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Posts from the Pedestrians 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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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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School Streets: Making our Streets Safer for Children

Just look around the world with the massive school streets movements in London, Paris and Barcelona, and it is easy to see that making the arrival environment outside safer for students to walk and bike is a popular idea.

Whether it is fully reconstructed streets with new curbs and sidewalks that physically prevent cars or open streets adjacent to the school or even just temporary closures for a few hours in am/pm during pick up and drop offs cities around the world are attempting strategies to calm traffic and create better uses for their streets then just throughways for cars. Even in NYC where the number of crashes and deaths near schools are much higher than other times when school is not in session, thanks to open streets we are seeing some promising projects near schools.

 

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SCHOOL STREETS: Safe Space for Kids to Thrive (Teaser, short version)

Just look around the world with the massive school streets movements in London, Paris and Barcelona, and it is easy to see that making the arrival environment outside safer for students to walk and bike is a popular idea.

Whether it is fully reconstructed streets with new curbs and sidewalks that physically prevent cars or open streets adjacent to the school or even just temporary closures for a few hours in am/pm during pick up and drop offs cities around the world are attempting strategies to calm traffic and create better uses for their streets then just throughways for cars.

Even in NYC where the number of crashes and deaths near schools are much higher than other times when school is not in session, thanks to open streets we are seeing some promising projects near schools. In this "School Streets" Streetfilm we take a look at a few of those and the push by neighborhoods to make this happen, including the many schools that run along the now legendary 34th Avenue open street in Queens.

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The Peaceful Pedestrian Plazas of Paris: Lessons for Your City

Continuing our Streetfilms series of looking at Paris, we already present our 3rd (of a half dozen expected) video short.

While in Paris, Streetfilms met up with Open Plans Founder, Mark Gorton, and recorded this impromptu look at the pedestrianized/low traffic streets of Paris after walking for nearly a half hour continuously and only seeing a handful of vehicles.

Mark gives us his evaluations and observations on how so much better the city has become by implementing policies that favor all forms of transportation and modality versus accommodating the car everywhere for every trip and allowing it to dominate the landscape.

And as a reminder: Paris plans to repurpose 50% of its current car parking bays by 2026 for alternate uses.

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London’s School Streets up close!

Sam Balto (or "Coach Balto" as he is known since he is a PE teacher in Portland, OR) is a very active member of the Twitterverse worldwide gaggle of advocates for safer & better streets.

He recently took a trip to London and shot quite a bit of photos & video clips of what their School Streets program feels like (an amazing 350 schools activated in just one year!) When he sent over a few clips I told him to send them all and record some dialogue of what he saw with his own eyes. His "special guest correspondent" label is something I hope to encourage others to do since travel is still not as easy in the age of Covid.

Check it out!

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A.U.T.O. Lobbyist Veronica Moss Visits Times Square (2022 Re-Mix)

After this winter FINALLY unearthing this raw footage I have been searching everywhere for the better part of ten years, I've finally been able to see all of the hilarious stuff left on the cutting room when Kate McKinnon played the fictional A.U.T.O. lobbyist Veronica Moss being overwhelmed visiting Times Square's new pedestrian plazas in this fun parody. It was so much fun filming it.

This certainly doesn't vary in tone and form compared to the original, but the bulk of the content in this new re-edit is an alternate take or brand new footage - mostly all improved by the great Kate McKinnon who has been the funniest performer on the SNL cast from the past ten years!

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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Visits 34th Avenue Open Street

Huge news! Both NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NYC DOT Commissioner visited the NYC Open Street on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens as guests of newly-elected councilman Shekar Krishnan (25th District) to tour just how much the street is appreciated by the local community and neighbors.

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Spend Saturdays in October at “Little Prince Plaza”

A new temporary (Saturdays in October) plaza in SoHo is called "LIttle Prince Plaza"

This stat just says it all:

Cars
Last known vehicular count: 4,639 a day (2019)

Little Prince Plaza 2pm - 5pm
Bike: 398 people cycling
Ped: 8,916 people walking

 

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Clarence in Streetfilms 2000-2021 (Montage)

So following my 1,000th Streetfilm I put together a quick montage sample of all the Streetfilms/bikeTV to prepare for some media. I will be joining John Simmerman for his 100th podcast interview and it just seemed the time to let people see what I have been doing over the years.

Just so you know this is only a sample montage. I am sure I have missed some of my best appearances, but this at least gives a look into my work - sometimes skinnier, sometimes younger - but fun to check out my metamorphosis and the places I have been!

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Montreal’s Popular Pedestrian Open Streets

No wonder they call it the Great White North.

Last month, I journeyed to Montréal, a city I have visited many times in the last three decades, to see how much progress it has made in reining in the car culture, creating more livable communities, encouraging cycling, making roadways safer and, most important, bringing back freedom to inhabitants long oppressed by car drivers.

The changes are amazing — and they are the subject of two new Streetfilms, my 1,000th and 1,001st of my career. The first one is about open streets. The other is about cycling. Both will make New Yorkers drool … or book tickets.

Of course, Montréal has fewer open streets than New York City does, but the open streets in the Paris of North America are much better. Montréal’s 13 open streets are much longer and operate almost entirely car-free — car-free, meaning no parking, either! — 24 hours a day, all summer long.

“It’s about making the city accessible for everyone,” Montréal’s mayor Valérie Plante told me. “There has to be more room for cyclists and pedestrians, and arts and parklets.”

On Montréal’s open streets, you don’t just see people walking or biking as you see in New York, but also art installations, benches, bioswales, swings (with cupholders!), play areas for kids and bollards to keep out the cars.

Bollards to keep out the cars.

“It just brings so much joy and fun and, of course, safe spaces for our kids,” Plante added.

And local business owners confirm that pedestrianized zones bring in more money for struggling merchants.

A 1.5-mile stretch of Mont Royal Avenue is fully pedestrianized, including some side streets. That’s about the same length as New York’s best open street — 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights — but in New York, the open street is still filled with parked cars and only open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., limiting what residents can do, how many can do it and how long they can do it for. There’s a movement to make the open street permanent and 24 hours — a position supported by incoming mayor Eric Adams — but opponents in the neighborhood want the open street reduced or even eliminated.

Montréal proves that the real solution should be to double-down on open streets. Barricades keep the cars out — and don’t require a massive volunteer effort. And instead of dismissing older adults’ worries about getting around, the city provides transportation (via pedicabs) for them.

One final note for all us nerds: Make sure you check out the appearance of former Streetsblog contributor Steven Miller in the Montreal open streets vid

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Why Does Montreal Have So Many Beautiful Curb Extensions?

When I visited Montreal last week, I knew I was gonna produce Streetfilms on bicycling and the hugely wonderful pedestrianized streets program.

However, I always have been fascinated the ample and omnipresent curb extensions, neckdowns, gateways (whatever you want to call them) just about everywhere, especially in the neighborhoods. Thankfully, in the middle of filming I asked the CEO of Velo Quebec JR Rheault and he knew the answer how Montreal got so many (and continues to build them!)

Curb extensions/bulb outs/gateways/neckdowns
are vital for a number of reasons:

- They slow down cars
- Allow for better visibility of peds/bikes
- Space to make streets green/water management
- They are really pretty

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Experience the Gov. Mario Cuomo/Tappan Zee Bridge Path

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NYC Restaurants Need Open Streets NOW

StreetFilms latest release is "NYC Restaurants Need Open Streets NOW". Produced and hosted by Henry Rinehart.

Open Streets NOW takes us on a bike ride around NYC to hear from some of the city’s finest restaurateurs and chefs about how open streets meet the needs of an industry in crisis.
Henry Rinehart on Open Streets for Restaurants

“My people and I are hurting. My city is hurting. Our leaders are not creating the safety and certainty that our lives, and our jobs require.“

“When the weather changes, after 100 days of solitude, we are all going to be desperate to be together, but to be safe. All we know now is that safety requires space. There is available public space in front of every door. Restaurant people are planners and doers. We do not sit alone in silence well. Give restaurants access to open streets and they will bring us all hope and sustenance.”