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Posts tagged "Janette Sadik-Khan"

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Street Transformations – Union Square (NYC)

Going thru the archives found some really great "vintage" footage to put together yet another episode in the Street Transformations series, this one looking at the positive transformation of the roads that encircle Union Square.

Rewind to 2005 when I was really starting to dive in to the work that would become Streetfilms. I decided to tape a big Community Board meeting to announce the results of a year long traffic study to see the feasibility of extending Manhattan's Union Square north, specifically making two-way 17th Street, one lane, one-way west and adding ample footage for a sidewalk, an extension of Union Square or both.

The "livable streets crowd" really thought this would be a big win but alas - NYC DOT reported other than installing a barnes dance crossing and some small signal timing changes, that 17th street, 19th street and other nearby streets would suffer unacceptable "levels of service" according to the federal guidelines in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) handbook. In another word "gridlock"!

Of course back then the MUTCD factored very little for pedestrians & bicyclists and discounted livability in favor of moving traffic along at any cost, a huge complaint of sensible transportation advocates.

But as we all know since then, New York City has had a decent renaissance on its streets. Both NYC DOT Commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg have progressively chipped away at road space for vehicles and added two-way protected bike lanes on two sides, pedestrian plazas, a unique ped/bike one block only section on Union Square West and, yes, extended the park north as was once hoped for all those years ago.

This look back reveals the danger of relying solely on the MUTCD when evaluating cities and their neighborhood streets. NACTO under Sadik-Khan's leadership started a process to broaden the accepted techniques other cities have employed thinking creatively with pilot including paint, bollards, boulders and protected bike lanes.

In the end, what the real failure of the 2005 decision by NYC DOT is the fact that they projected traffic to grow over the ensuing ten years. No one questioned that. But in fact later as NYC slowly deemphasized Broadway as a through route of travel and removed some parking, it actually became easier to see that predictions of traffic Armageddon were not true. And besides: even if traffic on some streets did go up a bit, wouldn't it be worth it to the tens of thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users to have a much more peaceful journey?

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Meet Some of the “100 Most Influential Urbanists” via Streetfilms!

Recently, Planetizen named their 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all-time, based on public voting off of a list of 200 nominees. Jane Jacobs won. As she should have.

Whether you believe the list is correct or has some people ranked too kindly or not at all, it has been circulating like mad on Facebook and other social media. Of course, when I took a look at the list, my first thought was how cool it was that Streetfilms had interviewed or featured dozens of them.  So if you want to learn or see many of these individuals in action, take a gander at the films below!

2. Jamie Lerner

The renowned urban planner became mayor of Curitiba and implemented their BRT system which we explore in this popular Streetfilm. But I selected the more intimate video we did on the story of Curitiba's first pedestrian street since it has lots of him.

 

4. Jan Gehl

In fact, there are many Streetfilms that have featured Gehl over the years. The film below is one of four I made - in five days - while in Copenhagen in 2010.  But our first with him was the most important: an influential video we cut of him  evaluating a horribly un-friendly-to-people Times Square in 2005 with Mark Gorton! In many ways it helped ignite the livable streets renaissance that NYC has been moving towards since.

 

10. Charles Mahron

About five years ago, Streetfilms first met Chuck, and we could tell he was an original thinker with ideas about our cities we needed to help spread. I thought he would make an interesting subject and followed him to a few cities.

 

12. William H. Whyte

Holly Whyte passed before I became deeply immersed making videos about urbanism and transportation. But since I always admired the simple language he used in his book "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces", I wanted to honor him with this montage of my favorite shots that matched the words in his book.

 

13. Donald Shoup

The undisputed expert of parking policy was part of our plan early on to highlight how ample free parking was a hurdle to having better cities. We interviewed him the first time he came to NYC and the 2nd time we did I decided it was time to take out some matchbox cars and show visually some of his concepts.

 

16. Janette Sadik-Khan

As NYC DOT Commissioner, we were perfectly positioned to watch the meteoric rise of Janette Sadik-Khan and how she introduced progressive public space initiatives and changed Times Square, Madison Square & brought us Summer Streets and more! She easily holds the record for appearing in more Streetfilms than any other person and  you might as well chalk all of this up to her,  Here we feature one of her first sit down interviews in 2008 with Mark Gorton about her work.

Read more...

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Streetfilms and Streetsblog: The First 10 Years

This summer, Streetfilms and Streetsblog celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and to mark the occasion, we created this film looking back at how our reporting and videos have changed streets in New York, the U.S., and cities all over the world.

This film showcases only a small portion of the work that thousands of volunteers and advocates have put in. It begins with the NYC Streets Renaissance, a collection of organizations that banded together in 2005 to rally people around the idea that streets can change, by showing best practices from other cities and photosimulations of what NYC streets could become.

You'll see clips from important Streetfilms like the series on Bogota's Bus Rapid Transit and Ciclovia, as well as recaps of how Streetsblog influenced transportation policy at City Hall, defended the work of transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and put pressure on Albany to stop raiding transit funds. Getting closer to the present day, we look at why Streetsblog's coverage of traffic crashes matters, the new generation of elected officials working for better streets, and what's next for advocacy in NYC.

A note: This Streetfilm runs over 12 minutes, but if we had the resources it easily be a 90-minute feature documentary. Apologies to anyone left on the cutting room floor and topics not addressed, but perhaps someday we'll be able to make that film!

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Five Eclectic Questions for Streetfighter Janette Sadik-Khan

Right before former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan set off on a multi-city book tour for Streetfight (along with co-author Seth Solomonow), I was able to get a few minutes to ask her five eclectic questions in Washington Square Park.

Want to know the story behind the appearance of hundreds of cheap lawn chairs on opening day in car-free Times Square? We asked her. Want to know if she has a crush on David Byrne? We asked her that too! Want to know her favorite color jellybean? Well, we didn't ask her that.

But we think you'll enjoy our quick, engaging conversation that's saturated with footage from the Streetfilms vault from Sadik-Khan's 2007-2013 tenure at NYC DOT.

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NACTO Previews the “Global Street Design Guide” at Designing Cities 2015

In October, NACTO held their 4th annual "Designing Cities" conference with a record 650+ attendees from all over the world. This year's event was in Austin, Texas which showcased many of the recent transportation improvements the city has done, including the new 3rd Street protected cycle track which you can see via this link.

As usual the event focussed on what people can learn from best practices in cities all over the United States & the world featuring plenary speakers such as Janette Sadik-Khan and Philadelphia Mayor Micheal Nutter as well as panels, city tours and the NACTO Camp which is an unconference which allows attendees to propose their own topics for discussion.

One big highlight of 2015 was the announcement of the impending release of the "Global Street Design Guide" which is the culmination of years of NACTO research in 46 diverse cities around the globe. Much like their "Urban Street Design Guide" in the U.S. which helped change the playing field for cities and states wanting to move away from highway design manuals for re-making streets, the new guide hopes to do the same for cities across the world.

As Janette Sadik-Khan explains, "It is a new operating code for cities across the world to use in redesigning their streets, rethinking their streets and implementing safe streets that work for everyone."

The Global Street Design Guide can be pre-ordered at the following link on the NACTO website.

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Streetfilms University: The “Simple” Art of Editing (YOU can do it!)

The first thing I like to emphasize to folks when they come to see me at conferences to give my Streetfilms University presentation is that if you have a little bit of patience, really anyone can make and edit a decent short film. Even with little or no experience. Sure, perhaps not to a "Streetfilms standard" right off the bat, but believe me: if you put the time in, you can edit and make a successful and perfectly watchable advocacy tool.

One method I like to use is playing videos showing a progression of clips, each step showing the transformation of a talking head interview to its placement within a Streetfilm. First, I play the raw soundbite I was working with. Next, I edit down my taking head and remove extraneous information to make a sleeker, faster answer. Then, I show what it looks like with b-roll (footage), sound and/or graphics edited in to showcase the final Streetfilms product.

This above clip is of Professor Norman Garrick from the University of Connecticut. He's easily become one of my favorite people to interview and this featured edit progression is from my recent Streetfilm "Zurich: Where People are Welcome and Cars Are Not." You'll see how I took a one minute soundbite and edited it down to 27 seconds with five edits. Then what it looks like once music and footage of transit & city life is ladled in.

There are many ways and styles to edit a film. But as a beginner don't get bogged down much on what music you are gonna use or how you are gonna begin the video or fancy animated graphics or kinds of transitions/fonts/titles you want. Just concentrate on your interviews. Edit them down to tell the story you want to. All of the other elements will actually be easier to decide once you have soundbites lined up. Trust me. There's not much sense putting effort into editing a fancy 20 second opening montage to your video and then saying to yourself, "Okay, now what?"

Here's another edit progression I've included, this time featuring three of transportation greatest heroes from the Streetfilm "The Rise of Open Streets". watch how three perfectly wonderful sound bites at a length of 1:12 sound even better at 33 seconds, and then the momentum it picks up by adding the appropriate corresponding footage.

I'm not saying this approach is the best for everybody, but it 's simple and always works. And you can duplicate it. Just be aware that it may take listening to a soundbite dozens of times to find out what to remove. Or better yet: letting the video sit and sleeping on it and coming back with a fresh set of eyes and ears. Just like a college term paper!

This final "riding interview" sequence I am attaching not to recommend you try for yourself (after all I've been doing this for 15 years) but it does illustrate how you can make magic happen. This is a clip of fellow media maker Chris Bruntlett I shot while riding in Montreal's Tour de l'Île. I accidentally had a GoPro recording during our chat and later when I realized I had the two angles, I wanted show what I sometimes endure and navigate while in the midst of my job. Nevertheless, the final product shows how adding in the right video b-roll helps tell the tale. Enjoy!

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The Rise of Open Streets

Streetfilms has been documenting the open streets movement for over seven years, beginning with our landmark film in 2007 on Bogota's Ciclovia, currently the most viewed Streetfilm of all time.

The next year, Mike Lydon of The Street Plans Collaborative decided to get an open streets event going in Miami, which led to his research for The Open Streets Project, a joint project with the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

Miami wasn't alone. In 2008, there were new open streets events in more than a dozen cities, including San Francisco, Portland and New York. All told, open streets events have increased tenfold since 2006.

"The Rise of Open Streets" examines the open streets movement from myriad perspectives -- how it began, how events are run, how they shape people's perceptions of their streets, and how creating car-free space, even temporarily, benefits people's lives. And it looks not only at big cities like Los Angeles, but smaller ones like Fargo, Berkeley, and Lexington.

We've interviewed some of the most important people in the movement, including former NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and former Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, as well as former Bogota Parks Commissioner Gil Penalosa and Enrique Jacoby, from the Pan American Health Organization.

We were proud to partner with The Street Plans Collaborative and the Alliance for Biking & Walking to produce this film, which we hope will encourage even more open streets events throughout the world. Funding for "The Rise of Open Streets" was graciously provided by the Fund for the Environment & Urban Life.

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Janette Sadik-Khan’s Greatest Streetfilms Hits!

Now that former NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has moved on to her next transportation chapter, Streetfilms thought the time was perfect to look back at some of her greatest moments with us.  We've always had a great relationship with Janette and during her six and half year reign and she's been in a few dozen Streetfilms.

Let's begin with the gem above we went deep in the archives to pull up: Sadik-Khan's one-minute speech before the crowd for the 2007 Transportation Alternatives Tour de Brooklyn. It was her first big public appearance for most cyclists, and listening to her visionary words I don't think you you'd find anyone involved in the livable streets back then who thought she would accomplish all she did.  I spliced in just a few of her many Streetfilms appearances over time to tease what was to come.

One of the biggest Streetfilms we had with Janette was a thorough sit down interview with Mark Gorton, our biggest donor and supporter of our work.  Even though she had only been at work for a little over a year, you can see the amount of swift change Sadik-Khan had already accomplished in our Q&A and walking tour.  I knew we'd hit a home run when a week after posting it, there were many fans mobbing her at a Railvolution conference saying they had watched every minute of the Streetfilm.

The video above was compiled after the new Times Square pedestrian spaces were created. My favorite moment is when I got to interview her sitting amongst the lawn chairs on the first day. That's about 3 1/2 minutes in if you don't want to watch it all. Read more...

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The Metamorphosis of NYC Streets

There's nothing more dramatic than looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage to see how much the streets of New York City have changed. In this wonderful montage, check out the incredible changes at Times Square, Herald Square, the Brooklyn waterfront, and many other places that outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and her staff have intrepidly transformed.

We have similarly high hopes for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he takes office, and look forward to what he and new NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg accomplish. Even though so much has changed, the vast majority of our streets still need to be rethought and redesigned. We need more space for efficient modes, slower speed limits, and traffic calming for our most vulnerable citizens. I hope this short gets them excited to top the transportation record of the Bloomberg administration.

Please note: This is but a short sample of the before-and-after footage at our disposal. Seriously, we could have put together a one hour version!

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Corona Plaza: One of the Best Pedestrian Spaces in NYC Gets a Big Boost!

Streetfilms Shortie - Dancing in Corona Plaza from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Mega-wowsers! Today out in Corona Plaza there was a big press event to announce an $800,000 donation from JPMorgan Chase Foundation to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership which goes to help fund the upkeep of ped plazas in low-income neighborhoods. Streetsblog has the full story, so I am not gonna re-hash the important bits, I'm just gonna post some nice photos for you to soak in.

That fun video clip above of kids jumping up and down was a spontaneous celebration. I love this plaza. If you haven't seen my original video from last year's opening days, I am requiring you to watch it - so click here.

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Presentation of the $800,000 check with many community representatives posing with Janette Sadik-Khan and special guest musician David Byrne! That's Queens Museum's Tom Finkelpearl with the spade.

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Councilperson Julissa Ferreras poses with students from P.S. 16 prepare to do some gardening.

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Councilperson Danny Dromm, one of this year's Streets Ball honorees, delivers remarks.

Read more...

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Streetfilms Stylin’ in Momentum Magazine

In May, I was invited to participate in a fashion shoot for Momentum Magazine, Issue #62. That faboulous issue is now for sale and features the above centerfold photo (shot by Derin Thorpe). It's a beauty and features a diverse group of New York City cyclists in cool threads,  including NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan!

To see lots of individual shots, check out the 2013 Be Chic BE NY Look Book available here.

In addition, there is some fun video of the event. I think my favorite moment has to be around the 1:10 mark for George Hahn's catwalk. Check out the clip courtesy of Bancha Srikacha:

Amazingly this is Streetfilms second issue in a row making an apparence in Momentum. There are many great articles from issue #61 I invite you to sample.  They include:

The Five Essential Streetfilms to watch for First Time Visitors

A Comprehensive Profile of Mark Gorton, the major funder of Streetsblog & Streetfilms.

Streetsblog Expands Coverage to Chicago

And finally, although we were stylin' nicely here, there was some real Cycle Chic going on during my Netherlands junket in Groningen where this posse of cyclists went by looking as debonair as can be.  Maybe one day I will look like that. A fashion-model-for-a-day can always dream, right?

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Citi Bike Debuts in New York City!

Memorial Day 2013 marked a milestone in NYC transportation history: the debut of the city's bike-share system, Citi Bike. At 330 stations, 6,000 bikes (of a planned 10,000) were available to more than 13,000 members who signed up for a yearly pass - and many of them couldn't wait to hit the streets!

The press conference at City Hall was a media frenzy. Hundreds of reporters and cameras were on hand to watch Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan ring in the launch. Streetfilms was there at this historic moment and put together this fun four-minute film which features a Citibike bike share station along a protected bike lane, David Byrne telling us what he will do with bike share and the best shot anyone got of Commissioner Sadik-Khan test driving the bike at City Hall.

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Highlights from NACTO’s 2012 “Designing Cities” Conference

The National Association of City Transportation Officials' 2012 Designing Cities Conference drew hundreds of city transportation officials from around the U.S. to New York City last fall to share ideas and learn about the latest innovations from places around the country.

As you'll see, the conference featured some nice twists on the usual fare and included many great speakers, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Brookings Institution's Bruce Katz. Among the headliners was NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who nicely encapsulated how some elected leaders are starting to approach transportation in their cities differently than their predecessors:

"Streets are there to transport people. They're not there necessarily for cars they're there to transport people - and there are lots of different ways of transporting people, and in fact one of the original ways was walking. So we've come full circle here - surprise, surprise."

Also, if you haven't already seen it, do not miss Streetfilms' video of the NACTO commissioner's panel, hosted by MSNBC's Chris Hayes. It is 52 minutes of fascinating dialogue between the transportation commissioners from five of America's greatest cities.

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Commissioners’ Panel – Raising the Bar: Building political capital to implement key design initiatives

This panel took place at NACTO's Designing Cities Conference, on October 26, 2012, in New York, NY, and was sponsored by IBM.

Political support for sustainable transportation initiatives is a precursor to success. The combination of agency champions, political champions and savvy advocacy groups is coming of age across the nation. Not all cities have all three and diverse agency structures determine the alliances needed to garner support. Visionary mayors and elected officials must be there to open doors and communicate your agency’s objectives to their constituents.

This session explores the political dialogue which governs local transportation initiatives. How can your agency build credibility and support without causing sticker shock? What are the key milestones of success and how can you work with the press to reinforce your accomplishments?

Moderator: Chris Hayes, Host, MSNBC’s UP w/ Chris Hayes  Featuring: Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation, Gabe Klein, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation, Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Tom Tinlin, Commissioner, Boston Transportation Department and Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia.

Selected highlights from the panel are below:

09:00 - Ed Reisken "we need to make public transit accessible, reliable and enjoyable"
11:30 - Gabe Klein  talks about young people and transportation's vitality to a city
15:14 - Rina Culter on "Money Matters"
17:23 - Tom Tinlin "Mayor Menino has said, 'The car is no longer king in Boston' "
23:50 - Gabe Klein talks gas prices in Netherlands vs. U.S. and transportation infrastructure
31:03 - Janette Sadik-Khan - "We need to find partners in creating public spaces in NYC."
33:30 - Chris Hayes refers to cars as "speeding machines of death"!
36:56 - Janette Sadik-Khan: "in New York, two-thirds of New Yorkers get around without a car, less than half own a car"
48:21 - Chris Hayes asks the panel about public criticism from the media and giving advice to future commissioners.

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MBA: Bicycling

For the second chapter in our Moving Beyond the Automobile series we'll take a look at bicycling. More and more people are choosing to cycle for at least part of their commute in cities across the world. Leading the way in the United States, Portland, Oregon is up to a daily bike count of 17,000 riders! For this video we spent some time with leading thinkers in New York, San Francisco and Portland to discuss the direct relationship between providing safe cycling infrastructure and the number of people biking. The benefits of cycling are simple. Biking helps reduce congestion, air pollution, meet climate action goals and makes for healthier communities.

(Note: This series is made possible by funding from the Fund for The Environment & Urban Life.)