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Central London Streets Transformed: A Walking Tour with Iain Simmons

While filming an exciting Streetfilms update about the progress of the "20's Plenty" campaign in the UK, I got to interview Iain Simmons, assistant director of city transportation for the City Of London. What was originally supposed to be a few short clips for that piece turned into an unexpectedly generous two-hour walking tour of central London! I seized the opportunity and kept the camera rolling. The result is this "bonus" Streetfilm.

We did quite a bit of impromptu touring, looking at sidewalks that have been widened, traffic calming techniques that keep speeds at 20 mph, and one of London's next generation of protected bike lanes under construction.

What I found most refreshing was hearing a public official speak so candidly about how we need to accommodate people first and not cars. Mr. Simmons emphasizes the lesson cities have learned over and over: While skeptics always predict "everything will start to fall apart" when new bike lanes, sidewalk extensions, and traffic calming street redesigns are proposed, "the reality is it never, ever, ever does."

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Maggie

    fantastic film! All the infrastructure looks so nice. Love the brief glimpse at Neal's Yard.

    Stoney Street behind Borough Market, past the Clink and the old replica pirate ship, over to Bankside and the Globe Theatre - this is one of my favorite walks in London. For us Yankees, it's amazing to think of the centuries people have been walking through these parts of London. Boris Johnson has done such a great job of modernizing the city for cyclists as well, and Iain Simmons seems like a true visionary and caretaker. Great piece.

  • KeNYC2030

    Oh man, can we send his last sentence to every community board in the city?

  • Matthias

    What I wouldn't give to have such a great attitude among NYCDOT!

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    My favorite tweet so far....

  • Walter Crunch

    That guy needs to be in charge everywhere. What an articulate guy for multi mode. Love that he shows the main drag and how dangerous it is. Surprised more haven't died.