As we worked towards our final edit for the anchor Ghent Streetfilm on the installation of their Circulation Plan, there were many smaller items we knew wouldn't make the final cut or were better off as quick items posted as shorts.
Above, of course, is the main feature. But below you will find some supplemental gems and fun.
This one below dives deeper in to the politics and the media negativism as the Circulation Plan for the city was getting ready to be installed.
In Ghent there is a very unique bridge that raises and lowers for boats WHILE cyclists ride over it, no need for pausing.
While we were on a bike tour of the city Vice Mayor Filip Watteeau showed us a program where neighbors can request and design their streets. Here is a clip.
And finally, there are quite a number of tram tracks, everywhere. And it is amazing and graceful to see the city's residents navigate them successfully, and most of them aren't wearing helmets either.
Very exciting to see that Streetfilms has visited a record number (half!) of the the cities in this year's version of the Copenhagenize Top 20 Bicycle Cities!
You can take a gander at the complete list here on their website, but here is a sample of the cities on our website you can check out and their corresponding films!
#1 Copenhagen is number one once again. We have over a half dozen videos we've done from Copenhagen but below is the most recent (along with our film from 2010 which is still a Top Five film on Streetfilm of all time).
#2 Amsterdam has moved back to number 2 from 3. We also have featured Amsterdam very prominently over the years. Their most recent announcement to remove 10,000 parking spaces from the city center made us return last month for this special film. Also included is our 2013 epic that is nearing a half million plays!
#3 Utrecht is a dream. And today we released a Streetfilm updating the world as to what measures they are taking to improve bicycling in their city and eradicate the car from the city center. You must visit.
#7 Oslo moving up several notches. Why? As we showed a few years ago during our visit to see how much progress the city was making on its bold announcement to turn its downtown car-free and more people-friendly for the health of its citizens. It was the first film made on Oslo on the topic.
#12 Our trio of films on Bogota in 2007 was what essentially put Streetfilms on the map. We have been back, but we're kind of indebted to that series and have to post the awesome video on Ciclovia that helped bring that message to now hundreds of cities in the USA hosting car-free streets events.
#13 Streetfilms went to Barcelona to document the awesome Superblocks program. But I did get a few hours to rent a bike on my second day to roll thru the city and I found it wonderful. A great walking city. Here are those two videos.
#16 Tokyo is a bustling city and packs in over 9 million people. But even though they don't have tons of traditional protected-style bike lanes, bike riding is really popular!
#18 (tie) Montreal is a favorite of Streetfilms, which has been visiting every few years since the mid-1990s (well that would be its founder, Clarence Eckerson Jr.) I made this film when I rode the mega fun Tour de L'ile and looked at why the ride was an inspiration for it's bike infrastructure.
#18 (tie) I guess it would have to be that both Canadian cities on the list would tie for #18! So no bragging rights for the northern cousins. Vancouver is a newcomer to the list and from the momentum the city has, it would not be a surprise to see it bolt up the charts next time around. Check out this pair of Streetfilms that will convince you if you have never visited.
#20 Hamburg announced many years ago that it wanted to reach 7% bike mode share by 2020. So we took a look at what residents thought about the announcement.
Congestion Pricing looks to be coming to NYC in some form or other in the budget for NYS in 2020. Streetfilms has done so many videos with that as the topic and in so many ways, I decided it was time for a look back. And, oh boy, there is even more than I remembered (and some I flat out forgot!)
Let's just take the chronologically..here are the highlights
April 2007: We Talked to Bob Kiley about London's Pricing Success
June 2007: Campaign for New York's Future
November 2007: Bay Ridge Bus Riders talk about Congestion Pricing
November 2007: First few minutes of our interview with Randy Cohen we touched on Congestion Pricing
December 2007: StreetsblogNYC founder Aaron Naparstek talked to drivers about traffic jams and Congestion Pricing
March 2011: Moving Beyond the Automobile: Congestion Pricing with "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz
March 2015: Exploring the Streets of Stockholm
November 2017: Talking Stockholm's Congestion Pricing with Jonas Eliasson
December 2017: Unsustainable Traffic 2018
March 2018: Advocates Rally Outside Gov. Cuomo's Office to Pass Congestion Pricing
July 2018: Clusterf**k on Varick Street: The Case for Congestion Pricing
February 2019: Congestion Pricing will eventually save Riders over 100 Hours Per Year (featuring me and my son!)
February 2019: Fixing the Subway is about Racial & Economic Justice
March 2019: Congestion Pricing will save Lives in NYC!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.)
When I take a trip (especially to Europe) I usually plan for a specific Streetfilm to make in each city. For example, here were my identified goals for my recent 8-day loop thru Barcelona (Super Blocks), Seville (History of Bike Lanes) and London (their Bike Superhighways and more).
But as is almost always the case, when in Europe I see lots of cool transportation thingys or nifty practices I can't resist even in the midst of documenting my main goals. So it happens, I grab a few shots and turn them into shorties or just a bit of a montage that I hope people might find useful or enlightening.
Let's start in Barcelona where I fell in love with trams on grass. Why? Because I just do that (see here). Anyway, while organizing my video to edit the Super Blocks film, I realized I also had grabbed more bicycling video in my two hour bike rental than I thought. So I knitted together this montage that went quite viral on Facebook. (Hmmm....maybe should have spent another day to ride with some bike advocates?)
Now let's jump to Seville which has an incredible bicycling story of going from nearly zero riders to closing in on 10% after installing a full network. This link is the main Streetfilm I posted which is nearing about 75,000 plays combined on Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
But I got lots more story than that, especially some useful clips that were cut from the body of my Streetfilm for time that I repurposed as cutting room floor teasers! Above this paragraph is a short on how residents navigate the tram tracks to reposition themselves on the other side of the cycle track by following medallions/markers inserted on the pavers in the historic downtown.
Also above is a direct trim from the feature attraction featuring Manuel Calvo Salazar that I felt might be useful to planners or advocates showing how Seville positioned its bike lanes behind the many bus stops on its major roads. So that proved popular. And then below I had a few cute shots of kids on rollerblades going out on the protected bike lanes, showing how safe residents feel they are despite the narrowness in many areas.
And finally, I am also editing down my London footage as well to prepare a nice film looking at the popularity of the Bicycle Superhighway system. But wouldn't you know it, I also just happened to be in town the day a brand new public space years in the making debuted. So it was off with Iain Simmons the Assistant Director of City Transportation for the City Of London to check it out. I mean, how could I refuse even with an absolutely insanely booked schedule?
Look for my final films from Barcelona and London coming in the next few weeks! Until then, I hope you enjoy some of this output already. And here below is the Seville feature film if you haven't checked it out as of yet.