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Posts tagged "Amsterdam"

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Letting Citizens Redesign Their Streets: Mark Gorton Talks with Amsterdam’s Rocco Piers

This is essentially a follow-up from our smashingly popular Streetfilm from earlier this year where Amsterdam's new government announced they were removing 10,000 parking spaces from the streets.

Mark Gorton, the Chairman of Open Plans was curious to the exact decision process came about to remove on-street parking in the Frans Halsbuurt neighborhood , so he flew to Amsterdam to meet with Rocco Piers, the district alderman who is helping usher in a new way of allowing residents of streets to get together and re-design them the way they would like to see.

Of course the neighbors overwhelmingly favor: more green, more play areas, tons of bike parking and environmentally-friendly practices while also preserving limited access for cars and retaining ample loading zones on each block for residents to still use a car for when the need arises.

The original Streetfilm "Amsterdam's Removing 10,000 Parking Spaces: See what's possible!" can be found at this link: vimeo.com/339735964

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Amsterdam’s Removing 10K Parking Spaces: See what that can look like!

On my swing to The Netherlands to visit Utrecht, I planned on just trying to gather up enough footage and talk to a few people in Amsterdam regarding the transportation headlines they made a few months ago when they announced they would be removing from 10,000 to 11,000 parking spaces from the city's core.

I really only planned on perhaps a very short 90 second vid showing a few shots of parked cars and soundbites from a few notable folks in Amsterdam. What I got was so much more. As you will see I got to talk to some amazing folks including Zeeger Ernsting, a City Councilperson for GroenLinks (Green Party) who gave me the story how the initiative came about and told me I needed to visit the Frans Halsbuurt neighborhood where an entire grid of streets now virtually has no parking except for loading spaces (an extremely good idea!) and a few spaces for handicapped access.

The neighborhood has been undergoing a transformation for many years and there are a myriad of reasons why the spot was chosen (in fact I am planning on going back in July to fully document it even more in-depth.) But if you go to Google and check out the street views from 2012 thru this year, you will see car parking evaporate in the final panels. As dramatic and lovely as this film makes it seem I must advise you: it is even more lovely, lush and livable. If you have a chance, go there. See it for yourself.

We need to be thinking about this in every major city. A commitment to start shrinking the number of places we allow parking.

Paging Dr. Don Shoup!

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The Netherlands Megamix Bike Montage

Over the past five years, I've visited several great cities for cycling in the Netherlands. One thing you'll notice if you go to places like Amsterdam, Groningen, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Nijmegen is that there are a lot of kids biking.

Contrary to what advice columnist and bike lane opponent Amy Alkon has been spouting on Twitter, there's no evidence that biking with kids in the U.S. is more of a hazard than driving with kids. And if you're really concerned about children's safety, you shouldn't be trying to put a stop to bike infrastructure in your neighborhood.

I hope this short "Netherlands Megamix" montage, culled from some of my favorite shots and including some never-before-seen footage, helps bring home the idea that in countries with sane transportation policies, the goal is to make cities safe for people of all ages to bike, not to banish parents from cycling with their kids.

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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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What Streetfilms May Emerge from VeloCity 2017!

Above: "Cycling Copenhagen, Thru North American Eyes", with nearly 350,000 plays, the 5th most watched Streetfilm of all-time was shot at Velo-City 2010.

VeloCity is just about a week away and after six years of missing it, I'll be attending what promises to be 2017's exciting chapter in Arnhem - Nijmegen, The Netherlands. As the event approaches I've been pondering what videos I might produce. Of course, I do like to stay in-the-moment and spontaneous when I go to transportation conferences of any kind. I try not to over pre-plan since there are always so many great people, rides and sessions going on that a film could materialize right in front of me. However, here are some good bets of documentation I'll attempt.

First off, this cool thing that happened: while booking my trip over the phone - which is something I never do - my ticket agent explained that if I extended my trip by one day on either end, my round trip flight would be over 50% less. So easy decision to land 28 hours earlier. A nice group of folks in Rottterdam got wind of my extra day and cajoled me stick around there for an entire day and have organized a comprehensive bike tour! That's so completely nice. I'm super excited as I have never been. It should make for a phenomenal Streetfilm.

Because the lodging prices were high and extremely limited availability in Nijmegen, I opted to stay in Arnhem for the event. The choice was made easy when you have trains every ten minutes between the two cities. But as I did research I was intrigued to discover that the two cities opened a bicycle superhighway between them last year. So I'll certainly try and bike it at least a few times and see how cool it is. Could this be a Streetfilm? Sure. I'm hoping to find a few folks from the conference or the cities to ride it with me one morning and talk about how it came about.

The conference also features nearly a full day in which attendees are encouraged to attend an excursion to Amsterdam, as there are no sessions scheduled during this time. Of course, I did make a few very popular Streetfilms a few years ago on my original sojourn there (see "Anecdotes from Amsterdam" above.)  So I'll be going again. Bringing my camera. Not sure what will happen, but I'll be grabbing video. listening to tour leaders and talking with my fellow conference friends about it.

Another very short film I'm certain to churn out is something on the annual Velo City Bike Parade! The mass bike parade takes place Thursday night thru the streets of Nijmegen. The 2010 version in Copenhagen was a real fun treat as you can see above.

Of course, in addition to all that, I'll be tweeting and Facebook-ing plenty throughout the conference itself and I'm sure they'll be plenty of opportunities to gather quick interviews with leaders in the bike world. It's gonna be a real wave of sensory overload and hard to keep up. But that's a fun challenge.

Do you have ideas and thoughts about must see stuff at VeloCity or in The Netherlands? As you probably can imagine, I've gotten a few "Please cover this/me/come to our city too!" pitches via email and many asks on social media as to what my plans are. Please feel free to leave ideas in the comments field below or tweet them to @Streetfilms or @PurpleClarence. Just keep in mind I am only one person and I make all the videos at Streetfilms. I usually spend almost every moment of the day while daylight shooting films, so I can't do everything.

Finally, I'd like to thank the organizers of VeloCity 2017 for granting me a press pass so I may attend. Without that there is no way I could put enough funding to really make this happen. And if you want to see more about biking in The Netherlands, Streetfilms has a nice pod of work from over the years you can browse by clicking this link.

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Should NYC Have a Bicycle Mayor? Meet Anna Luten Amsterdam’s Bike Mayor

During 2017's Vision Zero for Cities Conference in New York City I got to spend a few minutes chatting with Amsterdam's Bicycle Mayor Anna Luten about her biking public advocate status and then I wondered if we could do the same in NYC.

Could we? Who would you nominate? What would be their qualifications? What powers would you like them to have? Most people I spoke to thought it would be an excellent idea.

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Bikes Are Freedom: Inspiration from the Experts

Just a little bit of bubble-gum-pop, montage inspiration, "Bikes Are Freedom" showcases bicycling footage from 30+ diverse cities around the globe while featuring over a dozen quotes of inspiration of how biking & freedom intersect for world transportation leaders.

If you are ever feeling sad and blue about the world being dominated by the automobile, this is the pick me up you've dreamed about. At the very least will make you happy for two minutes before pessimism consumes you again. Bikes are rising. Carry on.

(Oh and make sure to watch in High Def for the best swell feeling experience.)

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Watch this Amazing Dutch Film Crew bike with 60K in gear in hands!

I was in Santa Monica bicycling along the beach on the Marvin Braude Bike Trail to pick up some b-roll of bicyclists for a future Streetfilm when this incredible four-person Dutch crew flew by on bikes - with a full load of gear in hand. I immediately jumped on my bike to catch up to see what they were up to (it took a freaking while, as you can see they were pedaling fast!)

They were in the Los Angeles area to shoot a documentary on poker players and decided the easiest way to get lots of establishing shots in Santa Monica was to park their vehicle, rent bikes and ride around lugging $60,000 plus in film gear. I was quite in awe. I've done myriad feats of strength filming by bike, but I probably wouldn't even consider attempting this. They looked like they were having a ton of fun and made it look easy - after all, as they pointed out,  they're Amsterdammers and they should be able to do anything by bike.

Hey guys, sign me up for your next shoot in the states! :)

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Manhattan Needs a Great Network of Car-free Streets

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Yeah, this is a bit of a rant. Thanks to my job I've been fortunate to travel to many amazing cities. And unlike New York City, the greatest ones all have massive grids of car-free streets.

I'm not talking about temporary, weekly ciclovia closures. Or a few car-free blocks here or there. Or great parks or plazas where people gather or eat. I'm talking about streets where you can walk for miles and never encounter a car. And if you do, they're moving along no faster than 10 mph on shared, traffic-calmed streets where motorists drive with a high-degree of vigilance.

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Amsterdam, the Netherlands

If you travel too, I'm sure you may have favorites. Personally I love Copenhagen, Zurich, Amsterdam, Melbourne, and now Stockholm. In all these cities there are core areas where you can walk and walk and feel happiness, solace, and quiet.

When you have large grids where no one can drive, it inspires residents to dream bigger and strive for an even healthier, more car-free city. It gives businesses and restaurants proof that you don't need to accommodate driving (or at least on-street parking) to turn nice profits. It makes other communities rise up and say, "Hey, we want that!"

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Zurich, Switzerland

I love New York City. I've lived here since 1991 and it's the best place to live in the world. I love the transportation progress I've been fortunate to document over the last ten years. But it irks me that there are at least a dozen other cities I've visited where I can get a feeling NYC cannot provide on its street grid: a sense of complete freedom as a pedestrian from the perils of the auto while walking for enjoyment, shopping, or recreation.

Read more...

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The Power of Bicycling (Get Psyched)

Has winter fatigue set in yet? Time to get psyched about biking again!

This has been the worst winter of my adult life. And if you live most places in the United States you'd probably agree.  Between the extreme below-average temperatures and the constant barrage of snowstorms, it's made cycling outdoors a rough proposition - even for the intrepid.

To attempt to lift my spirits, I started browsing archived Streetfilms bike b-roll from all over the world, and I could feel my mood instantly change. We've certainly been lucky to shoot in great bicycle places in beautiful weather and that magic of bike love easily translates via the camera.  So I thought maybe I should share some of that joy and get some of you looking forward to the Spring with this hasty-assembled montage.  

Warmer days are coming my friends. Enjoy the bike porn.

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Bicycle Anecdotes From Amsterdam

Here we present our final -- and most informative -- Streetfilm from Amsterdam. It provides a nice cross-section of commentary on life in the City of Bikes. If you’d like to skip directly to a certain section, use this table of contents:

0:17 Rejecting the Automobile
2:15 A bike system that works for everyone
4:05 There's a science to what looks like "bicycle chaos"
5:55 Coming to The Netherlands from the United States
7:33 Dutch Bicycle Culture

Make sure you check out our other Streetfilms from Amsterdam: No Amsterdam is Not "Swamped" By BikesAmsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Organize Bike Parking, and Some Things You Might See While In Amsterdam.

I still find it amazing that a five-year-old in Amsterdam can ride straighter and with more confidence than the average American adult!

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Amsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Better Organize Bike Parking

Amsterdam cycling advocate Marjolein de Lange regales us with this tale from 2006 about how cyclists came up with a very simple solution (draw bike box outlines directly on the pavement!) to better organize the chaotic, random bike parking outside of a popular supermarket which is used by many blind patrons, physically challenged individuals and seniors. It's so simple and shows how sometimes engineers might over think a simple solution to a problem.

Marjolein tells us these are now common in many shopping areas in Amsterdam and other cities. Although I will add one comment: this also only works well in cities where nearly all the bikes do have kickstands.

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No, Amsterdam Is Not “Swamped” By Bikes

In June, the New York Times published a story headlined "The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, But a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital" that instigated much debate (over 365 reader comments in one day) and a torrent of emails to the editor. The Times followed up by seeking a "dialogue" with its readers about the supposed "swamping" of Amsterdam by bicycles. Then came all the echoes of the Times narrative in other media.

So, are there really too many bikes in Amsterdam? On a recent trip to the Netherlands, I got to experience this "sea of bikes" first-hand, and I saw no true problems other than pockets of less-than-ideal bike parking accommodations.

Over 30 percent of trips in Amsterdam are done by bike, and many locals have decried the Times article as hyperbole. See what some of them have to say about the situation in this Streetfilm.

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Some Things You Might See While In Amsterdam

I'm currently on a European junket, and ahead of the more serious Streetfilms that will come out of it, I thought it would be prudent to put up some everyday street scenes of bicycling in Amsterdam.

Enjoy! Make sure to check back for more extensive coverage in coming weeks.

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

The Netherlands is widely recognized for having the highest cycling rates in the world. What's not so well known is that the Dutch don't bike so much because cycling is in their DNA. They do it because after the country started down the path toward car dependence, they made a conscious decision to change course. After many decades of deliberate policy to invest in cycling as a mode of transportation, the Netherlands has the most advanced bike infrastructure you'll ever see.

Recenty Streetfilms joined a group of city leaders from Chicago, Washington, DC and Miami on a study tour of the Netherlands, through the Bikes Belong Foundation's Bicycling Design Best Practices Program. The program shows American transportation professionals and policy makers real life examples of what it looks like to invest in cost-effective bicycle facilities. This video takes you on a tour of the incredibly well thought out street designs in the Netherlands. You'll see the infrastructure, hear from the experts on the ground, and watch the tour participants react and imagine how they might implement similar designs in American cities