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A New Vision for the Upper West Side

Supporters of a greener, safer and more livable Upper West Side were joined by elected officials, renowned urban planner Jan Gehl and P.S. 87 students in the Livable Streets Education program, to celebrate the launch of the "Blueprint for the Upper West Side: A Roadmap for Truly Livable Streets," at P.S. 87 on Thursday. Check out The Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign on Livable Streets to learn more about the plan and how you can take action to make changes in your neighborhood.

 

[intro music] 

Lily Bernheimer:  [00:00] We’re here tonight at PS 87 on the Upper West side for the release of the Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Blueprint. 

Peter Goldwasser:  [00:12] The process actually began about a year ago when the Upper West Side Renaissance had its launch, and then over the last year, throughout the summer we had… community design workshops, we had movie nights, discussions, surveys, online activity  And so it was sort of a year long process listening to what the community wanted for their streets, what type of improvements, what type of new bike lanes, etc. look better, pedestrian access and crossings.  And so we listened to everybody, and then we were fortunate to be able to work with some professional urban designers and they put together the Blueprint, which we released today.   

Peter Frishauf:  [00:47] I think the bike boulevard, the separated bike lane, certainly the bulb outs at intersections to make it easier for pedestrians, these are all commonsense design features that any city can emulate and it’ll make things really better for everybody.   

Speaker:  [01:02] One thing I just noticed that I just love is this bike parking on every block, which just makes my heart sing.   

Mark Gorton:  [01:10] The time is really right now to get change going.  And the way we do that is to have people start requesting it in very local ways.  People, individual block associations, groups of neighbours, start asking for change on their specific streets.   

Helen Rosenthal:  [01:27] And so the most recent issue was having a bike lane on 106th Street and we approved it, and it opened and there was a wonderful opening party there, where even a community group that had originally objected to the idea, embraced it and hosted a party.  So we were very, very excited to be a part of that process and we look forward to many more interesting and new ideas.   

Gale Brewer:  [01:51] The other exciting thing about this Blueprint is that we all participated.  I went to many of your conversations where people sat down and said, okay, if you have a lane, you need the garbage to be picked up, you need the delivery, we need bicycle access, we need to think of how the sidewalk and the streets can work together.   

Jan Gehl:  [02:14] Of course what has happened in New York has been that all this wideness of the streets has been used to one single purpose, that is to have as many cars as possible race up and down as many streets as possible. 

Mark Gorton:  [02:31] And the fact is drivers take disproportionately a large amount of resource.  Quite simply, it’s impossible, I mean every single person that parks on the street, they’re taking up about ten times as much space as the average person is entitled to.   

Kim Wiley-Schwartz:  [02:47] We’re using the ideas that you see in the Blueprint and we’re sort of making them age appropriate for kids and helping them to realise ways that they could affect portions of the Blueprint around their school.  I’ve been working at PS 87, working with kids, kindergarten to fifth grade, trying to teach them about how to change the streets around their schools.  And we work very closely with the classroom teacher, meeting his or her goals for their students, whether those are science goals, social science goals, literacy goals, math goals.  And so we take ideas from the classroom and we put them on the streets so kids get real examples of the things that they’re studying.   

Speaker:  [03:26] Cars drive too fast around our school.  Maybe if grownups work together then we can make the streets safer and more liveable for children, but the work can be [unintelligible 03:40], please change our streets. 

[music] 

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Robin Urban Smith is a multimedia storyteller who prefers to go by bike.

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  • Aylton Coelho

    Its very important to know, the plane of New York user of bicycling. We need more portection with bike line, for more secturit in rides with bicycling.

    Congratulation for inciative.