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Posts tagged "advocacy"

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The Climate March: A Streets Perspective (2019)

Where can you find the ONLY coverage of NYC's Climate Strike including a Manhattan march, a group bike ride and PARKing Day 2019 all wrapped in one tidy package?

(And also shot only by human power over 5 hours at dozens of locations?)

Well right here on Streetfilms my friends. Enjoy!

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My Favorite Five Streetfilms Featuring Transportation Alternatives

As you may have heard via Twitter, tomorrow (Thursday, April 12th) I will be covering my 100th event/presser/ride/advocacy push featuring Transportation Alternatives when I join the BikeTrain Kickoff Rally, which will show Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens bike commuters - or those curious - how to ride to work once the L-train shuts down. I have so many TransAlt Streetfilms, that I now even keep a separate channel on Vimeo where you can watch every one!

In honor of the 100th TransAlt video to come it made me decide to go a step further and I have picked my five favorites of them either in terms of quality, fun or effectiveness at informing the public of helping change policy. I love them all, tough to choose. In no particular order, here are those five.

300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on 5th Avenue (October 2017)

Late last year, this short Streetfilm showcased what you can do with a fun idea, a huge gathering and a powerful message. 300+ people made human protected #bikenyc lanes down Fifth Avenue.

Fifth Avenue has no bike infrastructure above 26th Street, leaving a large void in the bicycle network where there’s huge travel demand. Protected bike lanes can’t come soon enough: Through the first eight months of this year drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to city data.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 2015)

A very powerful gathering and march organized by Families for Safe Streets took over the streets of NYC from City Hall and marched to the United Nations. I tell people who are curious as to why I chose to do what I do that they should simply watch this film. The speakers in it say far more than I could in a few sentences.

PPW Family Bike Ride/We Ride the Lanes (April 2011)

The "We Ride the Lanes" event was the brainchild of Mitch Sonies, who rides the PPW bike lane with his six-year-old daughter and wanted to do something positive to highlight how much people appreciate having a much safer street in their neighborhood. "It was a real celebration of this great, safe bike path," said Mitch. Together with the organizing power of Transportation Alternatives this much-needed power boost to support the new green protected lanes by Janette Sadik-Khan was a slam dunk success in the media and the minds of Brooklyn and NYC bike riders.

Peatonito in NYC: Protected Pedestrians from Cars in the Crosswalk (March 2016)

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate for quite a while and in Mexico City and he's been involved with many tactical urbanism types of interventions but it's as Peatónito fighting for a safer city that gets him the most notoriety: gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections and pushing vehicles (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to get drivers attention to their bad behavior. Needing a great speaker and event to give the conference some zing, Transportation Alternatives brought him to NYC for the Vision Zero Cities 2016 Conference and a group of staff and volunteers got to see him in action at some dicey spots throughout the city.

The Case for Physically Separated Bike Lanes (February 2007)

From 11 years ago! Before we had the Bloomberg Administration getting more serious about bicycling and transportation, Streetfilms decided to get serious with this huge expose (150,000+ plays and counting!) that NYC needed to get serious and look at the problems on our streets and the solutions in other places. Remember this was many months even before the wonderful Janette Sadik-Khan was installed as NYC DOT Transportation Commissioner.

This film was produced with a lot of advocacy featuring Transportation Alternatives, Project for Public Spaces, NYC Streets Renaissance and many others. It was a pivotal moment and tool in the fight for safer streets in NYC. It features Paul Steely White, Caroline Samponaro, Mark Gorton, Andy Wiley-Schwartz and - even me!

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Ride New Orleans: Setting the Transit Agenda

Since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the city's transit recovery has been sluggish and asymmetrical. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) made the decision to prioritize streetcar restoration and expansion at the expense of bus service, limiting economic mobility for residents. As a result, even today the average New Orleanian with a car can reach 86 percent of the region’s jobs in 30 minutes or less, but the average New Orleanian relying on transit can only reach 11 percent of those jobs in the same time period.

The advocacy group Ride New Orleans formed in 2009 out of a growing sense that the comfort of the average New Orleanian wasn't being prioritized by the RTA. In just a few short years, the group is already setting the transit agenda. Ride has organized bus riders into a powerful force, releasing influential State of Transit reports and sparking policy changes at the RTA such as increased bus frequency and overnight service.

But perhaps most importantly, they've strengthened communication channels between riders and the transit agency. The RTA recently released its Strategic Mobility Plan with a specific to do list of improvements. It largely is informed by contributions from transit riders.

But don't just take our word for it - watch for yourself!

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London Cycling Works: How Savvy Campaigning Got 180 Employers to Support Bike Lanes

When I met up with Londoner and self-professed "Streetfilms fan for ten years" Chris Kenyon in New York City recently, he had a great story to tell.

In 2014, there was an intense bikelash in London in reaction to groundbreaking, high-quality protected bike lanes in the city center. Chris's advocacy group, London CyclingWorks, played a critical role in countering this pushback, gathering endorsements of the new bike infrastructure from a wide range of businesses in central London. The campaign was so effective that afterwards the mayor and Transport for London told Chris it led the city to implement its full plan for "cycle superhighways," which Londoners are now using in droves.

So of course, I made him tell the story on camera. In this short interview, he explains how the campaign came together and why he thinks it can be replicated in other cities. Hopefully other advocates can learn from this model to build political support for streets that work for biking and walking.

Oh, and thanks for watching Streetfilms all this time, Chris!

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300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on NYC’s 5th Avenue

More than 300 volunteers organized by Transportation Alternatives formed a six-block-long “human-protected bike lane” on Fifth Avenue last night, calling on the de Blasio administration to extend the protected bike lane network through Midtown’s busiest streets.

Fifth Avenue has no bike infrastructure above 26th Street, leaving a large void in the bicycle network where there’s huge travel demand. Protected bike lanes can’t come soon enough: Through the first eight months of this year drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to city data.

Last month, DOT presented a plan to add a second bus lane on this part of Fifth Avenue, but a bikeway was not included. To date, the agency has hesitated to claim street space for biking and walking on these busy Midtown avenues. DOT has stated a vague intention to extend protected bike lanes through the busiest blocks of Fifth and Sixth Avenues but never backed that up with specific commitments, timetables, or designs.

The hundreds of people taking action yesterday were saying that’s not good enough and took matters into their own hands. The human-protected bike lane occupied two lanes, from 50th Street to 44th Street.

Fifth Avenue functioned perfectly well while the impromptu bike lane was in effect. People biking quickly gravitated to the new space set aside for them, while car and bus traffic continued apace in the remaining three lanes.

In a written response posted on DOT’s Twitter feed, Commissioner Polly Trottenberg framed the campaign for a bike lane as being in conflict with the second bus lane for Fifth Avenue. “We did not want to postpone what we see as a reasonably straightforward improvement for buses,” she wrote.

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Biking NYC Pre-2005: Shorts from the bikeTV era of 2001-2005!

That's me above in a promo for bikeTV!

Many of you know that before I got heavily involved in what was to become Streetfilms, I produced a cable access show in New York City called bikeTV. We had a lot of fun and the main goal of the half hour weekly slot was to show New Yorkers how much fun it was to bike places in the city with friends, how much better biking could be and to cover the advocacy world (Transportation Alternatives, Time's Up, 5BBC, etc) and what they were promoting.

Recently, I took the time to finally upload some episodes from my work (and other contributors) to Vimeo and Youtube. It's quite amazing some of the work we did - usually trying to produce a new half hour show every month. I still have people come up to me and say they discovered biking through bikeTV!

Read more...

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Comedy as Transportation Advocacy: Fun Streetfilms to Employ

As you can see above, we just had some pretty huge numbers with our Peatónito production, following the masked superhero around New York City filming him protecting pedestrians from bad car drivers in the crosswalks. It just got me thinking: over the years we have used humor quite a bit (though not as much as I always want to) to make our advocacy beliefs stronger, to engage the public and to educate the general population about transportation.

Below is a nice curated list of our best work. Hopefully it will get those of you who may be pondering ways to get the attention of your community that viral comedy/parody done right, can yield results - sometimes better than years of hard work.

As many of you already know, we got so, so lucky to get a chance to work with Kate McKinnon, the funniest current cast member of Saturday Night Live and now segueing into a Hollywood megastar. We did a series of Streetfilms featuring her as Veronica Moss, an auto lobbyist fighting for the rights of car owners in D.C. Here we placed her in the midst of the recently made car-free Times Square to offer her thoughts. One of the favorites on our site.

Working with established groups is a great thing. The Riders Alliance in New York City was conducting campaigns trying to get New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to agree to fully fund the MTA capital plan for subways, buses and commuter rail. We hatched a great idea: get a cardboard cut out of the Governor and have him actually ride the trains and interact with customers. Eventually thanks to the work of probably a dozen groups he agreed to fund it (though update: he still has not actually dedicated the money!)

I used to put myself out there to try to get attention. When New York City installed its first protected bike lane under Janette Sadik-Khan we wanted to highlight it in a great way different than the rest of the press. This was the result.  Believe me, just about every group of advocates have a class clown or humorous spokesperson that you can put on camera to do the same. (Though this is also coming from someone once wore a Sasquatch costume to explain traffic calming.)

A lot of people love our four Streetfilms featuring the hysterical, but critical Hal Ruzal from Bicycle Habitat showing you the dangers of locking your bike improperly. The numbers on these popular videos are always so high, we can't go too long without asking him back to do another one. 2016?

Finally, sometimes you can twist the ridiculousness of what city agencies and polices are and show how absurd they really are. For example, in NYC we have about a dozen or so "Gridlock Alert" days around the holidays. These do mostly nothing. But you can go out and have some fun with them as Mark Gorton, one of our biggest funders and supporters, shows during this hilarious poke that can easily be duplicated in your city.

We have had plenty of fun on Streetfilms. I recommend exploring more to find ways to make shorts that are fun and sometimes ridiculously fun!

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Streetfilms University: Sometimes an Effective Video is Very Simple

I often preach in Streetfilms University that sometimes the most effective advocacy videos are extremely simple. They just show real events/conditions on the ground as they happen.  Fortunately, you'll only need a steady hand and be willing to stake out an intersection or problem area to pull it off.

Take the above video I took 15 minutes to shoot (and another 15 to edit) on my way home tonight. The Pulaski Bridge is currently being studied by the NYC DOT to see if they can put a two-way bike path on the south-bound roadway of the bridge by removing a lane of traffic. In the end, I'm sure the recommendations will be positive, but as we all know there's still likely to be plenty of grumbly opposition from Community Boards on either side of the bridge. So I figured why not put together a quick montage to have when those people claim no one uses the bridge (false!) and that all three car travel lanes are essential (two would be more than ample).

A few tips:

- If you are going to just show a montage of just clips, one or two minutes is the max.

- Add a music soundtrack. It makes watching the video a little more bareable.  The exception: if sound is pertinent to your film - perhaps a film about honking or if you feel the loud cacophony of traffic conveys lack of safety or comfort..

- Try to get a few different perspectives.  If you are shooting an intersection, shoot from a few different angles/places.  Get low and especially high (if you can shoot from a few floors up in building nearby that's always optimum).

- Of course it isn't a bad idea to interview users and get them to weigh in with some soundbites. However, that isn't so needed here, since there's been plenty of advocacy groundwork and the idea has good support. Still, this video could be a good tool for advocates to pass around when the plans debut. And it took so little time investment to compile. Read more...

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Local Spokes: Community-Based Bike Advocacy in Chinatown and the Lower East Side

Local Spokes is a coalition of nine organizations that joined up to engage low-income residents, people of color, immigrants, and young people in the Lower East Side and Chinatown to envision the future of bicycling in their communities. To understand the transportation needs of the neighborhoods, Local Spokes conducted an extensive survey in 2010 and 2011 and held a series of workshops in Chinese, English, and Spanish.

Last summer Local Spokes synthesized everything the coalition had gathered from this process into a neighborhood action plan for bicycling [PDF]. The goal of the action plan is to ensure that residents of the Lower East Side and Chinatown will have a role guiding decisions about bike-related policies and initiatives for their streets, and to create a model for community-based bike plans in other neighborhoods.

Streetfilms teamed up with Local Spokes in 2012 to document their work, and in this video you can see them in action.

So, what’s next? After receiving initial support from the JM Kaplan Fund, this year Local Spokes is seeking new funding to realize the goals of the action plan. Also on the agenda for 2013: releasing a blueprint for how to bring a Local Spokes-style coalition to the neighborhood where you live. Stay tuned for the blueprint launch at the 2013 Youth Bike Summit and on the Local Spokes website in February.

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Shifting into High Gear at Pro Walk Pro Bike 2012

Nearly 1,000 transportation professionals, advocates and placemakers gathered in beautiful Long Beach, CA for the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference last week.  Streetfilms caught up with attendees to find out what some of the hot topics were at the conference in in their communities.  Of course, we couldn't talk to everyone, so let us know what we missed in the comments section.