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Posts tagged "Greenway"

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The Women’s Ride on Queens Boulevard Takes Aim at NYC’s Cycling Gender Gap

Braving the brisk cold of a March morning, hundreds of people turned out Sunday for the Women's Ride on Queens Boulevard.

The event was both a celebration of women's role in bike advocacy and a call to action. About a quarter to a third of cyclists on NYC streets are women, according to NYC DOT, and this ride sent a strong message that the city can do better.

Watch these highlights from the ride and hear from participants about why cycling matters to them, and how changing infrastructure and culture can make cycling in New York more welcoming for women.

The ride started along the new Queensbridge Park Greenway, traveling through Sunnyside to Queens Boulevard and its new protected bike lanes, before wrapping up at Queens Borough Hall. The route was chosen intentionally: Two significant segments -- in Sunnyside and on Queens Boulevard approaching Borough Hall -- are slated for safer bike infrastructure this year, but local politicians have been waffling on those projects. Participants want to make sure these important bike connections get built this year.

Thanks to all these organizations for putting on a wonderful event:

Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee
Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de New York
Make Queens Safer
Bike New York
Queens Bike
Jackson Heights Beautification Group
New York Cycling Club
NYSBRA Juniors
Women's Adventure Cycling Club
Trips for Kids
NYC Youth Cycling
Eastern Queens Greenway
Families for Safe Streets
WE Bike NYC
Mujeres en Movimiento

StreetFilms
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The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

For many years, New York City's Queens Boulevard was known as the "Boulevard of Death." The street cuts through the heart of the Queens, expanding at some points to a chaotic 12 to 16 lanes of traffic -- which makes it extremely dangerous for human beings. From 2003 to 2013, 38 pedestrians and cyclists were killed and 450 suffered severe injuries.

Last year, the New York City DOT announced a $100 million dollar commitment from the de Blasio administration to humanize Queens Boulevard and make it safer, a flagship project in the city's Vision Zero initiative. Instead of waiting until the planned permanent reconstruction in 2018 to make any changes, DOT wanted to build in safety improvements immediately. After holding public workshops with communities along the corridor, 1.3 miles of Queens Boulevard have been redesigned, and the changes are already making a huge difference.

If you're an urban planner, transportation engineer, or advocate wondering just what can be done with what seems to be an irredeemably messed up street, then this is the Streetfilm for you. We got an exclusive tour of the changes with NYC DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo, going block-by-block over the creative solutions the DOT team implemented. Queens Boulevard is as complicated a roadway as there is: Nearly every block is different. To add a functional bike lane and pedestrian mall seemed highly unlikely. Yet here it is.

I'll admit, I'm especially excited about this project since I've lived near Queens Boulevard for years. I was skeptical when the announcement was made that I would see any truly life-altering change, and even if the city pulled it off, it would take years and years. But the installation has been swift and extremely well thought out. The service road is noticeably slower, narrower, and easier to navigate for people walking or biking. So much so that I was motivated to document the transformation with this Streetfilm, which I hope will be a learning tool that people can put to use in their communities. If you can put a good protected bike lane on Queens Boulevard, then just about any street in America should be in play.

In 2015, no one was killed on Queens Boulevard.

StreetFilms
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Randall’s Island Connector: The Bronx’s new car-free link to Manhattan

This spring, the Highbridge re-opened between the Bronx and Manhattan, the first car-free crossing linking the two boroughs. Now the second one in less than a year is open with the debut of the Randall's Island Connector. The project has been in the pipeline for what seems like forever, and on Saturday it opened to the delight of many South Bronx residents.

The connector provides a direct and easy link between the developing South Bronx greenway network and Randall's Island, with its athletic fields, picnic tables, miles of beautiful greenways, and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. From Randall's Island, you can bike or walk to the big island via the 103rd Street footbridge.

Advance apologies for some of the sound. When the winds are gusting over 30 mph and you are below an Amtrak train trestle, well, those aren't ideal conditions. But kudos to the hundreds of people who showed up on a cold and blustery fall morning to celebrate the occasion.

StreetFilms
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The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

Just when you think you've seen everything in the transportation world, you encounter something different. That happened to me on an infrastructure tour in Cambridge, England, when my guides showed be this guided busway.

The video only shows a short segment of The Busway, but it's fascinating. The wheels of the bus run between grooved concrete slabs along an old rail line. The system also handles drainage without burdening the sewers: Stormwater is absorbed by the ground.

At 16 miles, the Cambridge guided busway is the longest one in the world. Bus speeds can reach up to 55 mph.

A busy biking and walking path runs right next to the route. You won't find railings separating the busway from the trail. There's no honking or flashing lights like you would find in the USA -- just common sense.

StreetFilms
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NYS DOT Commissioner, Astrid Glynn

Today I had the opportunity to sit down with New York State DOT Commissioner, Astrid Glynn. We set out discussing the greenway projects in the Bronx and the future of the Sheridan Expressway. (Note: Streetfilms will be bringing you a comprehensive video on these topics in the upcoming weeks.) Here you will find excerpts from our discussion on a host of other issues including, smart growth, the budget, testifying on the stimulus package, State DOT project timelines, and the SafeSeniors program on Long Island.

StreetFilms
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In Davis’ Platinum City Even the Munchkins Ride Bikes

With New York City recently scoring a medallion for "Bronze Achievement in Bicycling Direction" by the "LAB Academy" (you like us! you really like us!) we figured it was a good time to post our very brief StreetFilms visit to Davis, California back in August 2007. Even though Portland, Oregon is nipping at their heels, Davis is still the only city in America to attain the very prestigious Platinum status for overall bicycle friendliness in a city.

Credit for Davis's bike-friendliness goes back to the 1960's when forward-thinking University of California urban planners began thinking about ways to make it safe and convenient for college students and city residents to travel safely by bike. During an era when most California towns were focused on building freeways, strip malls and suburban arterials, Davis's planning wizards were developing off-street greenways, bike lanes and installing bike racks everywhere.

In the last decade, an influx of car-commuters moving to Davis from nearby Sacramento and San Francisco has decreased the bike commuting mode share from 25 percent to 18 percent. Still, Davis remains an amazing place to use a bike for transportation. Any place that has eliminated school buses and have children riding bikes to school is doing something right. And check this out -- Davis has its own Wiki page devoted to bicycling.

Now click your heels four times and repeat after me, "There's no place like Davis. There's no place like Davis. There's no place..."

StreetFilms
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Future Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway

Today, over 100 cyclists turned out for Brooklyn Greenway Initiative's annual ride. For nearly a decade, they have been working with numerous community & government groups to bring a Hudson River-style recreation path from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. In the next few years, much of the 15-mile route will finally become reality.

The tour highlight: it was the first public bike tour to be allowed to ride on the piers the future Brooklyn Bridge Park will occupy. Riders enjoyed vantage points of lower Manhattan few have ever seen.

StreetFilms conjured up this short video essay to bring you the highlights.