As oil spills unrelentingly into the Gulf of Mexico, we at Alta Planning + Design pause in reflection. Not only do we know that approximately one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Not only do the national health costs associated with transportation-related air pollution total between $40 and $60 billion per year. Not only are traffic crashes one of the top causes of death for our children, with obesity, asthma, diabetes, stress, and other diseases directly tied to our sedentary, auto-oriented lifestyles. Our auto addiction is bad enough already. But it gets worse as the tragedy in the Gulf forces us to face the reality that the task of oil extraction is not free of horrific consequence.
Our mission at Alta is simple: Creating active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities. The more we succeed, the more we reduce our dependence on oil. Each of you - our friends, clients, and colleagues - are with us in this mission, as we work to create opportunities for all of us, all across the planet, to switch one, ten, most, even all of our weekly trips from driving to bicycling, walking, or transit.
|Introduction by Mia Birk,
CEO Alta Planning + Design
Return to top
Waterbury Naugatuck River Greenway Recognized as "Model Project" by Federal Representatives and Congressmen
|Alta had the opportunity to lead a tour of the proposed Naugatuck River Greenway in Waterbury, CT |
We were honored when Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, Congressman Chris Murphy, Mayor Michael Jarjura and invited local leaders toured our Waterbury Naugatuck River Greenway project in Waterbury, CT in April 2010. The corridor is a post-industrial landscape without a clear defining right-of-way, except a beautiful river with the potential to reconnect the City. Alta's plan (created with teaming partners Fuss & O'Neil and Bob Searns) features a unique combination of design concepts to create a continuous greenway: rail-to-trail, a "blueway" water trail, road diets, cantilevered and pier-supported sections, new and retrofitted bridges, innovative street crossings and context-sensitive design themes.
View the full media report at: http://www.wfsb.com/news/23083485/detail.html
Return to top
Alta's "Green Trails" Initiative Addresses Critical Issues in Trail Design
|Spearheaded by Portland-based trail designer George Hudson, Green Trails are yet another environmental and community health solution in our ever-growing toolbox. |
The Waterbury Greenway project above is a perfect example of the Alta Green Trails approach. Green Trails applies the principles of ecology, sociology, and sustainability to make superior trail corridors. As trail experts with a collective staff expertise exceeding 75 years, we recognize that the creation of trail corridors today is a vastly different process than it was just 10 years ago. Growing urbanization and shrinking available open space means that a holistic and comprehensive approach to corridor design is needed.
Green Trails cohesively address multiple objectives including community needs, storm water treatment, water quality enhancement, wildlife migration and barrier reduction, habitat enhancement, stewardship strategies, and public education. To accomplish this, we combine our public facilitation expertise with biological science disciplines and sustainable design principles. While regulatory requirements traditionally have been site-specific and focused on avoidance of impacts, with a one-to-one off-setting mitigation requirement, Green Trails goes beyond. It strives to understand the regional and local environmental role of the corridor and its surrounding social fabric. We enhance those functions through a comprehensive green trail corridor approach that begins with initial planning and is carried through design, construction, stewardship, and monitoring. To learn more, please visit our website or contact George Hudson at (503) 230-9862.
Return to top
San Diego Moves Forward with Vision for 2050 Regional Bikeway System
|Alta has been working in SoCal for over a decade, with offices in Los Angeles and San Diego. |
The completion of the final draft of the San Diego Regional Bicycle Plan marks a critical step in establishing the region as a more bicycle-friendly community. The plan creates a vision for a diverse system of interconnected bicycle corridors, support facilities, and programs to make bicycling more practical and desirable to a broader range of people in the San Diego region.
Planning for a more bicycle-friendly region helps to resolve multiple complex and interrelated issues, including traffic congestion, air quality, climate change, public health, and livability. By guiding the region toward the creation of a substantial bicycle network, this plan can affect all of these issue areas, improving existing and future quality of life.
The Plan outlines a range of recommendations to facilitate accomplishing the goals of increasing the number of people who bike and frequency of bicycle trips for all purposes, encouraging the development of Complete Streets, improving safety for bicyclists, and increasing public awareness and support for bicycling in the San Diego region.
According to Chris Kluth, Associate Transportation Planner at SANDAG, "Alta did a great job in assimilating the direction we gave them with information from the public input process and applying some impressive technical analysis to come up with a Regional Bicycle Plan that incorporates and strengthens existing SANDAG planning efforts. The Alta staff here in the San Diego office were always very responsive and resourceful, which made managing the project a little less stressful knowing I could rely on them to provide key information at crucial times."
Return to top
Alta Bicycle Share Rolls into Action with New Systems in D.C. Region and Melbourne, Australia
|The equipment arrived in Melbourne and is now being assembled for release on May 31. |
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and District Department of Transportation Director (DDOT) Gabe Klein announced a joint effort to expand bike sharing tenfold in the Washington area. Both Arlington and the District will launch systems later this year with roughly 1,100 bikes and 114 stations, which will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. Alta Bicycle Share will operate the program in partnership with the Public Bike System Company (Bixi).
The District and Arlington County are asking the public to get involved by participating in a survey to help pick the name of the new bike sharing system. Go to www.goDCgo.com to vote for your favorite name or to suggest a new one. Votes must be submitted by 5PM on June 4, 2010.
Shifting gears to another continent, Melbourne's first fleet of bicycles is almost ready to roll! Starting with 100 bikes at 10 stations, the Melbourne Bike Share will quickly expand to 600 bikes at 50 stations within one month. The ground crew is now assembling the stations and bikes, with Alta Bicycle Share working closely with its partners, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) and Bixi.
Return to top
The Carolina Thread Trail: Weaving Communities Together, County by County
|The CTT will reach approximately 2.3 million citizens of the Charlotte region in North and South Carolina. |
The Carolina Thread Trail (CTT) is a 15-county, regional network of greenways, trails and conserved lands in North and South Carolina. The Thread will help preserve natural areas and will be a place for the exploration of nature, culture, science, and history, for family adventures and celebrations of friendship.
Planning for the trail is completed on a county-by-county basis, and each has the opportunity to determine the character and location of the Thread Trail in their communities. Alta recently completed a draft of the CTT network for Stanly County, where the ancient Uwharrie Mountain range, flat terrain, gentle rolling hills, agricultural land, and surface water will provide a lovely setting for a regional trail network. At the same time, the Thread Trail will conserve the natural resources that make Stanly County so beautiful. The draft Stanly County CTT Plan proposes over 100 miles of trails and blueways, and reflects the involvement and input of over 1,000 Stanly County residents.
Iredell County, the northernmost county in the Carolina Thread Trail initiative, recently held its kickoff meeting. The County has already made progress in planning for trails: the proposed Lake Norman Regional Bicycle Plan includes several miles of biking/hiking trails within the County. Alta staff has also participated in planning and designing links of the Carolina Thread Trail in Mecklenburg County, including sections of the proposed Lake Norman Bike Route.
Return to top
Walking School Bus Takes Off in Santa Clarita
It was a chilly morning, but that did not prevent over 100 Santa Clarita, CA students and faithful parents from "hopping on the bus." Led by parents, a walking school bus moves through neighborhoods picking up children on its way to school. Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are one creative solution communities can use to combine exercise, environmental awareness, and safety.
In support of their first walking school bus, Old Orchard PTA donated small prizes to reward the children for walking and biking to school. Old Orchard organized two separate bus routes to school, each with multiple stops where students and parents could join the group. Students living outside of walking distance from the route were driven to the local "bus stop" and waited to be picked up.
|Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are popular encouragement programs that make walking and biking to school a fun and safe activity. |
Old Orchard is one of four pilot schools participating in the Santa Clarita Safe Routes to School program. For more information about Safe Routes to School in Santa Clarita, please visit www.scsaferoutes.com.
Return to top
A Count that Matters: MassDOT Bike & Ped Counts Gauge Future Success
Understanding user needs is fundamental to designing bicycle and pedestrian systems and projects. With this in mind, the MassDOT recently conducted a peak-level count of pedestrians, runners, bicyclists and skaters in the Charles River Basin. Data collected from 23 locations showed that nearly 16,000 non-motorized users utilized the path system or bridges during the two hour weekday peak (4:30-6:30 pm). This data is intended to give a baseline of walking, running and bicycling activity at key locations to track how the numbers change over time, and help show how improved ped/bike facilities lead to increased use of the Basin for recreational and commuting purposes.
At all count locations, gender differences were noted. While the gross number of walkers, skaters and joggers was approximately split evenly between men and women, the ratio of male cyclists to female was approximately 2.5:1. This ratio is consistent with count data and anecdotal evidence from cities throughout the country. While bike-friendly cities in Northern Europe typically have a more even split between men and women, in North American cities with limited bicycling infrastructure, the number of men is higher in all cases. The expectation along the Charles River Basin is that the ratio of men to women will begin to balance out as bike-infrastructure improves along the Charles River Basin and in surrounding communities.
With data sets in the thousands from 23 locations, the key was to develop user-friendly graphics that presented useful information to the client, policy makers and the lay public. Alta's innovative maps and diagrams helped "tell a story" about use patterns, mode split, and connectivity opportunities and challenges along the Basin.
Return to top
Alta's Publications & Presentations
Here's a selection of recent and upcoming publications and presentations. For a full list of available documents produced by Alta, check out the Presentations & Studies section of our website.
NACTO Cities for Cycling Urban Bikeway Design Guide Launches
|The C4C Launch Committee takes a cycling tour of Portland's innovative facilities. |
The National Association of City Transportation Officials Cities for Cycling (NACTO C4C) project took a giant step forward with its June launch of the country's first Urban Bikeway Design Guide, to be released early 2011. The NACTO Guide project, led by Alta Planning + Design, Kittleson Associates, Inc., Parisi & Associates, The Open Planning Project, and Don Meeker & Associates, as well as experts from the Netherlands and Denmark, will create a new toolbox of international best bikeway infrastructure solutions that are missing from national design guidelines and standards. The guide will also fill a much-needed niche: a dynamic, web-based platform for urban officials to share information and guidance. The website will allow a close look at experience gained to date, with regular content updates created collaboratively with NACTO bikeway professionals. Stay in touch with the process through the citiesforcycling.org website.
Mia Birk's book, Joyride: Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet, to be Released at 2010 International ProWalk/ProBike Conference
|Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet is pioneering transportation leader Mia Birk’s 20-year crusade to integrate bicycling into daily life. |
Ready for a joyride? Alta CEO Mia Birk will release her much-anticipated book: Joyride: Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet at the international ProWalk/ProBike® conference, September 13-17, in scenic Chattanooga, TN. Register by September 1 and receive a 20% discount off the cover price.
"The reception for my book has been phenomenal! I am really looking forward to seeing so many friends and colleagues at PWPB."
Mia plans a series of book signings, speeches, and other Joyride-related activities, including a visit to Trek World and rollickin' BBQ at her house, which happens to be on the August 15th Portland Sunday Parkways. Joyride proceeds benefit non-profit groups engaged in the mission of creating more bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities. Check out www.miabirk.com for pre-ordering and other information.
Continuing Education Course Offered at PSU, August 16-20: "Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Design & Planning"
The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation's week-long course, Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Design & Planning, is back for summer 2010. The course will be held on August 16-20, at Portland State University. Each day will include both classroom instruction and field exercises within the living laboratory of Portland, Oregon. The course will cover intersections, trail design, on-street bikeway design, pedestrian accessibility, data collection, master plans, and more. The program is taught by local experts from the City of Portland, Metro, Alta Planning + Design, and Kittelson & Associates. For more information, and the registration form, please visit http://www.ibpi.usp.pdx.edu/summerworkshop2010.php
Major Business Group Recognizes Portland Bicycle Plan Effort
|Mia dedicates her award to the City staff and citizens’ Steering Committee, of which she was co-chair, who created the excellent Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. |
Alta CEO Mia Birk, Jay Graves, President of the National Bike Dealers Association, and David Knowles of CH2MHill, were honored with awards for their work to advance the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. With the Governor, Mayor, and 1000 business leaders in attendance, this recognition was a significant step toward mainstreaming bicycle transportation in the City's overall transportation strategy.
"We are grateful for the acknowledgment that the Portland Business Alliance truly appreciates what we – all of us – are doing to create a more sustainable city. We put in a ton of time at meetings and countless behind-the-scenes conversations that led, ultimately and after much consternation, to a positive PBA stance. And it was all worth it. The business community is evolving to a place where it celebrates bicycle transportation."
New York Transportation Journal Honors Student Competition Winners
|The judges were impressed by the dual benefits offered by green street elements on bicycle boulevards. |
Alta congratulates PSU students Nikki Wheeler, Lindsay Walker, Peter Pelzer and Josh Steiner on winning the first Rudin Center/APA Graduate Student Award in Transportation Planning. Given by the APA's National Transportation Planning Division and the APA's New York Metro Chapter, the award recognizes student projects in transportation planning and design that demonstrate an understanding of planning principals and a spirit of innovation.
The team's project, titled "Designing Bicycle Boulevards in NW Portland, Oregon," highlights the estimated air quality benefits of increased bicycling and walking, as well as the stormwater retention and treatment benefits of "green" curb extensions.
Click here to read more.
Return to top
Both Alta Planning + Design and Alta Bicycle Share have opportunities available and will be announcing new openings as we continue to expand our programs. Please visit altaplanning.com and altabicycleshare.com for details and check back frequently for updated and future opportunities.
Return to top
Alta welcomes Brodie Hylton and Peter Hoban as new leaders of Alta Bicycle Share!
Brodie Hylton joins Alta Bicycle Share as its Global Operations Manager, based out of Portland, OR. With over five years of management and marketing experience, Brodie brings valuable skills in business development and operations to Alta's Bicycle Share program. He has an extensive background in entrepreneurial and start-up environments in both the public and private sectors. Brodie established his record of success in emerging industries through his former role at Zipcar, the nation's oldest and largest car-sharing company. His work led Portland, OR to become the #1 city in car-sharing use by business and government organizations among all Zipcar cities. He attracted over 500 organizational customers, including Portland's largest public and private sector companies. He also successfully lobbied the City of Portland to include car-share parking spaces as an eligible tax exemption in new Transit Oriented Developments.
Peter Hoban will serve as the Operations Manager for Alta Bicycle Share's Melbourne location. With previous experience at Flexicar, the Australian equivalent to Zipcar, Peter helped Flexicar grow from 2 cars to 80 cars in Melbourne and Sydney. He is enthusiastic about continuing his work in the sustainable transport space, and making a difference to the city in which he lives and loves. His experience is supplemented by two years spent working for Carbon Trust in London, providing venture capital investment to early-stage low-carbon technology companies. To see our full Staff and Office directories, visit altaplanning.com.
Return to top