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Posts tagged "Copenhagen"

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Rethinking the Automobile (with Mark Gorton)

For more than 100 years New York City government policy has prioritized the needs of the automobile over the needs of any other mode of transport. Working under the faulty assumption that more car traffic would improve business, planners and engineers have systematically made our streets more dangerous and less livable. As a result, even the idea that a street could truly be a “place” – a shared space for human interaction and play – has been almost completely destroyed.

During his decade long effort to understand and improve the streets of New York City, entrepreneur and livable streets advocate Mark Gorton has gathered together a compelling set of examples of how transportation policy impacts the quality of our daily lives. Mark is regularly invited to speak in public about these issues.

In his current presentation “Rethinking the Automobile” Mark explores the history of autocentric planning and considers how New York and other cities can change. Filled with ample video footage of dozens of Streetfilms, we’ve worked with Mark to create a version of the presentation here.

As the founder of Streetfilms, Streetsblog, OpenPlans, and the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign, Gorton has been on the front lines of the battle to transform New York’s streets. But Mark is not done fighting. He contends that the recent improvements that have been implemented in New York should only be considered as the “tip of the iceberg” and that a truly comprehensive set of changes are still necessary.

For more on Mark’s continued efforts to make our world more equitable, livable, and safe visit www.rethinktheauto.org

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Copenhagen Cargo Bikes

When you first visit Copenhagen, the first thing you'll notice after being mesmerized by the sheer number of cyclists on the roads is the eclectic kinds of bikes, especially ones that carry groceries, baggage, furniture or other people & children.  As Copenhagenize's Mikael Colville-Andersen happily points out: for many in his city, the cargo bike is equivalent to the SUV.

Thus, for this final chapter in Streetfilms' 2010 Copenhagen Triology (check here: for previous vids on bicycling & pedestrian space) we present this quirky look at some of the types of wonderful bikes that are used by the public.  We randomly spoke to folks gallavanting about town on their vehicles, attended the 2010 Danish Cargo Bike Championships, and got to speak with Hans Fogh, owner of Larry vs.Harry, a cargo bike-making specialty shop.  The result here is really just a melody of vignettes, which only ever so slightly touches on the vast cargo bike phenomenon.

But most impressive comes just over one minute in, where you will witness one of the more amazing bike feats we've ever seen on film: a father transporting four children, a bike, a half dozen bags, on what can only be described as a cargo bike plus.  It still makes us tired just watching it.

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Copenhagen’s Car-Free Streets & Slow-Speed Zones

In Copenhagen, you never have to travel very far to see a beautiful public space or car-free street packed with people soaking up the day.  In fact, since the early 1960s, 18 parking lots in the downtown area have been converted into public spaces for playing, meeting, and generally just doing things that human beings enjoy doing. If you're hungry, there are over 7,500 cafe seats in the city.

But as you walk and bike the city, you also quickly become aware of something else: Most Copenhagen's city streets have a speed limit of 30 to 40 km/h (19 to 25 mph).  Even more impressive, there are blocks in some neighborhoods with limits as low as 15 km/h (9 mph) where cars must yield to residents.  Still other areas are "shared spaces" where cars, bikes and pedestrians mix freely with no stress, usually thanks to traffic calming measures (speed bumps are popular), textured road surfaces and common sense.

We charmed you last month with our look at bicycling in Copenhagen, now sit back and watch livable streets experts Jan Gehl and Gil Penalosa share their observations about pedestrian life. You'll also hear Ida Auken, a member of Denmark's Parliament, and Niels Tørsløv, traffic director for the City of Copenhagen, talk about their enthusiasm for street reclamation and its effect on their city.

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Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes

While Streetfilms was in Copenhagen for the Velo-City 2010 conference, of course we wanted to showcase its biking greatness.  But we were also looking to take a different perspective then all the myriad other videos out there.  Since there were an abundance of advocates, planners, and city transportation officials attending from the U.S. and Canada, we thought it'd be awesome to get their reactions to the city's built environment and compare to bicycling conditions in their own cities.

If you've never seen footage of the Copenhagen people riding bikes during rush hour - get ready - it's quite a site, as nearly 38% of all transportation trips in Copenhagen are done by bike.  With plenty of safe, bicycle infrastructure (including hundreds of miles of physically separated cycletracks) its no wonder that you see all kinds of people on bikes everywhere.  55% of all riders are female, and you see kids as young as 3 or 4 riding with packs of adults.

Much thanks to the nearly two dozen folks who talked to us for this piece.  You'll hear astute reflections from folks like Jeff Mapes (author of "Pedaling Revolution"), Martha Roskowski (Program Manager, GO Boulder), Andy Clarke (President, League of American Bicyclists), Andy Thornley (Program Director, San Francisco Bike Coalition) and Tim Blumenthal (President, Bikes Belong) and Yvonne Bambrick (Executive Director, Toronto's Cyclists Union) just to name drop a few of the megastars.

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Velo-City 2010: Copenhagen Bike Parade

Last week, Copenhagen was the host for the Velo-City Global 2010 conference featuring over 1,000 attendees, advocates, and bike enthusiasts from all over the world.  It was awesome and awe-inspiring. The city that loves biking welcomed us with open arms.

On the third night of the conference, Copenhagen did something it doesn't do often: holding a spectacular bike parade!  This critical mass-style celebration featured the young and old on all sorts of bikes and filled the streets with laughter and music. In fact, some participants told us they thought it was the first of its kind in 24 years.  I guess when every day is a massive critical mass of cyclists (38% of all trips are bike) then what is the need for ever needing to declare your right to the road?

The optimistic mood of the conference and the gaining momentum for bicycling facilities worldwide was as inspiring as the people of this great, livable city.  Don't miss the next one in March 2011 in  Sevilla, Spain which we were told is seeing skyrocketing numbers of those taking to the velocipede!

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Cycle Chic in Copenhagen and Beyond

 

You can trace the term "cycle chic" back to 2006, when Mikael Colville-Andersen launched his Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog. It means different things to different people, but basically, "cycle chic" is about riding in everyday clothes instead of specialized gear like spandex or cycling shoes.
]When I was in Copenhagen last December I had the chance to meet up with Colville-Andersen. After touring the city's first-rate bike infrastructure, I asked him about cycle chic. He said the number of collaborators and followers around the world is constantly growing, making cycle chic a movement-within-a-movement. So for this video, I crowdsourced video from a few other cycle chic bloggers to see what's so hot about using fashion and style to promote bicycling. Enjoy!
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Copenhagen’s Climate-Friendly, Bike-Friendly Streets

Tens of thousands of people from nearly every nation on earth have descended on Copenhagen this month for the UN climate summit. As the delegates try to piece together a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they're also absorbing lessons from one of the world's leading cities in sustainable transportation. In Copenhagen, fully 37 percent of commute trips are made by bike, and mode share among city residents alone is even higher.

Come see "the busiest bicycling street in the Western world", and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars.

Copenhagen wasn't always such a bicycling haven. It took many years of investment in bike infrastructure to reclaim streets from more polluting, less sustainable modes. Last week, I was able to squeeze in a whirl-wind tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen, the bike culture evangelist behind Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, to get a taste of the city's impressive bike network and cycling amenities. Watch this video and see how Copenhageners flock to the streets by bike even in December, when average temperatures hover just above freezing.

 

 

 

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An Alfresco chat with Jan Gehl

Every time we manage to snag an interview with Jan Gehl, it ends up being one of the coldest days of the Fall. But that didn't stop the Danish livable streets maestro from grabbing a table in New York City's new wonderful public space, Madison Square, to chat with Streetsblog's Editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek.

It was just a little over two years ago we talked with Mr. Gehl in the iconic Times Square "bowtie" where he offered up a sobering evaluation of the lack of public space in NYC. You can watch that here. But thanks to recent initiatives by the NYC DOT, these days the future looks more promising for pedestrians and cyclists. During their conversation Mr. Gehl and Aaron covered much ground including the rapid pace of the transformation of our streets, the concepts behind the fluidity of traffic, the release of World Class Streets: Remaking New York City's Public Realm, and the democratic process - with a shout out to our future 44th prez!

If you love this, don't miss some of our past interviews. Here are just a few: Janette Sadik-Khan. Enrique Penalosa. Gridlock Sam. Donald Shoup. Randy Cohen.