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Gabe Klein Talks About Getting Sh*t Done in “Start-Up City”

Streets can be tough to change. Between institutional inertia, tight budgets, bureaucratic red tape, and the political risks of upsetting the status quo, even relatively simple improvements for walking, biking, or transit can take years to pull off -- if they ever get implemented at all.

But a new generation of transportation officials have shown that it doesn't have to be that way. Cities can actually "get shit done," as former DC and Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein puts it in his new book from Island Press, Start-Up City.

Streetfilms and our producer, Mark Gorton, recently got to sit down (and walk around) with Gabe to talk about the ideas in the book, which ties together his career as a transportation commissioner and his experience in start-ups like Zipcar. Start-Up City is filled with advice about how to get projects done quickly while choosing the best option for the public (and, of course, having fun). You can get a flavor for the book in this extensive interview with Gabe.

Full disclosure: Gabe Klein sits on the board of OpenPlans, the non-profit that produces Streetfilms and Streetsblog. This video is made possible by the Knight Foundation.

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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  • thomas040

    Can we please get this guy to work for NYC?

  • JK

    Great interview, well crafted with mix of street scenes and talking heads. Klein is impressive and the piece left me feeling optimistic. One highlight was Klein mentioning that 60% of DC street parking metering is done by pay-by-phone. NYC can blame the State for not allowing more enforcement cams, but what is the excuse for not getting pay-by-phone parking? Seriously, this could be a really big streets win for de Blasio and help create a lot of livable streets opportunities.

  • The Puzzle Pedestrian

    Everyone should watch this!

  • chekpeds

    This is outstanding !

  • Edwards

    NO! we want him in Portland! lol

  • Justin

    Oh man, I loved every minute of this, we need more people like him, just wish we had someone like him where I live in San Francisco, I think I need to watch this again!