Skip to content

Posts tagged "Aaron Naparstek"

StreetFilms
View Comments

Inside the Situation Room: The Making of the War on Cars

When my trio of friends Aaron Naparstek, Sarah Goodyear and Doug Gordon announced they were going to take on car culture in a podcast titled the "War on Cars" of course I was very intrigued. And after the first batch of episodes you know they had struck a nerve and it would be a success.

But as I talked to other people who were listeners, I was surprised that quite a few didn't even know much about the trio's pedigree in the transportation world. Many had never seen them in a photo or in person. So I decided we needed to remedy this situation. So Streetfilms put out the call.

Last week, I was invited to tape episode 17: Infiltrating the Auto Show and very briefly attend their pre-show meet up. As a person in media, it was not only great to get this first exclusive, but also being there to witness what makes a great podcast work, and how much time you need to put into it. I was actually surprised how it all works and how hard it is to balance being entertaining, funny and deadly serious.

So enjoy this very tiny look behind-the-scenes. As a personal note, this is my first time editing using Premiere Pro (after nearly 20 years on Final Cut Pro). So I am bound to look back on this with a more critical eye years from now. But I think everyone will love what they see!

You can sponsor the show on Patreon via www.thewaroncars.org

StreetFilms
View Comments

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!

StreetFilms
View Comments

Streetfilms: Street Theater & Public Parody as Effective Advocacy!

If you're having trouble garnering public attention for one of your advocacy initatives, one thing you should consider is performing some crafty, quirky street theater or parody. Both equally enlighten, and if done intelligently, lead to action.

Streetfilms has been around quite a few good ones over the years.  One of the earliest is the above 2002 video I participated in and shot was our car-free Prospect Park Theater protest! We had a nice group of advocates show up in cardboard automobiles. Then Brooklyn T.A. Chair (and future Streetsblog founder) Aaron Naparstek was the creative force behind the action and also supporting us at the rally? Our then-Councilmember and future Mayor Bill de Blasio!

Soon after Mayor Bloomberg and then NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan pedestrianized parts of Times Square, the tabloids and tv stations were running amok with  stories about how "controversial" it was. We decided we needed to point out how ridiculous these assertions were. Enter Veronica Moss, a character invented earlier to make fun of the fictional A.U.T.O. lobby. This time we brought her to Times Square. The results are hysterical, mainly because behind that wig is the ultra-talented comedian and newest star of Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon!

This is from the 2008 Javits NYC Auto Show and it's absolutely hilarious. We captured this demonstration from Transportation Alternatives & Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir. Rev Billy presided over the mock marriage of Lady Liberty (Karla Quintero) and Mr. Transit (Noah Budnick) as attendees watched on. Just about every shot in this Streetfilm (from Elizabeth Press) is priceless so watch it to the very end.

I've had my share of making myself look a little foolish to make a point. One came early in Streetfilms when I wanted to make the point that traffic calming and bicycle accommodation in Portland, Orgeon was so good, that it brought the legendary Sasquatch out of hiding!  Yes, that's me as "Clarence the Traffic Calming Sasquatch" in this vid made with Dan Kaufman. It's production occurred when Dan called one day during my visit and said he had a big foot costume at his house. Less than an hour thru the magic of improv, we had our video.

In many cities, there's a "Bike Party" movement that has the traditional critical mass morphing in to something more celebratory and less confrontational. Having ridden enough times during both, it basically just seems like a re-branding to allow fun bike riding in a large group. "Bike Party" seems to always have a theme, although many critical masses have as well. The Bike Party from D.C. was a toga ride. And as you can see from the footage, it was plenty of fun.

StreetFilms
View Comments

National Bike Summit 2014: United Spokes

Usually I have a rule to limit conference wrap-up videos to three to four minutes in length. But there were so many inspiring, great and laugh-out-loud funny moments at this year's League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit 2014, I felt it important to pack in all of the coverage we could, especially since the Women's Bicycling Forum has grown to be a large part of the event.

So sit back and enjoy many of the faces and fun that made this year's #NBS14 a big hit.  Here's just a few of the gems you may only see here on Streetfilms!

- Watch as We Bike NYC arrives in DC after a 262 mile bike ride from NYC!

- Watch as U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx jokes about riding in the Tour de France!

- Listen as Dr. Naparstek & Dr. Gordon diagnose whether you have BIKELASH in your city!

- See Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as he unexpectedly nominates Bike Pittsburgh's Scott Bricker to the regional transportation board!

- Hear from Dr. Adonia Lugo about how the League of American Bicyclists' Equity Council is making great strides in diversifying the attendees and topics at this year's summit!

And so much more.

 

StreetFilms
View Comments

The Search for the Zozo

In the early part of the 1900s, Zozos - large, furry, innocent, purple creatures - once freely roamed New York City's streets, and were seen frequently mingling among its denizens and enjoying the public realm. But with the advent of the automobile their numbers slowly dwindled, until the 1930s when sightings became rare and they were thought to go extinct.

But now thanks to a burgeoning livable streets movement and a marked improvement in public spaces in NYC, Zozo sightings have been reported. World-renowned crypto-zoologist Donald Druthers has convinced us to document the facts - and yes, it looks like Zozos could be making a comeback! See the evidence for yourself.

Presenting our long-awaited mockumentary "The Search for the Zozo," featuring many of New York's greatest citizens. You'll hear NYC urban expert Professor Kenneth T. Jackson from Columbia University talk about the history of the Zozo. But in addition, you'll hear accounts of sightings and Zozo-inspired stories from Colin "No Impact Man" Beavan, restaurateur (and cyclist) Florent Morellet, livable streets advocate Mary Beth Kelly, author Tom Vanderbilt, and a slew of advocates working to make safer streets a reality for pedestrians, cyclists, and the general public.

And if you see a Zozo? Let us know in the comments section, or dial 555-ZOZO. You can also check out our website WhereistheZozo? for the latest in sightings and news.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Earl Blumenauer talks transit, stimulus, bikes and Obama

Moments after he delivered the keynote address to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Oregon's Rep. Earl Blumenauer, head of the Congressional Bike Caucus, met with us for this exclusive one-on-one chat.

Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Aaron Naparstek talks with the congressman about the current federal stimulus bill and how advocates can better engage their leaders. Of the new White House team, which has not shown much energy in pushing transit or livable streets issues thus far, Mr. Blumenauer states:

"...just because [people and advocates] may feel more comfortable with this administration - it doesn't mean they should let up on the pressure."

Amen. This is an important year people, let that sentence stick in your noggin for the next 324 days.

StreetFilms
View Comments

An Alfresco chat with Jan Gehl

Every time we manage to snag an interview with Jan Gehl, it ends up being one of the coldest days of the Fall. But that didn't stop the Danish livable streets maestro from grabbing a table in New York City's new wonderful public space, Madison Square, to chat with Streetsblog's Editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek.

It was just a little over two years ago we talked with Mr. Gehl in the iconic Times Square "bowtie" where he offered up a sobering evaluation of the lack of public space in NYC. You can watch that here. But thanks to recent initiatives by the NYC DOT, these days the future looks more promising for pedestrians and cyclists. During their conversation Mr. Gehl and Aaron covered much ground including the rapid pace of the transformation of our streets, the concepts behind the fluidity of traffic, the release of World Class Streets: Remaking New York City's Public Realm, and the democratic process - with a shout out to our future 44th prez!

If you love this, don't miss some of our past interviews. Here are just a few: Janette Sadik-Khan. Enrique Penalosa. Gridlock Sam. Donald Shoup. Randy Cohen.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Transforming NYC Streets: A Conversation with Janette Sadik-Khan

Since taking over as New York City's Commissioner of the Department of Transportation in mid-2007, Janette Sadik-Khan has taken on the challenge of making NYC streets more bike & pedestrian friendly while emphasizing livable streets and re-orienting them to accommodate all modes. She and her staff have done it quickly with innovative concepts, thinking outside the box and drawing on successful street designs from around the world to come up with a NYC model that is already changing the way our city feels.

In our exclusive Streetfilms interview, she talks with The Open Planning Project's Executive Director, Mark Gorton, about some of the highlights her department has achieved in a very short period of time including a physically-separated bike lane on Ninth Avenue, multiple pedestrian plazas (including Madison Square and Broadway Boulevard), new efforts to boost efficiency and speeds on some bus routes, and the city's phenomenally successful, Ciclovia-style closure "Summer Streets".

StreetFilms
View Comments

Gary Toth: Reinventing Transportation Planning as Community Development

Recently, we were very lucky to have Streetsblog's Editor-in-chief, Aaron Naparstek in the "Streetfilms Headquarters" to chat with Gary Toth the Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives with the Project for Public Spaces.

For thirty-four years, Mr. Toth worked for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), and become known for his collaboration and facilitation skills, and was one of the architects of the transformation of NJDOT to a stakeholder inclusive process helping the state become a national leader in Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS).

Mr. Toth has written, "A Citizen's Guide to Better Streets," which is designed to help the every person and advocacy community better understand the behind-the-scenes processes that occur when dealing with transportation departments and how to better prepare and speak their language. He shares some of his views and advice with Aaron in this very important interview.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Car-free Prospect Park Street Theater! (from 2002)

I've been holding on to this as a little surprise once we launched the new Livable Streets site. Get ready to time travel...

Back in 2002 there was a huge push on for a three month trial ban on cars in Prospect Park, Brooklyn (I mean really are we still fighting for this?! Come on Mayor Bloomberg it's time to do a trial!) In any event, Aaron Naparstek (with future wife Joanne) organized a fun Halloween street theater event where we all dressed up as cars and raised some eyebrows Saturday morning at the Grand Army Plaza Green Market. We were even joined by, ahem, yes that was him - Councilman Bill de Blasio!

That's me with a huge cheesehead on. And if you look very carefully you'll see Paul Steely White waving a sign in his pre-T.A. Executive Director reign. Quoth Aaron: "Driving our cars thru the park is our way of life! How can you take that away from us?!" Ah, the good ole days...

StreetFilms
View Comments

Lessons from Bogotá

Had enough livable streets lessons from Bogotá? Good. Neither have we.

In the final chapter of our September NYCSR visit to Colombia, where the indefatigable Gil Peñalosa was our tour guide, you'll find lots of tasty video morsels including: riding the comfortable ciclorutas and cycle paths, a visit to a thriving pedestrian-only street where they said it couldn't be done, a "bollard farm," mucho footage of the city's parks and public spaces and comments from the city's residents. And we couldn't resist - just a wee bit more dance mania at the Recreovia.

If this is your first foray into Bogotá, might we suggest these related Streetfilms which will bring you up to speed on Ciclovia and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT):

Ciclovia (9:41)

Bus Rapid Transit: Bogotá (7:29)

Mark Gorton Interviews Enrique Peñalosa (12:07)

StreetFilms
View Comments

Bus Rapid Transit: Bogotá

Want to learn more about Bus Rapid Transit? Watch this video and let Streetsblog editor Aaron Naparstek show you how BRT works in Bogotá, Colombia. Take a gander and you'll see an efficient, modern and -- relatively speaking -- inexpensive way of moving 1.3 million people per day.

In Bogotá, where the BRT system goes by the much more sexy name, TransMilenio, you'll travel almost three times the speed of the typical New York City bus. The average TransMilenio vehicle travels at 17.4 mph. In New York City, buses poke along at 6.2 mph. Some TransMilenio routes average nearly 25 mph!

For quite a few years now, New York City's Department of Transportation and the MTA have been studying and studying and, sigh... studying the possibility of implementing BRT routes on selected corridors. And if Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan passes, a significant portion of the promised $354 million in federal funds will go towards launching new BRT lines.

Hopefully, New York City's BRT system will offer many of the excellent features that we saw in Bogotá; features like physically-separated bus lanes, pre-boarding fare payment, wide doors that open at boarding level and a control room nerve center that monitors and manages the entire system. These features give Bogotá a bus system that really works. Take a look.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Merry Gridlock

It's the holiday season and of course that means time for the city's annual Gridlock Alert Days. What does that really mean?

Well, we went out on the traffic-choked streets of Brooklyn with Streetsblog's editor Aaron Naparstek to talk to drivers to find out and see how they feel about Congestion Pricing and a whole host of other transportation issues.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Another 3rd Avenue Fatality

In this clip, Aaron Naparstek of Streetsblog, standing at the intersection of Third Avenue and Baltic Street in Brooklyn where four year old James Nyprie Rice was killed in a crosswalk while walking with his aunt talks candidly about long delayed safety improvements for the area.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Reclaiming Grand Army Plaza

Anyone who lives near Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza knows it is a nightmare to navigate if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. And with its proximity to Prospect Park it's also an area with vast potential for becoming one of the most popular public spaces in Brooklyn.

The Grand Army Plaza Coalition formed in the Spring of 2006 to help improve the area. Community driven, it is a prime example of how the public planning process should work and how the Department of Transportation should support such efforts from citizens to improve their quality of life. After all: no one knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there.

GAPCO groupGAPCO Charette 2GAPCO people3

Recently, fifty members of the community met to brainstorm ideas of how to make the plaza safer, more accessible, greener, and people-oriented. The workshop was facilitated by Project for Public Spaces, which specializes in community Placemaking activities.