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Posts from the Bicycles Category

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Biking around Hell’s Kitchen’s New Spaces with Charlie Todd

Last year while filming my NYC Family Cargo Bike documentary, one of the featured people I interviewed by chance was Charlie Todd from the NYC-cool Improv Everywhere group (You can see that most excellent Streetfilm here: https://youtu.be/fBK4RSZN1Do).

Over the last year I've seen him more often as I never realized he was a big bike advocate in his community. So I recently met up with him to go for a ride and warned him I would have my camera with me just in case he wanted to talk about the newest bike and pedestrian facilities going in on Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Hell's Kitchen. Well we ended up talking quite a bit about how the lanes work and how they have supplanted older facilities which didn't work for either mode.

Charlie is also now a member of Manhattan's Community Board 4!

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See The Dramatic Street Changes Happening in Hoboken & Jersey City (See the Vision Zero Cities Bike Tour)

At Transportation Alternatives' Vision Zero Cites Conference in October, some session attendees opted to see some of the transformative progress going on just over the Hudson River in the cities of Hoboken & Jersey City. The bike tour drew am overflow crowd and what they got to see were ample treatments & policies in both cities - a few of which you will see here.

In Hoboken, now into its 5th year of no traffic deaths of any kind (pedestrian, bike or motorist), conference riders got to see the significantly safe streets - much of which is attributable to the process of daylighting, not allowing car parking at the intersections of streets to make people more visible.

New Jersey State Law prohibits parking in or on a crosswalk, between a safety zone for pedestrians and adjacent to the curb or within 20 feet of the safety zone’s end. 25 feet from an intersection.

In Jersey City (which Streetfilms has paid many visits to) they have continued to roll out protected bike lanes continued at a great pace since 2019 using various types of protection for riders. That not only includes armadillos and jersey barriers but in some instances concrete barrels. Both cities are also using a type of green paint product called endurablend which provides cyclists with more friction and lasts longer than traditional paint.

Please enjoy the filmed tour which comes with Streetfilms exclusive, dramatic BEFORE footage showing how much the streets have changed in spots.

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NYC Needs a Central Harlem Bikeway on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd

On Saturday Transportation Alternatives held a bike rally asking for protected bike lanes for the residents of Harlem, the neighborhood with the least amount of protected bike lanes in all of Manhattan.

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Pittsburgh: The Steel Bicycling City

Recently, Streetfilms returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since 2014 just to see what is going on and any cool stuff that has happened since. Didn't really plan anything out, just met up with a few folks to ride and did a lot of rolling on POGOH e-bike share for majority of the days.

Saw a lot in the span of 60 hours (and also flipped over the handlebars on a bike thanks to a badly placed parking concrete curb, healing up) Here's a list of some of the cool things you'll see in this Streetfilm!

- Celebration of Bike PGH 20 Year Anniversary

- Pittsburgh's Bigelow Blvd Might Be the Most Complete Street in the USA

- POGOH Bike Share Relaunches with E-bikes, Stations do the recharging

- Montage: Riding Most of Pittsburgh Downtown Bridges

- Serpentine Drive....Now ONLY for Bikes & Peds!

- Pittsburgh's "Steps": 800 Public Staircases

- Won't You Be My Neighborway? (Cool Bicycle Routes Through Alleys & Low-Traffic Streets the Mister Rogers would love)

- Asphalt Mural in Friendship Calms Traffic at 5-Way Intersection

- Hazelwood Green: Planning Bike Infrastructure for the Future

 

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Paris vs NYC: What It’s Like to Bike

People have been visiting Paris for centuries for the food, the wine, the museums, the cheese and even the snails, but when New Yorkers head to the City of Light these days, all they see are the bike lanes.

That’s what a half-dozen envious Gothamites told Streetfilms upon their return from the French capital for his new movie, “Paris vs NYC: What It’s Like to Bike” Double-wide bike lanes! Contra-flow bike lanes! Bikes lanes on car-free streets! Bike lanes bike lanes bike lanes.

But when you see great bike lanes in Paris, you’re not just looking at good transport policy. You’re seeing the future. “They are building the city they want to see, not the city as it is now,” Kate Fillin-Yeh, a Harlem resident, told Clarence Eckerson in the viral video below. (Fillin-Yeh knows something about cities: She’s director of strategy at NACTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials.) But Fillin-Yeh is hardly alone in wishing New York would stop designing the city to accommodate existing road users — 75 percent of all space for car drivers, for example, rather than the majority of space for bus riders, pedestrians and cyclists — rather than the mode share the city claims it is trying to achieve for its non-car-using majority.

Also appearing in the film is like a Streetsblog Hall of Fame of talking heads: Mike Lydon of Street Plans, New Third Avenue advocate Paul Krikler, Queens bike advocate (and Queen of Twitter) CJ Wojtkowski, and, Streetsblog Editor Gersh Kuntzman. Check it out below, and share it with Mayor Adams. (This text reprinted from StreetsblogNYC)

 

 

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Paris Bike Ride with Stein van Oosteren

In my fifth Streetfilm from my Paris trip, I was honored to bike ride around with author and Uber-advocate Stein Van Oosteren to see some of Paris’ best bike lanes and hear some of the background on each.

It was quite an epic journey of three hours, finishing just before the temps crested 90 degrees. Please check it out and be in awe of their wide wide bike infrastructure, you will be glad you did. Keep in mind, this was during the height of the summer and a holiday week and many people informed me that the cycling numbers were likely 25% lower than typical since many Parisians had left town.

As for Stein, feel free to check out his book (currently only in French) “Porquoi Pas le Velo?” (Why not the Bicycle?). And here are two more links to find out more about him!

TED TALK:
https://www.ted.com/talks/stein_van_oosteren_replacer_les_velos_dans_la_ville
HIS BOOK:
https://dutchcycling.nl/knowledge/blogs-by-experts/a-book-to-persuade-why-not-the-bicycle/

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NYC’s Bike Lanes are too narrow, see how Paris widened the Rue de Rivoli

I just got back from Paris to bike around (many Streetfilms coming) and it is so much fun to ride on some of their newest super-wide bike lanes. The comfort level is amazing - none so much as the Rue de Rivoli which is now 2/3rds dedicated to the movement of all sorts of wheeled-devices including bicycles of course.

In NYC we have some bike lanes that are overcrowded (to be kind) and outright getting dangerous & scary to ride on (during rush hours). In the last year I conducted three bike counts over a 30 minute period which shows the number of bikes & other users to be nearly on par with the number of cars who have the majority of the roadway. See this article among many: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2021/03/31/cyclists-agonistes-new-video-shows-that-first-avenue-also-needs-wider-bike-lanes/

So this is my pitch to NYC's elected leaders and the administration, let's take a lesson from Paris where they have been doing much more to make bike riders more comfortable - which of course leads to more people riding, fewer crashes and a reduction in pollution (and ultimately less car ownership).

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Join Pari Roller as they Skate, Bike, Roll & Scoot the streets of Paris!

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Revisiting Bicycling in Minneapolis: One of USA’s Top Bicycling Cities

Minneapolis has not had one cyclist death in over 2 years!

It is certainly one of NYC's best cities to bike in and getting even better with commitment to on-street protected or sidewalk-level paths. It has also instituted a 20mph speed limit on all local roads, except where signed or controlled at the state level.

I got to take a wonderful 3-day trip (although one day it hit 100 degrees) and there were still so many people out. Of course this film does not look at what it is like to ride during the Winter (many of the people in this film said they do) but if you want to gauge that there are many other videos to choose from.

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Scott Ambinder Has Docked At All 1,674 Citi Bike Stations

Scott Ambinder's dedication to Citi Bike is impressive. For one, he has docked at least once at all 1,674 locations throughout NYC (and New Jersey's Hoboken & Jersey City!) He's a fountain of knowledge when it comes to where stations are and what the neighborhoods look like around them. And certainly an expert on how to use the app, score membership extensions and where to look to see when a new station activates in the network.

He was always an avid Citi Bike fanatic but in the Summer of 2020 - and already a top 1% user and with Covid raging throughout NYC - he looked at the new City Explorer Map launched by Citi Bike and started pondering whether he could eventually return his bike at each docking station. Soon after he began strategizing how to attack specific neighborhood grids to maximize the number of stations on daily jaunts. But he added another impressive wrinkle to his accomplishment: he never used mass transit to start or finish his journeys (except to cross the river to NJ to get across the Hudson.)

Scott is only one of three Citi Bike members to crest the 1,600+ mark.

Streetfilms followed him around for a few hours on two days to talk about his unique feat and enthusiasm for City Bike. (Editors Note: as you will discover in the film we met one weekend after Scott offered an incredibly kind gesture of help!)

Towards the end of the film, Scott answered Streetfilms fans questions submitted for him to answer.

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Kid Wheel Power: Barcelona Bici Bus is Magic!

Last month I had a chance encounter with Rosa Suriñach on the United Nations Bike Ride (link here: https://youtu.be/sEMlTQZqO0k) when we both realized we were winners of the 2022 World Bicycle Day recognition.

We got to talking while riding and I learned she was heavily involved in Barcelona's Bicibús Eixample (Bikebus) which I had seen so many cool Tweeted videos of in the past year. So at the end of the ride I was able to pull her aside and grab a really quick interview about the general idea. (some competition with noise and traffic, but still perfectly useable)

She and some contributors were able to get me some wonderful footage and stellar photos to tell the story. Combined with previous footage I shot in Barcelona in 2018 it makes for a really nice short showing the power of children and their families which are staging a mini-revolution in the streets of Barcelona and encouraging cities worldwide to follow them.

StreetFilms
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Check out the newest 2022 Citi Bike E-bikes (Exclusive kickoff ride with Streetfilms)

When friends heard the release of the new Citi Bike e-bikes into the wild was imminent, many wanted to me give them a review ASAP. Little did I know I would get invited to the first public unveiling where we had a huge geek out over and getting to ride with Citi Bike staff and members of the NYCHA riders program. As you will see we had a great time!

The new bikes feature a different color scheme. But they go farther (now nearly 60 miles on a charge), they accelerate faster, they have new cool safety lighting schemes, the seat is so easily adjustable that your wrists will want to kiss the stem, it has an actual battery-life indicator right on the screen and plenty of other fun features!

So take a look at our sort of exclusive video of the Queens kickoff ride (Streetfilms was the only camera crew at the launch!) One thing I have to mention is that I have covered a lot of group rides. I arrived via my large and heavy Workcycle and the new Citi Bike e-bikes get you so quickly up to speed that I had a very hard time keeping up with the riders to get my footage. But as you'll see I got to use one at the end.

 

 

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UN NYC Bike Tour

Some of NYC's biggest cycling heavyweights showed up for a ride with the United Nations to help support the goal to advocate for cycling as a priority transportation mode and essential service for achieving the mobility goals of the New Urban Agenda ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

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Announcing the 2022 World Bicycle Day Award for Streetfilms!

Announcing very exciting news as Clarence Eckerson, Jr. the director & producer of over 1,000 videos for Streetfilms over the past 17 years, has been selected by the United Nations as a Lifetime Achievement recipient of the World Bicycle Day awards for 2022 on June 3rd.

Spanning a career of nearly 25 years, Mr. Eckerson has been making films by bike in New York City since the late 1990s and for the majority of that time covering the advocacy movement for biking nationally and worldwide while director for Streetfilms. Prior to working in his current role (which began in 2005) he's also done ample documentation and coverage during his volunteerism thru Transportation Alternatives and for the cable-access show bikeTV for six years.

The Class of 2022 includes over two dozen recipients from all six inhabited continents and over 15 countries. Included in the eclectic list is the Nepal Cycle Society, Maud de Vries of The Netherlands, Ugandan urban planner Amanda Ngabirano and the London Ambulance Service's Cycle Response Unit!

Unfortunately, due to Covid protocols the United Nations is not holding their usual ceremony and presentation in-person. However, each honoree was shipped their award and told to take promotional photos to announce their achievements. But since Streetfilms' specialty is making movies, Leszek Sibilski from the United Nations granted his blessing for us to make this very short acceptance in one of the most people-friendly places in New York City: Queens' 34th Ave open street which demonstrates how much safer bicycling and public space is becoming in New York. Clarence would like to thank the United Nations, his family, all of his co-workers from over the years and the wonderfully diverse Class of 2022 for inspiring him to keep documenting the worldwide movement!

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Washington, DC: A Biking Streetfilms Adventure!

At the end of March, The League of American Bicyclists tried out a hybrid style Bike Summit 2022 due to the pandemic's still uncertain effect on daily life. I liked that some of it was on-line and a good deal of it I could do outdoors. So I sojourned to Washington, D.C. to attend and also see what has happened with infrastructure one of the better biking cities in the nation during Covid.

Truth is D.C. is doing a lot! I enjoyed quite a few solid, protected lanes that are new in the past two years and a bridge (Frederick Douglass) that while still not fully finished is already opened to the public for those on foot, bike and scooters with a 20-foot wide path (and on the other side another path will open later this year.) I believe that it could be a record for a multi-use path in terms of width since the two sides will equal 40-feet combined!!

D.C. has a lot of cool stuff going on. One thing I really like is that when they decide to build protected bike lanes they utilize many barriers and strategies and they work extremely well. You will see many styles sprinkled in amongst the footage as we got to talk to Citifi's Gabe Klein (who is a previous head of DC DOT), DC Cycling Concierge's Jeff Miller and Fionnuala Quinn the Director of the wonderful Discover Traffic Gardens who guide us on our fun journey to see a lot in just 48 hours.

One drawback was the weather. I had planned an even far more extensive film but with brutally cold temperatures (there was a windchill of low 20s for our Cherry Blossom ride on Monday morning) some precipitation and frequent 30+ mph wind gusts it made filming a real chore the entire a trip with frozen fingers. So a small apology for being able to hear the wind quite a bit at times. The usual temps in DC are 60 degrees at this time.