In New York City, every Sunday in December you can ride vintage trains between 2nd Avenue and Queens Plaza in Queens. It's a rare treat and wonderful MTA tribute to a bygone era. It's a unique experience to be amongst train nuts & transit aficionados riding the rails aboard 1930s subway cars, which is way back about the time King Kong was wreaking havoc atop the Empire State Building!
You'll experience padded seats, ceiling fans, and dozens of now-hilarious advertorials from the time period. We found the funnest moments were seeing the reaction of everyday straphangers and tourists as the old trains pulled into each stations. You could see the look on their faces, "Did I just enter a time warp?"
Here are a few photos of the first Sunday, you should definitely put it on your calendar if you live in NYC.
Mega-wowsers! Today out in Corona Plaza there was a big press event to announce an $800,000 donation from JPMorgan Chase Foundation to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership which goes to help fund the upkeep of ped plazas in low-income neighborhoods. Streetsblog has the full story, so I am not gonna re-hash the important bits, I'm just gonna post some nice photos for you to soak in.
That fun video clip above of kids jumping up and down was a spontaneous celebration. I love this plaza. If you haven't seen my original video from last year's opening days, I am requiring you to watch it - so click here.
The answer to that question should be zero. But in NYC and many other cities we allow drivers to do whatever they like with very few consequences. And as we have seen far too many times in just the past few weeks, if a driver mounts a sidewalk and runs over and maims or kills, there's a chance they wont even be issued a summons.
Thankfully people are getting mad. On Tuesday, a march was held in Queens by a group called Three Children Too Many. And the parents of 3 year old Allison Liao spoke in what can only be described as an emotional, brave and intelligent speech that should be seen by every person who gets in a car. Please watch below and share with everyone you know. Hopefully it can make a difference.
Since we have over 500 Streetfilms, invariably there are some I thought deserved far more viewers then they ultimately got. And some of these I really enjoyed working on or believed are important to see. Since I was recently asked which of my Streetfilms I wished had gotten more play, I decided to look over the past 7 years and pick out the Top Five that deserved to be seen some more. If you are new, you should check them all out.
1. Via RecreActiva: A Transformative Ciclovia for Guadalajara (Jan 2012): This is the one I always cite as one I thought was gonna rack up mega views and never did. In fact it only got about 2K in its first few months. I was stunned. Perhaps by the time we debuted it, people already knew enough about Ciclovias and just didn't need another. This is one of the most magical open streets events in the world and the energy should be experienced.
2. Queens’ Corona Plaza: A Community Place Rises (August 2012): Maybe it's because this plaza is so near and dear to my heart only a few miles away from my home in Jackson Heights. But the wonderful people who have helped make this plaza happen against many odds deserve a lot of credit. It looks different from the plazas you'll find in Times Square and all over Manhattan. You should watch. Now.
3. GOP Mayor Greg Ballard: Making Bicycling a Priority in Indianapolis (June 2013): This mayor is a huge believer in cycling. I see his personal tweets talking about it constantly. He has toured the country talking about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (that video DID perform amazingly). But Mayor Ballard is also a Republican. We need more in his party to talk like he does about transportation. This quick profile on him has been amazingly under viewed.
Above is a Streetfilms Shortie showing that Portland, OR is now up to an astounding 100 bike corrals, far more than any other U.S. city has installed. And they can't keep up with demand!! It's so nice that they aren't anything unusual anymore, in fact they are expected and welcome by businesses.
I got to spend a few days at the Railvolution 2013 conference in Seattle. This year they hit a record 1200+ attendees. My solo Streetfilms University session on Monday was a huge hit as we had over 100 people pack a room to hear how you can make your own transporatkltion films in 90 minutes. I'm hoping to do this again in 2014 for even more captive audiences at the Bike Summit in DC in March and ProWalkProBike (ProPlace) in Pittsburgh in Septemeber. Mark your calendars now. And if you want some instant tips, here is an older, abbreviated version of my presentation to watch right now.
I didn’t get to make any full Streetfilms there, but got to poke around Seattle a bit and saw two of the more innovative street designs currently in production.
A portion of the new Broadway cycle track opened while I was there. Design wise it is interesting since just about every block looks different then the pervious one. Check out the snippets of video and photos I took above (again, note that some of this is under construction). There were bviously many challenges on this corridor with driveway access, bus stops, and – in parts – the University Link light rail, which is being tunneled as we speak.