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Posts tagged "bike"

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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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TLC Gets Drivers on Bikes to Get a Different Perspective

In a first event of its kind, NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission organized a bike ride thru the streets of East Williamsburg for some of its for-hire drivers so they could see what it is like to be a bicyclist on the streets of New York City.

Even though the Citibikes-riding group selected a route with many protected bike lanes and striped lanes, the route was frequently blocked by trucks, cars and delivery vehicles. And during the more industrial parts of the ride cars went by fast. Both bike advocates and drivers had a friendly discussion during and after the ride.

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Protected Bike Lanes Make NYC Greener

In 2014 I made a short called "The Green Benefits of NYC Protected Bike Lanes" (vimeo.com/109772951) which was a minor hit. I recorded a narration talking about my experience watching how on streets that had curbside bike lanes with tree pit protection that trees were healthier, grew taller & further into the roadway and that the concrete waiting areas provided nice spots to put additional greenery & flowers.

I've seen no evidence to prove my theory wrong now four years later and after looking thru some of the footage I have shot the past two years realized I have built up quite an archive of beautiful shots showcasing that. Thus I present you this wonderful montage (and sparing you the dull voice over) of some of the eclectic stuff going on and around protected bike lanes/greenways that wouldn't be if not for the reallocation of street space to humans and bicycling. Enjoy!

Now certainly every block of every bike lane in NYC doesn't look like this, but it has been fun to watch them become lush whether it be a gardening group taking over keeping plantings, a private residence doing the greening or rogue individuals doing their own thing. Of course, NYC Parks has a hand in making improvements wherever a bike project puts up longer medians or barriers that become ripe spots for trees, which flourish.

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2018 Bike-to-Work Ride With Brooklyn BP Eric Adams

On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hosted his fourth annual Bike-to-Work Ride, taking off from Prospect Park and ending at Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. Besides having fun on a beautiful day, the goal was to show streets that need better infrastructure for biking and walking.

The first leg took on the speedway section of Flatbush Avenue next to Prospect Park, which is terrifying to bike on. NYC DOT is studying options to make the street safer, but it's clearly an ideal situation for a two-way protected bike lane, just like on the west side of the park.

Also on the itinerary: Ninth Street, which is in line for a redesign after a driver killed two young children last month, and a stop at Hamilton Avenue to meet with the young people in Red Hook campaigning for a safer crossing under the BQE.

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Gawk at the Great New Bike Access to the Williamsburg Bridge From Brooklyn

If your city says there's no room for better bike infrastructure to improve access to important bridge crossings, show them these street changes from NYC DOT. Parking spaces and traffic lanes have been converted to safe and comfortable two-way protected bike lanes on the approaches to the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn.

What's great is not only the safety of the protected lanes, but that the city took into account all the ways people on bikes approach the bridge. South 5th Place not only has a two-way protected lane, but a painted bike lane so cyclists can make convenient left turns.

People don't have to choose between riding a circuitous route and riding a direct route while going against traffic, because every street leading to and from the bridge path now has a legal two-way bike route. And that means no more ticket stings for people who are just trying to get where they need to go on a bike.

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The Northern Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

Despite the chill, nearly 75 people turned out Sunday to celebrate the new protected bike lane on Northern Boulevard connecting to the popular path known as Joe Michaels Mile in Eastern Queens.

This NYC DOT project added a two-way, concrete-protected bikeway to a high-speed section of Northern Boulevard that's frequently used by parents, kids, and commuters. The ride followed an eight-mile loop of bike lanes, some of which are still in the process of being installed by DOT.

Project opponents upset about the conversion of a car lane to make room for the bikeway have enlisted State Senator Tony Avella to help gin up negative press about it, claiming that the street is now more dangerous.

But people were getting maimed and killed in traffic before this bike lane was added. The impetus for the project was the 2016 death of Michael Schenkman, 78, who was riding on Northern Boulevard to get to Joe Michaels Mile for his daily exercise when a driver struck and killed him. Neighborhood residents and businesses are grateful DOT followed through and made this key connection on Northern Boulevard safer for biking and walking.

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Meet Some of the “100 Most Influential Urbanists” via Streetfilms!

Recently, Planetizen named their 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all-time, based on public voting off of a list of 200 nominees. Jane Jacobs won. As she should have.

Whether you believe the list is correct or has some people ranked too kindly or not at all, it has been circulating like mad on Facebook and other social media. Of course, when I took a look at the list, my first thought was how cool it was that Streetfilms had interviewed or featured dozens of them.  So if you want to learn or see many of these individuals in action, take a gander at the films below!

2. Jamie Lerner

The renowned urban planner became mayor of Curitiba and implemented their BRT system which we explore in this popular Streetfilm. But I selected the more intimate video we did on the story of Curitiba's first pedestrian street since it has lots of him.

 

4. Jan Gehl

In fact, there are many Streetfilms that have featured Gehl over the years. The film below is one of four I made - in five days - while in Copenhagen in 2010.  But our first with him was the most important: an influential video we cut of him  evaluating a horribly un-friendly-to-people Times Square in 2005 with Mark Gorton! In many ways it helped ignite the livable streets renaissance that NYC has been moving towards since.

 

10. Charles Mahron

About five years ago, Streetfilms first met Chuck, and we could tell he was an original thinker with ideas about our cities we needed to help spread. I thought he would make an interesting subject and followed him to a few cities.

 

12. William H. Whyte

Holly Whyte passed before I became deeply immersed making videos about urbanism and transportation. But since I always admired the simple language he used in his book "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces", I wanted to honor him with this montage of my favorite shots that matched the words in his book.

 

13. Donald Shoup

The undisputed expert of parking policy was part of our plan early on to highlight how ample free parking was a hurdle to having better cities. We interviewed him the first time he came to NYC and the 2nd time we did I decided it was time to take out some matchbox cars and show visually some of his concepts.

 

16. Janette Sadik-Khan

As NYC DOT Commissioner, we were perfectly positioned to watch the meteoric rise of Janette Sadik-Khan and how she introduced progressive public space initiatives and changed Times Square, Madison Square & brought us Summer Streets and more! She easily holds the record for appearing in more Streetfilms than any other person and  you might as well chalk all of this up to her,  Here we feature one of her first sit down interviews in 2008 with Mark Gorton about her work.

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Transform Your City With Tactical Urbanism

Tired of waiting for local governments to fix dangerous conditions, in many cities everyday citizens are practicing DIY traffic-calming to make streets safer for walking and biking. Some are forming “Departments of Transformation” to show others how to implement low-cost interventions, like traffic cones, to slow drivers down.

Often these installations are quickly removed by local DOTs, but in other cases, cities are embracing what’s come to be known as “tactical urbanism.” Some cities are making citizen-generated improvements permanent, while others are encouraging the movement by sanctioning, and even sponsoring, tactical urbanism projects.

Watch as we check in with people who are making this happen around the world!

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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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The Philadelphia Bike Story

Of U.S. cities with more than a million residents, the one where people bike the most is Philadelphia. In 2012, the U.S. Census estimated Philadelphia’s bicycle commute rate at 2.3 percent [PDF], higher than Chicago (1.6 percent) and New York (1.0 percent).

It's just about always been that way. That comes as a surprise to many people, since Philadelphia doesn't have a lot of bike infrastructure. But there are other street design and urban design factors at work, many due to the fact that Philadelphia is an old city.

For one, the city has a lot of narrow streets. That makes it tougher to add bike lanes, but it also means motorists tend to travel at speeds that don't intimidate people on bikes. On average, people also live closer to their jobs than in most other places, making bike commuting a better option. Stop signs are more prevalent than signals, and where there are traffic lights, the sequencing is short, so people on bikes don't have to wait long at intersections. In the end, most people bike because it is the fastest, most convenient option.

Thanks to Alex Doty, executive director of the Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and all the other bicyclists I got to speak with. They'll tell you plenty more reasons why biking is good there, and how it could be better.

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Talking About Bikelash in Your City

Six months ago, Dr. Doug Gordon and Dr. Aaron Naparstek charmed audiences at the 2014 National Bike Summit with a great routine called "Moving Beyond the Bikelash," sharing what they've learned from the pushback to New York City's bike network expansion.

So last week, while at the Pro-Walk Pro-Bike Pro-Place conference, I thought it would be interesting to ask advocates from across the country about the state of bikelash in their cities and how they combat it. Here's what they told me.

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In the U.S. Walking & Biking to School is Becoming Extinct, Get Inspired by some Streetfilms to Change That

Last year, we debuted a crisply-edited Streetfilm "Children Have Lost the Freedom to Roam" as a chapter in our STREETFACTS series. We were surprised the 4-part educational series didn't do better. However, the last week saw renewed interest as people started forwarding it around Facebook, nearly 100 shares! Perhaps the general public is beginning to crave change?

Things sure have changed in most parts of the country since I was a kid. I'm now 47. I walked over 2 miles each way to school - in rain and snow (and I was also a morning paperboy for the Times-Hearld Record in Goshen, NY!) In many parts of our country, the built-environment has made it nearly impossible for kids to walk and bike. And as we all know in some places it is illegal or forbidden by the school district.

That's really depressing, sure. But at Streetfilms we've been lucky to be around cities trying to do it right here in America. Our recent hit from Lakewood, Ohio a Cleveland school district that has never provided buses for its students, just soared to nearly 60,000 plays! In Lakewood you can sense the atmosphere is much different than a typical school morning. The kids and parents seem happy, The energy level is infectious.

Last year we got to visit Portland, Oregon where thanks to much traffic calming and slow streets of the Neighborhood Greenways, children are walking and biking in growing numbers. It's encouraging. It's a very fun film. Especially the Bike Trains!

There are many videos to get inspired by via Streetfilms. In Brooklyn, PS 67 students painted the pavement to make streets near their school safer. In Davis, California the bike mode share is high, and most of the school districts there don't have buses either.

But in the U.S. we have so much further to go. See above, for this short video from the Dutch city of Utrecht, where children learn about transportation at an early age. And if you watch our 2010 Streetfilm from Copenhagen, you'll see plenty of young children riding bikes, and hear about how the learn how at a very early age to navigate the streets.

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Then there is this clip last year from an Amsterdam trip that shows what we are looking to attain is humanly possible. Yes this kid is four years old! I couldn't ride that well as a teenager!

But don't get depressed too much by this stellar work beyond done overseas. There are many communities and advocacy groups out there pushing to make our streets better. Use these videos as your inspiration and don't wait any longer. And also, our Zozo series can help spread the word!

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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.

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Bike Report from Pittsburgh: Cool Bicycling Bridges & ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace Coming in 2014!

Last week I was in Pittsburgh on a panel for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place 2013: Moving People Forward Summit. It's a warmup for the much larger 2014 conference which will be also held there. Put it on your calendar.

It's no secret that Pittsburgh is a great city of bridges. And while they may currently lack a comprehensive on-road network for bikes,  pedestrians and bicyclists do have ample space and comfortable access to just about all their bridges.

Last time I visited in 2010, I fell in love with the elegance of the Hot Metal Bridge, which crosses the Monongahela River and provides an intergral link in the Great Allegheny Passage which connects all the way to D.C. One evening, I spent over an hour soaking in the atmosphere and the observing the people using it. It's peaceful, clean, and has great views.  I'd put it amongst my Top Five U.S. bike bridges.  I knew this time back I had to put together a montage, I hope it conveys my experience.

The conference ended with a group bike ride which showcased some of Pittsburgh's new bicycle amenities. One relatviely new facility really shows why we need to make top notch connections for bikes and peds that are not only functional, but incorporate art wherever  possible.   Check out some footage of the Shady Liberty Pedestrian Bridge.

Okay, let's get back to the conference, Pittsburgh City Council Member Bill Peduto delivered a great speech to help kickoff the event and charge residents for 2014. He's won the Democratic Primary for Mayor and now is the overwhelming favorite to win the post in less than 2 months.  As I found out later when I met him for dinner, he has a very impressive grasp of transportation issues from Bus Rapid Transit to PARKing Day, and has been a huge fan of Streetfilms for years. Understanding just how important livability is to a city in the bike/ped/transit realm he can hit the ground running on transportation and I think the next four years in Pittsburgh has a chance to be groundbreaking. Here's a few minutes of his remarks I grabbed.

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My 24 Hour Trip to DC is all about Togas, Bike Share & Tiny Bike Messages of Love!

When I boarded an Amtrak Wednesday morning for Washington, DC to go shoot some interviews for a great ciclovia project I am working on, I stuck around to grab some extra b-roll of D.C. cyclists at rush hour. Little did I know with that decision an adventure began.

I'll start off with this 1 minute montage of inspirational bike phrases someone (some group?) stenciled along the 15th Street protected bike lane. You could call it graffiti, sure. But when they are this tiny and scattered amongst the hundreds of other marks on a block of asphalt, it certainly doesn't feel much like that. And frankly, when you were riding uphill, I found them extraordinarily motivating. Sweet.

As you know, we very rarely feature bike culture events on Streetfilms because we are usually busy doing lots of policy and best practice films around the world.  But every so often the stars align like they did for me in the Nation's Capital for the monthly DC Bike Party Ride. Friends alerted me it was happening, so I moseyed on over.

The theme was "Toga Toga Toga" and of course that means some participants were wearing togas. So we had to ask folks just WHAT or WHO they were wearing. The DC denizens didn't disappoint with plenty of humorous answers. The ride was plenty 'o fun, featuring many hundreds and crusied past many landmarks, but of course everything in the Downtown is practaclly a landmark.  But I digress. Just enjoy.