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Thursday, April 02 2015 @ 09:41 AM UTC
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Canal Towns Program Plugs Businesses into the Enormous Potential of Trail Tourism

Bike Pathsby Jake Lynch, Rails To Trails

"When coal mining died and the railroads left, a lot of the towns really struggled. What the trail has done has brought that transportation corridor back to them. And it's actually helped to sustain businesses and revitalize the downtowns."

— Bill Atkinson, Maryland Department of Planning

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http://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/2014/september/01/canal-towns-program-plugs-businesses-into-the-enormous-potential-of-trail-tourism
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Poll: Support for Active Transportation Funding Is High Across Party Lines

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/08/poll-support-for-active-transportation-funding-is-high-across-party-lines/
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LAKEWOOD (OH): NO SCHOOL BUSES, ALMOST ALL WALK TO SCHOOL

Biking Elsewhere-> According to an article in the November issue of Governing, "In a nation where few students still walk to school, how has Lakewood, Ohio, gone without school buses for so long? Lakewood doesn't have any school buses and it never has.

"There are a few reasons why Lakewood may be the nation's unofficial walk-to-school capital. Density, for one... the city of 52,000 has 9,000 residents per square mile.... As Lakewood grew, the city opted against setting up a school bus system, focusing instead on building schools to fit within the community. Most of the schools are multistory buildings on relatively small lots, making them easier to incorporate into residential neighborhoods. As the facilities aged over the years, officials chose to restore and upgrade the existing structures, rather than build sprawling new single-story campuses.
"In Lakewood, there's another benefit to having everyone walk: The city saves a fortune on school buses. When Lakewood does need to provide transportation for students -- for field trips, out-of-town games and so on -- it contracts with the nearby town of Olmsted Falls. But all told, the Lakewood school district spends about $500,000 a year on transportation, about $1 million less than comparable school districts..."

Source: http://bit.ly/11ByuhU

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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BOSTON (MA) 1ST TO MANDATE TRUCK SAFETY MEASURES FOR CYCLISTS & PEDS

Bike Laws-> According to an Oct. 29th City of Boston media release, "Today the Boston City Council voted unanimously to pass a Truck Side Guard Ordinance,... [mandating] all large city-contracted vehicles to be equipped with enhanced safety measures designed to prevent fatalities and further reduce the risks of a collision with pedestrians and cyclists.

"The Truck Side Guard Ordinance is the first of its kind in the country. The ordinance requires vehicles over 10,000 pounds (for tractor-trailers a combined weight over 26,000 pounds) and awarded a contract with the City of Boston to have side guards, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and blind-spot awareness decals. Vehicles associated with an awarded City contract will be inspected for side guards by the Inspectional Services Department and issued a permit, certifying the vehicle for 2-years. For those vehicles not in compliance, businesses will face a fine, escalating from $100 for the first offense, to potential termination of the contract...

"In 2013, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Public Works Department undertook the largest municipal pilot of truck side guards in the nation. The Truck Side Guard Ordinance is a result of this pilot, which included more than a year of testing three different types of side guards on 16 large vehicles, reviewing data from external studies, and from field observations. In the City of Boston pilot, each vehicle cost about $1,800 to outfit and will last the lifetime of the vehicle."

Source: http://bit.ly/1qWmAot

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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A pedestrian bridge that's more than a bridge.

Biking Elsewhere"The design of this three-level pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but It was a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views."

http://realiran.org/irans-largest-pedestrian-bridge-inaugurates-tehran/
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AGENCY TRAFFIC FORECASTS & REALITY

News you will not see in Maryland-> According to an Oct. 20th Streetsblog article, "The amount that the average American drives each year has been declining for nearly a decade, yet most transportation agencies are still making decisions based on the notion that a new era of ceaseless traffic growth is right around the corner.

"The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, for example, has overestimated traffic on its roads by an average of 73 percent, according to a recent study. And Dallas-area planners recently produced traffic projections that predicted a much larger increase in driving than the state DOT was even predicting.

"Thats why a new traffic forecast from the Washington State Office of Fiscal Management is so interesting: It actually acknowledges how travel habits are changing. Seattle-based environmental think tank Sightline spotted the above traffic projection in a new government report. In its most recent financial forecast, the agency has abandoned the assumption of never-ending traffic growth that it employed as recently as last year. Instead, the agency has responded to recent trends, even projecting that total traffic will start to decline within the next ten years..."

Source: http://bit.ly/1CUZ6Wf

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Cycling Is Creating More Jobs in Europe Than Automakers Are in the U.S.

Biking ElsewhereBy Taylor Hill, Takepart

Want to lower greenhouse gas emissions, get fit, and create new jobs? Ride a bike.

That’s the finding of the first comprehensive study on Europe’s cycling industry , which details a cycling economy that employs more than 655,000 people in industries such as retail, manufacturing, infrastructure investment, and tourism.

On just two wheels, the industry is creating more jobs than Europe’s high-fashion footwear industry (388,000 jobs), its well-established steel sector (410,000), and the United States’ Big Three automobile companies (Ford , General Motors , and Chrysler ) combined (510,000).
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http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/03/not-just-health-and-fitness-cycling-has-created-650000-jobs-europe
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DENMARK: COMPREHENSIVE, EFFECTIVE PROGRAM TREATS CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Biking Elsewhere-> According to a Nov. 8th BBC News article, "Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic, but it is not easy to treat. Now a scheme proven to help children shed pounds by asking them and their families to make numerous lifestyle changes has been adopted across Denmark.

"A Danish pediatrician claims his pilot project has made a significant breakthrough in the battle against childhood obesity. The scheme, in the town of Holbaek, has treated 1,900 patients and helped 70% of them to maintain normal weight by adjusting about 20 elements of their lifestyles. The way it tackles all aspects of the children's lives - and those of their families - sets it apart from traditional 'small steps' approaches to losing weight...
"At the beginning of the programme, children are admitted to hospital for 24 hours for extensive testing, including body scans to measure their body fat. They also answer a detailed questionnaire about their eating habits and behaviour patterns... The programme requires wholesale changes in lifestyle to defeat the body's natural resistance to losing fat, and each child has a personalised treatment plan which targets 15-20 daily habits [including bicycling or walking to school]..."

Source: http://bbc.in/1xCDL5Y

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Stop Obsessing Over the Gas Tax and Change How We Fund Transpo

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

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The Highway Trust Fund has more problems than just its 1950s-era name. Funded by the federal gas tax, the trust fund is becoming obsolete over time, as efficiency gains and declining miles-traveled sap its size. The Eno Center for Transportation says it’s time to rethink the entire system.

In a new report [PDF ], Eno compares the U.S. method of funding transportation to that of five peer countries. Ours is the only one that still pretends to rely on a “user-pay” system. (Yes, pretends: The last six years of constant last-ditch infusions from the general fund, totaling $65 billion, have exposed that particular myth.)
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Eno argues that the Highway Trust Fund skews funding decisions by introducing petty conflicts ... “These challenges have historically overshadowed substantive arguments over policy and hindered the tying of federal funds to national goals or performance measures,” according to the report.
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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/04/eno-stop-obsessing-over-the-gas-taxaand-change-how-we-fund-transpo/
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JUST ANOTHER PEDESTRIAN KILLED

Biking ElsewhereBY CHARLES MAROHN, Strong Towns

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The accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. as the woman, her daughter and her niece came out of the library and attempted to cross directly across the street to the parking where their car was parked, Delaney, public information officer for the department, said.

They were hit in one of the westbound lanes as they attempted to cross near the front steps of the library, some distance away from the nearest crosswalk at the signalized intersection of State and Chestnut Streets.
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Costa said there used to be a crosswalk there some years ago, marked by an orange traffic barrel. Even then, however, the association lobbied for something even more visible, she said.

The crosswalk was removed, however, and a hedge and chain fence were installed directly in front of the library to encourage those seeking walk across State Street to do so at the Chestnut Street intersection, Costa said.
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Here’s what I am just fed up with:

* The engineering profession is so worried about liability if they vary from any highway design guideline, regardless of how ridiculous they are. Someone needs to sue these engineers for gross negligence and turn that entire liability equation around. It’s way past time.

* Professional engineers here and elsewhere use “forgiving design” principles in urban areas where they do not apply. They systematically forgive the mistakes of drivers who stray from their lane or go off the roadway by designing systems where these common mistakes are anticipated and compensated for. They systematically show indifference to the easily anticipated mistakes of non-drivers. A kid playing in their yard chases a stray ball out into the street and gets run down. To the engineer, this is a non-foreseeable, non-preventable accident. For everyone else, we understand that cities are more than cars – they include people doing all kinds of complex things – and forgiving the common mistakes of ALL people is what a humane, decent professional does.

* Professional engineers claim that they cannot alter human behavior with their street designs. A highway lane width is 13 feet just the same as your local street lane width. There is often no appreciable difference in the cross section of a highway and a local street except for the posted speed limit, which is up to the police to enforce. (I wrote about this years ago .) Despite this, the engineers in this situation – knowing there was an obvious problem – as well as many others in similar situations, put their brains to work to come up with all kinds of ways to attempt to alter human behavior, but only for those humans outside of their automobiles. For humans not in a car, we erect fences, hedges and other barriers to get them to go where we think best. Which is it, engineers? Are we behavioral scientists or not?

I’m fed up with people being killed because my profession contains a bunch of dogmatic idiots.
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http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/12/3/just-another-pedestrian-killed

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