New Mobility
October 21, 2020

Survey Invitation from Cities Health & Active Transpo Research Team (INTERACT)

The Cities Health and Active Transportation Research Team  (INTERACT) led by the very capable Dr. Meghan Winters is known for studying the important intersection between active transportation and population health in cities.

The team is looking at an important question~Can urban design changes in our neighbourhoods make us healthier and happier?

In a study led by INTERACT,  researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with the City of Vancouver and scientists across Canada are examining that question.

In 2018 the team  launched a five-year study to uncover how the development of Vancouver’s Arbutus Greenway is impacting physical activity, social participation, and well-being of nearby residents, and whether these impacts are felt equally across different socioeconomic groups.

You are invited to participate, on two on-line data surveys and join a national community of scientists, urban planners, public health experts, and engaged citizens with a common interest in designing healthier cities for all.

Please click this link for more information.

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If you missed the excellent discussion sponsored by America Walks with planning consultant and author Angie Schmitt and Charles Brown, here’s another opportunity to learn about Ms. Schmitt’s work and new book, “Right of Way” Race, Class and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America”.

Angie Schmitt is one of the best-known writers in the United States on the topic of sustainable transportation and she was a long-time reporter  for Streetsblog USA. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Bicycling, and GOOD. 

Last year, 6,590 people were hit and killed while walking in the United States — the highest number in 30 years.

In the new book, Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America, journalist Angie Schmitt shows us that these deaths are not unavoidable “accidents.” They don’t happen because of jaywalking or distracted walking. They are predictable, and occur in geographic patterns that tell a story about systemic inequality and the undeterred reign of the automobile in our cities. The victims are disproportionately people of color, immigrants, and poor. Far too often, the victims are unfairly blamed and forgotten.

Join us in diving into the research and realities behind why pedestrians are dying, and how we can imagine and demand safer, equitable cities here in the Bay Area.

Moderated by Marta Lindsey, Walk San Francisco’s communications director.

Co-presented by Walk San Francisco, SPUR, and Island Press.

Date: Wednesday October 14, 2020

Time: 5:00 to 6:00 Pacific Time

To register, please click this link.


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The Duke of Data Simon Fraser University’s  Andy Yan has a compelling question which he shared on twitter~”what if we treated  the statistics of pedestrian, cyclists and automobile injuries and deaths like daily Covid 19 updates?

It’s an interesting thought~Would posting those numbers on a daily basis temper driver behaviour and have all users proceed with more caution? Would there be less injuries and less fatalities?And what exactly are those numbers?

We are now entering the danger months in Metro Vancouver for pedestrians of all ages. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) observes that November, December, and January are months when vehicle drivers  crash into pedestrians, with dusk being the worst time. Even more sobering 75 percent of pedestrians are being crashed into at intersections, with 57 percent of those crashes happening when the pedestrian actually was legally crossing and had the right of way.

Current data on injury is notoriously hard to get, but ICBC’s access to statistics is improving. The Coroner’s Service provides data on pedestrian deaths in British Columbia, and that includes people on roller skates or boards. Between 2010 and 2019 an average of 56 pedestrians a year died on British Columbia roads and streets. November had the highest average annual number of deaths at 7.4 per 100,000 population, followed by January with 6.9 deaths per 100,000 population.

Sadly, 28 percent of all pedestrian deaths in B.C.  happen in Vancouver and Surrey. Of those, fatalities 58 percent were male, and 59 percent were aged 50 years and older. People that were 70 years or older represented one-third of all fatalities.

That data shows the need to focus on reducing older adult pedestrian fatalities. From January to November 2019 there were no pedestrian deaths for children aged zero to nine, and two deaths of children 10  to 18 years of age. There were 29 pedestrian fatalities across the province from January to November 2019 for people aged 50 years and older.

The City of Vancouver Police Department provides data on their website on pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular and motorcycle fatalities. From 2014 to 2019, 51 pedestrians have died on Vancouver streets. In that same time period, two cyclists died, and there have been no cyclist fatalities in the last three years.

In the same last three years, 21 pedestrians died in the city.

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Our words and how we view the street are all oriented for the vehicle.  Sidewalks were developed to get pedestrians out of the way of vehicle drivers so they could enjoy unfettered speed on the street. Mid-block pedestrian crossings are a lot safer for pedestrians because there are no vehicular driver turning movements, but are less convenient for car drivers  which have to stop mid-block. Instead pedestrians cross at corners where there are lots of vehicular drivers turning as well. When it is helpful to the car driving lobby, we treat vulnerable street users, those not encased in a steel cage, like vehicles.

That has transpired in language too where we have car accidents instead of crashes, and we talk about cars making right turns and crashing into hapless pedestrians instead of describing it as the inattention, speed or behaviour of the vehicle driver. It was Dr. Ian Pike, Director of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the excellent B.C. Vision Zero Summit  who provided a media briefing on the fact we just have to start labelling pedestrian crashes as the deadly catastrophes they actually are.

And that means making our media use of terms accountable too. Last week The Vancouver Sun stepped right into it with a headline proclaiming “Elderly woman dies in Point Grey after being struck by a vehicle”.  

What? Who defines elderly? And does that make it better that she died because the writer decided to list the victim that way? This was a 73 year old lady that was walking at the 10th Avenue and Sasamat signalized intersection with  pedestrian markings that was mowed down by a inattentive driver at 5:00 p.m.

It was a clear day, it was sunny, there were no excuses.

The  Vancouver Sun article then goes on that the critically injured victim was dead at arrival at the hospital and that the driver of the vehicle “remained at the scene and is co-operating with police”. 

Seriously? The driver is doing what is required as per the law.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020 – 1:00pm EDT

Healthy, vibrant communities are often places where you can walk safely to school, the grocery store, or just down the street to a neighbors house. Walkable communities are good for our physical health, but also our neighborhood’s health. And yet, pedestrian deaths are up 50% in the last decade, and the stark geographic patterns of traffic violence tell a story about systemic inequality—where immigrants, the poor, and people of color are disproportionately impacted by traffic violence. In this live webinar, hear about some of the causes of this public-health crisis, and learn about some of the programs and movements that are beginning to respond. You’ll also hear from every day neighbors who stepped up to address pedestrian safety in their communities, and see how you could do it too.

Panelists for the webinar are:

Angie Schmitt, author of Right of Way
Rachel Jefferson, one of the project leaders with Come Walk with Us WYCO
Adé E. Neff , project leader with Street Beats.
This webinar is co-hosted by ioby. (In My Back Yard)

Date: Wednesday October 7, 2020

Time: 10:00 Pacific Time

To register please click on this link.

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This is the way we like to think of Chinatown~a place to buy fresh groceries with wide sidewalks for stopping and looking in windows, and a place to go to bakeries or to restaurants for some of the best food in the city. But look a little closer.  Here on Pender Street the sidewalk is littered with cigarettes, newspapers and discarded clothing.

Even the Chinatown historic photo mural is defaced. Walk a little further and the area seems like a movie set of street maintenance abandonment.



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How Metropolitan Planning Organizations can champion Vision Zero & Equitable Mobility

Regional leadership for Vision Zero – with a focus on health and racial equity – is growing in the U.S. We’ll learn about two Metropolitan Planning Organizations’ development of Vision Zero plans, as well as their critical work to move from vision to action. Both Oregon Metro and the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ Vision Zero plans have a strong focus on advancing equity. Join us to learn more about this encouraging trend in regional leadership toward safe, healthy, equitable mobility.

The Vision Zero Network needs your support to continue delivering these webinars and other valuable Vision Zero resources for the community.

Date: Thursday, September 24

Time: 10-11am Pacific Time 

Webinar participant levels are as follows:

Consultants, for-profit company staff, and participants earning continuing education credits: $25
Public sector & Nonprofit staff, and Community members: $10 (use code: GOV)
Limited income attendees: No charge (use code: FREE)

Your receipt will be sent via email.

You can find further information and register here.

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A challenge question for PT readers:

How should we start to limit congestion before it becomes unacceptable?

There’s a real-life experiment unfolding on our streets – one that will fundamentally affect our future – discussed here in “Our Real World Experiment in Traffic Congestion. “

As people switch from transit to cars, it won’t take much to fill up available road space.  It may only take a 10-15 percent to reach a level of inefficiency and frustration where we reverse the gains we’ve made in this region, notably with transit, in the last half century.   Without response, something has to break, even if we don’t yet know what that level is.  Waiting until we get to a breaking point seems kinda stupid knowing how much more difficult it is to reverse something if instead we can limit it before it happens.

Knowing we will have to slow, stop and reverse a move to post-Covid motordom worse than pre-March, what steps should we take now?

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Safe routes for all users means recognizing that at any time one quarter of the population is experiencing some kind of disability that may mean their access to streets and sidewalks can be compromised. This webinar focussing on  safe routes for Older Adults in Walking, Cycling and Transit is presented by the Safe Routes Partnership.

Mobility options that include walking, cycling, and transit are essential, especially for older adults who rely on these to get to critical destinations in their daily lives.
Join this webinar to learn about the growing need for mobility options, creating inclusive and accessible environments, and how we can support community members through their lives.


Carol Kachadoorian, Transportation Planner & Founding Collaborator, dblTilde Collaborative
Bandana Shrestha, Director of Community Engagement, AARP Oregon
Katie M. White, Director of Age-Friendly Communities, Columbus and Franklin County, The Ohio State University College of Social Work

Safe Routes for Older Adults: Walking, Cycling, and Transit

Date: Wed, Sep 30, 2020

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT

You can register by clicking this link.


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Here’s one of those things that may display some absolute genius on the part of government policy makers. It is pretty well established that encouraging walking is good for mental and physical health, sociability and creating connected communities. Walking is good for you.

But we don’t like being told to do stuff that is good for us or good for our pets, as the outcry in Germany proves over the Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner’s  new law regarding dogs.

There are 9.4 million dogs in Germany (in a population of 83 million people) and Ms. Klockner is bringing in a law that dogs need to be walked twice a day, because the nation’s dogs are not getting the exercise or stimulation required.

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