Aug 9

Find us at Walk/Bike/Places 2018!

Alta Planning + Design is excited to return to Walk/Bike/Places, hosted by the Project for Public Spaces this year in New Orleans from September 16-19. Walk/Bike/Places is the premier conference in North America for walking, bicycling, and placemaking professionals from the public and private sectors. Alta staff will present at numerous sessions to discuss multimodal planning trends and issues including new mobility, safe routes to school, and new research into ways to change transportation behavior. Find us at our conference booth, and see you at the sessions below!

Session Information

Mobility for all! But How?

Monday, September 17 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM

As the use of ride-hailing, car sharing, bike sharing, and other forms of tech-based “new mobility” increases, what is the impact to equity in transportation access? With a particular focus on transit ridership and access to transit, this session will explore current trends at the intersection of transportation and technology and their impacts on disproportionately burdened communities.

Presented by: Ryan Johnson, LCI, Planning Associate

Ethics, Power, and Agency

Tuesday, September 18 | 8:30 – 11:30 AM

We are advocates, civil servants and taxpayers. We understand what a healthy and sustainable transportation system looks like. We understand that such a system brings opportunity and prosperity to more people. So what are our ethical and professional obligations when confronted by unsafe design, irresponsible land use, and wasteful car-oriented projects? Is it time for our profession’s midlife crisis?

Presented by: Jessica Roberts, Principal, Programs Manager

Short Stories in Data: Cycling Pilot Projects in Three Ontario Cities

Tuesday, September 18 | 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Burlington is transitioning from a suburban to an urban community. In order to grow “up” successfully, the City must become walk- and bike-friendly. While its policies reflect this, what about implementation? A 2016 pilot project for a painted buffered bike lane was a first attempt to move beyond the single painted line. Data was collected and the pilot was removed. Now the City is moving forward with a new cycling plan. Kate Whitfield from Alta Planning + Design will present the data story from the past and the new plan as a city with a low cycling modal share ponders its future.

Presented by: Kate Whitfield, P.Eng., MCIP, RPP, Senior Associate Engineer/Planner

Trails and Trains Together: Emerging Trends and Effective Practices for Rail-with-Trail Planning

Tuesday, September 18 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM

Rails-with-trails (RWTs) – shared-use paths alongside or within active railroad corridors – are being developed in communities across the U.S. A new national study commissioned by USDOT, to be released at the end of 2018, takes a comprehensive look at the growing trend of collocating trails and active rail and provides a collection of data, examples and practical tools to assist trail planners and advocates further rail-with-trail development.

Led by the Volpe Transportation Center, with support from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the study draws from dozens of interviews with trail managers, railroads, state agencies and other stakeholders to present successful acquisition strategies, design solutions, and practical tools that have helped propel RWT planning and increase the development of these facilities in nearly every state. By drawing lessons from the report and further exploring characteristics of more than 300 RWTs, this session demonstrates how communities can take full advantage of corridors to facilitate both rail and active transportation. Additionally, a case study of the Met Branch Trail in Washington, D.C. delves into the challenges inherent to RWT projects and presents strategies for effective trail design and collaboration with multiple types of railroads (Class I, regional commuter, transit agency).

Presented by: Heather Deutsch, Senior Planning Associate

Achieving Sustainability with Active Transportation Mode Shift: Livermore, CA

Tuesday, September 18 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM

The City of Livermore utilized a data and community driven process to develop plans for a complete bicycle, pedestrian, and trail network to achieve mode shift and reduce reliance on the automobile in a car culture suburban community. This presentation will describe the planning process, development of shared goals based on challenges, and the phased implementation approach to create an attractive, safe, and connected network, increasing walking and biking. The panelists will share lessons learned bringing together individuals with different objectives to discuss bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian issues and agree on design solutions.

Level of traffic stress analysis highlighted areas for improvements and the level of mode separation to create a comfortable network. The team engaged diverse stakeholders, including non-bike/pedestrian advocates with pop up gatherings, a biking and walking tour to discuss solutions on site together, and web based engagement tools. This involved tough conversations about what is most important in the community’s shared roadways and considerations for roadway rebalancing in order to make room for multiple modes and users. The team worked with City engineers and maintenance staff to ensure the proposed projects work for Livermore and can be seamlessly integrated into the asset management program. All recommendations were evaluated for community benefits and readiness to determine implementation phasing. The result is a 20-year community supported active transportation network to encourage walking, biking and riding, by improving safety and connectivity.

Presented by: Lisa Beyer, PLA, ASLA, Senior Design Associate

Using a Rapid-Planning Process to Build Stakeholder Engagement around Safe Routes to School

Tuesday, September 18 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM

Minnesota has a long history of developing Safe Routes to School (SRTS) initiatives across the state. Federal funds were first allocated to SRTS initiatives in Minnesota starting in 2005. Since 2012, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has been directly involved with supporting SRTS programs across the state.
Beginning in 2012, MnDOT began working with Alta Planning + Design to provide technical planning assistance to communities. Alta and MnDOT have been developing a charrette-style “rapid planning” process to create the plans for each of the communities that is awarded funding.

This session examines the techniques that are used to create a strong, collaborative team to effectively develop Safe Routes to School (SRTS) recommendations across all 6 E’s and use a focused, intensive charrette-style “rapid planning” process to efficiently develop recommendations with the buy-in needed from multiple SRTS team members. Key techniques include how to identify a broad, diverse set of local stakeholders required to augment the planning effort and carry the plan into implementation. Additionally, inviting direct student engagement in this SRTS planning process leads to a more complete knowledge of the existing conditions that cannot otherwise be ascertained through traditional stakeholder outreach. Involving students in SRTS planning also empowers children to be engaged with adults in real-world problem-solving around an issue that directly affects their daily lives.
Starting this year, MnDOT is proposing an SRTS “demonstration project” toolkit to provide to communities to begin early implementation and carry momentum for implementation of future SRTS projects.

Presented by: Colin Harris, PE, LEED AP, Senior Engineering Associate

Steal this Science!

Wednesday, September 19 | 1:30 – 2:30 PM

New findings in behavioral science could unlock new, more effective ways to change transportation behavior…but only if we find a way to find and use that evidence. TransLink (Vancouver BC) undertook a groundbreaking research effort to use cognitive biases to explain why people drive today, and and to identify possible “nudge” strategies to shift those trips to transit and active modes. The resulting report includes brand-new ideas that area ready to be tested by practitioners. Join us to learn about the project’s method and findings – we hope you will steal our ideas and come back in future years to tell us how it went!

Presented by: Jessica Roberts, Principal, Programs Manager

Helping the Grass(roots) Grow: Regional Approaches to School Commute Trip Reduction

Wednesday, September 19 | 3:00 – 4:00 PM

How can a regional government support and deepen local involvement in Safe Routes to School efforts? Hear about how the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland Oregon, and Seattle Washington have each approached coordination and technical assistance to support city, district, or school-based programming.

The Bay Area Metro, in partnership with the Air District, convened the Spare the Air Youth program in 2011 to bring SRTS partners together and host an annual high school conference. In the Portland region, Metro’s 2018 Regional Travel Options Strategy outlines a funding strategy for supporting local SRTS programs and providing technical assistance for emerging communities. Seattle area’s King County Metro has developed a SRTS Toolkit of resources and is providing direct marketing and outreach assistance to help cities promote SchoolPool. All three communities have sought ways of including and lifting up underserved communities to enable and encourage all families to walk and bike to school.

Presented by: Hannah Day-Kapell, Senior Planning Associate

The Impact of Greenways in the Triangle: How the East Coast Greenway Benefits the Health and Economy of North Carolina’s Triangle Region

Wednesday, September 19 | 3:00 – 4:00 PM

North Carolina’s Triangle Region is the most complete metro area along the entire East Coast Greenway, a 3,000 mile biking and walking route connecting communities from Maine to Florida. The East Coast Greenway in the Triangle connects communities in four counties, serving as a nearly 70-mile trail spine that links to many other trail systems throughout the region. It provides residents and visitors a safe and healthy way to explore parks, downtowns, college campuses, museums, shopping, and restaurants. It also serves as an active transportation corridor, getting people to work and to transit connections from their own neighborhoods. With the trail nearly completely connected, residents of the Triangle are already experiencing improvements in their quality of life, including many health, environmental, economic, and transportation related benefits. In total, it is estimated that this section of the East Coast Greenway generates $90.3 million in benefits annually.

This presentation will provide an overview of the development of one of the largest regional greenway networks in the country and an analysis of the estimated quantified benefits resulting from implementation of the East Coast Greenway in the region. Lastly, the presentation will provide key lessons for measuring return on investment and using data to advocate and leverage support of greenway development in communities.

Presented by: Jennifer Baldwin, Senior Planning Associate