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Posts tagged "Noah Budnick"

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East River Bridges: 100 Years of Free Rides Take Their “Toll”

The NYC Bridge Centennial Commission, co-founded by "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz, organized a re-enactment today near the Williamsburg Bridge, calling attention to the hundredth anniversary of the last toll collected on the East River bridges. Mayor William J. Gaynor's century-old decision to eliminate bridge tolls translates to a cumulative loss of $31 billion in potential revenue for NYC.  Tune in to hear what $31 billion could do for the city's transportation system.

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The View from atop the High Bridge

Back in October as part of the Walk21 conference, I was very lucky to be able to accompany a small group of international pedestrian experts on an exclusive walking tour of the High Bridge, which has been closed to the public for nearly 40 years. Since Streetfilms is all about sharing, we interviewed a few folks-in-the-know and have posted the breathtaking experience of what it was like being up there.

Not soon after starting as a volunteer for Transportation Alternatives back in the 1990s I can recall reading of a push to open the High Bridge during a postcard campaign directed at then Parks Commissioner Henry Stern in 1998. In the years since, there have been many community groups, non-profits, and public agencies which have gotten involved in raising public awareness and advocating for its re-opening. City Parks Foundation, The High Bridge Coalition, and C.L.I.M.B. just to name a few.

Although over the years there have been many announced target opening dates and talk of getting the capital funds needed, of recent there is much momentum. Very early in 2010, community input and design will finally begin. Then we can hope it will not be long until we can all walk and bike across this magnificent structure.

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Mr. Blumenauer goes to New York City to ride bikes

It's not everyday that you get to ride bikes in a big metropolis with a member of Congress, even one who loves to bicycle whenever he can.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer dropped by Transportation Alternatives' offices to take a quick excursion around mid-town with Executive Director, Paul Steely White, and Senior Policy Director, Noah Budnick. They checked out a few standard (painted) bike lanes and some of the newer (physically separated) facilities, of which the latter Mr. Blumenauer thought were superior. Along the way he offered much commentary about the state of biking and livable streets in the nation.

With a new, Congressional transportation bill due to percolate to the surface sometime in the near future, Mr. Blumenauer believes the next decade will be the one when we can finally achieve some balance for pedestrians, bikes, and livable streets.  For the sake of our planet, our health, and the green growth of our cities - cheers to that.

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Sands Street Gets a Sassy, Center-Median Cycletrack

Chalk up more bikeway innovation to the folks at the NYC Department of Transportation. Now nearly complete, the Sands Street approach to the Manhattan Bridge is now safer and more enjoyable thanks to a first-of-its-kind in NYC: a center-median, two-way, protected bike path. Frankly, the facility is a perfect solution to counter the dangers posed by a tangle of roads and highway on-ramps that burden the area. Dramatic before and afters tell the delicious story.

We'll also take you back into the archives to April 2005, when following a severe injury to Transportation Alternatives' then Deputy Director Noah Budnick, advocates held a passionate rally to ask Mayor Bloomberg to not only improve bike access to the Manhattan Bridge, but to all East River Bridges. Four years later, there's much to be proud of. As Ryan Russo, NYC DOT Assistant Commissioner for Traffic Management points out, back in 2005 about 800 cyclists used the bridge daily. In 2009, those numbers have soared to over 2600. That gives us a serious case of happiness.

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Summer Streets 2008 (NYC)

Feeling remarkably similar to Bogota's Ciclovia, the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. Our Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the real deal - she spent the entire day riding a bike around the course (and even said some nice things about me to my mom.)

We'll spare you the 200 adjectives we could list about how transformational it was, for it was beyond anything on the printed page. The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. A page has been turned, clearly there is no doubt: the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, dog walkers, dancers, and any other reasonable livable space use.

The swarms of people and happy faces made for much positive energy. Around noon, some blocks were getting very crowded, but there was a general courtesy that existed between pedestrians and cyclists. The city built it - and the people came. And they smiled a lot.

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Queens Boulevard: Complete Street Campaign Rally

Last February, 22-year-old Asif Rahman was hit and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle on Queens Boulevard. Though the infamous "Boulevard of Death" is a lot safer than it used to be, it still produces far too many injuries. According to the chart below from crashstat.org before Queens Boulevard underwent some street redesign there were about 150 cyclist and pedestrian injuries. Now, roughly 100 bicyclists and pedestrians are struck on the Boulevard each year. Asif's family, Council member Jim Gennaro, and Transportation Alternatives held a press conference yesterday, calling on New York City government to transform Queens Boulevard into a "complete street," with a physically-protected bike lane and safer pedestrian crossings. Queens Council Members John Liu and Eric Gioia also signed on to a letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to complete Queens Boulevard.

crash stats graph

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T.A. Rides with Peñalosa & David Byrne!

Sometimes we get to have a little fun...

On the morning of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's historic "Manhattan on the Move" transportation conference, our hero Enrique Peñalosa met up with the staff of Transportation Alternatives to ride up to the event.

Look how handsome all those well-dressed advocates are! And who is that with them? Special guest star: David Byrne from The Talking Heads!

Penalosa ride 2 Penalosa ride 3