Alta teams up with the Community Cycling Center to Understand Barriers to Bicycling
Since it was founded in 1994, the Portland-based nonprofit Community Cycling Center has helped make bicycles accessible to thousands of people through Earn-a-Bike programs, volunteer projects, and a neighborhood bike shop. Still many people do not choose bicycles as a transportation option, particularly among low-income and minority communities. Alta Planning + Design, a longtime supporter of the CCC, is teaming up to research and understand the cultural and economic barriers to bicycling encountered by minority and low-income community members.
The results from the Understanding Barriers project will inform program design that better addresses the health, safety, and transportation needs across cultural and economic strata. To receive the publication, send an email to Alison Graves, Director of Community & Programs, at Alison@CommunityCyclingCenter.org.
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Nearly $2 Billion in Federal Grants Available
for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program (EECBG) has set aside $1.9 billion in grant funding for select cities and counties. This money is reserved "to fund projects that reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions" in an environmentally sustainable manner that will "maximize benefits for local and regional communities". The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program is a unique opportunity for your city or county to get funding for sustainable transportation projects, from updating your non-motorized transportation plan to designing and constructing a new network of bicycle boulevards. Click here to visit the EECBG program website: http://www.eecbg.energy.gov/.
Alta staff have assisted jurisdictions across the country in winning over $30 million in grant funding through sources ranging from Federal SAFETEA-LU funds to State, regional, local, and private sources. The Alta team can help your city or county quickly develop a grant application and assist in carrying out your project. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments regarding this important opportunity. Applications are due by June 25, 2009.
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Downtown Bikeway Moves Toward Final Design
The City of San Rafael, CA is the birthplace of Alta Planning + Design and home of company founder and CEO Michael Jones. In February the City Council approved concepts for Alta's design for a downtown bikeway. The Puerto Suello and Mahon Creek Projects were funded by the Federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Project, and consisted of connecting two multi-use pathways through a dense downtown area including a busy transit center and a future commuter rail station. The project was physically complex, requiring trade-offs between differing routes and bikeway types. An active and sophisticated advisory committee assisted in evaluating options. The two main alternatives, using a quiet side street (Tamalpais Avenue) with three unprotected crossings or modifying a busier street (Hetherton St.), had most if not all of the issues facing professionals in our field today. They key to resolving the trade-offs was the use of clear project goals and evaluation criteria. In this case, the Hetherton Street alignment was selected (see photo rendering.) The recommendation also included developing a bicycle boulevard treatment, and new right turn signal controls.
|Before & After: Photosim rendering of the proposed bikeway on Hetherton Ave.|
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National Campaign for Active Transportation
Once again we're happy to bring you news from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Here's the latest on their 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation:
Imagine what your community would be like with decreased congestion, a stronger local economy, cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gases, and healthier more active residents. This is the vision of the 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation.
|Kartik Sribarra (Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)|
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is mobilizing a nationwide effort to advocate for an Active Transportation, program in the next federal transportation bill. We envision a $2 billion program serving at least 40 communities, with $50 million per community over 6 years, to create world class networks of trails, biking and walking facilities and programs, such as Safe Routes to School.
Half of the trips in America can be completed within a 20-minute bike ride, and a quarter of trips within a 20-minute walk. Yet the vast majority of these trips are taken by automobile. And the advantages of bicycling and walking reach far beyond transportation, translating into significant fuel savings, a smaller carbon footprint, and a practical way to achieve recommended levels of physical activity. These benefits have been quantified for the first time in a national study by RTC, "Active Transportation for America."
Active Transportation really is the missing piece in our transportation system, and offers us cleaner, healthier choices to get to the places where we live, work, shop, learn and play.
For a copy of the "Active Transportation for America" report, or information on how to get involved in the 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation, go to: http://www.railstotrails.org/2010Campaign. or contact Western Region Director Laura Cohen: (415) 814-1101 or (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We hope you'll join us in our continued support of RTC's efforts.
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National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation (NBPD)
The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project (www.bikepeddocumentation.org) is a nationwide effort to provide consistent pedestrian and bicycle data collection for use by planners, governments, and bicycle and pedestrian professionals. Alta Planning + Design initiated the program in 2005 and is now partnered with the ITE Pedestrian & Bicycle Committee, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Portland State University, Texas Transportation Institute, and other groups. To date, count and survey data has been collected at over 500 locations and from over 60 communities nationwide.
The past few months have been busy for NBPD. Staff presented the NBPD methodology at TRB, launched a new website in March, updated count and survey forms, and culled new findings from the data.
Through NBPD efforts around the country as part of the Federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Projects, California Seamless Travel, and other related efforts, important findings have been made. The findings include peak patterns and extrapolation factors that can be used to estimate annual activity.
Extensive analysis of count data has shown that the use of peak hours as the basic unit of measurement for bicycle and pedestrian activity is less useful than average daily and annual volumes. Bicycle and pedestrian volumes do not have the sharp, regular peaking pattern of vehicles. In fact, hourly volumes can fluctuate up to 70% between any series of days.
Despite the lack of an hourly peaking pattern, other patterns do occur. While more year-long automatic count data is needed from different parts of the country, and especially for pedestrians and on-street bicyclists, enough data now exists to allow us to extrapolate counts done almost any period on multi-use paths and pedestrian districts and develop an estimated an annual figure. The extrapolation factors are available on the NBPD website.
As NBPD moves forward it will have four basic primary applications:
- Safety - through exposure analysis
- Trip Generation - as part of impact analysis, land use and transport policy, ordinances, etc.
- Monitoring - identifying changes and trends in overall activity use
- Modeling - projecting existing/future activity, identifying the relationship between walking/bicycling and land use, multi-modal analysis, demographics, etc.
The next NBPD count and survey dates are May 12-14. A training presentation, count and survey forms, and instructions are available on the NBPD website. Please send any count or survey data to Jennifer Donlon.
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Dubai Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Plan
Alta is again working with the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), this time to develop a Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Action Plan. Dubai's rapid growth in recent years has resulted in significant traffic increases and rising pedestrian road deaths. In 2007, pedestrian fatalities accounted for over 40% of the municipality's traffic fatalities. While those numbers have decreased over the past year due to ongoing RTA safety efforts, the 3-year goal of the Action Plan is to reduce the pedestrian accident rate an additional 30% while increasing walking trips by 20%. Alta is leading an international team on the project that includes Hyder Consulting Middle East and the Swedish National Road Consultancy.
As part of the project's first phase outreach, Alta led a series of multi-lingual pedestrian intercept surveys at 25 sites across Dubai. Over 1,000 surveys were gathered, providing information on origins/destinations, trip purposes, perceived barriers and challenges to walking, and preferences for facility improvements. Additional outreach included pedestrian safety presentations given by Alta planners Joshua Poppel and Rory Renfro to employees of the Dubai Drydocks and students at a local university as part of a series of traffic education and encouragement programs for the Gulf Coast Countries (GCC) Traffic Safety Week.
Using information gathered from the outreach efforts, along with pedestrian collision and land use data, Alta is developing a GIS-based pedestrian demand model that will assist the team in identifying priorities for infrastructure improvements. The completed Action Plan will include a series of concept design plans for new footbridges and pedestrian crossings, modified intersection designs and streetscape improvements, as well as legislative and policy directives to ensure that the roadway network is safe and accessible for all pedestrians. The plan will be completed in late Summer 2009. For more information contact Alta Principal Brett Hondorp.
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Alta's Recent 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.
Bicycle Boulevard Planning & Design Guidebook and Workshop
For over a decade, Alta Planning and Design has been committed to making bicycling and walking convenient, comfortable, and fun transportation options in communities all around the world. In addition to helping communities develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans and effective encouragement programs, we also recognize the value of sharing our expertise on specialized non-motorized facilities with other professionals and active-transportation advocates.
For the past several months we have been coordinating with Portland State University's Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation to create a Bicycle Boulevard Planning & Design Guidebook and Professional Development Workshop. This guidebook and workshop will serve as a planning and design reference for urban and transportation planners, landscape architects, designers, engineers, advocates, and others involved with bikeway planning. Topics covered include route selection, design elements, stakeholder involvement, and maintenance.
The bicycle boulevard workshop will be held on May 14, 2009 at Portland State University. The workshop will be led by Alta Planning and Design Principal, Mia Birk and City Traffic Engineer for the Portland Bureau of Transportation Rob Burchfield, PE. In addition to in-class lecture and hands-on design activities that provide an understanding of bicycle boulevard fundamentals, participants will also enjoy an informative bicycle tour of bicycle boulevards and design features throughout Portland.
For more information about the professional workshop or to register (deadline May 7, 2009), visit: http://www.ibpi.usp.pdx.edu/bikeboulevard.php
Portland journalist Jeff Mapes recently published a book, Pedaling Revolution, following the rise of bicycling culture, facilities, and expertise in America. He includes a profile of Alta principal Mia Birk, and covers lessons from Portland (OR), San Francisco (CA), New York City, and Madison (WI). Mapes' well-written, engaging book is a how-to guide for cities who want to be bike friendly, a call to action, and a celebration of the many benefits of bicycling for cities and individuals. You'll all want to purchase a copy! http://www.amazon.com/Pedaling-Revolution-Cyclists-Changing-American/dp/0870714198
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|John Cock, Alta's Regional Manager|
based in North Carolina
We're excited to annouce our two newest offices in North Carolina and Boston. John Cock will be heading up our work in the Southeastern US as Alta's newest Regional Manager and Phil Goff joins our East Coast planning team. Return to top
To see our full Staff and Office directories, visit altaplanning.com.
Alta's Commitment to Sustainability
Alta Planning + Design is firmly committed to the development of a sustainable global community and planet. Our commitment is in fact our primary mission: providing infrastructure and programs to allow people to integrate bicycling and walking into daily life. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as a company and in our personal and professional lives. Our staff bicycled and walked more than 125,000 miles last year. Our cargo and folding bikes allow for even more non-auto trips even when we have to carry heavy loads or travel. In our offices we reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost to the extent possible. As part of our effort to promote sustainable communities, Alta donates up to 5% of profits to advocacy organizations who work to promote bicycling and walking.
Since early 2009 we've begun including our Sustainability Statement in every Alta plan, design guideline, and product. The eco-friendliness of our work isn't all up to us, though. Implementation and follow-through are up to the client and community. That's why we're also including a carbon emission reduction calculation with every product - reminding us that healthy active daily life isn't just good for people, it has an immense positive impact on our planet.
For more information about Alta's commitment to sustainability in our work, our offices, and our lifestyles visit altaplanning.com/sustainability.aspx
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