Bicycling, Walking, and Trails: Connecting Public Works with Public Health
One of the biggest trends in Alta's work is the ongoing partnership between health and transportation. As communities try to address the global epidemic of physical inactivity, we are working with some great new initiatives to create healthy infrastructure solutions. For example, Alta was recently in Birmingham, Alabama as part of the team kicking off the innovative "Our One Mile" regional greenway system. The project is being led by the Freshwater Land Trust with support from the U.S. Department of Health.
In the same week, we were thrilled with the announcement from the USDOT that federal TIGER II funding was awarded to two of our clients - the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway and the East Bay Pedestrian and Bicycle Network in California. In Arkansas, Alta was involved in a collaborative public-private partnership that took the project from concept plan to $15 million in funding in less than a year - in large part because the project includes key connections to improving public health and quality of life.
Alta Principal Jeff Olson also serves as co-director of the Initiative for Healthy Infrastructure at UAlbany, and has developed model guidelines for local communities to develop successful projects, policies and programs. As the U.S. Congress develops the next generation of federal transportaton legislation, the terms 'active transportation' and 'livability' are being used more widely. It is rewarding to see the results of efforts like the Active Living by Design initiative (which has helped Alta projects from the Jackson Hole Community Pathways program in Wyoming to the Partners for Active Living in Spartanburg, South Carolina). Active Living by Design is a project of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and creates a legacy of hope for the future.
This has always been the heart of our work: Safe Routes to Schools, Complete Streets, GreenTrails and all of our projects directly connect to creating healthy infrastructure.
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Four Projects Well Worth the Wait!
Taking projects from the planning stage into a built reality can sometimes require a bit of patience. Alta celebrates the following projects and clients that have managed to ignite their plans and implement their projects, to everyone's benefit. Lead the way!
After nearly 30 years, the Saranac River Trail (SRT) in Plattsburgh, New York has begun construction, celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on August 17th. The SRT will create a non-motorized facility for bicycle and pedestrian transportation from the shoreline of Lake Champlain along the river and through Plattsburgh. The SRT will connect schools, the State University of New York at Plattsburgh (SUNY), downtown and residential neighborhoods, and the lakefront redevelopment area.
The Town of Normal, Illinois has installed its first shared lane markings on several streets. The town has also completed another 3.5 miles of bicycle trails.
|Alta completed the Normal Bicycle Master Plan in 2009, which included a list of recommended bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure projects that are now being implemented.|
|Alta designed a new trail system that protects the wetlands and respects adjacent private property.|
On October 23rd, Maricara Natural Area in Portland, Oregon celebrated the opening of 1,500 feet of new natural-surface trails and 2,600 feet of improved trails. Located in a residential neighborhood, Maricara Natural Area is a 10-acre site with a wetland, protected stream, and important native plant species. Saved from development by various twists and turns, the park hosts an older second-growth forest and is highly prized by neighbors.
Phase V of the Grand Canyon Greenway Trail is now open. “The completion of Greenway V is an important step in the implementation of the greenway trail system envisioned in the park’s 1995 General Management Plan,” commented Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin. “It’s a beautiful addition to the popular Rim Trail; and now that it’s open, there is a continuous, paved, accessible trail all the way from Grand Canyon Village to the South Kaibab Trailhead.”
|Part of the Millennium Trails Initiative, the Grand Canyon Greenway project was initiated in 1999.|
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Waterbury Greenway Study Wins Major Planning Award!
|Alta led this project to establish a route for bicycle, pedestrian and trail access through the city along the Naugatuck River in Waterbury.|
Congratulations to the City of Waterbury and the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley for winning a 2010 Public Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association for our Waterbury Greenway Routing/Feasibility Study. This study unlocks the potential to turn an abandoned industrial riverfront in Connecticut into a major regional greenway, an undertaking significant enough to call for a visit from Federal Highway Administrators and Congressman this spring. What an honor to be recognized!
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Charlotte Light Rail Extension=Heavy Opportunities
|Alta and the City are currently planning a series of stakeholder meetings and public workshops to solicit input.|
The Charlotte Area Transit System is currently designing the Blue Line Extension (BLE), a Light Rail Transit route from Uptown Charlotte to I-485 beyond the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. As part of this project, the City of Charlotte is initiating the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Program (NECI), which will study and implement multi-modal infrastructure improvements within the areas around proposed BLE stations.
As a part of NECI, the City is working to establish a vision and identify options for corridor-length bicycle facilities associated with the BLE. The entire Northeast Growth Corridor serves as the study area, and potential routes are not limited to following the proposed BLE route. Alta Planning + Design is leading the study, which is intended to capture the best thinking and vision of government agencies, local non-profits and institutions, and local bicyclists. Gathering and condensing the thoughts and ideas of each of these entities into a single vision will be critical to success.
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50% Off Subscription Offer from Momentum Magazine? Wow!
Momentum Magazine is all about "inspiration," says publisher Mia Kohout. Momentum's mission is to "inspire and promote the bicycling lifestyle movement," and let people know that it's "normal, easy, fun, and attainable for almost anyone to use bikes to get around." Published bi-monthly, Momentum reports on a market that has grown over the last three to four years as American communities, supported by local, state and national politicians, have started to recognize cycling as a viable means of transportation. Each issue is filled with spirited articles about cycling trends in North American cities, inspiring interviews with local visionaries, fashion and gear reviews for everyday cyclists, and healthy recipes for on-the-go. Needless to say, when new issues of Momentum arrive in Alta's offices, they disappear.
Momentum Magazine is offering Alta Planning + Design colleagues and friends the special subscription rate of half off! Click here to receive this great offer by entering promo code "Joyride". With upcoming issues dedicated to urban travel and how to take a bicycle vacation, a photography special, and family riding, Alta enjoys Momentum and encourages you to check it out.
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2010 Bicycle Friendly Community Winners Pave the Way to Innovation
Alta applauds the communities recently selected by the League of American Bicyclists for their Bicycle Friendly Communities listing, and recognizes the effort, dedication and passion that goes into the application process. Whether your city is a Bicycle Friendly Community, or holds the potential, Alta can help you get to the next level. We have helped numerous cities across the country take the steps necessary to elevate their status, from Portland, Oregon (Platinum!) to Columbus, Ohio (Bronze!).
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Win a Signed Copy of "Joyride" for the Holidays
Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet is captivating readers across the country.
"Mia Birk captures all the best parts of one person's adventure to enact change in our intractable society. She demonstrates an indomitable spirit matched by few. Story after story continued to inspire me long after I put it down. The writing was crisp and humorous. I strongly recommend it." ~Amazon reader
Order your copy of Joyride today to arrive in time for the holidays! Wholesale pricing available for orders of 10 or more. Also available on Amazon! See www.miabirk.com for Mia’s ever increasing list of speaking engagements.
Thanks to superstar Robin Stallings of the Texas Bicycle Coalition for sending this picture of him enjoying Joyride on vacation in stunning Palo Duro Canyon. Robin sold Mia Birk her first utilitarian bike back when he was at City Bikes in Washington, DC. We invite you to share your feedback and photos – what does ‘Joyride’ – either the book or simply your own riding joy – mean to you? The five most delightful submissions by December 10th get an autographed copy of Joyride.
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Alta is Blogging!
We have started a Joyride-Alta blog to share our worldwide adventures in creating bike/ped friendly communities. Visit us there and on Twitter for tweets on industry trends, project updates, and other useful information.
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Alta staff have taken part in many transportation and infrastructure conferences throughout the United States and internationally this year. Below are a few of the inspiring presentations we've delivered recently. If you'd like to request an Alta presentation that isn't listed or if you'd like to invite an Alta staff person to present at your event, please contact us.
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New Office: Chicago, Illinois
Alta Planning + Design is delighted to announce the opening of its Chicago office under the direction of Craig Williams, Senior Transportation Planner. The new Chicago office will help Alta to provide enhanced service to its clients in Illinois and surrounding states. “As one of the pioneering cities in the non-motorized transportation field, and a hub of the Midwest, Chicago is a great location for Alta to complement our office in Madison and serve our Midwest clients,” says CEO Michael Jones.
Craig brings more than 30 years of experience in transportation planning, engineering and project management, including 23 years with IDOT. In 1991 he was appointed as the first Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the State of Illinois. He left IDOT in 2000 for the private sector, and has since managed dozens of pedestrian and bicycle projects, ranging from pedestrian circulation analysis of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, to a six-county ‘Soles & Spokes’ bicycle and pedestrian master plan for northeastern Illinois. Craig was recently elected to serve on the Board of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.
Contact Craig Williams to learn how Alta can make your community better for walking and biking.
30 E Division St, Suite 7A
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Alta welcomes Planners Kevin Wood, Sarah Gaskell, Lucas Woodward, Andrew Lee, and Jessie Holzer!
Kevin Wood is the newest addition to our San Diego office. He recently received his Master of Planning degree from USC where he paid special attention to the linkages between land use, transportation choice, and climate change. He previously worked on sustainability initiatives for the City of Los Angeles and regional environmental programs for the San Diego Association of Governments. He spent a year living in the Netherlands and explored a good portion of the country by bike. He did his undergraduate work in urban politics at UC San Diego where he raced with the cycling team for three seasons. His best finish was second place in the Tour de Donuts, a combination donut eating contest/stage race.
Sarah Gaskell joins our Madison, Wisconsin office, bringing over 10 years of planning experience to Alta. Her work includes park and open space planning, bicycle/pedestrian system and trail planning and design, grant writing and administration, recreational needs assessment, capital improvements planning, and public process facilitation. She has served as an independent consultant for municipalities, and was a 2008 presenter at the ProWalk/ProBike conference. Sarah has worked for numerous planning firms throughout Wisconsin, giving her a strong familiarity with the area, and experience working with local community planners and leaders.
Lucas Woodward in our Berkeley office recently finished Master’s degrees in City Planning and Civil Engineering at UCBerkeley and has worked in the past as a GIS Specialist in an environmental engineering firm in the Boston area. He most recently came from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, where he worked on neighborhood transportation plans and led an initial study of transportation pilot projects on Market Street. He brings a variety of analytical and communication skills including GIS, travel demand modeling, Adobe Creative Suite, and freehand drawing and is excited to use his powers for good at Alta. In his free time, Lucas enjoys all manner of outdoor adventures, from modestly competitive distance running to gardening, and his investment in a road bike in 2007 changed his life.
Andrew Lee joins our Los Angeles team with over six years of experience in leading complex traffic and transit planning. He is a licensed (CA) Traffic Engineer (TR2455), and has experience in using planning software such as TransCAD to create travel demand models. Andrew has also performed research for environmentally responsible alternatives for freeway widening, and has experience in collaborating with city officials on transportation master plans. He is an avid cyclist, taking time recently to travel the Pacific Coast Trail by bike.
Jessie Holzer joins Alta as a planner in the Los Angeles office. She brings a unique set of skills that come from her experience in both transportation planning and traffic engineering, including traffic surveys and studies, traffic safety, transportation demand management, community plans, and alternative transportation plans. Jessie’s interest in bicycle and pedestrian planning stems from a passion for all aspects of sustainability. She has volunteered with and worked for several environmental and social sustainability groups over the past seven years, including Cal Poly’s Student Community Services and the Sierra Club. She enjoys working to create access to walkable and bikeable communities that reduce the need for motorized vehicles.
Jocelyn Gaudi joins the Alta Bicycle Share team as Member Care Specialist, based in Portland, Oregon. She brings over eight years of customer service and project management experience and has worked in the alternative transportation industry with both Zipcar, Inc. and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
More recent additions to the Alta team:
Arielle Bailey, Communications Specialist, Portland, OR
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