Sunday links

Sunday, May 19 by ezeitler

Here’s what’s been shooting around the ped/bike blogs this week.

Inequality in pedestrian death victims from Streetsblog Capitol Hill: The elderly, people of color and men are more likely to be killed by cars while walking than other segments of our population, reported by the CDC.

Everyone can receive health benefits from biking to work from fitnessforweightloss.com: Infographic that reports health benefits from bike commuting, like 50% reduction in heart disease risk from 3 hours of biking per week.  Also suggests ways to get started.

Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure increased economic growth from America Bikes: New York City has been implementing new pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure and found, among other benefits, that local businesses grew around the new facilities. Where the protected bike lane was present, business sales increased by 49% compared to 3% in the borough as a whole. Businesses around a Brooklyn pedestrian plaza saw 172% growth relative to 18% in the borough as a whole.

Comment on regional transportation policy priorities from WalkBikeJersey: The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has released its annual transportation priorities, including a clickable map to make it easier to see what’s planned for our area. You can send them comments via the map or via email. It’s also interesting to see how much they plan to spend on projects. there’s a lot of zeros in those numbers, so let’s make sure that some of those millions go to bicycle and pedestrian improvements, as required by our state, county and municipal Complete Streets policies.

Any interesting stories we missed?

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Hawk Elementary Celebrates Walk to School Month

Saturday, October 22 by JerryFoster

Maurice Hawk Elementary School Principal Denise Mengani, Assistant Principal Patricia Buell and the Hawk led students, their parents and WWBPA trustees for the Walk to Hawk event on October 18th, part of the International Walk to School month festivities.

We had a beautiful sunny day for the walk.  About 45 students and their parents went on the walk, which started at the West Windsor municipal center and ended at Maurice Hawk Elementary School.  WWBPA trustee Stacey Karp gave each child an “I walked to school today” sticker and everyone helped make sure all the students arrived safely at school.

We want to extend our thanks to the  West Windsor police officers who stopped traffic at several crossings so that the group could stay together.  Ms. Mengani allowed us to address the parents to we could share some of the improvements WWBPA has advocated for around town, as well as promote our upcoming events.

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AASHTO Takes Aim at Bike/Ped Regulations

Tuesday, April 19 by JerryFoster

The Association of American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently published a letter to the US Department of Transportation recommending weakening the federal requirement for adding bicycle and pedestrian facilities to roadway projects. This recommendation is understandable, given the fierce fight for resources in today’s tight budget climate, but extremely short-sighted.

Some background: the Highway Trust Fund, established in the 1950s to finance the interstate highway system, has suffered from starvation due to flat fuel taxes (since 1997), reduced buying power of those taxes through inflation, and fewer miles driven since 2007  (i.e. reduced demand for gas) due to the economy, more fuel-efficient cars and higher gas prices. Intended as a way for motorists to pay for highways, it has been bailed out by general taxes to the tune of $8 billion in 2008, $7 billion in 2009, $19.5 billion in 2010, and is projected to be insolvent again by the end of fiscal year 2012.

However, the percentage of federal roadway money spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities is minuscule (about 2% in FY 2010), and a sustained commitment is necessary to build our transportation network to offer a true choice of modes – walking, biking, transit and/or driving. It’s a win-win in any case: better walking and biking facilities are usually incidental to the cost of building roads or bridges, they’re healthier for the participants, plus they reduce congestion and pollution for everyone.

Consider this picture, which I took while walking the 1.5 miles from the commuter train station near Frederick, MD to pick up my car at the dealer (don’t ask). This bridge, MD 85 under I-270, appeared to be recently constructed and had a number of nice features, such as the stone work shown, and should have been built with room to walk, but wasn’t.

Please use this link to express your opinion of whether bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be required, or just considered.

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Yoga for Cyclists

Sunday, April 10 by silvia

Yoga stretch for cyclistsMay is National Bike Month, and start it with a deep stretch: Nancy Sheehan, a cyclist and yoga instructor, will be teaching two free yoga classes aimed at cyclists at the Cranbury library, 23 N. Main St. in Cranbury, on May 5 and June 2.

Yoga can build a cyclist’s strength and endurance and introduce flexibility to chronically tight muscles.

Classes begin at 7 p.m. and will end at 8:30 p.m. The WWBPA will be there both evenings. We’ll talk about skills and etiquette for streets and trails,  including the do’s and don’ts that promote peaceful coexistence with other users, on May 5 and fun places to ride, including some cool events, on June 2. But most of the evening will be devoted to stretching, so dress appropriately. Bring a yoga mat if you have one.

No pre-registration is necessary.

Not sure what to expect? Here’s a video we found that shows some stretching techniques for cyclists.

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Surrendering the Keys

Thursday, February 10 by JerryFoster

From Health Affairs Magazine

This is an interesting essay about a doctor’s dilemma persuading an elderly patient to stop driving. The relevance is that such strategies (and in only a few states, laws) can only be effective if there are alternatives such as public transportation (including resources provided through local senior centers and other groups) as well as pedestrian infrastructure.

For information about senior programs, go to

West Windsor Department of Human Services Senior Programs
NJ Helps Services

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Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet

Friday, October 15 by sandy

Saving The Planet… And Ourselves Is As Easy As Riding A Bike

Two thirds of America’s energy needs are tied up in transportation. How we get around shapes our communities, our health, and our future.

Americans dream big, but those dreams have gotten out of hand. The results: expanding waistlines, sprawling communities, vehicles so large and thirsty that wars are fought to keep them running, oil disasters, and an energy plan that heats everything up to maintain a way of life. Beyond the blame, America needs real solutions: lean, clean, game-changing answers that put people on the road to health and energy independence.

America needs to go for a bike ride. With Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet, author and transportation expert Mia Birk helps them out the door.

Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet follows pioneering transportation leader Birk’s 20-year crusade to integrate bicycling into daily life. With just a table scrap of funding, Birk led a revolution that grew Portland, Oregon into a city where bicycling is a significant part of their transportation system. Birk then hit the road, helping make communities across the nation healthier, safer and more livable. While many books bemoan the pain of the world’s problems, Joyride offers hope and a blueprint for changing our world for the better.

Mia Birk is the award-winning CEO and co-owner of Alta Planning + Design, a 72-person international firm dedicated to creating active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities. She has been involved across North America in hundreds of bicycle, pedestrian, trail, and Safe Routes to School plans, projects, and programs. Birk is also Adjunct Professor at Portland State University, where she co-founded the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation. She is a co-founder of the Cities for Cycling project of the National Association for City Transportation Officials and the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. She was the Portland Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-1999, Transportation Program Manager at the International Institute for Energy Conservation from 1990-1993, and has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Birk lives in Portland, OR, with her two children, ages 11 and 8. Bicycling is her main means of transportation, and a winning strategy for maintaining her family’s health, safety, budget, and community connection.

Book sales will support non-profit organizations working to creating a healthier, more sustainable world.

Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet
By Mia Birk
With Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie
Cadence Press
www.miabirk.com

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Walking to School Can Reduce Stress

Friday, August 20 by sandy

Walk to Halk

Researchers at the University of Buffalo report that a morning walk to school could reduce the amount of stress children feel later in the day. Heart rate and blood pressure levels remain lower, which can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

The researchers note, “Cardiovascular reactivity — including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress — is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis — the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls — in adults.”

Think kids don’t get stressed? Remember how you felt taking a test, speaking in front of classmates and just trying to fit in.

The researchers go on: “ Because it’s not known how long the protective effect of a bout of exercise lasts, parents and educators should promote active play time throughout the day. If it only lasts a couple of hours, then it would be most beneficial if a child walked or biked to school, then had recess during school, as well as a break at lunch, so they had opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. This would put them in a constantly protective state against stressors that they’re incurring during the school day.”

Other studies suggest that being fitter helps make kids smarter.

Encourage your children (and yourselves) to get more exercise! Form a walking school bus or bicycle train, both of which promote safe routes to school.

Read more about our Walk to Hawk program. Let us know if you’d like to start a similar program in your child’s school.

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Safe Pedestrians and a Walkable America

Saturday, July 31 by sandy

stroller at crosswalk, stroller at crosswalkThe Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHWA) has published its Summer 2010 newsletter, including links to the 15-year status report on walking and bicycling, resources for Safe Routes to Schools programs for law enforcement officers, grants for livable communities, and web-based courses about designing for pedestrian safety.

“Livability means being able to take your kids to school, go to work, see a doctor, drop by the grocery or Post Office, go out to dinner and a movie, and play with your kids at the park—all without having to get into your car.” -USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood

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Some Blogs We Like

Wednesday, July 7 by silvia

biking and walking www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

Biking Hiking with Kids: Trail information and tips on mountain biking and hiking with kids, with links to other hiking and cycling blogs.

Car-Free American: Bill Poindexter profiles people around the country who use bicycles for commuting, running errands, and recreation.

Car Free Days: Since 2007, two parents have been using cargo bicycles and setting an example for their kids by setting aside days without getting into their cars.

Free Range Kids: “Do you ever…let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk to school? Make dinner? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free-Range Kid!”

Let’s Go Ride a Bike: Two friends bike-commute in Nashville and Chicago.

Livin’ in the Bike Lane: Ride hard, ride safe, ride on!

NJ Wild: Carolyn Edelmann blogs about nature, especially along the D&R Canal and towpath.

Pedal Around: a chronicle of  living car-free since Sept. 15, 2009 and his current adventure of bicycling cross-country. Love how he signs off with: PS: Remember, every lane is a bike lane. Share the road.

Streets Blog: The national blog network for sustainable transport, smart growth, and livable streets.

Suburban Bike Mama: Without a car for a few days, this city girl remembered her strong pedestrian roots and vowed to never “need” a car again.

A View from the Cycle Path: David Hembrow blogs about cycling in the Netherlands.

Walk Bike Jersey: The authors are advocates and professionals working to make our residents healthier, our air cleaner, our streets safer and the overall quality of life in New Jersey better.

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Bike to Keep the Pounds at Bay

Sunday, July 4 by sandy

Woman Cyclist, www.pedbikeimages.org / Tiffany Robinson

Here are two easy ways women can keep from adding pounds: brisk walking and biking. An article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Bicycle Riding, Walking, and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women,” reports that even modest amounts of exercise can be effective. A summary of the findings is in Business Week, June 28, 2010, “A Little Biking May Help Premenopausal Women Stay Slim.” The study found that biking is particularly effective for overweight or obese women. (Sorry, but that casual stroll around the neighborhood at a pace of less than three miles an hour doesn’t have that weight-control effect.)

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