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Posts tagged "bike lanes"

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NYC 4-Boro Protected Bike Lane Ride

I've been riding a bike in NYC for more than 25 years. When I started, there wasn't much in the way of good bike infrastructure, but in that time I've watched the bike network expand and slowly get safer.

With recent bike lane additions and enhancements on Jay Street, Chrystie Street, and First Avenue, NYC DOT has pointed out that you can now ride on protected bike lanes almost continuously from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Connecting to other segments of protected bike lanes, with just a few blocks exposed to traffic, you can do enjoyable, low-stress rides of 10, 20, 25 miles on city streets.

So I pitched the good folks at Transportation Alternatives about doing a small group ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx to Randall's Island to Queens and back to Brooklyn -- about 25 miles. After sketching it out, we estimated that 97 percent of the ride could be done on protected lanes, car-free bridge paths, and greenways.

Of course, New York still has a long way to go to make cycling safe for all ages and abilities throughout the city. But we are on our way. As recently as 10 years ago, I can remember the huge advocacy effort that went into gaining two meager strips of white paint for bike lanes here or there. Now we are building up to a useable network.

So come along for the ride, get a good look at the protected bikeways and bridge paths along our route, and meet some of the volunteers who've been working hard to make biking better in New York City. As the soundtrack (which the great Eric Bazilian and Mats Wester generously gave permission to use) goes, "That's a good thing!"

Also, if you want to see the details of all the turns in this journey, I compiled this map.

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Vancouver’s Multi-Modal Success Story

One of the best transportation stories of 2016 comes from Vancouver, British Columbia, which achieved its goal of having transit, biking, and walking account for 50 percent of all trips a full four years ahead of schedule. Bicycling is a big part of that shift, and now one of every 10 work trips is by bike.

Vancouver is a city that prides itself on rejecting freeways in the 1960s and 70s. It is the only major city in North America without freeways in the core. Recently the city set out to build on the achievements of previous generations by increasing "sustainable modes" to account for two-thirds of all trips by 2040 (read up on the city's goals).

I was in Vancouver for the ProWalk ProBike ProPlace conference this summer and spoke to several people involved in the effort to make Vancouver a more multi-modal city, including former chief planner Brent Toderian, Manager of Transportation Planning Dale Bracewell, and Melissa and Chris Bruntlett, the activist couple behind Modacity.

I hope this Streetfilm provides a taste what it's like to have so many different options at your disposal -- bike, bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and more. And don't miss our short from earlier this year: Vancouver's Breathtaking Network of Protected Bike lanes.

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The Best Halloween “Transportation Costumes” of 2016*

*-that I could find on Twitter

It seems every year I see more and more bicycle infrastructure and transportation themes being made into inventive Halloween costumes! So much so this year I decided it was time to cull the best I saw on Twitter over the three days of Halloween celebration.

I'll point out a few things that are the most frequent "dress ups" in our transportation world in 2106: 1) little kids dressing as trains, 2) people dressing as some sort of bike lane (or sharrow) and 3) this year especially saw lots of people dressed as New Jersey's "Bridgegate" either as Chris Christie with the bridge itself in one form!

My personal winner is #FreshKermit (see above) from my friend Jessame Hannus. A term Streetfilms coined! But what follows are some that really standout out of 100s I saw. But I'm sure they'll be plenty of folks posting other links and photos. And please do!

Read more...

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Use Streetfilms to tell your community you want better bike lanes!

It's kinda crazy, but if you had told me ten years ago that I would have nearly 70 Streetfilms made that feature Protected Cycle Tracks, I'd likely say 1) how could I ever accumulate that amount of output and 2) why would you need that many? And yet, here we are, and we do!

Not only is there a large cache just waiting for you, but the quantity and style of the lanes are quite diverse. So I invite you to use this link as a great resource. You can embed, download and screen Streetfilms wherever you like for free (we just ask that you do not re-edit them in any form without permission.) We have a lot of folks across the country and world using them, yet I'm still stunned more advocates aren't taking advantage. Please do so and even drop us a line telling us how and where you are using!

Would it help if I provided a curated list? Below I have embedded just a small sampling from some interesting options I've seen over the last few years, but this is just the tip of the bike lane. So make sure you go full list if this isn't enough to provide you with the information you need.

 

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Vancouver’s Breathtaking Network of Safe, Protected Bike Lanes

In 2012, the Vancouver City Council set an ambitious goal to reach a bicycle mode share of 7 percent of all trips by 2020. The city proceeded to hit the mark in 2015, five years ahead of schedule!

When you ride around Vancouver's fantastic network of bike lanes, it's no wonder the city is experiencing a leap in ridership. Most of Vancouver feels safe to ride, and it's fun to see all sorts of people out on bikes.

A key factor in Vancouver's success is that the city constantly goes back to re-engineer, tweak, and improve its bike lanes for greater safety. Hornby Street, which features prominently in this Streetfilm, used to just have painted bike lanes. At the time, women accounted for 28 percent of bike trips on the street, according to Vancouver Transportation Manager Dale Bracewell. After the city installed a landscaped protected bike lane on Hornby, bike trips grew rapidly -- especially bike trips by women, who now account for 39 percent of the street's bike traffic.

Compared to New York City, which has made significant strides in the past eight years to carve out street space for protected bike lanes, Vancouver is clearly going the extra mile. In three days of riding, I didn't see one car parked in a protected bike lane. When you ride downtown, conflicts with drivers are rare.

In New York, we need to take additional steps to shore up protected bike lanes and keep cars out. In many cases, we already have the real estate, w just need bolder designs and with more physical protection.

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Bikes Are Freedom: Inspiration from the Experts

Just a little bit of bubble-gum-pop, montage inspiration, "Bikes Are Freedom" showcases bicycling footage from 30+ diverse cities around the globe while featuring over a dozen quotes of inspiration of how biking & freedom intersect for world transportation leaders.

If you are ever feeling sad and blue about the world being dominated by the automobile, this is the pick me up you've dreamed about. At the very least will make you happy for two minutes before pessimism consumes you again. Bikes are rising. Carry on.

(Oh and make sure to watch in High Def for the best swell feeling experience.)

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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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Peatónito in NYC: Protecting Pedestrians in the Crosswalk

Peatónito ("little pedestrian") might be the most beloved figure in the world of street safety. How can you not love a superhero who protects pedestrians from cars?! Since donning the cape and luchador mask three years ago, he's become a media sensation in Mexico. This week he's in New York City for Transportation Alternatives' Vision Zero for Cities 2016 conference, and Streetfilms was lucky enough to squeeze in this exclusive whirlwind walking tour of Brooklyn and Queens streets showing him in action.

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate in Mexico City for quite a while. He's been involved with many tactical urbanism-type of interventions, like painting crosswalks with his own spray can. As Peatónito, he's attained a new level of fame for gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections, and pushing cars (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to make motorists more aware of their transgressions.

Come along for a fun short as Peatónito hits the intimidating streets near Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the constantly blocked bike lanes on Jay Street by MetroTech, and crosswalks in Jackson Heights, Queens, helping children walk to school.

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The Gaman Spirit: Why Cycling Works in Tokyo

In Tokyo, bicycling accounts for 14 percent of all trips. Yet Tokyo does not have the cycling infrastructure of Amsterdam or even Hamburg. As much as wider bike lanes would help, Tokyo residents will bike regardless. If there's no bike lane, they'll just hop on the sidewalk or wherever they feel safe.

Joe Baur produced this excellent Streetfilm. He writes:

Still, it was easy to see some of the same problems in Tokyo that I've seen in my own cycling in Cleveland and throughout the United States. That is, motorists will take that space back when it pleases them.

For instance, while cycling on a beautiful blue lane into downtown Tokyo, my hosts and I stopped at an intersection to get some shots of cyclists passing by. Across the street a delivery truck had pulled over into the bike lane. Ahead of us, a car in the bike lane forced cyclists to either hop onto the sidewalk or move further into the vehicle lane. Unsurprisingly, drivers did not seem keen to make space for the merging cyclists or to slow down.

The other peculiarity was the fact that the responsibility of designing cycling infrastructure falls to the individual districts within Tokyo. Byron Kidd of Tokyo By Bike equated it with New York City boroughs coming up with their own cycling infrastructure, irrespective of one another. The result is, indeed, confusing -- comically so at times.

However, cycling continues to work beautifully in Tokyo. I was surprised by just how young the kids were cycling around the city. I was told that kids start in the back of their parent's bike, then they move up to a handlebars seat when the second child comes along before hopping onto their own bike when they're too heavy. This all makes sense when you consider that it's very common for Japanese children to be sent off on their own at an age many North Americans would consider too young.

There's at least one thing the rest of the world can take from cycling in Tokyo. That is the "Gaman Spirit." Literally, it means "to endure." But when applied to cycling in Tokyo, it refers to everybody getting along.

Whether you're a cyclist, pedestrian, or driver, it doesn't matter. We all have a job to get done, so as Kidd put it, "get it done."

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Hamburg’s Quest to Get Bicycling Up to 25 Percent of All Trips

Hamburg, a city of nearly two million people in northern Germany, has a 12 percent bike mode share and regularly ranks among the world's most bike-friendly cities (Copenhagenize currently has it in 19th place). Nevertheless, many cyclists and advocates in Hamburg believe their government should be doing much more to build safer bike lanes and encourage cycling.

Guest Streetfilms journalist Joe Baur was recently in Germany and got to interview advocates about the state of cycling and how Hamburg can achieve its goal of 25 percent bike mode share by 2025.

You can view more of Joe Baur's work on Vimeo.

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Hey #bikenyc: Where Would You Put New York’s Next Protected Bike Lanes?

At the September press conference where Bicycling Magazine named New York City the best American city for biking, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg committed to adding five miles of protected bike lanes per year "all over the city, not just in the core of Manhattan.”

Since then, anytime I've been at bike events or out on the streets shooting video, I've been interviewing riders about where they would like to see new protected bike lanes. As with most things bike, when you talk to the people riding the streets every day you get incredibly smart recommendations.

So I present this montage of New Yorkers who bike, sounding off on where they want the city to install protected bike lanes. I think they all made great suggestions.

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Inventing fun transportation hashtags: #freshKermit

By now, fans of Streetfilms probably know about the explosion of the hashtag #sneckdown on Twitter earlier this year. Now we are slowly watching another phenomenon roll out and it is easy enough to contribute.

In what has to make the Green Lane Project team happy, when Streetfilms fans have been seeing freshly painted (or re-painted) protected bike lanes in that bright green color that looks closer to a famous muppet, they're using the tag #freshkermit. Here's a few recent examples. Keep an eye out in your city and tweet away!

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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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Journey Around Copenhagen’s Latest Bicycle Innovations!

Copenhagen just keeps finding new ways to make it easier and more convenient to bike. Recently I had the chance to take a tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize and see some of the innovations that have changed the city's streets since I was there four years ago.

First off, if you've seen my 2010 Streetfilm about Copenhagen's bike infrastructure and culture, the busiest bicycle street in the world has changed: The Knippelsbro Bridge now boasts 40,700 riders per day! And speaking of bridges, Copenhagen is building six new crossings exclusively for biking and walking to help its citizens get around.

Last month another cool bridge debuted -- the Cykelslangen ("Bicycle Snake"). You'll see loads of footage as we traveled back and forth. It is truly a handsome piece of infrastructure. Even going uphill seems pretty easy!

You'll see lots of other things that will make you happy (or angry your city isn't doing more!), including waste baskets angled for cyclists, LED lights that indicate whether riders have to speed up to catch the green wave, and a cool treatment for cobblestone streets that helps make biking easier.

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Streetfacts #1: Bike Lanes Aren’t Just for Big Cities

Welcome to the first of five shorts we're calling Streetfacts. With Streetfacts, we'll be highlighting developing trends affecting transportation and planning policy, as well as addressing the cost of "bad practices" that prevent us from shifting to a more balanced transportation network that supports more livable places.

As Streetfilms viewers know, many of the big cities in the U.S. are in the midst of expanding their bicycle networks by installing protected bike lanes. We've shown these projects in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., but some of the newest cities installing them are smaller cities you might not be aware of. Places like Missoula, Flagstaff, Indianapolis, Austin, and Memphis have either installed protected lanes or are breaking ground shortly.

Over the next five weeks, we'll be publishing the rest of the Streetfacts series, which we hope will come in handy in your advocacy. And if they're a big hit, we'll take nominations for other topics and make another batch of Streetfacts later in the year.