most of the Interurban Trail is off-road, using an old rail right-of-way now owned by WE Energies. Where the right-of-way has been lost, the trail uses existing roadways. A particular two-mile stretch carries cyclists along a heavily traveled county road (speed limit 45 mph), across Interstate 43 on a bridge with low railings, and through a suburban subdivision. Planners wanted to replace this section with an off-road segment whose centerpiece is a bicycle/pedestrian bridge spanning both the county highway and I-43. The original cost of this Trail Improvement Project was $1.24 million.

A partnership of three county departments (Planning, Resources, and Land Management; Parks; Highway) and the Ozaukee Interurban Trail Advisory Council, a volunteer group charged with overseeing trail development, worked to secure funding for the project through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). CMAQ grants are funded with federal dollars appropriated under SAFETEA-LU; they require a 20 percent local match. WisDOT awarded $991,600 to the Trail Improvement Project in 2004.

The Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors had about one year to decide whether to accept the grant. Ozaukee County residents tend to be fiscally conservative and pressure their elected officials to limit property tax increases. Some supervisors considered the Interurban Trail a pleasant amenity but not an essential service, and believed residents wouldn't want to use tax dollars to pay for improvements. The county board decided that the necessary local match ($248,000) would not be funded with county tax revenue. To convince the county board to accept the CMAQ grant and to apply successfully for grants to help make up the local match, planners and advocates needed data on trail use and impact.

Solution

Lack of data sometimes confounds advocates and local officials in smaller jurisdictions who want to justify policy and funding decisions for bicycle/pedestrian facilities. Developing and administering a survey that produces reliable results can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. The federal government and regional planning agencies do large-scale surveys, but the results lack detailed data for a specific geographic area. Sometimes data from other locations can be used to forecast usage or impact in a similar area, or local questions can piggyback on a regional survey. In this case, planners used several sources of data.

The Interurban Trail opened in September 2002. A survey conducted during the trail's one-year anniversary celebration asked about trail usage habits (frequency, time of day, distance traveled, reasons for use, etc.) and economic impact. The responses were encouraging, but this first survey's usefulness was limited because the group sampled was small, composed mainly of people who supported the trail, and respondents' self-reported behavior was not inherently reliable.

The Trail Advisory Council and Parks Department next arranged a trail count in August 2004. The counts were conducted at two different intersections for seven 14-hour days in each location. Volunteers counted the total number of people passing, their use of the trail (walker, dog walker, runner/jogger, cyclist, other), and their movement along the trail (crossing, entering, exiting). They also noted significant details about the weather. The data were summarized by day and hour, user type, and movement on the trail. (Of the week's 8,825 total users at the two locations, 68.5% were cyclists; 17.5% were walkers; 6.5% were runners/joggers; 4% were dog-walkers; 3% were in-line skaters or other users.) Planners used the data to create assumptions about year-round trail use.

The third source of information available to planners was a survey from the county's comprehensive planning process. The survey used a random digit dial sampling procedure to find and interview 406 county residents; several questions about the Interurban Trail were part of the instrument. The survey, done in March 2005, found that 53 percent of respondents had used the trail and nearly 70 percent favored expanding it. Furthermore, 76 percent of those who wanted to expand the trail favored using county tax dollars to do so; even a majority of respondents who didn't use the trail supported using tax dollars for expansion.

Finally, because the trail is promoted in print and television as a tourism destination in Ozaukee County (and several of the cities it links rely on tourism), planners wanted to estimate the trail's potential economic impact. They built estimates by extrapolating from the 2000 U.S. Census, the 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, and research from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism; cited the results of another Wisconsin trail study; and used data from the 2003 anniversary survey.

Results

The information from these surveys, counts, and estimates provided the documentation that county staff and their partners on the Trail Advisory Council needed to convince county supervisors to accept the CMAQ grant and to secure funding toward the $248,000 local match goal. The county applied for, and received, two Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Grants ($50,000 and $74,000), a $10,000 grant from the Bikes Belong Coalition, and a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Energy Corporation Foundation, among others. The county board voted to accept these and the CMAQ grant, and approved the Trail Improvement Project; however, construction planned for 2006 is stalled for other reasons.

(Updates on the status of the Trail Improvement Project are available at www.interurbantrail.us/TrailEnhancementProject/TalkingPointsAug2.pdf and www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=671921)

Costs

The main cost associated with developing the data was staff time. Volunteers collected the data during the trail usage survey and the 2003 survey. The comprehensive plan survey was contracted with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for Urban Initiatives and Research; questions about the Interurban Trail were a small part of the whole, which was paid for through a Wisconsin Comprehensive Planning Grant.

Contact

Andrew Struck
Ozaukee County
P.O. Box 994
Port Washington, WI 53074
262-238-8275
astruck@co.ozaukee.wi.us

For more information, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4154.


Featured Resource: Find a Bike Map

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers a searchable database of bike maps from across the United States.

Please visit www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikemore/map.cfm to find a bike map in your area. Users can also submit their own bike maps for inclusion on the Web site.


News Briefs

Interim report released on the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program

This interim report to Congress summarizes the progress and initial results of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) and the four pilot communities' participation in the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) from its inception through May 2007.

Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), P.L. 109-59, established the NTPP in August 2005. Over the span of 4 years, the legislation provides $25 million in contract authority for each of the NTPP's four pilot communities (Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin) "to construct ... a network of nonmotorized transportation infrastructure facilities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails, that connect directly with transit stations, schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers."

The purpose of the NTPP as stated in Section 1807 is "to demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities." The final report is expected to be release in 2011.

To access the Interim Report, please visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/ntpp/index.htm


City of Chicago passes bicycle ordinance

The City of Chicago passed the Bicycle Safety Ordinance, a new law that establishes fines for turning left or right in front of a bicyclist, passing a bicyclist with less than three feet of space, and opening a vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist. Fines range from $150 to $500 and go up to $500 if the violation results in a bicycle crash.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2006 in Illinois, 24 bicyclists were killed and nearly 3,200 were injured due to a crash with a motor vehicle. The majority of these crashes happened in urban areas.

For more information, please visit www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-chicago-bicycle-law-webmar13,0,4966178.story.


Campus encourages students to "just say no" – to cars

Among the many choices Ripon College's class of 2012 will face is whether or not to bring a car to campus this fall. Those who pledge not to do so will receive a big incentive: a brand-new mountain bike to keep. Dubbed the "Ripon Velorution Program" (RVP), it is the first of its kind in the nation.

Incoming students starting their first college semester at Ripon will have the option to sign an RVP pledge this spring saying that they will not bring a car to campus for the duration of the upcoming academic year. Those who participate will be given a brand-new Trek 820 mountain bike, a Trek Vapor helmet, and a MasterLock U-Lock to keep.

Dealing with student vehicles is not just a big-campus problem; the 1,000-student liberal arts college 70 miles northwest of Milwaukee discovered last fall that demand for student parking was about to outstrip its capacity. Proposed solutions focused on where additional parking lots could go, but President David C. Joyce, an avid cyclist, was dead-set against it.

"We're a residential college with a beautiful, historic campus in the middle of a small town," Joyce said. "Paving it over was not an option I was willing to consider."

When an opportunity came to purchase a quantity of Trek mountain bikes from a nearby bike shop, Joyce had his solution: trade four wheels for two. To flesh out program details, he worked closely with Ric Damm, coach of Ripon's nascent cycling team and an accomplished racer. It was during this process that the bigger picture truly emerged.

The "Velorution," in the program's name is a deliberate anagram of "revolution" using "vélo" (French for bicycle) as its root. It refers to the mass acceptance of bicycles, thereby reducing society's dependence on automobiles. For more information, please visit www.ripon.edu/velorution/index.html.


Ped/Bike Issues in the News

The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from across the country. 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.

Blind pedestrians may not hear hybrid cars
LA Times
3/29/2008
A quest for better trails
The Press Democrat
3/23/2008
Pedal power
The Register-Guard
3/18/2008
Leaving it all behind, to bike around the world
CNN
3/12/2008
City Ramping Up Bike-Friendly Efforts
Free Times
3/12/2008
Berkeley City Council to consider pedestrian safety plan
Bay City News
3/11/2008
City continues to examine walkability
Casper Star-Tribune
3/11/2008
County holds meetings on 30-year transportation plan
Napa Valley Register
3/10/2008
Making roundabouts safer for pedestrians
Daily Tribune
3/10/2008
A movement afoot
Tulsa World
3/7/2008
ADOT selects communities for statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness Campaign pilot programs
Sedona.biz
3/6/2008

Upcoming Ped/Bike Events

EcoCity World Summit 2008
4/22/2008 – 4/26/2008
San Francisco, CA
American Planning Association 2008 National Planning Conference
4/27/2008 – 5/1/2008
Las Vegas, NV
American Institute of Architects 2008 National Convention and Design Exposition
5/15/2008 – 5/17/2008
Boston, MA
National Roundabout Conference
5/18/2008 – 5/21/2008
Kansas City, MO
Southeastern Regional Transportation Forum
5/22/2008 – 5/23/2008
Raleigh, NC
10th International Conference on Application of Advanced Technologies in Transportation
5/27/2008 – 5/31/2008
Athens, OT Greece
Society for Prevention Research 16th Annual Meeting
5/28/2008 – 5/30/2008
San Francisco, CA USA


Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.877.925.5245
Fax: 919.962.8710
www.walkinginfo.org
www.bicyclinginfo.org