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Posts tagged "Bicycles"

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Biking on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC — Now More Like Biking in Amsterdam!

Getting a protected bike lane on NYC's Amsterdam Avenue was an epic struggle. This year, safe streets finally won.

Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street on the Upper West Side, but it was designed like a highway with several lanes of one-way motor vehicle traffic. Local residents campaigned for nearly ten years to repurpose one of those lanes to make way for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian islands. They kept butting up against a few stubborn opponents of the street redesign on Community Board 7 (for viewers outside NYC, community boards are appointed bodies that weigh in on street redesigns, among other neighborhood changes).

Fed up with the dangerous conditions on Amsterdam, residents ramped up the activism. They staged silent protests and neighborhood actions to publicly shame the community board members stalling the redesign. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year when CB 7 voted in favor of DOT's plan for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Although not fully built yet -- 14 more blocks above 96th Street are still to come -- the project has changed the feel of the street dramatically.

It was a hard-earned victory, and yesterday people who fought for a safer Amsterdam celebrated with a ride down the new bike lane. Here's a look at the ride -- a sight we should see many times again as advocates organize for more space for safe biking and walking throughout NYC.

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If You Want to Buy a Car in Japan…

If you want to buy a car in Japan, first you have to prove that you have somewhere to park it. That's one of the policies Streetfilms encountered while interviewing experts for an upcoming three-part series on parking best practices.

Here's a sneak peek courtesy of Streetfilms correspondent Joe Baur, who grabbed this interview about the costs of car ownership in Japan with Byron Kidd from Tokyo By Bike.

The parking requirement is one of several policies that helps keep cars from overrunning Japanese cities. Factor in yearly taxes, high parking fees, and tolled roads, and Japan does an excellent job of ensuring that car owners pay the full costs of their vehicles -- while the first-rate transit system enables people to get around efficiently.

Stay tuned for the full parking series later this year.

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It’s an Awesome Array of Austin Streetfilms Assets!

When I visit any city, even like I did in October to attend the NACTO Conference (see below), I attempt to do as much documentation I can in the limited time I have away from any work or speaking commitments I have.  In Austin, I was able to cobble together a really nice look at what is making bicycling there so much more popular (see above!)

Occasionally, even one long shot can be really helpful and inspiring. One night after finishing a 30 mile ride with the Austin Social Ride (you can see scenes in the top Streetfilm) I came upon something I did not know: 6th Street in Austin, the city's nucleus of loud live music, is closed to cars at least two or three nights per week providing a pedestrian paradise. It was glorious, after shooting this video I went back to my hotel room and came back at 1am just to walk around and watch people.

And finally, just in case you didn't get enough of the awesome 3rd Street cycle track in Austin in the above film (or just need some excerpted footage as a tool to show your community or city) here's nothing but montage of cyclists enjoying the safety of the lanes.

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How D.C. Cut Traffic Fatalities by 73% in a Decade

We continue to present short videos from our tour around Washington, D.C. with Gabe Klein, the former Transportation Commissioner in our nation's capital.

These are the final two vignettes in our series which focus 1) on the incredible reduction in traffic fatalities in D.C. and 2) the role of fast evolving technologies which has drastically altered transportation in our cities in the last few years - and will so much more in the years to come.

And just in case you missed it, last week Gabe talked about the evolution of how D.C.'s center-running, two-way, protected cycle track came into existence (and who challenged him to put it in!) We re-present that here so we have a nice trio of Streetfilms Shorties for you to ingest!

Gabe Klein's new book, "Start-Up City", is available on Island Press.

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Bicycle Rush Hour Around the World!

I've been fortunate enough to be able to visit many great bicycle cities around the globe. Sometimes it's worth to get people psyched by compiling in one post some of the great footage of cycling rush hour around the world. Here are just a few of Streetfilms' greatest shorts, but make sure you look thru the site as there are over 700 films to choose from!!

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The Green Benefits of NYC Protected Bike Lanes

As I have watched the numbers of protected bike lanes grow in New York City each year, I've noticed the tree canopy above the lanes gets denser and number of trees extending out into the roadway grows.

Though I freely admit this could just be anecdotal, I'm pretty sure the simple reason is this: on the avenues with protected lanes large vans & trucks are no longer constantly brushing and bruising trees since they aren't parking curbside. Although it's not an exact correlation since you can certainly find some blocks where the opposite is true, generally there is much, much more green on these bike corridors.

Add in pedestrian safety islands that have trees and other plantings (many thanks to community associations and businesses) and the buffer zone being a perfect place to put bike parking and Citibike stations, and I think this helps make for a future selling point to communities!

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Counting Bicyclists on NYC’s Manhattan Bridge!

Since this has been an such amazing year for NYC bike commuting (after all Bicycling Magazine now says we are the #1 bike city, right?) two dear friends of Streetfilms (Steven O'Neill & Brooklyn Spoke's Doug Gordon) who frequently ride the Manhattan Bridge bike path joined me this morning to count some bicycles.  We spent 20 minutes during the AM rush hour (specifically 8:49 am to 9:09 am) tallying commuters just for the fun of it.

It was a beautiful morning for riding and the numbers didn't disappoint - you'll need to watch the short video to find out the final tally. But the count was not shocking to anyone riding in NYC, after all the Manhattan Bridge has seen the numbers of bike commuters swell over the last five years, and the advent of Citi bike has only made the growth continue.

The October 2013, 12-Hour screenline count from NYC DOT was 4,004/day. Of course our one hour average came out much higher than that but it was done during rush hour. It will be interesting to see 2014's numbers yield.

 

 

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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.

 

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Five Great Streetfilms You May Have Missed! So Watch ‘Em Now!

Since we have over 500 Streetfilms, invariably there are some I thought deserved far more viewers then they ultimately got. And some of these I really enjoyed working on or believed are important to see. Since I was recently asked which of my Streetfilms I wished had gotten more play, I decided to look over the past 7 years and pick out the Top Five that deserved to be seen some more. If you are new, you should check them all out.

1. Via RecreActiva: A Transformative Ciclovia for Guadalajara (Jan 2012):  This is the one I always cite as one I thought was gonna rack up mega views and never did.  In fact it only got about 2K in its first few months. I was stunned. Perhaps by the time we debuted it, people already knew enough about Ciclovias and just didn't need another.  This is one of the most magical open streets events in the world and the energy should be experienced.

2. Queens’ Corona Plaza: A Community Place Rises (August 2012): Maybe it's because this plaza is so near and dear to my heart only a few miles away from my home in Jackson Heights. But the wonderful people who have helped make this plaza happen against many odds deserve a lot of credit. It looks different from the plazas you'll find in Times Square and all over Manhattan. You should watch. Now.

3. GOP Mayor Greg Ballard: Making Bicycling a Priority in Indianapolis (June 2013):  This mayor is a huge believer in cycling. I see his personal tweets talking about it constantly. He has toured the country talking about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail (that video DID perform  amazingly). But Mayor Ballard is also a Republican. We need more in his party to talk like he does about transportation. This quick profile on him has been amazingly under viewed.

Read more...

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A Montreal Intersection Morphs Into a Wonderful Neighborhood Space

On a Bixi bike excursion to get some ice cream in Montreal, my wife and I stumbled upon the intersection of Fairmount Avenue and Rue Clark, recently upgraded with colorful new street furniture, traffic calming treatments, and a two-way protected bike lane. The space is teeming with street life. When you arrive at this lovely place your first instinct is to stop, sit down, and enjoy.

This intersection is a prime example of how a neighborhood street should cater to people. All local streets should strive to make pedestrians feel welcome, slow traffic speeds with physical infrastructure, and provide art and greenery wherever possible.

Since we were only there for a short time and could dig up only scant information online, I don’t have much backstory to share about how this space was created. If anyone can provide more info in the comments, please fill us in.

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Cyclists Vs. Rails in Zurich

As I 've continued to scour through the 10+ hours of footage I shot last month in Groningen, Amsterdam and Zurich, I've been trying to find ways to get Streetfilms fans some video and posts about what I experienced.

One thing that super impressed me was during my three days in Zurich I saw no cyclists crash while navigating the omnipresent surface rails for the 15 tram lines that run all over Zurich. I was told by some there are certainly problems and crashes happen, but I saw some real pro rail riding behavior.  I ended up capturing just a little bit for your consumption in this shortie.

Alas, great news comes today from one of my Zurich interview subjects, Nelson Carrasco.  The city is experimenting with rail treatments that will make bicycling on streets with rails much safer.  Essentially, it seems they will be testing a material that is strong enough to support a bicycle but will yield to the weight when a tram runs over it.

The English-translation of the above post is essentially: "We are testing a new bike-friendly rail system, which is intended to prevent bicycle tires getting jammed in the tram rail." For all those who really want to read the entire article (and in English) I ran it through a translator and will post the text at the bottom after the jump.

Of course anytime I've travel to other rail-heavy cities, I'm mesmerized by how cyclists navigate rails, in particular because if the thought of crashing is terrifying for me as a very experienced cyclist, I can't imagine what it is like for a new-bee or someone transporting a child.  Many years ago in Seattle I shot this impromptu footage of sharrows used to direct cyclists how to approach rails.

San Francisco, Portland, Salt Lake City and plenty of other U.S. cities might want to take notice!

Read more...

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San Francisco Bicycle Rush Hour on Market Street

While vacationing in San Francisco, just happened to step out on to Market Street one morning with the camera. Was only out there shooting in a 20 minute window and captured enough footage for this 1 minute montage. It has been about three years since I have been in the Bay Area and I always knew that Market Street was an incredible place to watch cyclists, but it seems more impressive than ever! Kudos to San Francisco, may it continue.

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Streetfilms Stylin’ in Momentum Magazine

In May, I was invited to participate in a fashion shoot for Momentum Magazine, Issue #62. That faboulous issue is now for sale and features the above centerfold photo (shot by Derin Thorpe). It's a beauty and features a diverse group of New York City cyclists in cool threads,  including NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan!

To see lots of individual shots, check out the 2013 Be Chic BE NY Look Book available here.

In addition, there is some fun video of the event. I think my favorite moment has to be around the 1:10 mark for George Hahn's catwalk. Check out the clip courtesy of Bancha Srikacha:

Amazingly this is Streetfilms second issue in a row making an apparence in Momentum. There are many great articles from issue #61 I invite you to sample.  They include:

The Five Essential Streetfilms to watch for First Time Visitors

A Comprehensive Profile of Mark Gorton, the major funder of Streetsblog & Streetfilms.

Streetsblog Expands Coverage to Chicago

And finally, although we were stylin' nicely here, there was some real Cycle Chic going on during my Netherlands junket in Groningen where this posse of cyclists went by looking as debonair as can be.  Maybe one day I will look like that. A fashion-model-for-a-day can always dream, right?

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No, Amsterdam Is Not “Swamped” By Bikes

In June, the New York Times published a story headlined "The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, But a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital" that instigated much debate (over 365 reader comments in one day) and a torrent of emails to the editor. The Times followed up by seeking a "dialogue" with its readers about the supposed "swamping" of Amsterdam by bicycles. Then came all the echoes of the Times narrative in other media.

So, are there really too many bikes in Amsterdam? On a recent trip to the Netherlands, I got to experience this "sea of bikes" first-hand, and I saw no true problems other than pockets of less-than-ideal bike parking accommodations.

Over 30 percent of trips in Amsterdam are done by bike, and many locals have decried the Times article as hyperbole. See what some of them have to say about the situation in this Streetfilm.

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Some Things You Might See While In Amsterdam

I'm currently on a European junket, and ahead of the more serious Streetfilms that will come out of it, I thought it would be prudent to put up some everyday street scenes of bicycling in Amsterdam.

Enjoy! Make sure to check back for more extensive coverage in coming weeks.