The pedestrian experience in many Walk Friendly Communities is enhanced by comprehensive and well-planned wayfinding systems. Wayfinding can increase pedestrian circulation and reinforce sense of place. Signs, maps, and tours indicate a community’s support for walking culture and are a good way for municipalities to encourage and facilitate walking for many different purposes, including recreational, utilitarian, and fitness. Positive experiences navigating a city may lead to longer tourist stays and inspire deeper exploration of what a community has to offer.
Walk Friendly Communities frequently utilize Open Streets, or Ciclovias, to promote walkability and active transportation. These walking-focused events temporarily re-route motor vehicle traffic to repurpose street space for walking, biking, and other activities. With several successful Open Streets under their belts, cities around the country have expanded their programs to activate public space throughout the year in different neighborhoods around town. Fort Collins, CO, Bend, OR and Atlanta, GA are three Walk Friendly Communities with booming Open Streets programs.
With major greenway network expansion on the near horizon, Asheville, NC, is taking bold steps towards improving pedestrian accessibility. In 2016, the city adopted a new Mobility Plan – Asheville in Motion – and secured new funding for greenway construction. Asheville in Motion introduced greenways as a central element to the city’s multi-modal transportation network, and the Asheville community voiced their support by overwhelmingly passing a $74 dollar bond measure which includes $32 million in funds for transportation improvements, among them new greenway paths. An Asheville Citizen-Times article traced the evolution of the city’s greenways from recreational facilities to integral pieces in Asheville’s overall transportation system. As of 2018, the town is making haste getting the greenways designed and ready for construction. Continue reading Walk Friendly Asheville Putting Greenways in Motion
Host to a number of major events such as the high profile South by Southwest Festival, which draws vast numbers of visitors to the center of town, Walk Friendly Community Austin, TX is a city which has worked diligently to improve pedestrian infrastructure in recent years. First designated a Bronze-level Walk Friendly Community in 2011, Austin moved up to Silver in 2016. That same year, citizens approved the $270 million Mobility Bond, which provides a dedicated funding source for new transportation projects through 2024. The Local Mobility Program, a key component of the bond measure for pedestrians, contains funding streams for important infrastructure projects such as Sidewalks, Urban Trails, Safe Routes to School, and Intersection Safety. Continue reading Walking to the Beat: Austin, TX Moves Pedestrian Mobility Forward
The Walk Friendly Communities program (WFC) recognized ten communities for their commitment to prioritizing pedestrians and creating safe, comfortable and inviting places to walk.
The Walk Friendly Communities program (WFC) recognizes eight communities with new and renewed designations for their commitment to prioritizing pedestrians and creating safe, comfortable and inviting places to walk.
Arlington County, VA, was recently profiled in the book America’s Walking Renaissance, which highlights nine communities around the country and the ways they are embracing walking, and we at Walk Friendly Communities were not the least bit surprised at their inclusion.
Arlington’s walking e-newsletter sums up their attitude towards pedestrians when it describes walking as “a gateway to increased physical activity and a stimulus to safer, more livable and equitably prosperous communities.” The monthly pedestrian newsletter is one of a wealth of resources available to the walking public in Arlington. WalkArlington, part of the Active Transportation program of Arlington County’s government, works to both encourage walking through a number of outreach programs and to promote safety through innovative safety campaigns.
Walk Friendly Communities range in population size from 2,000 to more than 8 million, and opportunities to create welcoming environments for people walking exist across that spectrum. In January of 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks (STAR), a guide to help assist rural communities and small towns in improving conditions for bicycling and walking. Continue reading Improving Safety and Walkability in Small and Rural Communities
In 2017, ‘citizen scientists’ can help professionals with everything from searching for planets and stars to preventing traffic deaths by teaching computers to predict high risk road environments. The public can now help the city of Bellevue, the University of Washington, and Microsoft, who have teamed up on a new technology development project called Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero.
Vehicle speed is a critical issue for pedestrian safety. According to the World Health Organization’s recently released Managing Speed report, a 5% reduction in average speed can result in a 30% decrease in traffic fatalities. Moreover, an adult pedestrian’s risk of dying is less than 20% if struck by a car traveling below 50 km/h (around 30 mph), compared to an almost 60% risk of dying if hit by a vehicle traveling more than 80 km/h (around 50 mph).
May 8-12 is the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week, and the theme is #SlowDown. The accompanying WHO report provides an excellent resource for towns and cities wishing to consider speed reduction safety measures, and it lists important strategies focusing on vehicle speed management. Walk Friendly Communities manage speed in a variety of innovative ways, and we were able to narrow down a few highlights which tie in to the #SlowDown strategies. Continue reading How Walk Friendly Communities Manage Speed