Federal Transportation Legislation

On June 18, 2009, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, the reauthorization of Federal surface transportation legislation. The bill was released by Representatives Oberstar (MN), Mica (FL), DeFazio (OR), and Duncan (TN). Access a copy of the bill's executive summary. SAFETEA-LU expires at the end of September and the Administration has recommended an 18 month extension before the next authorization.

Updated PBIC Image Library launched

In June 2009, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center launched the updated and redesigned pedestrian and bicycle Image Library at www.pedbikeimages.org. Following a successful initial promotion to encourage users to submit photos and be entered into weekly drawings to win PBIC retro-reflective bike pants straps, the Library now contains over 1400 images and continues to grow.

The PBIC Image Library is a searchable collection of free, high-quality images relating to walking and bicycling. Visitors to the site may use the images in any non-commercial projects including web pages, presentations, and reports. There are no per-image costs, royalties, or extra payments for the images, but users must adhere to the Usage Guidelines posted on the site at www.pedbikeimages.org/usage.cfm.

The updated site features hundreds of fresh images of people, transportation facilities, and livable places in the US and in more than 10 other countries. The images can be searched for using keywords, or users can browse by commonly "tagged" images. Users can also search for images from specific states or countries, photos taken by a particular photographer, or for a specific format or print quality.


Neighborhoods receive funding to improve pedestrian safety

Ten communities from across the U.S. have been selected to receive funding from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) to improve pedestrian safety and help make their environments more "walkable" with the use of the guide A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The following community groups will each receive $2,000 in funding to implement their planned activities related to the guide:

Awarded communities will implement their proposed activities while pilot testing the use of the guidebook and providing feedback on additional resources needed by communities to improve pedestrian safety in neighborhoods. Each awarded site will also be provided technical assistance from pedestrian safety experts while planning and implementing their projects.

"We were extremely excited about the interest we received in this funding opportunity for pedestrian safety," said HSRC Research Associate and Principal Investigator Laura Sandt. The Center received 75 applications following a call for proposals issued earlier in the spring.

"The proposals we received certainly speak to both the tremendous need for increased pedestrian safety in communities across the U.S. and the growing interest among residents to make their neighborhoods safer and more livable" said Sandt. "We hope that this project will help us to better understand what information and resources community members need to have a positive impact on pedestrian safety in their neighborhoods, and to develop models for other communities to more effectively address their walkability concerns."

Funding for this project is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). HSRC received funding from NHTSA to work with communities to implement and evaluate the guide A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The guide is designed to be used by anyone who is looking for ways to improve the pedestrian safety and walkability of their neighborhood, whether they are just beginning to learn about walking safety or are already part of an established community safety group.

To access a copy of the Resident's Guide, please go to: www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4163

To order a free copy of the guide, go to: safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order.cfm.


PBIC director participates in international scan of pedestrian and bicycle mobility

Roundabout in Lyngby, Denmark.
www.pedbikeimages.org / Ryan Snyder.

In May 2009, AASHTO and FHWA sponsored an international scan to survey ways to improve walking and bicycling safety and mobility. PBIC Director Charlie Zegeer was a member of a team of 12 transportation professionals with expertise in bicycling and walking from the U.S. that visited five countries in Europe.

Some of the countries visited, including Denmark, have experienced an increase in car use since the 1960s and 1970s, and subsequently reoriented their transportation policies to give priority to bicycling and walking. The scan team heard presentations from and had informal discussions with many foreign hosts. During most visits, the scan team also went on guided field visits (by bike as well as by foot) to better understand and experience the design and operation of various walking and bicycling facilities. These field visits were invaluable in documenting the facilities through photos and video, observing traffic behavior, and experiencing firsthand how well a design or operational strategy worked.

The purpose of this scan tour was to identify and assess effective approaches to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility. The specific topics of interest were:

The scan team identified numerous possible approaches to improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility in the U.S. The scan team also prepared a list of implementation items for those approaches that should be pursued in the U.S. A summary report has been released. It provides a quick-response overview of the team's findings and recommendations. The report can be found on the PBIC Web site at www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4447.


DOT Secretary LaHood announces six "livability principles" to guide policy

In an announcement to Congress on June 16, 2009, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood listed six "Livability Principles" that will guide policy regarding Federal transportation, environmental protection, and housing investments. Secretary LaHood listed these principles to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs as the cornerstone of a new effort with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Walkable residential area in Las Vegas, NV.
www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

The three Federal agencies are calling their collaboration the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership aims to improve access to affordable housing, provide more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. The six livability principles will guide the agencies' efforts, while the partnership will coordinate federal housing, transportation, and other infrastructure investments to protect the environment, promote equitable development, and help to address the challenges of climate change.

Speaking to the Senate committee, Secretary LaHood said, "These principles mean that we will all be working off the same playbook to formulate and implement policies and programs." Later that day, the Secretary posted additional comments to his blog at fastlane.dot.gov

The six livability principles are:

As with this new interagency approach to planning communities, the issues within the pedestrian and bicycle community cannot be seen as separate from the larger discussion of transportation modes and safety, housing choices, and environmental quality.

The PBIC Case Study Compendium is a resource that shows how real communities are solving real problems by involving all the stakeholders. The case studies, or success stories, cover pedestrian and bicycle projects and programs from across the U.S. and abroad, including engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, planning, health promotion, and comprehensive safety initiatives. Access the compendium PDF or search through the case studies by visiting www.walkinginfo.org/case_studies/.

The official news release from U.S. DOT regarding the new livability guidelines can be found at www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot8009.htm.


Featured Case Study: Livable Streets Plan, Raleigh, NC

Problem

The City of Raleigh needed an achievable action plan for the downtown that would support existing businesses, strengthen links with area neighborhoods, and provide a vision with clear goals.

Background

The Livable Streets downtown plan came to fruition through the broad-based Livable Streets Partnership, comprised of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, the City of Raleigh, the State of North Carolina, Wake County, citizen and business interests, and public and private agencies. There were approximately 400 participants in all.

Solution

The group held openly public topic-centered work sessions to formulate goals and an action each month for a year. The City of Raleigh funded a study on streets, parking, way finding, and pedestrian needs that, among other diverse resources, were reviewed by partners and other participants as they explored new concepts for the downtown area.

A final four-day charrette process sorted the plan into a series of approximately 130 Actions and Strategies. Five primary actions were identified to be accomplished in the following five years, one of which was to "improve the pedestrian environment."

The pedestrian-oriented objectives included to:

Numerous recommendations were detailed in a Downtown Raleigh Pedestrian Design Toolkit (Matin/Alexiou/Bryson, PLLC in association with Toole Design). Strategies included converting one-way streets to two-way operation with more space for bike lanes, sidewalks, or medians; installing street furniture; requiring pedestrian-oriented ground level uses with detailed facades; improving lighting; installing curb extensions, refuges and other measures to improve pedestrian comfort at mid-block crossing and intersections; providing a variety of seating areas near common gathering places; and more.

Funding and in-kind contributions came in part through a wide variety of sponsors including local and national financial institutions, real estate associates, energy corporations, and other business and nonprofit organizations. Costs for consultant work totaled $435,000.

Results

The planning process took just over a year before the plan was approved by the City Council in May of 2003. All top five priorities are in the process of being implemented. As of 2006, several streets already underwent redevelopment into two-way streets with significant improvements for pedestrian safety and comfort.

Contact

Downtown Raleigh Alliance
www.downtownraleigh.org
(919) 832-1231
Mitchell Silver, Director
City of Raleigh Planning Department
Mitchell.silver@ci.raleigh.nc.us
(919) 516-2626


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 and documents compiled by practitioners and researchers from across the United States and abroad. To search the entire library, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library or www.bicyclinginfo.org/library.

Research Report: Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America
AARP

ADA Transition Plans: A Guide to Best Management Practices
The National Academies, National Academy of Sciences, National Cooperative Highway Research Program

Cycling and the Built Environment, A U.S. Perspective
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment

Pedestrian-Vehicular Crashes: The Influence of Personal and Environmental Factors
University of Maryland

Transportation-Efficient Land Use Mapping Index (TELUMI)
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)

A Matched Case-Control Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of Speed Humps in Reducing Child Pedestrian Injuries
American Journal of Public Health

Blind Pedestrians at Unfamiliar Signalized Intersections
Transportation Research Board


Announcements

Input sought for update to AASHTO Pedestrian Guide

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program of TRB has contracted with Toole Design Group to develop an outline of the scope and content of the next edition of the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. The Guide was first published in 2004, however much of the content was written several years earlier. In the years since, many advances in pedestrian planning, design and operation have been made.

The new Guide will reflect this progress. As a part of the project, we are asking practitioners to give us their opinions about what should change about the Pedestrian Guide. Even if you are only an occasional user of the Guide, your opinions are valuable and will ensure that the next Guide contains information that is needed. Please participate in the survey by accessing http://tinyurl.com/AASHTO-Ped-Guide.


Transportation Alternatives announces PSA video and photo competition promoting civic cycling

Transportation Alternatives has launched a "Biking Rules" Public Service Announcement and Photo Competition. Its goal is to develop viral media that will carry the message of civic cycling to NYC's 185,000 cyclists and beyond. The competition has two categories: videos and photos that promote cycling in New York City, as well as video and photos that convey one of the tenets of the Biking Rules "Street Code," such as yielding to pedestrians and keeping off the sidewalk. Biking Rules is a multimedia campaign, centered on an interactive Web site (bikingrules.org).

Winning submissions will receive up to a $4,000 cash prize and premiere at the inaugural Biking Rules Film Festival in October. The program is funded by generous grants from the JM Kaplan Fund and the Independence Community Foundation. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2009. Submissions are now being received at http://bikingrules.org/PSA.


Alliance for Biking & Walking grants $125,000 to start-up organizations and innovative campaigns

The Alliance for Biking & Walking is awarding seven grants totaling over $125,000 to grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Advocacy Advance Grants will be used to jump-start emerging advocacy organizations and to fund innovative campaigns with the potential to dramatically increase biking and walking. These grants are a part of the Advocacy Advance Partnership with the League of American Bicyclists. Full press release and application details are available.


New Resource: How much can I save bicycling to work?

The financial Web site Kiplinger.com has developed an online tool to calculate how much users can save of their personal finances by choosing to ride their bicycles to work. Check it out at www.kiplinger.com/tools/bike/.


IRS Bicycle Commuter Act provides cyclists reimbursement for riding to work

On January 1, 2009, the qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement was added to the list of qualified transportation fringe benefits covered in section 132 (f) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

Any employer, if they chose to do so, may provide a reimbursement of up to $20 per month for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee in conjunction with their commute to work by bike.

The League of American Bicyclists answers FAQ's about the how to take advantage of the Act, and has prepared reimbursement cards to present to your employer. Information is available at www.bikeleague.org/resources/commuters/reimbursement_cards.php.


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.

Puyallup looks to improve walkability in city
Tacoma News Tribune
6/1/2009
Algonquin turns to counties to make road pedestrian-friendly
Suburban Chicago Daily Herald
6/3/2009
Stimulus money could pilot Boulder bike-share program
Boulder Daily Camera
6/4/2009
More people walking, biking, riding the bus to Metro stations
Greater Greater Washington
6/5/2009
Philadelphia named Bicycle Friendly City
Philadelphia Weekly Press
6/5/2009
Bike Mentors program reaches out to Charlottesville city employees
Charlottesvill C-Ville
6/9/2009
Officials want bike-friendly status
Columbus Dispatch
6/13/2009
Benefits of biking to work keep adding up
Kiplinger.com
6/18/2009
Snohomish improves pedestrian safety near schools
Snohomish Times
6/18/2009
Lemoyne waves flags for pedestrian safety
Pennlive.com
6/20/2009
Pittsburgh becomes increasingly bike friendly
Pittsburgh Tribune
6/24/2009
Walkable community helps keep you active
USA Weekend
6/28/2009
In a reprise, Saturdays with zones free of cars
New York Times
6/29/2009
Kirkland making walkability a top priority
Northwest News and Weather
6/30/2009
Boise city leaders plan to form Bicycle Safety Response Team
Boise 2 News
7/1/2009
Portland weighs bike sharing again, plans 2 demos
Seattle Times
7/5/2009
Naples seeks bicycle-friendly status
Naples News
7/6/2009
Bill signed to protect bikers from motor vehicles
LSU Reveille
7/7/2009
Walkability surveyed
Ludington Daily News
7/9/2009
Safety: Helmet laws for cyclists are effective
The New York Times
7/6/2009
North Carolina Beefs Up Policy
Completestreets.org
7/10/2009
North Carolina Cyclist who led others is killed
League of American Bicyclists
7/12/2009
With sharrows and bike lanes, Iowa City carves biker-friendly image
The Daily Iowan
07/15/2009
Push for pole-less meters has cyclists circling
The Associated Press
07/16/2009

Upcoming Pedestrian and Bicycle Events

2nd Safe Routes to School National Conference: "Two Steps Ahead"
8/19/2009
Portland, OR
Promoting Environmental and Policy Change to Support Healthy Aging
9/15/2009
Chapel Hill, NC
2009 National Highway Data Workshop and Conference (HiDaC)
9/22/2009
Oakland, CA
Walk21 Conference 2009
10/7–10/9/2009
New York, NY
2009 AMPO Annual Conference
10/27–10/30/2009
Savannah, GA


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