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Posts tagged "Bicycling"

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Washington, DC: A Biking Streetfilms Adventure!

At the end of March, The League of American Bicyclists tried out a hybrid style Bike Summit 2022 due to the pandemic's still uncertain effect on daily life. I liked that some of it was on-line and a good deal of it I could do outdoors. So I sojourned to Washington, D.C. to attend and also see what has happened with infrastructure one of the better biking cities in the nation during Covid.

Truth is D.C. is doing a lot! I enjoyed quite a few solid, protected lanes that are new in the past two years and a bridge (Frederick Douglass) that while still not fully finished is already opened to the public for those on foot, bike and scooters with a 20-foot wide path (and on the other side another path will open later this year.) I believe that it could be a record for a multi-use path in terms of width since the two sides will equal 40-feet combined!!

D.C. has a lot of cool stuff going on. One thing I really like is that when they decide to build protected bike lanes they utilize many barriers and strategies and they work extremely well. You will see many styles sprinkled in amongst the footage as we got to talk to Citifi's Gabe Klein (who is a previous head of DC DOT), DC Cycling Concierge's Jeff Miller and Fionnuala Quinn the Director of the wonderful Discover Traffic Gardens who guide us on our fun journey to see a lot in just 48 hours.

One drawback was the weather. I had planned an even far more extensive film but with brutally cold temperatures (there was a windchill of low 20s for our Cherry Blossom ride on Monday morning) some precipitation and frequent 30+ mph wind gusts it made filming a real chore the entire a trip with frozen fingers. So a small apology for being able to hear the wind quite a bit at times. The usual temps in DC are 60 degrees at this time.

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Washington DC Blossoms Bike Tour 2022

Come along with "DC's Cycling Concierge" Jeff Miller as he leads a ride to see Washington D.C.'s cherry blossoms in full bloom for this year's Bike Summit Conference 2022 from The League of American Bicyclists! It's a short tour but full of sites and flowering trees. This ride departed at 645am Monday morning on March 28. The temps were in the mid-20s and it was very cold. But it turned out with so few people up that early and the bitter cold provided an excellent ride without crowds so often gathering to see nature's bloomings.

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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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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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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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More NYC Teens are Biking to School

Biking is cheap. Biking is fast. Biking promotes independence and exploration. Biking is great exercise. And, biking sure is FUN! What better way for New York City's teens to navigate the city and get themselves to school?

This generation is politically active and solutions-oriented. The last few weeks, we've been interviewing students - some in Queens, some in Manhattan on the Hudson River Greenway, some biking across Central Park. All of them joyful and appreciative of the time away from screens, feeling the wind in their hair and connecting with nature and those around them.

One notable incentive for these students? Schools that provide indoor, secure bike parking (here's looking at you school administrators!). Our goal is for each and every teen to have the option to safely bike, walk, scoot to school. That means we need a connected, protected, low-stress bike lane network in each and every neighborhood in this city. The city's future depends on it - quite literally.

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In NYC You Can Go By Bike on the Pedestrian Signal!

So with a great "new" law on the books that allows bicycle riders to also legally use pedestrian signals (LPIs) to get a 5 to 10 second head start on drivers in NYC why did it take Streetfilms nearly a year to talk to the two people most responsible for it?

Well when it was passed council last year and slated to begin on December 20, 2019 it was the holiday season and freezing cold, and no one cares about watching videos end of year. We finally had scheduled to film it mid-March, but then Covid-19 prevented that.

I circled back around to the idea early this Fall after riding thru the NYC Summer Bicycle Boom™ explosion where I would frequently come upon LPI intersections where #bikenyc riders were frequently frozen waiting for the green light, ignoring the pedestrian beacon telling them, "Please go forth person on your bike with your walking cousins!"

So it's a good time to re-promote this great law that makes it safer for bike riders. Let those innovative who don't know it's legal to use the signals. Also, there are now so many brand new riders in the city that don't know all the rules of the road that frankly need enlightening. There are more than 4,000 of the lights.

We went to Brooklyn to the corner of Atlantic Ave & Smith Street and talked with Council member Carlos Menchaca and "The War on Cars" co-host Doug Gordon about what the law means and the journey to its realization.

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How to Ride Your Bike Like a Gentleman (or a Lady)

This is a fun video. Some etiquette. Some style. Some advocacy. But all fun!

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100+ Bikes Upgraded with Care at Big Fix Day BK in East New York

New York City Bike Mayor Courtney Williams provided the nucleus for Brooklyn's Big Fix Day, an event that brings out bike mechanics to the neediest area of the city, in this case East New York and the surrounding communities, to sponsor free bicycle fixing.

Notably this year, East New York, Brownsville, Canarsie and surrounding communities were hardest hit in Brooklyn by the Coronvirus epidemic. There has been a large toll economically in conjunction with the greater challenges of getting around via transportation and maintaining social distancing.

That's why Big Fix Day BK was so vital to bring mechanics and bike shop stores to the community to fix over 100 bikes for free for residents where every penny counts.

 

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Coronavirus Has Changed Our Streets And We Need To Heed Those Lessons

I live in NYC's Jackson Heights, 11372. Which is currently among the hardest hit zip-codes in the USA for Coronavirus cases and fatalities.

It has been a tough month for many of our neighbors and friends. I get outside for a socially distanced hour every day so I can get footage to show how drastically our streetscape has been altered by the virus — and to make the case that once this is all over, we should never accept how we allocate public space in favor of car drivers rather than the majority of New Yorkers who get around on narrow sidewalks, unprotected bike routes or on buses that are constantly being delayed by people in their own private vehicles.

Under normal circumstances, the world is upside-down — as a result of a minority of NYC car owners, the rest of us are breathing toxic exhaust, getting stuck in their traffic, being killed by their reckless use of steel cages, being terrified just to cross a street, etc. So let's change that. When you see my before-and-after videos, you can see that no one will want to return to the pre-virus status quo. The first step will be to eliminate all unnecessary car trips. Then we can redesign our streets to prioritize long-suffering bus riders, cyclists and pedestrians, who are fighting over crumbs. So many U.S. cities are leading.

It's time for Mayor de Blasio to allow his best city planners take over from do-nothing bureaucrats and allowing the police (most of whom live in the suburbs) to dictate streets policy.

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Is Using a Bike for Transport the Best way to Avoid the Coronavirus?

Yesterday, Streetfilms went to the foot of the Queensborough Bridge to ask bicycling commuters if they are using their bikes more due to the novel Coronavirus or if they see the benefits in doing such on a daily basis.

They day prior both the Mayor and Governor issued updated guidelines for residents asking them to try to avoid crowded subway cars or work from home and to consider biking or walking to work. As you can see from the reactions, there were a lot of opinions in favor of using 2-wheels not only during the current crisis, but every day!

The eclectic reactions and advice were of, course, pure New York.

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The Streets Have Changed: A NYC Bicycle Journey During the Coronavirus

I hadn't been on my bicycle in over a week, choosing to walk and run for exercise during the Coronavirus (and observing recommended precautions) but I was curious what my normal commute looked like. So on Friday I chose to get my exercise by bicycling in to Manhattan and brought my camera along as I visited many spots I might typically do if scouting for great locales to film footage for a Streetfilm.

The amazing thing is I have so much archives of New York City that in many cases I had exact matching footage from the last few years of each location or spot, showing what it looks like typically (or in some cases showing what it looked like before the streets received an intervention from NYC DOT) and in some cases is pretty mind blowing.

I hope this Streetfilm (likely the final "new" one shot until the world heals) is entertaining, gives you hope and stretches your mind to what is still possible when we emerge from this pandemic.

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Happy Valentine’s Bike Day Montage!

Well it's February 14th. And I just decided that for the first time ever Streetfilms was gonna do some happy, loving Valentine's Day biking imagery for a card to our subscribers and fans.

I sifted thru about 30 Streetfilms over the past ten years and lifted out lots of scenes of happiness from some of our videos from NYC, USA and around the world.

Bikes = Love

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The Innovative Way Ghent, Belgium Removed Cars From The City

Witness the transformation of Ghent, Belgium, who instituted the Traffic Circulation Plan in April 2017, which completely changed the way nearly every resident gets around the city and has inspired unheard of mode shifts. It encourages less car use, more bicycling and more transit use by splitting the city into  seven distinct zones: a mostly car-free city center core surrounded by six zones which have been cordoned off with concrete or controlled by cameras. The only way to reach them is to travel to the ring road on the city outskirts, thus making it not impossible to use a car but motivates those shorter trips to be done via human power or mass transit. Bike mode share in 2012 was 22%, now it is 35% and growing!

This swift, creative strategy of turning Ghent in to a place for people is such a phenomenal story it's a mystery as to why it has not gotten more attention worldwide. It is a city of 262,000 residents, so not a large metropolis, but not a small city either. The metamorphosis was achieved thru a sort of tactical urbanism approach by throwing concrete barriers and planters here and there (some backed by enforcement cameras) and altering the gateways into public spaces and safer places to walk and bike. (There are now 40% fewer cars on bicycle priority streets than before the plan!)

Their main inspirations were the cities of Groningen and Utrecht, both in The Netherlands. And as Vice Mayor, Filip Watteeuw explains they did not have the funds or the time to spend 10, 20 or 30 years to catch up to where they were. So they improvised with interesting tactics and treatments and The Traffic Circulation Plan. And as I have said before what happened was stunning: almost never has their been such a rapid metamorphosis occurred in such a short time. And Ghent isn't stopping there.

Ghent was a fabulous city for many reasons. I highly recommend a visit. It is quiet and lovely and nearly everywhere is attainable by multiple modes of transportation. You can even use a car if you like - but just remember it is a little more complicated.

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Ghent’s Political & Media Obstacles to Implementing the Traffic Circulation Plan

SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT!

We had to cut out so much from our Ghent Streetfilm on The Circulation Plan and how wonderful it was for the country. We probably could have released a 30 minute version!!

But we had to take out over half of the section on the political obstacles and negative media sensationalism that led up to (and during) the first days. So this was important to retain more of this story in an additional release for those curious. After all, we all know the usual story that occurs when a city, state or country tries to implement an innovative transportation scheme: there are often community scare tactics, the opposing political party tries to take advantage or not support it and - usually standard - the media tries to drum up controversy and say the plans will not work and cause difficulty.

Thus it is a valuable tool to make this expanded story from Ghent as you will hear about some of these (including "death threats" to the Vice Mayor Filip Watteeuw and even Dutch planners, yes the Dutch(!) saying the plans were "political suicide".

But as we know in most cases well-thought plans do work and the public ends up liking it more than the media ever assumes.