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Ode to The Netherlands: Streetfilms’ Favorite Dutch Bike Things

See....

-Amsterdam's bike ferries to North Amsterdam

-Utrecht's Vredenburg: The busiest Dutch bike path

-Groningen's Circulation Plan and how it led to a 60% bike mode share

-Rotterdam's Trams on Grass (need I say more?)

-Arnhem-Nijmegen Bike Highway - 18km of uninterrupted, car-free riding

& so much more!

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The NYC Cargo Bike Revolution: More Families take to the Streets!

If you've lived in New York City for a long time, you'll realize there are many more cargo bikes cruising the streets! It used to be rare you'd see one, but the last five years their presence has undoubtedly been on the rise and since Covid-19 hit in 2020 there has been a dramatic uptick for many reasons you will hear.

Back in May I decided while I was out covering other events I would find a way to fit in talking to the many families using cargo bikes in NYC and why. Sometimes it would be a tweet out just to meet me at an event I was already shooting but other times it was a completely random meet up. The comments here are really just the tip of the iceberg as several interviews didn't make the final cut. Propel Bikes, whose founder Chris Nolte we talked to, has done some cool features on Youtube but not much else out there from the NYC universe.

It's not often I do films over 10 minutes, but there is a lot of joy, information and family-fun packed into this Streetfilm and well worth the 13 minute view time. Also: for fairness I will divulge that we are a two-cargo bike family - I have owned a Workcyles FR8 since my son was born and my wife Fatima obtained a Tern bike in 2021. (She previously also had a Taga for a few years for my son's first bike riding experiences.) If you ask either of us we can extoll the many benefits for you and your kid(s) being al fresco commuting, exercising, meeting friends or shopping.

Much thanks to Jeff & Madeleine Novich (she is on Instagram at @Cargobikemomma) for gathering an initial pod meet up for an open street on 103rd Street in Manhattan. A few of these folks also appear in that Streetfilm which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixKR1U0sNT8

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Bike Boulevards Debut in NYC: Check out Queens’ 39th Avenue!

Earlier this year the NYC DOT announced it would pilot one bike boulevard in each of the five boroughs. Some were actually on the ambitious side and none more so than in Sunnyside, Queens where 39th Avenue (which was designated an open street during 2020 Covid) was converted to a bike boulevard on an integral connection for bike riders for 8 blocks. The innovative treatments (well for NYC) include a diagonal traffic diverter and frequent lane direction changes as well as swaps for wide protected bike lanes at times. Listen to what supporters had to say!

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Santa Ride 2021: 6th Annual Ciclistas Latinoamericanos Jackson Heights Bike Ride

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Talking Public Spaces with Mark Gorton: Episode One with Meatpacking BID Jeffrey LeFrancois

Here's an absolutely great interview between Open Plans' Mark Gorton and NYC's Meatpacking BID Director Jeffrey LeFrancois. Intended to be the first of an on-going series with Mark Gorton where he interviews neighborhood leaders, BID directors and elected officials about how to manage open streets & open spaces and how much effort needs to be going on behind the scenes to pull it off successfully, he and Jeffrey chat about how this grid of streets in NYC has become more friendly to people.

This is a wonderful, enlightening interview that is filled with so much incredible footage of great events & everyday footage in NYC's Meatpacking District. For anyone who wants to make their city, neighborhood or BID more friendly to people this video is a MUST! Enjoy!

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Queens Blvd Victory Bike Ride: A Safer Street Over 10 Years in the Making

Over 100 hundred cyclists turned out to see the newly implemented Phase IV of the Queens Boulevard bike and walking paths on the street that once was known as The Boulevard of Death.

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Streetfighter on NYC’s Best Open Street: Janette Sadik-Khan Visits 34th Avenue!

After interviewing acclaimed transportation legend Janette Sadik-Khan for a long gestating project about Union Square this summer (coming soon, I promise!) I asked if she'd been out to check out NYC's now famous 34th Avenue open street which is now at 20 months in operation. She said she'd seen much of it thru Streetfilms documentation but hadn't been out yet, so she agreed to meet us sometime in the Fall.

Sadik-Khan was of course famously the Commissioner of NYC Dept. of Transportation from 2007 to 2013 and is currently the Principal, Bloomberg Associates NACTO Chair. She came out last week to witness how the open street functioned at school dismissal. To put it simply: she and some of her colleagues were amazed by the vision of hundreds of students and families safely flooding the street in the hours between 2 and 3pm.

She offered many perspective and facts about open streets and the one one 34th Ave in particular. Some included the joy & safety children and students now had but how important it is for them to experience the freedom of mobility. She strongly supported the idea of similar "school streets" all around NYC and the country and how the next administration needs to look to this great example and expand and fund the program.

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Exploring New York City with Transit Evangelist Jerome Alexander Horne

Talk to Jerome Horne for just a few minutes and you already know the man lives and breathes transit & transportation. I've wanted to do a profile on him for a while being a longtime follower of his on Twitter and Facebook and being entertained and informed by his postings.

Due to Covid my initial plans to hang out with him went out the window to come meet him in Indianapolis. But a few months ago Jerome was hired by TransitCenter in NYC, a non-profit group dedicated to improving transit in order to make cities more efficient and environmentally sustainable.

I got to join him for a few hours on two different days and I got a very exclusive look at his personal Transit Museum! Tune also to find out how he came to love transit, his goals in his new job and what city's transit he considers the best (besides NYC of course!)

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The Uselessness of Gridlock Alert Days

We sent our reporter extraordinaire Zardoz out on NYC's streets for a few hours to check out just how NYC's issuing of a Gridlock Alert Week of traffic armageddon is going.

As always, not good. Utter uselessness. A sock puppet could have predicted this.

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Spend Saturdays in October at “Little Prince Plaza”

A new temporary (Saturdays in October) plaza in SoHo is called "LIttle Prince Plaza"

This stat just says it all:

Cars
Last known vehicular count: 4,639 a day (2019)

Little Prince Plaza 2pm - 5pm
Bike: 398 people cycling
Ped: 8,916 people walking

 

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Clarence in Streetfilms 2000-2021 (Montage)

So following my 1,000th Streetfilm I put together a quick montage sample of all the Streetfilms/bikeTV to prepare for some media. I will be joining John Simmerman for his 100th podcast interview and it just seemed the time to let people see what I have been doing over the years.

Just so you know this is only a sample montage. I am sure I have missed some of my best appearances, but this at least gives a look into my work - sometimes skinnier, sometimes younger - but fun to check out my metamorphosis and the places I have been!

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PSA “Secret Mission” with Janette Sadik-Khan

Here is one we really should have released a long time ago!

A few years ago "Streetopia" in NYC was conceived as an idea to get people motivated to take back their streets and change our streets for the better. The event was held at the Museum of the City of New York and Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow along with Clarence Eckerson Jr. were asked to put together this fun PSA we called "Secret Mission" to show to the hundreds of invited guests that night.

It was a huge, hysterical hit. But we never released it to the public even though we fully intended to! I'm sure JSK's fans will love it. I love it. I watch it a few times per year while looking through archives and since we are about to hit 1,000 Streetfilms I have always considered it one of the fun gems I loved to making. You know when you are out giggling and laughing between takes with your subject you are making something special.

 

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The Uselessness of Gridlock Alert Days

We sent our reporter extraordinaire Zardoz out on NYC's streets for a few hours to check out just how NYC's issuing of a Gridlock Alert Week of traffic armageddon is going.

As always, not good. Utter uselessness. A sock puppet could have predicted this.

 

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Montreal’s Popular Pedestrian Open Streets

No wonder they call it the Great White North.

Last month, I journeyed to Montréal, a city I have visited many times in the last three decades, to see how much progress it has made in reining in the car culture, creating more livable communities, encouraging cycling, making roadways safer and, most important, bringing back freedom to inhabitants long oppressed by car drivers.

The changes are amazing — and they are the subject of two new Streetfilms, my 1,000th and 1,001st of my career. The first one is about open streets. The other is about cycling. Both will make New Yorkers drool … or book tickets.

Of course, Montréal has fewer open streets than New York City does, but the open streets in the Paris of North America are much better. Montréal’s 13 open streets are much longer and operate almost entirely car-free — car-free, meaning no parking, either! — 24 hours a day, all summer long.

“It’s about making the city accessible for everyone,” Montréal’s mayor Valérie Plante told me. “There has to be more room for cyclists and pedestrians, and arts and parklets.”

On Montréal’s open streets, you don’t just see people walking or biking as you see in New York, but also art installations, benches, bioswales, swings (with cupholders!), play areas for kids and bollards to keep out the cars.

Bollards to keep out the cars.

“It just brings so much joy and fun and, of course, safe spaces for our kids,” Plante added.

And local business owners confirm that pedestrianized zones bring in more money for struggling merchants.

A 1.5-mile stretch of Mont Royal Avenue is fully pedestrianized, including some side streets. That’s about the same length as New York’s best open street — 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights — but in New York, the open street is still filled with parked cars and only open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., limiting what residents can do, how many can do it and how long they can do it for. There’s a movement to make the open street permanent and 24 hours — a position supported by incoming mayor Eric Adams — but opponents in the neighborhood want the open street reduced or even eliminated.

Montréal proves that the real solution should be to double-down on open streets. Barricades keep the cars out — and don’t require a massive volunteer effort. And instead of dismissing older adults’ worries about getting around, the city provides transportation (via pedicabs) for them.

One final note for all us nerds: Make sure you check out the appearance of former Streetsblog contributor Steven Miller in the Montreal open streets vid

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Biking Montreal: Montreal’s Newest Bicycling Infrastructure Dazzles!

THIS IS THE 1,000TH STREETFILM OF ALL-TIME!

I was preparing to plan a visit Montreal (and also Paris!) just as Covid-19 halted plans last year. But one benefit of that delay is that my visit last month allowed me to see some of the newest Montreal protected bike lanes in full effect.

And it is impressive. The REV (the Réseau Express Vélo) is the newest one of those which is designed to be the spine of the new network. It and a batch of newer lanes mark a departure from Montreal's bike building of the past: now one-way lanes on either side of the street are the emphasis going forward with 2-way dual lanes on one side of the street, some of which are too narrow, are now used less often.

Most extraordinary is the width some of the new bike infrastructure. You will see the REV for which about half of its length and it is sooooo wide I was laughing. Sometimes cyclists are dwarfed by the lane, which is a good thing. At one point I saw a family ride by three-abreast and someone STILL could pass! Check it out. Really!