Correction to This Article
The column listed an incorrect phone number for TransportAzumah. The number is 718-233-2550.

Coming and Going: Pedestrian-unfriendly cities, a new bus line and more

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Don't walk this way

According to a new study from transportation experts, all cities are not made for walking. In fact, many popular tourist destinations are outright hazardous to pedestrians.

"Dangerous by Design," released last week by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America, is based on 2007-08 statistics (some not so pretty) culled from 52 U.S. cities with populations of at least 1 million. Mickey had better look both ways, because Orlando nabbed the top spot as the most dangerous city for pedestrians, with 2.9 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents. "Disney itself sells a Main Street product," said James Corless, director of Transportation of America, "yet it's stuck in the middle of a sea of sprawling development."

Florida also took Nos. 2-4, with Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, while Memphis rounded out the top five. "These are fast-growing places where the engineers forgot about walkability," Corless said. "They've engineered walking out of our daily lives."

So where's a walker to go?

The study points to places dedicated to pedestrian and biker safety, such as Providence, R.I., which ranks highest for federal spending on pedi/wheelie care ($4.01 per person per year compared with $1.19 for the Washington area). Corless also highlighted cities such as Oakland, Calif., and St. Petersburg, Fla., that are making a conscious effort to build sidewalks, construct bike paths and provide other non-motorized amenities. Also on his list: San Francisco (No. 40 on the most-dangerous list), which "was built when walking was king," Seattle (No. 48), New York (No. 50), the Twin Cities (rock-bottom last) and Boston (No. 51), "despite its reputation of bad drivers." (The Washington metro area ranks No. 32.)

And don't forget "second-tier" cities, he reminded us, such as Santa Barbara, Calif., Naples, Fla., and his own personal favorite, Missoula, Mont. "Walking is a really great way to see and discover a place," he said by phone, while navigating an inhospitable stretch of Largo, Md. "If you're looking for a parking space all the time, your trip is pretty much planned."

To see the report: http://www.t4america.org.

More buses!

The highway can be a lonely place for bus riders traveling between Washington and Philadelphia, Boston or Wilmington, Del. -- in other words, cities that aren't New York and don't attract the droves of low-cost mules. But TransportAzumah hopes to fill the gap with new service starting later this month.

"All of the bus companies pile on the same line, D.C. to New York, New York to D.C.," said president Joel Azumah, who is based in New York. "We want to go to cities that are underserved."

The company will offer four or five round trips per day (depending on the day of the week) from Washington to Wilmington; two daily RTs to Boston, plus an extra one Monday through Thursday; and a whopping 16 RTs Friday through Sunday to Philly. One-way tickets cost $20 to Philly and Wilmington, and $40 to Boston, a direct route but for a bathroom/coffee/leg-stretching break. In addition, three seats per bus sell for $2 (enter code CRAZYFARES), and 10 seats are discounted by 10 or 15 percent (use code EARLYBIRD).

Buses pick up at Union Station and drop off at central locations near train stations. Service to Boston and Philly starts Friday; to Wilmington, Nov. 24. Book online or by phone: 718-223-2550, http://www.transportazumah.com.

Travel tickers

Expedia has eliminated the $20 per transaction service charge on reservations made by phone for flights, packages and cruises. Hotel bookings still exact a small service fee that varies according to the property. There is no additional charge for online reservations, regardless of trip components. . . . For seven days beginning on Nov. 24, passengers on more than 300 Delta domestic flights can access GoGo's inflight Internet for free, thanks to an eBay promotion. Ask for the promotional code at the gate or onboard. . . . Through Jan. 15, Google is offering free WiFi in 47 U.S. airports and on all Virgin America flights. . . . For a limited time, travelers can find a bit of personal space in the busiest U.S. airports with 3M Privacy Filters' Airport Privacy Havens. The temporary sanctuaries have been installed at Chicago's O'Hare (Terminal 2, near entrance to concourses E and F; through Nov. 30); Dallas-Fort Worth (Terminal C near gates 2 and 3; through Nov. 30) and New York's JFK (Terminal 8 near American Airlines' Admiral Club; until Dec. 7). The spaces (one per airport) feature private seating and outlets. In addition, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and 28-29, visitors receive free massages and gratis WiFi. Info: http://www.airportprivacyhavens.com.

Reporting: Andrea Sachs. Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to: cogo@washpost.com. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company


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