Yeah I'm livid.
Thursday night, for the third time in less than 6 months near my home, a pedestrian was killed by an irresponsible motorist. And to make it even more tragic: two of these victims were small children crushed while being pushed in strollers. I'm the dad to a young son so it breaks my heart. We've had brushes with drivers nearly hitting us while crossing legally with the light. I can't imagine my life without my son, the families must be devastated.
All three happened about a mile from my home on 85th Street. All three happened in NYPD's 115th precinct.
What will it take?
We really need NYPD to do its job. I met a few officers from the 115th Precinct recently at a Jackson Heights meeting (where I live) following the death of Henry Boimel, killed by a turning Uber driver in January. Yes, the officers all seemed like nice folks. And, look, I'm sure sometimes their job is tough. But the department needs to start getting really serious about cracking down on traffic violence and intimidation by motorists. At that meeting many people complained about dangerous right turning vehicles on 37th Avenue. I walk it nearly every day. And still haven't seen any stepped up enforcement by the 115th since. I hope they have. I hope I'm wrong.
At Streetfilms we've got 800+ videos now of all sorts. All available for you to show or screen for your community or elected leaders and to enlighten and change minds.
One thing we are always looking for is trying to explain or implement policies that help create a lower car ownership rates, that of course is the primary goal in cities as the fewer cars there are the more space for people and efficient forms of transportation.
So we're always jumping into the archives looking to clump together videos to help. Thus here are some good best practices from the vault!
MAKE IT HARD TO OWN A CAR.
MAKE IT EXPENSIVE AND DIFFICULT TO GET A LICENSE. ALSO: IMPLEMENT CONGESTION PRICING.
CAP THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN YOUR CITY AND NEVER ALLOW ANY MORE! EVER! NEVER! LIKE FOR OVER 20 YEARS!
MAKE IT FASTER & SAFER TO GO BY BIKE, AND SLOWER & MORE ANNOYING IN A CAR.
MAKE A HUGE NETWORK OF SHARED STREETS VERY, VERY SLOW AND ONLY FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS & BUSINESSES WITH PERMITS!
START BUILDING BRIDGES ONLY FOR BIKES. PEDESTRIANS & TRANSIT!
MAKE YOUR CITY A ROBUST MULTI-MODAL CITY FOR ALL AGES!
Every year, there are a few dozen excerpts, extended mixes and bonus shorts that we post on Vimeo but not here on Streetfilms. Why? Because we don't want to clutter the site because some of these videos we really don't expect too many plays whether due to quick turnaround, subject matter or redundancy. Thus, you could have watched every single video posted on Streetfilms and still missed a couple of gems or useful tools for your advocacy.
So here's a wrap of the best!
The video at the top is from Janis Scott, Houston's Bus Lady! We did this film with TransitCenter on Houston's amazing bus re-organization. But I enjoyed my time and meeting with Janis so much, I spun her off in her own narrative that has been given a lot of love.
I was in Copenhagen shooting a whole slate of videos over 72 hours but came upon the above scene. Just a construction crew carefully doing their job while people biked by and under. Not a lot of elaborate signage or re-routing and stopping of cyclists. Just everyday life.
Again, sometimes you have a video with ample content that can't fit into your original plans, so you spin it off. In Joe Baur's great Streetfilm from Tokyo we talked about how complicated it can get to own a car in Japan, but had to trim this section down to 30 seconds. So much great info here though to lift it as its own segment.
Here's one not many have seen at all. I just got a quick break during lunch while shooting a Streetfilm in Philadelphia and was lounging on their great public space The Porch. I grabbed some footage cause you never know when you can use wonderful people space stuff!
Again, this one probably fell off most people's radar as I posted and Tweeted this a few times of a Families for Safe Streets press conference. Jimmy Van Bramer told a great story at the dais about a constituent who wanted help getting his son out of a speeding ticket. It's the way our elected officials need to talk in the age of Vision Zero. So here he repeated it again for me.
And once again, big wager most Streetfilms fans didn't see this. In our great Streetfilm about Bike Share Equity with our partners NACTO, I was invited to come along to gather some footage for the piece on a really fun bike ride with Black Girls Do Bike. As my thank you for letting me come, I put this quick montage together for the group to use in any way they wished in the future.
The greatest joy in my life has been my son Clarence, 3rd! We took him to his second Summer Streets in 2016 and I was really lucky to decide to turn the camera on him during our stop to do some dancing at one of the programming areas. Is there any doubt children know we need to have more public places to have fun in?
I did a series of really hastily thrown together vids during the Summer to showcase footage I wasn't using in anything else. One day I had so much fun riding around NYC with commuting pelotons, I wanted to share.
Finally, if you watch this video above, you'll see the beginning of a movement. The 14th Street People Way is gonna happen. It has to. And it is gonna lead to a series of crosstown People Ways across NYC in the not too distant future. Imagine 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 59th and more. And you know, what? Quoting Chuck Heston, they'll be made of people!! People!!!!
Watching the fuel-injected, car commercial leaden NFL on a Sunday afternoon usually doesn't yield too many spots that gets a livable city advocate/filmmaker excited, but the last two weeks there's been an extended ad running in heavy rotation for the Samsung Gallery S7 that makes me swoon.
See it below, the spot "A Perfect Day" features teens rolling around Brooklyn neighborhoods (and a bit of Queens!) on their bikes integrating copious technology into their day. The montage has been garnering some attention because it contains a nice cover of The Pixies "Where is My Mind" by Nada Surf, but I love it because of how it showcases New York City as an increasingly better place for people to bike and have impromptu interactions on our diverse neighborhood streets.
These young folks are happy. They have transportation freedom. They're part of their neighborhood, their city. They have adventure. And...there's no helicopter parenting going on here. I love this ad. It's the city I want to live in, and thanks to much of what has gone on in the past decade in NYC, this ad shows we are headed there.
Yeah. I'll admit, this is a commercial shot on closed streets. Biking around New York City isn't quite nirvana yet, but evidence is out there as you see more kids on bikes all the time. But imagine this spot even being conceived in 2005? Yeah, I don't think so. The ad director would have been laughed at.
If this is the future, please dial me in.
Not to be too depressing, but let's end with a quick contrast. What was the very next spot? A Black Friday spot for Dodge. Two families dangerously race their SUV's down a commercial strip. It's titled, of course, "Duel Race".
Any safety critic can hit the same notes here. The spot might be good for a cheap laugh, but gunning your SUV between two lights? Condoning racing for your scowling kids? Yeah, considering just how many people we've lost on our roads due to reckless driving Dodge should be ashamed. I guess they figure since they're only gunning it between red lights this qualifies as legal driving, but we all know it's not.
Just compare the two spots, which place do you want to live?
With our big 10th anniversary StreetsBall coming up Monday, November 14th, I thought it would be good to dip into my personal photo vault and look thru 1000s of snapshots over the years and bring you some rare behind-the-scenes highlights. Some of these photos haven't been seen in 5 or 10 years - and very few published.
Transportation Alternatives Bike Rides: Back in the early part of our work, in an effort to get more people on bikes, we often covered many of T.A.'s rides. Here is me with Paul Steely White, Executive Director in 2005 the day before the Tour de Brooklyn rallying volunteers. The next day, I documented the ride wearing quite a exotic costume and even posed with Marty Markowitz (note: this is well before he and others went apeshit on the Prospect Park West protected bike lane.)
Park(ing) Day: In 2006, I was in San Francisco to document REBAR's awesome yearly event which reimagined parking spaces as public spaces to rest, relax, play music, or whatever. This idea inspired cities across the United States and the world to not only take back their streets for a day, but to find places where they could be made permanent and the then a process to make parklets was wildly successful.
Pedestrian & Bike Advocacy: Transportation Alternatives started holding many rallies and actions, specifically at City Hall to attempt to get the city's leaders to pay attention. They started becoming masters of the visual, like this one from March 2007.
Intersection Repair: In the Summer of 2007, I got to travel to Portland, Oregon, a place I had been frequenting much due to their bike infrastructure which was easily the best in the United States at that time. I was there for a weekend of the Village Building Convergence where neighborhoods took back their streets by painting intersections with beautiful street murals meant to help slow traffic but also to create natural gathering places among communities to hold parties, weddings and special events!
Bogotá's Ciclovia: In the Fall of 2007, I ventured with Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Aaron Naparstek, T.A's Karla Quintero and Project for Public Space's Ethan Kent to witness this supreme open streets event which closed off the city to cars every Sunday morning. The films gathered from this trip (also including Bus Rapid Transit) essentially were the big ones that eventually made Streetfilms a world name. We got to meet former Mayor Enrique Peñalosa on the trip and were led around by his indefatigable brother Gil Peñalosa, both famous for their many appearances on Streetfilms over the years.
Janette Sadik-Khan: At this point NYC Dept. of Transportation had a new Commissioner, the now legendary Janette Sadik-Khan! And as we all know, she was ready to bring it to New York City's streets! Here she is early in her campaign at T.A.'s Tour de Bronx with Jon Orcutt who as her Policy Director would become instrumental in helping implement many of the eclectic revolutionary ideas we all had been seeing emerge from around the world! Below is a shot of me on that same ride grabbing a solitary moment to ride on the closed down Sheridan Expressway. (more…)