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Posts tagged "Copenhagen"

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Happy Valentine’s Bike Day Montage!

Well it's February 14th. And I just decided that for the first time ever Streetfilms was gonna do some happy, loving Valentine's Day biking imagery for a card to our subscribers and fans.

I sifted thru about 30 Streetfilms over the past ten years and lifted out lots of scenes of happiness from some of our videos from NYC, USA and around the world.

Bikes = Love

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There are now 100 Streetfilms featuring Protected Bike Lanes for your advocacy!

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"Protected Bike Lane Bonanza" Screenshot from Vimeo (Click to go there!)

Well congratulations to us! We've now posted our 100th Streetfilm that features elements, designs or pilots of protected bicycle lanes all over the world. But really it is congratulations to you, too, since you just have that much more evidence to show your elected leaders and cities that this type of safe design works.

Just go to this link on Vimeo where our programmed channel is neatly organized all 100+ films for your perusal. Here: https://vimeo.com/channels/protectedbikelanes

To celebrate, I thought I'd point you towards some of my personal favs and those with useful content. It's extremely hard to choose, but here are my Top Five. Please don't be limited by these!

1. Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes

I made this Streetfilm over 8 years ago and it still holds up smashingly well. I've lost count of the hundreds of messages I have gotten over the years (especially the first three years it was up) of advocates, politicians and neighborhood leaders who told me having this film to screen/share totally changed the game in their fight for better lanes for their city/town/state. And at nearly 350k plays (that I can count) it's the fifth most popular Streetfilm of all time.

Best story from this trip: Within minutes of arriving to my hotel I saw my first platoon of about 30 cyclists heading towards me. It's like I had seen a bike unicorn and I hurriedly raced to capture it on film, severely spraining my ankle in the process.  Of course the same scene of bikes continued over and over. All day. Dopey me. Thankfully, biking proved to be the easier method of getting around as I was walking was so badly I probably should have been on crutches the 5 days!

2. Cycling London’s Bicycle Super Highways

A few years ago London's first Bicycle Superhighway lanes opened to much fanfare and immediately were filled up during rush hours by thousands of commuters. In fact, the Central Business District now has almost equal numbers of bikes and cars entering daily. There were scores of photos and short clips of huge masses of cyclists dominating the Twitterverse but really almost no substantial video reports of the lanes. So I felt it was my duty to get there this past summer and talk to many London residents about them and see for myself these immensely wide, beautiful structures that admittedly can make you get jealous!

And a related Streetfilm that details how an advocacy group formed to organize business leaders to push for the lanes is also a great watch!

3. The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

This is a straight forward, nuts and bolts documentation of some of the work NYC DOT pulled off in what once seemed like an impossible task: to create a safe and working protected bike lane on Queens Blvd, once named "The Boulevard of Death".  This was following Mayor de Blasio's allocation of millions of dollars to reformat the roadway in the wake of his passionate support of Vision Zero. Then at NYC DOT (now the head of Oakland, CA's DOT) Ryan Russo detailed the how every-block-is-different design came about.

I really wanted to make this as a historical document and thought it would be a little dry, especially a 10 minute film with only one speaker.  But this ended up a pretty popular Streetfilm with scores of curious folks around the country watching and other city transportation departments and students studying it.

4. Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

Made in 2013, it is the third most popular Streetfilm of all-time! At this point in my life I had been to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, two cities that do bicycling right. But I absolutely fell in love with the silence and breathtaking beauty of Groningen in the north Netherlands. For one, I laughed while walking the mile from the train to check into my hotel. Why? I didn't see one car! People seemed so happy. It was like Disneyland for bikes.

Besides the excellently designed bike infra, there is also a traffic circulation plan built in to the city that forces cars to detour to longer routes making almost every trip you can do either faster by bike or competitive to the point that you might as well not own a car.

5. Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride/

Sunnyside Family Fun Bike Ride

Okay, the fifth one is actually a tie (yeah, I 'm cheating a bit). But both of these Streetfilms have been very important in the struggle for holding on to very important bike lanes implemented by NYC DOT that were under assault from local communities vehmently opposed to losing parking and road space. In both cases, families and groups in favor of the lanes wanted to provide a powerful visual of the lanes in use, so they both planned celebratory rides that put children out front.

The top is the Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride, which in April 2011 was under attack by a Brooklyn group called "Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes", who - shockingly - really weren't for better bike lanes at all!  They were suing the city for their removal (eventually they lost over and over) and had uncomfortable ties to former NYC DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. That's the skinny, but you can read all about it here in the Streetsblog archives.

The bottom is almost the nearly the same video but seven years later in the Sunnyside community of Queens where the struggle to initiate an integral pair of protected bike lanes on Skillman & 43rd Avenues went bonkers. It featured tons of Community Board drama - which still continues today - and a similarly themed "group" called "Queens Streets for All" which is really just about fighting for free car parking on the two streets.

Watch both videos and you'll see why if you have a bike lane in your neighborhood you should bring out families!

So those are my picks. Enjoy the list which gets automatically updated with each new protected bike lane Streetfilm we produce. As always these films are free to share or embed anywhere, used in their entirety in journalistic endevaours or even screen in your community (however, we do require permission if you choose to re-edit parts of video in other productions.)

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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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Safety at Copenhagen’s Busiest Cycle Intersection

I got to talk with James Thoem, a Project Manager with Copenhagenize Design Company, about the key safety measures installed at what is claimed to be the world busiest cycle intersection with over 42,000 users per day.

Cyclists here get an advanced green light before cars, which keeps drivers from jumping ahead and competing to turn with cyclists. However, the powers that be in Copenhagen have also made sure to put drivers at ease by allowing their signal to remain green 6 seconds after cyclists must stop, giving up to 3 cars a chance to make the turn. For it to work smoothly and effectively, it means all users must obey the law. And they largely do.

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48 Hours in Copenhagen Yields Four Streetfilms!

Although the main goal of this latest overseas trip was to visit Oslo, Norway to interview leaders about the city's plans to go car-free in the city center by 2019, I knew I'd have the opportunity to visit somewhere else (very quickly) to shoot a few Streetfilms. Nearby Denmark was the obvious choice where I only spent a little over two days and it yielded a crop of Streetfilms substance (along with a short side trip to Malmo to also see the bike world there.)

Two of the films are already published on the blog, but two others new to you aren't.  The first was a short bit (above) where I got to talk to James Thoem, a Project Manager with Copenhagenize Design Company, about the key safety measures installed at what some claim to be the world busiest cycle intersection with over 42,000 users per day. The things he talks about would certainly nearly illuminate "right hook" crashes in the United States, but of course something tells me the incredible volume of cyclists also is a factor in driver's ability to sit patiently. I did a popular montage on that on my last trip here.

The fun montage above is just something I crammed together on my journey between Copenhagen to Oslo. I realized as I was out shooting footage that I was collecting an insane amount of children and dogs riding along in cargo bikes and such. It could be because I was missing my little boy (who recently took his first bike ride ever) and envied all the families. I surveyed fans on Twitter and asked if they would like to see such a montage. They enthusiastically said yes, so I obliged.

Here's just something I saw while out with James. A construction crew digging and transporting dirt.  Everything proceeding with very little fanfare. It looked all very professional and yet kinda scary. I took one ride underneath, which although the crew used due care, also seemed very borderline dangerous. Yet, nice to see life and work proceed without alarm. What do you think?

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There's me above checking out the newly opened "Kissing Bridge", which was delayed for many years. I'm not gonna say too much here about the final video since it has its own blog entry, but Marie Kastrup from the City of Copenhagen, showed me some wonderful hospitality gave me a whirlwind tour of the newest car-free bridges in Copenhagen. This is the result.

But the video itself should prove very valuable to cities across the globe as conversation starter. Here in NYC while we are debating whether or not we could possibly widen the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian and bike path say 3 to 5 years down the road (if at all), We need to look at what bridges could we build in NYC that would greatly enhance transportation for cyclists. The Move NY/Gridlock Sam plan does float the possibilities of some car-free crossings, but one has to wonder if it would be seriously ever studied. If we were in Copenhagen, there would likely already be plans for multiple bridges going in.

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Touring Copenhagen’s Car-Free Bridges

Copenhagen is great. One of the things that makes it so is that the city is continually trying to find ways to make biking and walking better for its citizens. And one way they are doing that now is by erecting many bridges (especially over their harbor) that are car-free, which helps take the stress off of current routes that have become congested with bicycling.
Marie Kastrup, the Bicycle Program Manager for the City of Copenhagen, was very kind to take me on a tour of just some of the bike & ped bridges Copenhagen has constructed in the past ten years. And the amazing thing is: there are even more on the way, four in the next few years are planned!

Every major city should be looking at their waterfronts and making it easier to cross bodies of water. While we debate, possibly widening the Brooklyn bike/ped path sometime years into the future, I would love to see some new car-free crossings over the East River in NYC being seriously discussed. If you are a cyclist and want to go between boroughs, sometimes it is very, very tough since there are not many places to cross.

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Cycling Copenhagen with Children, Canines & Couples as Cargo

I was stuck in my hotel room after two days of shooting a few videos in Copenhagen and realized I had unconsciously become more fixated on capturing people riding with their children (and pets!) than in previous trips. It could have something to do with the fact that I have a young son now.
Almost a joke, I tweeted to Streetfilms fans asking if I put together a montage of kids & dogs being ferried about in Copenhagen would they watch it? I got over two dozen likes and copious replies in a very short time. So while at the airport waiting for my flight to Oslo and also using the flight time and bus ride to hotel, I put stitched this lovely bike poem together.
I hope you like it. Especially because I almost never use slow-mo. Why? I see people that lean on it all the time as a style. For me, I think it's best to use it sparingly. I've used slow-motion maybe twice in 700 Streetfilms. But this time it felt so right and matched the dreamy soundtrack. Enjoy.

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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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Watch as Copenhagen Drivers Turning Right Exhibit Incredible Patience for Cyclists (as they should)

Amazingly, I put up this montage of nearly raw footage I shot in Copenhagen to exhibit the patience of drivers as they prepare to make right turns as passing cyclists cruise by with little fear of every being "right hooked". I didn't think it would get more than a few hundred views so I didn't put it on Streetfilms proper. Now after over 6000 plays (almost all thru social networking shares) I changed my mind and put it up.

What's most amazing is that in two or three instances of each shot there's a point where American drivers in most of our cities would have gunned it to make the turn. Or just invaded the cyclist's space.

Of course the reason so many Copenhagen drivers exhibit so much patience is with a 42% bike mode share, they are cyclists themselves. And also all Copenhagen school kids receive lots of road education while in school.

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Videos from Stockholm, Malmö & Copenhagen: Featuring CPH Driver Patience, Vision Zero and NYC Bike Lane future?

Our newest video showing new-fangled bike stuff from Copenhagen was such an immediate hit (30K plays in 3 days!) I decided not to wait to post a "bonus" video showing the respectful cooperation between turning drivers & cyclists. Why? Well we all know the dreaded right hook collisions that happen often in the U.S. and other places.  In Copenhagen they're almost unheard of which is thanks to the education drivers must go thru and the traffic safety all residents get taught while in grade school. Plus: with a bike mode share of 42% that means that most drivers are likely cyclists sometime during the week.

The primary goal of this Streetfilms swing was to visit Stockholm, Sweden and talk to residents & experts about walking, biking, transportation and livability. Also: Vision Zero, a term which has been embraced NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as a program to cut the number of traffic deaths on the streets of New York. I was very lucky to have Mary Beth Kelly from Families for Safe Streets accompanying me and we met with Claes Tingvall, the Director of Traffic Safety at the Swedish Transport Administration. Above is that full interview, but you'll also be seeing him in at least one other Streetfilm in the near future.

DSC08951The above photo is from Stockholm and is what I envision as the future of NYC protected bike lanes. Recently, they've began a trial study in Södermalm on Götgatan Street, by upgrading an older, narrow bike lane (see it to left in photo) by removing a travel lane for cars and moving parking out, freeing up a wide space for bikes, which gets crowded at rush hour.

DSC08956It looks a lot like the typical NYC style Avenue except that every few feet there are small concrete barriers, something that is cheap, easily deployable and would be a nice deterrent we could use in NYC lanes.

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The same street also offers something I found, well, bike-adorable (see above). Most bike travelers are familiar with the "Copenhagen left" style turns, which is rolling up to the light and waiting across the street for another green to make a left. This is typical in Stockholm. And on the same street Götgatan, they have recently installed turning wait areas on all four corners via a nicely crafted nook in the sidewalk!

Finally, I had intended to get to Malmö, Sweden for a full day since I have always heard so much great stuff, but thanks to a bad back, jet lag and a long train delay, I only got to stroll around for a few hours. But I still wanted to show what a peaceful place it is and put together this short montage of footage of my experience. I will have to go back.

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Journey Around Copenhagen’s Latest Bicycle Innovations!

Copenhagen just keeps finding new ways to make it easier and more convenient to bike. Recently I had the chance to take a tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize and see some of the innovations that have changed the city's streets since I was there four years ago.

First off, if you've seen my 2010 Streetfilm about Copenhagen's bike infrastructure and culture, the busiest bicycle street in the world has changed: The Knippelsbro Bridge now boasts 40,700 riders per day! And speaking of bridges, Copenhagen is building six new crossings exclusively for biking and walking to help its citizens get around.

Last month another cool bridge debuted -- the Cykelslangen ("Bicycle Snake"). You'll see loads of footage as we traveled back and forth. It is truly a handsome piece of infrastructure. Even going uphill seems pretty easy!

You'll see lots of other things that will make you happy (or angry your city isn't doing more!), including waste baskets angled for cyclists, LED lights that indicate whether riders have to speed up to catch the green wave, and a cool treatment for cobblestone streets that helps make biking easier.

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In the U.S. Walking & Biking to School is Becoming Extinct, Get Inspired by some Streetfilms to Change That

Last year, we debuted a crisply-edited Streetfilm "Children Have Lost the Freedom to Roam" as a chapter in our STREETFACTS series. We were surprised the 4-part educational series didn't do better. However, the last week saw renewed interest as people started forwarding it around Facebook, nearly 100 shares! Perhaps the general public is beginning to crave change?

Things sure have changed in most parts of the country since I was a kid. I'm now 47. I walked over 2 miles each way to school - in rain and snow (and I was also a morning paperboy for the Times-Hearld Record in Goshen, NY!) In many parts of our country, the built-environment has made it nearly impossible for kids to walk and bike. And as we all know in some places it is illegal or forbidden by the school district.

That's really depressing, sure. But at Streetfilms we've been lucky to be around cities trying to do it right here in America. Our recent hit from Lakewood, Ohio a Cleveland school district that has never provided buses for its students, just soared to nearly 60,000 plays! In Lakewood you can sense the atmosphere is much different than a typical school morning. The kids and parents seem happy, The energy level is infectious.

Last year we got to visit Portland, Oregon where thanks to much traffic calming and slow streets of the Neighborhood Greenways, children are walking and biking in growing numbers. It's encouraging. It's a very fun film. Especially the Bike Trains!

There are many videos to get inspired by via Streetfilms. In Brooklyn, PS 67 students painted the pavement to make streets near their school safer. In Davis, California the bike mode share is high, and most of the school districts there don't have buses either.

But in the U.S. we have so much further to go. See above, for this short video from the Dutch city of Utrecht, where children learn about transportation at an early age. And if you watch our 2010 Streetfilm from Copenhagen, you'll see plenty of young children riding bikes, and hear about how the learn how at a very early age to navigate the streets.

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Then there is this clip last year from an Amsterdam trip that shows what we are looking to attain is humanly possible. Yes this kid is four years old! I couldn't ride that well as a teenager!

But don't get depressed too much by this stellar work beyond done overseas. There are many communities and advocacy groups out there pushing to make our streets better. Use these videos as your inspiration and don't wait any longer. And also, our Zozo series can help spread the word!

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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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Five Great Streetfilms You May Have Missed! So Watch ‘Em Now!

Since we have over 500 Streetfilms, invariably there are some I thought deserved far more viewers then they ultimately got. And some of these I really enjoyed working on or believed are important to see. Since I was recently asked which of my Streetfilms I wished had gotten more play, I decided to look over the past 7 years and pick out the Top Five that deserved to be seen some more. If you are new, you should check them all out.

1. Via RecreActiva: A Transformative Ciclovia for Guadalajara (Jan 2012):  This is the one I always cite as one I thought was gonna rack up mega views and never did.  In fact it only got about 2K in its first few months. I was stunned. Perhaps by the time we debuted it, people already knew enough about Ciclovias and just didn't need another.  This is one of the most magical open streets events in the world and the energy should be experienced.

2. Queens’ Corona Plaza: A Community Place Rises (August 2012): Maybe it's because this plaza is so near and dear to my heart only a few miles away from my home in Jackson Heights. But the wonderful people who have helped make this plaza happen against many odds deserve a lot of credit. It looks different from the plazas you'll find in Times Square and all over Manhattan. You should watch. Now.

3. GOP Mayor Greg Ballard: Making Bicycling a Priority in Indianapolis (June 2013):  This mayor is a huge believer in cycling. I see his personal tweets talking about it constantly. He has toured the country talking about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (that video DID perform  amazingly). But Mayor Ballard is also a Republican. We need more in his party to talk like he does about transportation. This quick profile on him has been amazingly under viewed.

Read more...

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Streetfilms Q&A: Gil Peñalosa, Executive Director 8-80 Cities

Gil Peñalosa is the Executive Director of 8-80 Cities. He's appeared in a dozen Streetfilms and was highly instrumental in assisting production of our trilogy of Bogotá films in late 2007/early 2008.  His indefatigable dedication on our five day trip really helped put Streetfilms on the map.  He currently serves on our Streetfilms advisory board.

SF:
Tell us a little about 8-80 Cities?
GP: 8-80 Cities is a Canadian based non-profit organization with an international outlook. Our goal is to contribute to the creation of vibrant cities and healthy communities, where residents live happier and enjoy great public places.  We promote walking and bicycling as activities and urban parks, streets and other public spaces as great places for all. We are proud to have many Streetfilms on our website - as an example, this month we included Melbourne: A Pedestrian Paradise.

SF:
You give presentations in dozens of cities per year and feature Streetfilms.  Why?
GP: People say an image is worth a thousand words; well, a Streetfilm is worth a million! The magic of Streetfilms is the ability to explain complex topics in a simple way, which seems equally interesting to PhDs, politicians, activists, media, and citizens in general. Quite often it’s hard for people to imagine situations without seeing them, and video is the next best thing to being there.

SF:
 So why do you think they work effectively?
GP: Because people can see examples, pause, repeat, and in a short meeting see many world examples. Last week, I was in Johannesburg and one day we did a workshop on Open Streets/Ciclovia. In a few hours we saw Streetfilms on the programs of Bogota, Guadalajara, Portland, and New York City. The participants understood what I was talking about and the follow up discussion was much more valuable.

SF:
Any memorable stories or comments?
GP: I have shown Streetfilms on all continents, including audiences of elected officials and decision makers, community activists, media, staff from multiple departments such as public health, planning, transportation, education, finance, and I always get positive feedback. In fact, afterwards people are eager to get to Streetfilm's website to continue studying best practices from around the world.

This Streetfilm above Copenhagen's Car-Free Streets & Slow Speed Zones really features Gil at his best, exploring the city and talking about what makes a street and place wonderful.