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Posts tagged "biking"

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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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All of our Ghent, Belgium Streetfilms in a Big Post!

As we worked towards our final edit for the anchor Ghent Streetfilm on the installation of their Circulation Plan, there were many smaller items we knew wouldn't make the final cut or were better off as quick items posted as shorts.

Above, of course, is the main feature. But below you will find some supplemental gems and fun.

This one below dives deeper in to the politics and the media negativism as the Circulation Plan for the city was getting ready to be installed.

In Ghent there is a very unique bridge that raises and lowers for boats WHILE cyclists ride over it, no need for pausing.

While we were on a bike tour of the city Vice Mayor Filip Watteeau showed us a program where neighbors can request and design their streets. Here is a clip.

And finally, there are quite a number of tram tracks, everywhere. And it is amazing and graceful to see the city's residents navigate them successfully, and most of them aren't wearing helmets either.

 

 

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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!

StreetFilms
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See what this Cyclist is doing with $2 Bills to Advocate for Cycling

Steven Hardy-Braz certainly wears many hats. Not only is he is a loyal Brompton folding bike rider, a school psychologist and an advocate (and interpreter for the deaf) but he also hands out two dollar bills to fellow cyclists, business owners and even good drivers which are stamped with a special message and reminder that cyclists participate in the local economy.

I was very lucky to get to meet him by chance at the League of American Bicyclists 2019 National Bike Summit. Once I heard about the many things he was involved in, we spent about a half an hour together shooting this quick profile.

StreetFilms
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Jersey City Experiments with its first Protected Bike Lane

The Bergen Avenue protected bikeway is a temporary facility, implemented with removable materials to demonstrate to Jersey City residents and businesses how protected bike lanes could be implemented in Jersey City. The protected lane is Jersey City's first and is 75% wider than other lanes in Jersey City so that people cycling can travel side-by-side. The lane also welcomes people using scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades.

The 6-block, .4-mile project links Journal Square and McGinley Square and was built to last over the duration of JCAST 2018, the city's three-day, citywide arts festival. Not an isolated project, the demonstration project is part of the engagement process for the Let's Ride JC Bicycle Master Plan, an effort being lead by Street Plans with support from Arterial, Equitable Cities, Streetfilms, and many community groups and city departments who desire safer streets.

StreetFilms
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Case for Car-Free Central Park (2018 Re-edit)

Back in Summer 2004, I made a great film with Transportation Alternatives, one that kinda helped launch my career into Streetfilms. It was called "The Case for a Car-Free Central Park" and featured footage from dozens of leaders, advocates and park users calling for a Central Park. It was 20 minutes long. See it here in its entirety, it is certainly an important archive.

Since today is the historic announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio of a - finally - fully car-free Central Park, I thought I'd go back to the film and do a 3 minute recut and let one man get a lot of credit who deserves it: Ken Coughlin the chair, energy and momentum of the Transportation Alternatives Car-Free Central Park movement for over a decade who gathered thousands of signatures and helped make this happen! And allow him, using his own words back then along with a few specially placed current day montages, to prove he was always right - that this would happen one day.

He said in our 2004 film that regarding a car-free park, "I still believe it is right around the corner, and I believe in the city and eventually city officials will do what's right."

14 years later Ken they have. Thank you very much.

StreetFilms
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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.

StreetFilms
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Street Transformation: The Chrystie Street Protected Bike Lane

At the end of 2016, NYC DOT completed work on the protected bike lane on Chrystie Street, a key connection between the Manhattan Bridge and the rest of the Manhattan bike network. The story of this bike lane is a case study in how good things happen when city officials are willing to listen to advocates with smart ideas.

The two-way protected lane replaced a striped bike lane implemented in 2008. That design wasn't working -- cars, trucks, and buses constantly obstructed the bike lane, forcing thousands of cyclists each day to weave in and out of traffic.

The concept for a two-way protected bikeway on the east side of the street was floated by volunteer Dave "Paco" Abraham in 2015, winning the support of the local community board and elected officials. Later that year, a group of anonymous activists calling themselves the "NYC Department of Transformation" placed traffic cones to keep the drivers out of the lane to spur action. NYC DOT listened and came up with a sensible plan -- and the Chrystie Street protected bike lane became official policy.

If you like this video, check out the previous entry in our street transformations series: the Queensborough Bridge bike path.

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Cambridge: Britain’s Cycling Capital

In the city of Cambridge, just about an hour's train ride north of London, you'll find lots of people bicycling. In fact, the official bike mode share is 22 percent, but advocates believe it's even higher and could comprise up to 50 percent of all trips in the city center.

More than protected bike lanes, the key to Cambridge's success has been the management of motor vehicle traffic. For one, the city center is now ringed by a cordon of moveable bollards that only recede for buses, taxis, and some service vehicles. Private cars are not allowed downtown but people on bikes are free to enter at any time -- which makes the bicycle the most convenient mode of transportation.

In residential neighborhoods, Cambridge has also tamed cars using a strategy called "filtered permeability" -- placing physical barriers at some intersection that divert motorized traffic while allowing other modes to filter through. This prevents motorists from using residential areas as short cuts and encourages cycling. Similar techniques are employed in famous cycling cities like Groningen, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, and even here in the U.S. in places like Portland and Berkeley.

Cambridge is a growing city, and if new residents choose to drive cars, its streets could become overwhelmed by traffic. So the effort to create better streets for biking and walking continues. Recently, the city has adopted a 20 mph speed limit for most of its roadways, and a new push is on to install much more robust protected bike lanes in targeted areas where cycling feels less safe.

For bonus footage of Cambridge streets, check my post from earlier this week.

StreetFilms
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Need to Add a Bike Lane to a Bridge? Experiment Like Pittsburgh Did

The Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place 2014 conference took place this week in Pittsburgh. Even though the Andy Warhol Bridge already has a nice shared bike-ped path on it, for one week the city decided to put bike lanes on its roadway. It's the simplest design you can imagine, just two rows of small traffic barriers and a little bit of signage. I compiled a few moments of footage while walking to an event one night.

In New York City, the Brooklyn Bridge is just packed with pedestrians and cyclists. For about the last ten years or so, the crowding gets so intense at peak hours that it can be perilous. There have been many solutions suggested over the years, including converting one of the roadway's car lanes to a two-way protected bike lane so cyclists and pedestrians don't have to jostle for space on the narrow promenade they currently share.

Of course the Brooklyn Bridge has more traffic of all types than the Andy Warhol Bridge. But keep this Pittsburgh experiment in mind for the future. Something has to be done on the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe a trial bike lane during the summer would be a good place to start.

It wouldn't be an unprecedented decision. There are many other examples throughout the world -- here's our video of  Vancouver giving road space to bikes on the Burrard Bridge:

 

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Watch as Copenhagen Drivers Turning Right Exhibit Incredible Patience for Cyclists (as they should)

Amazingly, I put up this montage of nearly raw footage I shot in Copenhagen to exhibit the patience of drivers as they prepare to make right turns as passing cyclists cruise by with little fear of every being "right hooked". I didn't think it would get more than a few hundred views so I didn't put it on Streetfilms proper. Now after over 6000 plays (almost all thru social networking shares) I changed my mind and put it up.

What's most amazing is that in two or three instances of each shot there's a point where American drivers in most of our cities would have gunned it to make the turn. Or just invaded the cyclist's space.

Of course the reason so many Copenhagen drivers exhibit so much patience is with a 42% bike mode share, they are cyclists themselves. And also all Copenhagen school kids receive lots of road education while in school.

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Streetfilms Shorties: Early Highlights from Texas

Today I fly back to NYC after nearly a week in Dallas and Houston. For a guy from the Northeast I have been both pleasantly surprised by nice things I've seen and also intimidated by the numbers of cars - big cars - everywhere I go.  Here are just a few Streetfilms shorties to give you a small taste of what I have seen. The above video is from Dallas where Klyde Warren Park a newly opened public space has attracted a lot of visitors. The park was built over the top of a freeway. But it cost quite a bit of money to do so - $110 million dollars! It has a lot of great programming and the food trucks make it a constant draw.

Over in Houston, I fell in love with the Metro Rail's Main Street Square stop. As you can see in the video montage, the train passes thru an amazing car-free block filled with fountains and dazzling lights. I've never seen anything quite like it anywhere. I only posted nighttime footage as the transit nerd in me wanted you to feel as I did soaking it in just sitting there one night.

BetterBlockBack to Dallas, the main reason I went there was to do a profile on The Better Block's Jason Roberts, who has gained worldwide fame for what he's done in Oak Cliff with his Better Block initiatives. I was in town to document the 4 year celebration and as a teaser to that piece, check out the above photo of one of the innovative wrinkles they put in the mix this time around: re-purposed, sliced up billboard wraps as temporary crosswalks! Radical!  I tweeted the above photo from the event which was joyusly re-posted umpteenth times on Twitter. I'll be working on getting a big deal of this Streetfilm completed by this weekend.

Finally, there are quite a few challenges to riding a bike in Dallas. A few painted lanes and sharrows on the roads, that's about it. Not much to encourage more than the brave. But there are some very nice biking trails. I got to ride a few miles on three of them: the Katy Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the White Rock Lake trail.

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Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

It's no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.

The story of how they got there is a mix of great transportation policy, location and chance. You'll learn quite a bit of history in the film, but essentially Groningen decided in the 1970s to enact policies to make it easier to walk and bike, and discourage the use of cars in the city center. By pedestrianizing some streets, building cycle tracks everywhere, and creating a unique transportation circulation pattern that prohibits vehicles from cutting through the city, Groningen actually made the bicycle -- in most cases -- the fastest and most preferred choice of transportation.

It does feel like bicycle nirvana. When I first got off the train in Groningen, I couldn't stop smiling at what I saw around me. In an email exchange with my friend Jonathan Maus from Bike Portland, he described it as being "like a fairy tale." This jibed with my first thought to him -- that I had "entered the game Candyland, but for bikes!" In fact, for our teaser I originally titled this Streetfilm "Groningen: The Bicycle World of Your Dreams," before I talked myself out of it. Although there is a magical quality about being there, in reality there is nothing dreamy or childlike about it. With political will and planning, what they have done should - and can be done - everywhere.

In our Streetfilm you'll see the 10,000 (!) bicycle parking spaces at the train station, some of the incredible infrastructure that enables cyclists to make their journeys safer and quicker, and you'll hear from many residents we encountered who go by bike just about everywhere they travel. But as one of my interview subjects, Professor Ashworth, wanted me to point out: the three days I was there were bright and sunny, and the hardy people keep up the bicycling through the cold winters. As with many bicycling cities, there area also big problems with cycle theft, and residents are always yearning for more bicycle parking.

I think most of us would trade some of those problems for a city with 50 percent mode share (and up to 60 percent in the city center!!).

 

 

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How Complete Streets Came to East Harlem

This is the story about how East Harlem residents and street safety advocates -- with leadership from Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito -- banded together to win complete streets on First and Second Avenues. After the city backtracked on a plan to build protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges up to 125th Street on the East Side of Manhattan, this coalition mobilized to put the project back on the table. Later, when the safety improvements came under attack from a few business owners, public health professionals joined Mark-Viverito and NYC DOT to combat misinformation about the redesign and see it through to implementation.

Former Streetsblog Reporter Noah Kazis covered the campaign for protected bike lanes in East Harlem and helps recount the story in this video.