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Posts tagged "2008"

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Tour de Bronx 2008

An extremely frosty morning couldn't keep over 4,000 riders from taking in the Bronx alfresco in the 14th Annual version of the original classic.  Despite being under the weather I was able to file a short report. As usual, it is one of the best things to look forward to yearly in NYC, especially the ride on the Sheridan Expressway. Thanks to Wiilliamson for the use of the dreamy music.

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Park(ing) Day NYC 2008

Transportation Alternatives reports during this year's foray into PARKing Day there were over 50 parking spaces temporarily reclaimed throughout the city, nearly doubling last year's total. I'll say this: that's a lot of freaking sod!!

As usual for these things, the fare ran from the wildly creative to the calm & soothing. There was a meditation garden in Williamsburg, origami being folded at The Open Planning Project's spot, and a bevy of spots with an advocacy theme. But the strangest time-continuum alternative-universe event occurred at Peter Frishauf's spot on the Upper West Side where I filmed him following the live blogging on Streetsblog about PARKing Day! And finally, although my work comrades had an amazingly elaborate spot, if I had to vote this year's winner it would be the Lower East Side Girl's Club. Again. You guys rock.

This year my travels took me to four of the five boros: biked 43 miles, filmed 22 spots, spent 11 hours outdoors and had one bike crash - while I was walking my bike through Times Square. Go figure!

Related Linkage: ReBar, PARK(ing) Day NYC site, PARK(ing) Day NYC 2007 video, Park(ing) Day SF 2006 video. And a big hug to Ditto Ditto who let us use their bouncy-fun tune for this piece.

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Summer Streets 2008 (NYC)

Feeling remarkably similar to Bogota's Ciclovia, the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. Our Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the real deal - she spent the entire day riding a bike around the course (and even said some nice things about me to my mom.)

We'll spare you the 200 adjectives we could list about how transformational it was, for it was beyond anything on the printed page. The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. A page has been turned, clearly there is no doubt: the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, dog walkers, dancers, and any other reasonable livable space use.

The swarms of people and happy faces made for much positive energy. Around noon, some blocks were getting very crowded, but there was a general courtesy that existed between pedestrians and cyclists. The city built it - and the people came. And they smiled a lot.

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Williamsburg Walks!

If you regularly visit Williamsburg's Bedford Avenue you know that the area is an eclectic mix of shops, people, and synergy. But the sidewalks are often jammed with people. Bikes are clamped to anything that won't move. Consequently, it can be uncomfortable to navigate its density.

This past Saturday (and three more upcoming thru August 9th) Bedford has undergone a livable streets alchemy. From noon to 7 pm, Bedford has been opened up to pedestrians, bikes, and people power between Metropolitan to North 9th Street. On July 19th it was quiet, safe, relaxing, and human. Word of mouth promises to make future weeks even better. I am surely going back again; without a camera so I can chillax in the street too.

One important distinction to make here: this is not a street fair in any sense of the word. It is simply a street that has been de-motorized and opened to allow residents to re-discover, re-imagine their street. They decide what they want to do. Credit goes to many groups, individuals, and businesses, but look to Williamsburg Walks which has done a great job working with everyone to make this possible.

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Tour de Queens 2008

Not even the heat and humidity of a sizzling 96 degree day could keep nearly 500 people from pedaling the inaugural Tour de Queens. The beautiful, family-friendly course - which hugged much of the northwest perimeter of the borough - was put together by the Queens Transportation Alternatives Committee and featured "lots of smiles per hour." Highlights included: a very bike-friendly Queens Museum of Art (which also showed some Streetfilms) and a briefly ironic moment where it looked like riders were queuing up for $4.25 per gallon gas!

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Bike vs. Car vs. Transit

Transportation Alternatives held its 7th annual Commuter Challenge pitting cyclist, driver, and bus/subway rider in the ultimate showdown of which mode of travel can be quickest (and cheapest!)

In the end, the bike proved swiftest over the 4.5 mile course which began in Brooklyn's Fort Greene and ended in Manhattan's Union Square. Jamie Favaro rolled up in just over 16 minutes and took home the gold and a bouquet of flowers for her efforts. Driver, Emmanuel Fuentebella (22 minutes) parked his car and sprinted to a surprise second place finish. Shortly after, disappointed MTA rider April Greene came in last at 29 minutes. But, as Wiley Norvell noted at the finish line, Transportation Alternatives also measured the carbon footprint of all the the riders and Greene came in a close second behind the cyclist.