The Weekly Walk-Up : 2/26/2011

A summary of our recent "Feets Tweets" - for real-time updates, follow us on Twitter at @WPCWalksWe start this week's walk-up with a focus on proposed changes to transportation, currently being debated in Congress.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer recently met with local leaders to discuss proposed changes to national transportation funding. Of the bill and the surrounding process, Congressman Blumenauer said "[i]t's troubling on several levels ... it's a reality check."

On the national stage, Congressman Blumenauer openly criticized the bill, asking "why are my Republican friends advancing a transportation bill attacking Safe Routes to School, stripping it out, making it an unsafe route to school?"

For a more complete list of objections, we recommend Streetsblog's summary of Transportation for America (T4A)'s "Top Ten Reasons To Oppose the House Transportation Bill." Progress on the bill paused last week, as Congress is in recess until Monday, 2/27.

In other news...

Pedestrians in Aloha will soon see a new sidewalk on SW 173rd Ave, thanks in part to a community development block grant. The sidewalk should be completed around June 2013. A recent poll of Aloha residents revealed that lack of sidewalks is a central concern.

Gordon Price passes on the phenomena of "motion-induced blindness." Take a minute to examine the illusion, and note how speed changes your ability to see (or not).

What would a walkability look like, in terms of zoning code? Thoughts on how to resurrect the corner store, including examples from the District of Columbia, where planners have recommended changes in moderate- to low-density residential areas.

And, a history lesson - fans of Park(ing) Day, when metered parking spots are turned into temporary public parks, please tip your hat to Bonnie Ora Sherk, whose Portable Architecture installations gave San Francisco cause for pause in the 1970's.

Action for the week : get involved with the City of Portland's budget at an upcoming Community Budget Forum.

For more pedestrian news, stroll on over to Where the Sidewalk Starts for This Week on Foot.

In our thoughts and In Memoriam

James Alan Lum, 67, of Colorado Springs, was struck while crossing Commercial Street in Astoria on February 13th at about 10:30 am. Lum, who was visiting family in Astoria, was transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead.  A witness reports that Lum was in the crosswalk when hit by a truck driven by Arthur P. Clarke, 42, of Astoria.

Sharon Holmes, 47, was struck while crossing eastbound West Burnside in a crosswalk on February 14th. Holmes, who uses a wheelchair, "sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries" and was transported to OHSU. The driver, Susan Wong, was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Mary Telford, 58, was struck while crossing NE Division St on Feburary 8th. Telford, who uses a wheelchair, died after being transported to OHSU. The driver was not cited in the crash.

Washington County reported three crashes on the evening of February 20th involving pedestrians or cyclists: 

  • At about 4:30 pm, a woman crossing in a crosswalk (with a walk signal) was struck at the intersection of SW Scholls Ferry Rd and the Tualatin Valley Highway. The female pedestrian sustained non-life-threatening injuries; the driver was cited with failure to yield to a pedestrian. 
  • At about 5:45 pm, a cyclist was struck at the intersection of SW 145th and SW Blanton in Aloha. The cyclist, Natalya Tupikova, sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital by ambulance. The driver, Francisco Luna-Flores, left the scene and was later found and cited with failure to perform the duties of a driver (felony hit-and run). 
  • Shortly before 6:30 pm, a cyclist was hit by a car at the intersection of SW 85th and SW Pheasant Lane. Witnesses say the cyclist, Gordon Douglas, "suddenly turned left and rode into traffic." Douglas sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. The driver was not cited; deputies suspect alcohol use (by Douglas) may have been a factor in the crash.

Our thoughts are with the individuals and families involved in recent crashes as we continue to work towards communities where walking is a safe and accessible mode of transportation.

Questions / comments on our Walk-Ups? Contact Communications Intern Kristin Bott at kristin @ wpcwalks.org