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Make your own “Bike Counts” Video and Change Your Streets!

A few weeks ago, I published two eye-opening videos I shot on a pair of Manhattan's Avenues with protected bike lanes (one at the 1st Ave & Queensboro Bridge entrance, the other used multiple intersections on 2nd Ave). The purpose was to show how much of a bike boom the city is already experiencing and I counted the number of cars vs bikes. Many people have tweeted, emailed and asked, "How can I do that too?" not only here in New York City but also all over the country.

I thought the exchange below was funny.

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Luckily it's really pretty simple if you have something to record with, a tripod and a few hours of time. The first thing you'll want to do is identify a place thick with bike use and pick a good time to tape. It's not shocking to predict rush hour weekdays are good. It is important to pick a spot where you can capture all you want (if you want cars, buses, pedestrians too, etc. you need to get as much of roadway as you can). Also: if comfort is important to you, think about that. I sat on sidewalks and still recuperating from a torn meniscus and that wasn't exactly delightful.

The best case scenario is to tape your intersection from a few floors up - like from a parking garage, a roof or a public place. But that requires some advance planning and luck. It also would help far more when tallying your end totals.

I chose to record standard speed rather than tape in a time-lapse mode or using an interval, Why?  I wanted to have the full video in case I wanted to use segments in other future Streetfilms and in case anti-bike nimrods accused me of manipulating the numbers. Plus, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss any cars or riders. And since you'll be counting later, it's easier to scrub thru your footage if you want to fast forward thru breaks with nothing much to count.  Plan on doing a few 15 minute counts. At least do 15-20 minutes once for an accurate read.

Once I finished my counting of each mode (I counted at least twice thru for each segment and had to do each in separate passes) then I started editing by speeding up most of the footage. After all, no one wants to watch a 30 minute video. So I sped up some chunks by as much as 10x or more for the final cut. In the 1st Avenue video I also threw in a few facts to keep watchers a little more engaged.

The result? The videos really jumpstarted a debate of how crowded our NYC bike lanes are getting. On 1st Avenue the ratio of cars to bicycles was nearly 1:1 which even shocked me! Check out this StreetsblogNYC article where a half dozen elected officials have endorsed widening them! You can do the same in your city or neighborhood.

There are numerous other examples I have kept in mind from over the years. This above from Copenhagen looking down from a rooftop on one of the busiest bike routes in the city is very cool.

And when Luke Ohlson (then working for Transportation Alternatives) did this time lapse four years ago showing how much use a Citibike dock gets on Broadway, right away it is apparent that spatially bike share serves far more people than a few parking spaces for cars ever would.

In the last two weeks I have gotten nearly a dozen requests from people to tape bikes vs cars (or just bikes) in places all over New York. But I just don't have the time so I really hope to see plenty of others going forth and giving it a shot. Make sure to tag me on Twitter with your videos and I will certainly help promote them with a retweet!

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All of our Ghent, Belgium Streetfilms in a Big Post!

As we worked towards our final edit for the anchor Ghent Streetfilm on the installation of their Circulation Plan, there were many smaller items we knew wouldn't make the final cut or were better off as quick items posted as shorts.

Above, of course, is the main feature. But below you will find some supplemental gems and fun.

This one below dives deeper in to the politics and the media negativism as the Circulation Plan for the city was getting ready to be installed.

In Ghent there is a very unique bridge that raises and lowers for boats WHILE cyclists ride over it, no need for pausing.

While we were on a bike tour of the city Vice Mayor Filip Watteeau showed us a program where neighbors can request and design their streets. Here is a clip.

And finally, there are quite a number of tram tracks, everywhere. And it is amazing and graceful to see the city's residents navigate them successfully, and most of them aren't wearing helmets either.

 

 

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Copenhagenize Just Announced its Top 20 Bicycle Cities for 2019, We’ve Got Films!

Very exciting to see that Streetfilms has visited a record number (half!) of the the cities in this year's version of the Copenhagenize Top 20 Bicycle Cities!

You can take a gander at the complete list here on their website, but here is a sample of the cities on our website you can check out and their corresponding films!

#1  Copenhagen is number one once again. We have over a half dozen videos we've done from Copenhagen but below is the most recent (along with our film from 2010 which is still a Top Five film on Streetfilm of all time).

#2 Amsterdam has moved back to number 2 from 3. We also have featured Amsterdam very prominently over the years. Their most recent announcement to remove 10,000 parking spaces from the city center made us return last month for this special film. Also included is our 2013 epic that is nearing a half million plays!

#3 Utrecht is a dream. And today we released a Streetfilm updating the world as to what measures they are taking to improve bicycling in their city and eradicate the car from the city center. You must visit.

#7 Oslo moving up several notches. Why? As we showed a few years ago during our visit to see how much progress the city was making on its bold announcement to turn its downtown car-free and more people-friendly for the health of its citizens. It was the first film made on Oslo on the topic.

#12 Our trio of films on Bogota in 2007 was what essentially put Streetfilms on the map. We have been back, but we're kind of indebted to that series and have to post the awesome video on Ciclovia that helped bring that message to now hundreds of cities in the USA hosting car-free streets events.

#13 Streetfilms went to Barcelona to document the awesome Superblocks program. But I did get a few hours to rent a bike on my second day to roll thru the city and I found it wonderful. A great walking city. Here are those two videos.

#16 Tokyo is a bustling city and packs in over 9 million people. But even though they don't have tons of traditional protected-style bike lanes, bike riding is really popular!

#18 (tie) Montreal is a favorite of Streetfilms, which has been visiting every few years since the mid-1990s (well that would be its founder, Clarence Eckerson Jr.) I made this film when I rode the mega fun Tour de L'ile and looked at why the ride was an inspiration for it's bike infrastructure. 

#18 (tie) I guess it would have to be that both Canadian cities on the list would tie for #18! So no bragging rights for the northern cousins. Vancouver is a newcomer to the list and from the momentum the city has, it would not be a surprise to see it bolt up the charts next time around. Check out this pair of Streetfilms that will convince you if you have never visited.

#20 Hamburg announced many years ago that it wanted to reach 7% bike mode share by 2020. So we took a look at what residents thought about the announcement.

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Streetfilms & Congestion Pricing Over the Years!

Congestion Pricing looks to be coming to NYC in some form or other in the budget for NYS in 2020. Streetfilms has done so many videos with that as the topic and in so many ways, I decided it was time for a look back. And, oh boy, there is even more than I remembered (and some I flat out forgot!)

Let's just take the chronologically..here are the highlights

April 2007: We Talked to Bob Kiley about London's Pricing Success

June 2007: Campaign for New York's Future

November 2007: Bay Ridge Bus Riders talk about Congestion Pricing

November 2007: First few minutes of our interview with Randy Cohen we touched on Congestion Pricing

December 2007: StreetsblogNYC founder Aaron Naparstek talked to drivers about traffic jams and Congestion Pricing

March 2011: Moving Beyond the Automobile: Congestion Pricing with "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz

March 2015: Exploring the Streets of Stockholm

November 2017: Talking Stockholm's Congestion Pricing with Jonas Eliasson

December 2017: Unsustainable Traffic 2018

March 2018: Advocates Rally Outside Gov. Cuomo's Office to Pass Congestion Pricing

July 2018: Clusterf**k on Varick Street: The Case for Congestion Pricing

February 2019: Congestion Pricing will eventually save Riders over 100 Hours Per Year (featuring me and my son!)

February 2019: Fixing the Subway is about Racial & Economic Justice

March 2019: Congestion Pricing will save Lives in NYC!

 

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There are now 100 Streetfilms featuring Protected Bike Lanes for your advocacy!

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"Protected Bike Lane Bonanza" Screenshot from Vimeo (Click to go there!)

Well congratulations to us! We've now posted our 100th Streetfilm that features elements, designs or pilots of protected bicycle lanes all over the world. But really it is congratulations to you, too, since you just have that much more evidence to show your elected leaders and cities that this type of safe design works.

Just go to this link on Vimeo where our programmed channel is neatly organized all 100+ films for your perusal. Here: https://vimeo.com/channels/protectedbikelanes

To celebrate, I thought I'd point you towards some of my personal favs and those with useful content. It's extremely hard to choose, but here are my Top Five. Please don't be limited by these!

1. Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes

I made this Streetfilm over 8 years ago and it still holds up smashingly well. I've lost count of the hundreds of messages I have gotten over the years (especially the first three years it was up) of advocates, politicians and neighborhood leaders who told me having this film to screen/share totally changed the game in their fight for better lanes for their city/town/state. And at nearly 350k plays (that I can count) it's the fifth most popular Streetfilm of all time.

Best story from this trip: Within minutes of arriving to my hotel I saw my first platoon of about 30 cyclists heading towards me. It's like I had seen a bike unicorn and I hurriedly raced to capture it on film, severely spraining my ankle in the process.  Of course the same scene of bikes continued over and over. All day. Dopey me. Thankfully, biking proved to be the easier method of getting around as I was walking was so badly I probably should have been on crutches the 5 days!

2. Cycling London’s Bicycle Super Highways

A few years ago London's first Bicycle Superhighway lanes opened to much fanfare and immediately were filled up during rush hours by thousands of commuters. In fact, the Central Business District now has almost equal numbers of bikes and cars entering daily. There were scores of photos and short clips of huge masses of cyclists dominating the Twitterverse but really almost no substantial video reports of the lanes. So I felt it was my duty to get there this past summer and talk to many London residents about them and see for myself these immensely wide, beautiful structures that admittedly can make you get jealous!

And a related Streetfilm that details how an advocacy group formed to organize business leaders to push for the lanes is also a great watch!

3. The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

This is a straight forward, nuts and bolts documentation of some of the work NYC DOT pulled off in what once seemed like an impossible task: to create a safe and working protected bike lane on Queens Blvd, once named "The Boulevard of Death".  This was following Mayor de Blasio's allocation of millions of dollars to reformat the roadway in the wake of his passionate support of Vision Zero. Then at NYC DOT (now the head of Oakland, CA's DOT) Ryan Russo detailed the how every-block-is-different design came about.

I really wanted to make this as a historical document and thought it would be a little dry, especially a 10 minute film with only one speaker.  But this ended up a pretty popular Streetfilm with scores of curious folks around the country watching and other city transportation departments and students studying it.

4. Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

Made in 2013, it is the third most popular Streetfilm of all-time! At this point in my life I had been to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, two cities that do bicycling right. But I absolutely fell in love with the silence and breathtaking beauty of Groningen in the north Netherlands. For one, I laughed while walking the mile from the train to check into my hotel. Why? I didn't see one car! People seemed so happy. It was like Disneyland for bikes.

Besides the excellently designed bike infra, there is also a traffic circulation plan built in to the city that forces cars to detour to longer routes making almost every trip you can do either faster by bike or competitive to the point that you might as well not own a car.

5. Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride/

Sunnyside Family Fun Bike Ride

Okay, the fifth one is actually a tie (yeah, I 'm cheating a bit). But both of these Streetfilms have been very important in the struggle for holding on to very important bike lanes implemented by NYC DOT that were under assault from local communities vehmently opposed to losing parking and road space. In both cases, families and groups in favor of the lanes wanted to provide a powerful visual of the lanes in use, so they both planned celebratory rides that put children out front.

The top is the Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride, which in April 2011 was under attack by a Brooklyn group called "Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes", who - shockingly - really weren't for better bike lanes at all!  They were suing the city for their removal (eventually they lost over and over) and had uncomfortable ties to former NYC DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. That's the skinny, but you can read all about it here in the Streetsblog archives.

The bottom is almost the nearly the same video but seven years later in the Sunnyside community of Queens where the struggle to initiate an integral pair of protected bike lanes on Skillman & 43rd Avenues went bonkers. It featured tons of Community Board drama - which still continues today - and a similarly themed "group" called "Queens Streets for All" which is really just about fighting for free car parking on the two streets.

Watch both videos and you'll see why if you have a bike lane in your neighborhood you should bring out families!

So those are my picks. Enjoy the list which gets automatically updated with each new protected bike lane Streetfilm we produce. As always these films are free to share or embed anywhere, used in their entirety in journalistic endevaours or even screen in your community (however, we do require permission if you choose to re-edit parts of video in other productions.)

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Binge on Streetfilms shorts/excerpts from Barcelona, Seville & London!

When I take a trip (especially to Europe) I usually plan for a specific Streetfilm to make in each city. For example, here were my identified goals for my recent 8-day loop thru Barcelona (Super Blocks), Seville (History of Bike Lanes) and London (their Bike Superhighways and more).

But as is almost always the case, when in Europe I see lots of cool transportation thingys or nifty practices I can't resist even in the midst of documenting my main goals. So it happens, I grab a few shots and turn them into shorties or just a bit of a montage that I hope people might find useful or enlightening.

Let's start in Barcelona where I fell in love with trams on grass. Why? Because I just do that (see here). Anyway, while organizing my video to edit the Super Blocks film, I realized I also had grabbed more bicycling video in my two hour bike rental than I thought. So I knitted together this montage that went quite viral on Facebook. (Hmmm....maybe should have spent another day to ride with some bike advocates?)

Now let's jump to Seville which has an incredible bicycling story of going from nearly zero riders to closing in on 10% after installing a full network. This link is the main Streetfilm I posted which is nearing about 75,000 plays combined on Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

But I got lots more story than that, especially some useful clips that were cut from the body of my Streetfilm for time that I repurposed as cutting room floor teasers! Above this paragraph is a short on how residents navigate the tram tracks to reposition themselves on the other side of the cycle track by following medallions/markers inserted on the pavers in the historic downtown.

Also above is a direct trim from the feature attraction featuring Manuel Calvo Salazar that I felt might be useful to planners or advocates showing how Seville positioned its bike lanes behind the many bus stops on its major roads. So that proved popular. And then below I had a few cute shots of kids on rollerblades going out on the protected bike lanes, showing how safe residents feel they are despite the narrowness in many areas.

And finally, I am also editing down my London footage as well to prepare a nice film looking at the popularity of the Bicycle Superhighway system. But wouldn't you know it, I also just happened to be in town the day a brand new public space years in the making debuted. So it was off with Iain Simmons the Assistant Director of City Transportation for the City Of London to check it out. I mean, how could I refuse even with an absolutely insanely booked schedule?

Look for my final films from Barcelona and London coming in the next few weeks!  Until then, I hope you enjoy some of this output already.  And here below is the Seville feature film if you haven't checked it out as of yet.

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My Favorite Five Streetfilms Featuring Transportation Alternatives

As you may have heard via Twitter, tomorrow (Thursday, April 12th) I will be covering my 100th event/presser/ride/advocacy push featuring Transportation Alternatives when I join the BikeTrain Kickoff Rally, which will show Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens bike commuters - or those curious - how to ride to work once the L-train shuts down. I have so many TransAlt Streetfilms, that I now even keep a separate channel on Vimeo where you can watch every one!

In honor of the 100th TransAlt video to come it made me decide to go a step further and I have picked my five favorites of them either in terms of quality, fun or effectiveness at informing the public of helping change policy. I love them all, tough to choose. In no particular order, here are those five.

300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on 5th Avenue (October 2017)

Late last year, this short Streetfilm showcased what you can do with a fun idea, a huge gathering and a powerful message. 300+ people made human protected #bikenyc lanes down Fifth Avenue.

Fifth Avenue has no bike infrastructure above 26th Street, leaving a large void in the bicycle network where there’s huge travel demand. Protected bike lanes can’t come soon enough: Through the first eight months of this year drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to city data.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 2015)

A very powerful gathering and march organized by Families for Safe Streets took over the streets of NYC from City Hall and marched to the United Nations. I tell people who are curious as to why I chose to do what I do that they should simply watch this film. The speakers in it say far more than I could in a few sentences.

PPW Family Bike Ride/We Ride the Lanes (April 2011)

The "We Ride the Lanes" event was the brainchild of Mitch Sonies, who rides the PPW bike lane with his six-year-old daughter and wanted to do something positive to highlight how much people appreciate having a much safer street in their neighborhood. "It was a real celebration of this great, safe bike path," said Mitch. Together with the organizing power of Transportation Alternatives this much-needed power boost to support the new green protected lanes by Janette Sadik-Khan was a slam dunk success in the media and the minds of Brooklyn and NYC bike riders.

Peatonito in NYC: Protected Pedestrians from Cars in the Crosswalk (March 2016)

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate for quite a while and in Mexico City and he's been involved with many tactical urbanism types of interventions but it's as Peatónito fighting for a safer city that gets him the most notoriety: gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections and pushing vehicles (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to get drivers attention to their bad behavior. Needing a great speaker and event to give the conference some zing, Transportation Alternatives brought him to NYC for the Vision Zero Cities 2016 Conference and a group of staff and volunteers got to see him in action at some dicey spots throughout the city.

The Case for Physically Separated Bike Lanes (February 2007)

From 11 years ago! Before we had the Bloomberg Administration getting more serious about bicycling and transportation, Streetfilms decided to get serious with this huge expose (150,000+ plays and counting!) that NYC needed to get serious and look at the problems on our streets and the solutions in other places. Remember this was many months even before the wonderful Janette Sadik-Khan was installed as NYC DOT Transportation Commissioner.

This film was produced with a lot of advocacy featuring Transportation Alternatives, Project for Public Spaces, NYC Streets Renaissance and many others. It was a pivotal moment and tool in the fight for safer streets in NYC. It features Paul Steely White, Caroline Samponaro, Mark Gorton, Andy Wiley-Schwartz and - even me!

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Listen to these New Yorkers ideas of what we should do next for safe streets!

As many of you know, here in New York City there was an overwhelming reaction to the horrible tragedy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where two young children were killed by a red-light running driver. Numerous events held, including a large NYC March for Safe Streets, put together by Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and many other community partners. Hundreds of people joined in an incredible show of emotion and anger, and there were many suggestions on what we need to do next as a city and state.

The clips here show five short revealing conversations I had with pairs of people and their ideas about what needs to come next. All of their relfections were smart, sobering and perfectly appropriate.

If you are Mayor de Blaiso, Governor Cuomo, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, a council member on the city council or one of the thousands of community leaders out there, you should take a quick listen. I'd say implement all of what these people have to say.

In order to save our children and save all of us, it is a good start point.

Read more...

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Great Strategies to Get Protected Bike Lanes in Your City!

Last week I was invited to speak to a group of bike/safe streets advocates in Montclair, NJ about what are some good strategies to get better people who bike and walk in their town. I gave a good accounting of ideas I thought were important but realize there are a lot of Streetfilms resources for anyone who wants to get better bike lanes in their city that I could pen. So here's some advice!

  • START WITH A CORE OF DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS:  You simply can't do it without some very motivated people in your city wanting to help manage and motivate your neighbors (and eventually push back against the sure to come NIMBY naysayers) The video below shows how it is done. Visuals. Energy. Sign up sheets. Facts & info about what you want to do. Engaging, happy people. Now this NYC Transportation Alternatives event for the PeopleWay had dozens of volunteers stopping by to help all day. But NYC is big. Your smaller city or town might only need 10. Or maybe 3 to 5 highly energized people.

  • DREAM BIG, BUT WITH AN EYE ON WHAT YOU CAN WIN IN INCREMENTS:  A lot of people like to get jealous of progress made in cities like Portland, Oregon and (of late) here in New York City, but the truth is you can't win everything all at once. If you're in a big city your goals may be different than a smaller town which might have limited funding and/or public support. For example, instead of your dream master plan try proposing extending trails or greenways outward to adjacent roads. Or by asking for more safety near schools or universities and protecting a few popular bike routes where they become the most hairy for biking.

  • ORGANIZE NOT ONLY RIDERS, BUT POLITICIANS & BUSINESSES:  The Streetfilm above shows how just four Londoners formed CyclingWorks, where they pursued business support for the Cycling Superhighways proposed there. Over 180 business CEOs signed on with smart campaigning (just watch the short video). It has been duplicated in other places since and many other cities are plotting to do the same. Another great tactic is to get your elected leaders involved, out on the streets with you. NYC's TransAlt loves to cajole city council members into ride alongs. See the very successful one below with Ben Kallos and many others during Bike Week 2017. It's fun, momentum, investment and exercise!

  • DOCUMENT DANGEROUS AREAS, OR BIKE LANES THAT AREN'T WORKING:  This is key. You'll need the evidence. And unless you have an often-riding bike mayor or elected town officials, it's likely they don't know conditions that suck or are frightening.  Here's just one example: one simple shot of a painted bike lane on Lafayette Street in NYC that obviously isn't providing any protection or help to cyclists. You must do this as much as you can.

  • TRY TO GET CREATIVE IN SHOWING WHAT COULD BE OR SHOW UNIQUE BENEFITS THAT MIGHT WIN OVER OTHERS WHO DON'T BICYCLE:  If you want more or better bike lanes, you may have to emphasize the overall package that they can bring. Slower, calmer streets. Shorter, safer crossing distances for pedestrians.  A nicer business environment. And as below shows, even greener, more attractive streets to live on.

  • AND USE STREETFILMS AS A RESOURCE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

And finally, as we know visuals are the best. They put people more at ease as to what to expect and is achievable. Many times you can watch the enlightenment unfold on folks faces when watching a video about a hard to grasp transportation concept. So whether you use our Streetfilms, others on the internet or ones you make yourself, spread them around. And note: you are certainly free to hold screenings using our films provided you just give us the heads up and don't re-edit them. Another good suggestion is to intersperse local films amongst ours in a screening or to insert even just small bits or photos of your own city pointing out problem areas.

The amazing thing is, if you're looking for videos about protected bike lanes, well we got 'em. Heck, we got more from more places than anybody! How many? OVER 80!! You can scroll thru them all on Vimeo at this link and simply hit the download button to get a digital copy if you want to show it at a screening or just sit down with your local leaders and pop it into a laptop!

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Highlights from NOLA: Riding Blue Bikes, Fixing Transit & The “Neutral Ground”

As I usually try to do, here's a quick wrap-up of highlights from my adventures in New Orleans from mid-December to work with TransitCenter and Ride New Orleans. The above Streetfilm was quickly pieced together as I wasn't there to focus on bicycling. But thanks to using New Orleans' Blue Bikes bike share to get around to many shoots (its debut week!) and being around the Bike Easy staff (who shares an office with Ride) I was able to gather a few interviews and footage. Let me stress this one fact: New Orleans has a lot of cyclists. An incredible diversity in age, race, sex and type of bike ridden. I don't think my footage here does it any justice. Cyclists are a constant presence on the streets, but unlike many big cities, you won't see commuting peletons or large groupings waiting for lights. They are just there. Every intersection you'll see them.

But as I said the mission was to showcase the hard work of Ride New Orleans who is scoring victories for its riding public and providing momentum in a city that desperately needs even the bare essentials for its bus riding public. Simple things many might take for granted like signage, route schedules, benches and shelters. The above excerpt with Matthew Henrickson, the Policy Director for Ride, wasn't planned. We were waiting to interview another subject and he sarcastically pointed out we were standing under a bus stop. Knowing there are uncountable similar conditions throughout the city, I just told him to start talking. We got one fast take in right before our interviewee showed up. But this shows the hard choices facing their incoming mayor, which was buoyed by this late December news where the RTA approved a long-range, comprehensive plan to improve NOLA transit.

And speaking of interviews, one of the lovely people you will meet is Ms. Sonja (below with me, and by the way that's HER bike bag) who is on the Transit Riders’ Advisory Committee that meets first Saturday of the month. They're a wonderful, smart group of people who know they pushing the conversation to drastically change their city. Ms. Sonja gathered 600 signatures to get a bench and bus shelter installed at her senior living home, which she is very proud of. And now she is helping other volunteers and motivating people do the same.

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I really get to meet so many nice people in my travels. She's certainly one of them.  You'll get to meet her and up to a dozen others (hopefully) by the end of the month or early February.

And finally, if you watched the Streetfilm at the top of the page, you'll see I became a bit obsessed bike riding in the "neutral ground", which is the term for medians (grassy, concrete, whatever) in NOLA. I did some research on it and the history of the evolution of the term is quite cool. Click to read here. Then watch my extended outtake riding on the neutral ground and many of the other people riding bikes enjoy there.

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Two Promos & a Streetfilm from GoHuman!

This year I had the opportunity to work on two promotional videos for the "Go Human" campaign from SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governors. The above is the version featuring footage/photos from nearly ten events we helped document.

The campaign encourages Southern Californians to use human-powered transportation and change how people see other modes of transportation. They operate in many cities and do many types of events including open-streets events, traffic calming demonstrations and using tactical urbanism to educate people.

One Streetfilm you may remember from earlier this year was a long excerpt I did while covering one of their events in Riverside, CA where the town was experimenting with new crossings including a pedestrian scramble. It was well received by residents and visitors who were exposed to the concept.

We also produced a wonderful instrumental version for SCAG to use. That one is below. Enjoy!

 

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Meet Some of the “100 Most Influential Urbanists” via Streetfilms!

Recently, Planetizen named their 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all-time, based on public voting off of a list of 200 nominees. Jane Jacobs won. As she should have.

Whether you believe the list is correct or has some people ranked too kindly or not at all, it has been circulating like mad on Facebook and other social media. Of course, when I took a look at the list, my first thought was how cool it was that Streetfilms had interviewed or featured dozens of them.  So if you want to learn or see many of these individuals in action, take a gander at the films below!

2. Jamie Lerner

The renowned urban planner became mayor of Curitiba and implemented their BRT system which we explore in this popular Streetfilm. But I selected the more intimate video we did on the story of Curitiba's first pedestrian street since it has lots of him.

 

4. Jan Gehl

In fact, there are many Streetfilms that have featured Gehl over the years. The film below is one of four I made - in five days - while in Copenhagen in 2010.  But our first with him was the most important: an influential video we cut of him  evaluating a horribly un-friendly-to-people Times Square in 2005 with Mark Gorton! In many ways it helped ignite the livable streets renaissance that NYC has been moving towards since.

 

10. Charles Mahron

About five years ago, Streetfilms first met Chuck, and we could tell he was an original thinker with ideas about our cities we needed to help spread. I thought he would make an interesting subject and followed him to a few cities.

 

12. William H. Whyte

Holly Whyte passed before I became deeply immersed making videos about urbanism and transportation. But since I always admired the simple language he used in his book "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces", I wanted to honor him with this montage of my favorite shots that matched the words in his book.

 

13. Donald Shoup

The undisputed expert of parking policy was part of our plan early on to highlight how ample free parking was a hurdle to having better cities. We interviewed him the first time he came to NYC and the 2nd time we did I decided it was time to take out some matchbox cars and show visually some of his concepts.

 

16. Janette Sadik-Khan

As NYC DOT Commissioner, we were perfectly positioned to watch the meteoric rise of Janette Sadik-Khan and how she introduced progressive public space initiatives and changed Times Square, Madison Square & brought us Summer Streets and more! She easily holds the record for appearing in more Streetfilms than any other person and  you might as well chalk all of this up to her,  Here we feature one of her first sit down interviews in 2008 with Mark Gorton about her work.

Read more...

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A Groovy Array of Bicycling Streetfilms From The Netherlands

With so many of my friends posting Facebook photos and Tweeting short video snippets of what they are seeing while in Amsterdam at the PPS Placemaking Summit, I thought this would be an excellent time to compile in one place most of my Streetfilms I've shot there since my first visit in 2013, great films to watch right now whether you are there with them or not.

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"Bicycle Anecdotes from Amsterdam" at nearly 370,000 plays was a fun one to make and very quickly edited together with little effort. So much so that I thought it would be entertaining but by no means did I expect it to become our 4th most popular film of all-time (out of over 800!) But it has a lot of nice moments in it. (Side note: partly due to it, I ended up buying a Fre8 WorkCycle thanks to seeing them being made in the shop while being able to chat with Henry Culter. See above photo!)

Of course, our universally loved Streetfilm on Gronigen proved to be groundbreaking and now is heading towards a half million Streetfilm plays across all media we can track. We had read stories (50% bike mode share!) and seen a few short snippets of the great downtown of Groningen on Youtube before deciding to work in a visit. We were glad we did. Even four years later, if you type in "Groningen" and "bicycling" into search engines, our film is the first to pop up. And in the aftermath of my visit there were dozens of stories on Groningen, many citing or even embedding our Streetfilm in their coverage. (BTW, a reminder: anyone can embed our linked videos in their reports or websites.)

In 2017 I was able to return to The Netherlands while attending the VeloCity 2017 conference and I fell in love with the city of Nijmegen. I had been planning to just shoot a few shorts while there on all sorts of tours and interviews with people. But while roaming around on foot downtown, I couldn't believe how car-free the city was and how there were a series of steel bollards that kept cars out most of the time. Simply amazing. So I rushed to grab enough interviews towards the end of the conference to produce the result above!

Additionally, the Arnhem-Nijmegen region boasts the quickest, safest continuous bikeway I have ever ridden. You are gonna want to watch that too!

Jumping back to Amsterdam, I actually assembled this fun montage in a few hours one night after my first full day of shooting to get people psyched for my videos to come. It too was a very modest hit!

At this point, I'll leave you with the linkage below to even more Streetfilms. Please enjoy them!  And go to the Netherlands if you want to see great bicycling infrastructure!  And for those still waiting for more? I do have a long gestating film from  Rotterdam I hope to have ready, eventually.

"Danish Infrastructure Tour of Bicycle Streets & Intersections" 

"Journey from Assen to Groningen with David Hembrow":

"From Netherlands to America: Translating the World's Best Bikeway Designs"

"Groningen's Green Phase For Cyclists"

"Rotterdam: Trams on Grass"

"Amsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Better Organize Bike Parking"

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Just a Great Big Pile of August Kudos for NYC DOT

NYC DOT is on a very productive roll recently with many innovative projects going on in New York City. I guess this is my way of saying thanks.

I was away when NYC DOT officially debuted the new shared space (5 mph) street on Broadway near Madison Square Park. So I decided to get a quick look on Friday and, well, it works extremely well for NYC's big foray in to a new kind of street design! It'll be interesting to see where they might try this in the next few years. (And of a quick reference, check out this nearly ancient Streetfilm from when Madison Square Plaza was first created back in 2010!)

Another debut I missed due to travel was the fantastic two blocks on Broadway that have been transformed into car-free urban oases. It's called the Garment District Urban Garden and has been in the ground for nearly two months. I don't know why it took me so long to get over there (maybe because Broadway's eventual foregone destiny is to be car-free?) but the installation ends on September 1st. So get your posterior over there to see it. Lunchtime is fantastic!

To many, this green-paint-delineated, Queens Boulevard bridge path over the Sunnyside rail yards might night seem like a really big deal, but for those of us who ride it we've been made very, very happy. It's been many years coming and now that it is properly marked with #freshkermit, pedestrians are sticking to their posted side making the riding experience much less frustrating and smooth. For reference: if you are not familiar - this section is a direct link to the Queensboro (NOT Ed Koch!) Bridge ped-bike path. See some history on that here via this short Streetfilm!

And finally NYC DOT's amazing Summer Streets continues! An event I have never missed getting out to and enjoying since 2008! (Even being in tremendous pain for 2011 and 2012 following a hip injury due to a car crash and resulting surgery, blood clot and compartment syndrome!) We've even brought my son each year since he was born.

The above compliation is really just the result of cruising down on my way to another shoot. I picked up about 20 shots and threw together this montage for future b-roll use, so figured why not share! The only suggestion I have is one I have every year: there needs to be more events and the course needs to be significantly lengthened. It's popular! It's getting ridiculously crowded at some bottlenecks. I hope Commissioner Trottenberg can give us something even more great in 2018!

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Use our Streetopia Promos in Your City!

Last month was NYC's Streetopia kickoff event at the Museum of the City of New York. We debuted four great promos that will be used throughout the campaign. Although these promos focus specifically on NYC, you can see that any group can get a ton of mileage out of them. Each are about 1 minute long, but gives a crisp argument as to why we need to continue to do better.

In NYC bicycling has soared. Each year the numbers of people riding bikes goes higher. But to reach incredibly high bike mode shares, we will need to dramatically increase and improve bike lanes and accessibility. If you are in the United States, your city is probably experiencing something similar that needs fixing!

Parking is the root of all evil in thwarting safer streets in just about every city. Because more parking (on or off-street) invites more vehicles and congestion and less safer commutes for those on bike, walking or transit. There are many cities in the world that challenge parking that we can learn from!

If you go to some of the best livable cities/places in the world, most have vast networks of pedestrianized downtowns where people are free to shop, meet, lounge, eat or use as car-free transportation. There are dozens of great examples, but here we take a quick look at a few that are regarded at shining beacons to what we should be striving for!