Skip to content

StreetFilms
View Comments

Greater Boston’s Bus Transformation

Greater Boston’s bus system is undergoing a long overdue transformation. From redesigning the network to pursuing electrification to completely re-imagined streets primed for better bus service, the experience for thousands of daily riders in the region is looking better than it has in decades. The evolution of bus lanes and BRT elements is visible throughout the region in municipalities like Somerville, Everett, Chelsea and Boston where street are transforming to support public health and an integrated transit system as a pandemic recovery strategy as well as to combat climate change, traffic congestion and to build a better, more equitable region.

Massachusetts is emerging as a national transit champion by giving street space to the bus and looking to build BRT, even as there is more work ahead to connect gaps in the network. Leadership from elected officials, community members and other regional collaborators has turbo-charged all the bus improvement projects, showcasing what can be done in only a few years and inspiring a future that prioritizes buses and the people who rely on them.

StreetFilms
View Comments

STREETFILMS SITE IS DOWN!

Please see our other pages....

VIMEO for the latest features:  https://vimeo.com/showcase/8806427

YOUTUBE to see all of our Streetfilms: https://www.youtube.com/user/StreetfilmsCommunity/videos

FACEBOOK to check out our interactive page with comments: https://www.facebook.com/groups/22019704884

StreetFilms
View Comments

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

StreetFilms
View Comments

George Hahn: How to Ride Your Bike Like a Gentleman (or a Lady)

Actor. Writer. Minor social media legend. Gentleman cyclist.

This week, Streetfilms tagged along with actor George Hahn for a very special episode: “How to Ride Like a Gentleman.”

In this film, we explore the city with Hahn and learn these valuable tips:

“Don’t ride like a dick.” Don’t roll through crosswalks or frighten pedestrians. There’s no reason for that. “It’s just rude,” he says.
Don’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk.
Don’t ride against traffic. “It’s dangerous…and rude to everyone,” Hahn says.
Don’t buy special clothes. (Hahn has ridden in a tuxedo, but you knew that.)

Of course, Hahn is courteous to make a point: there is a larger danger on our streets. Watching an SUV driver rudely inch into a crosswalk, Hahn observes the most important rule of the road: “Your destination is no more important than anyone else’s,” he says.

StreetFilms
View Comments

What do you like about 34th Ave open street?

It was once again time to ask people how much they enjoy the 34th Ave open street in Jackson Heights, so I went out for about an hour yesterday to ask folks to tell me. It wasn't hard to find people to talk since it is one of the most popular things ever in the neighborhood. I only asked that one simple question. Nothing more. But I couldn't believe how many times people used "community" in their answer, I think nearly everyone. (But I had to edit some out due to length constraints.) I think you'd likely find the same answers in just about every open street across NYC. Also: in unsurprising news, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the open streets legislation passed by the NYC Council keeping the open streets program running.

StreetFilms
View Comments

More NYC Teens are Biking to School

Biking is cheap. Biking is fast. Biking promotes independence and exploration. Biking is great exercise. And, biking sure is FUN! What better way for New York City's teens to navigate the city and get themselves to school?

This generation is politically active and solutions-oriented. The last few weeks, we've been interviewing students - some in Queens, some in Manhattan on the Hudson River Greenway, some biking across Central Park. All of them joyful and appreciative of the time away from screens, feeling the wind in their hair and connecting with nature and those around them.

One notable incentive for these students? Schools that provide indoor, secure bike parking (here's looking at you school administrators!). Our goal is for each and every teen to have the option to safely bike, walk, scoot to school. That means we need a connected, protected, low-stress bike lane network in each and every neighborhood in this city. The city's future depends on it - quite literally.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Manhattan’s 1st Ave Bike Counts Show Bikes Need More Space

A new vehicle count on First Avenue showed that cars and trucks barely outnumbered bikes, despite drivers getting almost 12 times as much space on the uptown roadway — the second East Side roadway whose mode split reveals the need for wider bike lanes and less room for cars.

In the latest count — which follows a similar eye-opener from Second Avenue last week — a crew from Streetfilms set up at the intersection of First Avenue and 60th Street for a total of 42 minutes. The results? There were 698 cars, trucks, vans and such, and 561 bikes and scooters.

That’s basically 1.2 vehicles for every bike or scooter — even though the bike lane is roughly 1/12 the width of the entire roadway. (And the flow of two-wheelers will only grow as the weather gets warmer and as more people head back to offices for work.)

StreetFilms
View Comments

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.

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 3.39.47 PM

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!

IMG_3592 2

StreetFilms
View Comments

Jersey City’s Quick Build Bike Network

Last year in Jersey City, NJ we followed some of the meetings, rides, and community outreach around the development of their ambitious Bicycle Master Plan.

A few weeks ago we paid a visit to see how well implementation is going and despite the complications of Covid, the installation of parking protected as well as barrier protected lanes is developing at a rapid pace.

Already then have completed 10 miles of a scheduled 46 miles of protected bike lanes that will allow folks in Jersey City to get where they need to go safely.

This summer saw a 205% increase in bike counts along the Grand Street PBL/ road diet. Also installed are (likely) the first protected intersections in New Jersey.

Their bike lanes also feature stencils of riders with ponytails alternating with the standard "male" glyphs of riders.

One amazing thing to see (that we admit we wished we would have documented more of) is the incredible 5 block stretch along Grove Street, which runs in front of City Hall, which now features a two-way parking protected bike lane on one side and restaurant dining in the street on the other. The street resembles what you might see in some of the best cities in Europe for people. It is so quiet. Jersey City is doing big things!

StreetFilms
View Comments

In NYC You Can Go By Bike on the Pedestrian Signal!

So with a great "new" law on the books that allows bicycle riders to also legally use pedestrian signals (LPIs) to get a 5 to 10 second head start on drivers in NYC why did it take Streetfilms nearly a year to talk to the two people most responsible for it?

Well when it was passed council last year and slated to begin on December 20, 2019 it was the holiday season and freezing cold, and no one cares about watching videos end of year. We finally had scheduled to film it mid-March, but then Covid-19 prevented that.

I circled back around to the idea early this Fall after riding thru the NYC Summer Bicycle Boom™ explosion where I would frequently come upon LPI intersections where #bikenyc riders were frequently frozen waiting for the green light, ignoring the pedestrian beacon telling them, "Please go forth person on your bike with your walking cousins!"

So it's a good time to re-promote this great law that makes it safer for bike riders. Let those innovative who don't know it's legal to use the signals. Also, there are now so many brand new riders in the city that don't know all the rules of the road that frankly need enlightening. There are more than 4,000 of the lights.

We went to Brooklyn to the corner of Atlantic Ave & Smith Street and talked with Council member Carlos Menchaca and "The War on Cars" co-host Doug Gordon about what the law means and the journey to its realization.

StreetFilms
View Comments

How to Ride Your Bike Like a Gentleman (or a Lady)

This is a fun video. Some etiquette. Some style. Some advocacy. But all fun!

StreetFilms
View Comments

Justice Ride V: 1000s bike the StreetRiders NYC “Independence Not”

StreetFilms
View Comments

Experience the Gov. Mario Cuomo/Tappan Zee Bridge Path

StreetFilms
View Comments

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.”

StreetFilms
View Comments

Future Streets: Little West 12th Street in NYC’s Meatpacking District

Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District has been transformed from an underused open street into a bustling, lively hangout thanks to 5,000 square feet of donated sod — Exhibit A in the open-and-shut case for more car-free streets in pedestrian-majority neighborhoods.

It’s a pleasant place to sit or stroll — and it’s good for business. “There’s an organic visual appeal — you see a street like this and you want to walk down it,” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, the executive director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, which created the one-block vision of utopia as part of the “Future Streets” collaboration of the American Institute of Architecture, the American Society of Landscape Architecture and the American Planning Association.

The block-long stretch between Washington and Greenwich streets has been largely transformed — first by the elimination of car storage (which still typically mars the de Blasio administration’s “open streets” program), then with the installation of tables and a large, grass-covered seating area on the western end of the block. That’s created foot traffic, which creates more business. “We’ve had twice the normal number of customers,” said Courtney McKamey, the manager of the Little West Wine and Spirits on the block, who provided a reminder that businesses that rely on walk-in customers have no need for streets filled with parked cars.