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Posts tagged "NYC"

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The Uselessness of Gridlock Alert Days

We sent our reporter extraordinaire Zardoz out on NYC's streets for a few hours to check out just how NYC's issuing of a Gridlock Alert Week of traffic armageddon is going.

As always, not good. Utter uselessness. A sock puppet could have predicted this.

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PSA “Secret Mission” with Janette Sadik-Khan

Here is one we really should have released a long time ago!

A few years ago "Streetopia" in NYC was conceived as an idea to get people motivated to take back their streets and change our streets for the better. The event was held at the Museum of the City of New York and Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow along with Clarence Eckerson Jr. were asked to put together this fun PSA we called "Secret Mission" to show to the hundreds of invited guests that night.

It was a huge, hysterical hit. But we never released it to the public even though we fully intended to! I'm sure JSK's fans will love it. I love it. I watch it a few times per year while looking through archives and since we are about to hit 1,000 Streetfilms I have always considered it one of the fun gems I loved to making. You know when you are out giggling and laughing between takes with your subject you are making something special.

 

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More NYC Teens are Biking to School

Biking is cheap. Biking is fast. Biking promotes independence and exploration. Biking is great exercise. And, biking sure is FUN! What better way for New York City's teens to navigate the city and get themselves to school?

This generation is politically active and solutions-oriented. The last few weeks, we've been interviewing students - some in Queens, some in Manhattan on the Hudson River Greenway, some biking across Central Park. All of them joyful and appreciative of the time away from screens, feeling the wind in their hair and connecting with nature and those around them.

One notable incentive for these students? Schools that provide indoor, secure bike parking (here's looking at you school administrators!). Our goal is for each and every teen to have the option to safely bike, walk, scoot to school. That means we need a connected, protected, low-stress bike lane network in each and every neighborhood in this city. The city's future depends on it - quite literally.

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In NYC You Can Go By Bike on the Pedestrian Signal!

So with a great "new" law on the books that allows bicycle riders to also legally use pedestrian signals (LPIs) to get a 5 to 10 second head start on drivers in NYC why did it take Streetfilms nearly a year to talk to the two people most responsible for it?

Well when it was passed council last year and slated to begin on December 20, 2019 it was the holiday season and freezing cold, and no one cares about watching videos end of year. We finally had scheduled to film it mid-March, but then Covid-19 prevented that.

I circled back around to the idea early this Fall after riding thru the NYC Summer Bicycle Boom™ explosion where I would frequently come upon LPI intersections where #bikenyc riders were frequently frozen waiting for the green light, ignoring the pedestrian beacon telling them, "Please go forth person on your bike with your walking cousins!"

So it's a good time to re-promote this great law that makes it safer for bike riders. Let those innovative who don't know it's legal to use the signals. Also, there are now so many brand new riders in the city that don't know all the rules of the road that frankly need enlightening. There are more than 4,000 of the lights.

We went to Brooklyn to the corner of Atlantic Ave & Smith Street and talked with Council member Carlos Menchaca and "The War on Cars" co-host Doug Gordon about what the law means and the journey to its realization.

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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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100+ Bikes Upgraded with Care at Big Fix Day BK in East New York

New York City Bike Mayor Courtney Williams provided the nucleus for Brooklyn's Big Fix Day, an event that brings out bike mechanics to the neediest area of the city, in this case East New York and the surrounding communities, to sponsor free bicycle fixing.

Notably this year, East New York, Brownsville, Canarsie and surrounding communities were hardest hit in Brooklyn by the Coronvirus epidemic. There has been a large toll economically in conjunction with the greater challenges of getting around via transportation and maintaining social distancing.

That's why Big Fix Day BK was so vital to bring mechanics and bike shop stores to the community to fix over 100 bikes for free for residents where every penny counts.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Bike Day Montage!

Well it's February 14th. And I just decided that for the first time ever Streetfilms was gonna do some happy, loving Valentine's Day biking imagery for a card to our subscribers and fans.

I sifted thru about 30 Streetfilms over the past ten years and lifted out lots of scenes of happiness from some of our videos from NYC, USA and around the world.

Bikes = Love

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Madison Square Before & After Pedestrian Plazas (and more!)

Check out this video montage showing how horrible and inhumane Madison Square/Flatiron Building area was for pedestrians & cyclists in 2007 compared to now!

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The Smashing Success of NYC’s 14th Street Busway (featuring Zardoz)

Since just about everyone around the world has been asking where is Streetfilms' coverage of the 14th Street Busway, the true answer has basically been: just about everyone else did such a pretty good job documenting (and mostly loving) it, that I really felt this one didn't need my input or care. The world really is changing. And social media - particularly Twitter - really branded it a great change for the city on Day One: for transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists using the corridor.

But then my kid found and starting playing with this sock puppet from over 10 years ago. And, well, Zardoz, our fun and enthusiastic sock puppet correspondent was born.

From 6am thru 10pm only buses, trucks, delivery vehicles and EMS/FDNY are able to use it as a thru route. All others must turn off after only traveling one block. This still allows for drivers and car services to access the entire street, but they need to exit which has led to a vast improvement of bus speeds. But not only that but a more human environment. It can be very quiet at times. You can hear birds sing, people talk to each other. With due care you can easily cross the street almost anywhere on the corridor without fear of being killed.

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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!

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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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Clusterf*ck on Varick Street: The Case for Congestion Pricing

“If you’re looking for the place that shows the failure of New York City to have any sort of traffic management policy, this is the spot.”

That’s Doug Gordon, a.k.a. Brooklyn Spoke, who recently joined Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr. in Lower Manhattan to document the lunacy at the intersection of Varick, Carmine, and Clarkson streets, where drivers converge to inch and honk their way toward the Holland Tunnel.

There’s a toll on the inbound Holland Tunnel, but driving outbound is free. The main distortion stems from the free rides across all the East River bridges, along the length of Manhattan, and the east-bound Verrazano Bridge.

Put it all together, and New York’s network of free roads and one-way tolls turns this neighborhood into a perpetual funnel for drivers who pay nothing to travel through the congested heart of the region. There are neighborhoods like it everywhere streets feed into free crossings into or out of the Manhattan core.

Says Doug: “This is what happens when you don’t charge people anything to drive through Manhattan.”

By putting a price on driving in the most crowded parts of the region, congestion pricing would thin out these car trips and divert a lot of this traffic to highways, where it belongs.

But after establishing his own panel to come up with a congestion pricing plan, Governor Cuomo chose not to put any muscle behind its recommendations this year. Assembly members like Lower Manhattan’s Deborah Glick, who represents this area, continued to sit on the fence as their constituents suffer from crushing gridlock.

Thanks to do-nothing state electeds, New Yorkers who drive and the car-free majority both continue to be subjected to chaotic, dangerous, stressful conditions like the clusterfuck on Varick Street.

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My Favorite Five Streetfilms Featuring Transportation Alternatives

As you may have heard via Twitter, tomorrow (Thursday, April 12th) I will be covering my 100th event/presser/ride/advocacy push featuring Transportation Alternatives when I join the BikeTrain Kickoff Rally, which will show Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens bike commuters - or those curious - how to ride to work once the L-train shuts down. I have so many TransAlt Streetfilms, that I now even keep a separate channel on Vimeo where you can watch every one!

In honor of the 100th TransAlt video to come it made me decide to go a step further and I have picked my five favorites of them either in terms of quality, fun or effectiveness at informing the public of helping change policy. I love them all, tough to choose. In no particular order, here are those five.

300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on 5th Avenue (October 2017)

Late last year, this short Streetfilm showcased what you can do with a fun idea, a huge gathering and a powerful message. 300+ people made human protected #bikenyc lanes down Fifth Avenue.

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.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 2015)

A very powerful gathering and march organized by Families for Safe Streets took over the streets of NYC from City Hall and marched to the United Nations. I tell people who are curious as to why I chose to do what I do that they should simply watch this film. The speakers in it say far more than I could in a few sentences.

PPW Family Bike Ride/We Ride the Lanes (April 2011)

The "We Ride the Lanes" event was the brainchild of Mitch Sonies, who rides the PPW bike lane with his six-year-old daughter and wanted to do something positive to highlight how much people appreciate having a much safer street in their neighborhood. "It was a real celebration of this great, safe bike path," said Mitch. Together with the organizing power of Transportation Alternatives this much-needed power boost to support the new green protected lanes by Janette Sadik-Khan was a slam dunk success in the media and the minds of Brooklyn and NYC bike riders.

Peatonito in NYC: Protected Pedestrians from Cars in the Crosswalk (March 2016)

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate for quite a while and in Mexico City and he's been involved with many tactical urbanism types of interventions but it's as Peatónito fighting for a safer city that gets him the most notoriety: gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections and pushing vehicles (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to get drivers attention to their bad behavior. Needing a great speaker and event to give the conference some zing, Transportation Alternatives brought him to NYC for the Vision Zero Cities 2016 Conference and a group of staff and volunteers got to see him in action at some dicey spots throughout the city.

The Case for Physically Separated Bike Lanes (February 2007)

From 11 years ago! Before we had the Bloomberg Administration getting more serious about bicycling and transportation, Streetfilms decided to get serious with this huge expose (150,000+ plays and counting!) that NYC needed to get serious and look at the problems on our streets and the solutions in other places. Remember this was many months even before the wonderful Janette Sadik-Khan was installed as NYC DOT Transportation Commissioner.

This film was produced with a lot of advocacy featuring Transportation Alternatives, Project for Public Spaces, NYC Streets Renaissance and many others. It was a pivotal moment and tool in the fight for safer streets in NYC. It features Paul Steely White, Caroline Samponaro, Mark Gorton, Andy Wiley-Schwartz and - even me!

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At some Red Lights in NYC, Cyclists Now Get Head Start

Earlier this week, NYC DOT announced a pilot program to let cyclists use the same head start as pedestrians at 50 intersections with “leading pedestrian intervals” or LPIs, which give people a few seconds to establish themselves in the crosswalk before drivers get a green.

Since then, a number of people asked for a visual showing it works. So on the way home yesterday, I got a few quick shots and produced this short video explanation.

NYC DOT has been implementing hundreds of LPIs each year as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative. The agency will study the results of letting cyclists use LPIs (first proposed by Council Member Carlos Menchaca), before deciding whether to make it permanent policy and expand the rule to other intersections.

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Listen to these New Yorkers ideas of what we should do next for safe streets!

As many of you know, here in New York City there was an overwhelming reaction to the horrible tragedy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where two young children were killed by a red-light running driver. Numerous events held, including a large NYC March for Safe Streets, put together by Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and many other community partners. Hundreds of people joined in an incredible show of emotion and anger, and there were many suggestions on what we need to do next as a city and state.

The clips here show five short revealing conversations I had with pairs of people and their ideas about what needs to come next. All of their relfections were smart, sobering and perfectly appropriate.

If you are Mayor de Blaiso, Governor Cuomo, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, a council member on the city council or one of the thousands of community leaders out there, you should take a quick listen. I'd say implement all of what these people have to say.

In order to save our children and save all of us, it is a good start point.

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