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Posts tagged "Paul Steely White"

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The Search for the Zozo

In the early part of the 1900s, Zozos - large, furry, innocent, purple creatures - once freely roamed New York City's streets, and were seen frequently mingling among its denizens and enjoying the public realm. But with the advent of the automobile their numbers slowly dwindled, until the 1930s when sightings became rare and they were thought to go extinct.

But now thanks to a burgeoning livable streets movement and a marked improvement in public spaces in NYC, Zozo sightings have been reported. World-renowned crypto-zoologist Donald Druthers has convinced us to document the facts - and yes, it looks like Zozos could be making a comeback! See the evidence for yourself.

Presenting our long-awaited mockumentary "The Search for the Zozo," featuring many of New York's greatest citizens. You'll hear NYC urban expert Professor Kenneth T. Jackson from Columbia University talk about the history of the Zozo. But in addition, you'll hear accounts of sightings and Zozo-inspired stories from Colin "No Impact Man" Beavan, restaurateur (and cyclist) Florent Morellet, livable streets advocate Mary Beth Kelly, author Tom Vanderbilt, and a slew of advocates working to make safer streets a reality for pedestrians, cyclists, and the general public.

And if you see a Zozo? Let us know in the comments section, or dial 555-ZOZO. You can also check out our website WhereistheZozo? for the latest in sightings and news.

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Commuting with the Commissioner on NYC’s Bike to Work Day

Between 2007 and 2008 bicycling in NYC leapt an amazing 35%.  And, looking at the streets it's easy to see why: bike lanes, racks & other amenities are popping up everywhere; it's practically a renaissance. There are now 185,000 daily riders on the streets.

Today, NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was one of them, leading a commuter ride from Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza to City Hall. Along the way there was a brief stop on the Brooklyn Bridge for a Transportation Alternatives Bike Breakfast and then a press conference at City Hall to meet up with Councilmember David Yassky, co-sponsor of the Bicycle Access Bill (Intro 871) and is anticipating its passage later this year.

Streetfilms was able to talk with many cyclists, a few who were inspired enough to be riding to work for the first time ever.  Hear what they have to say, just press play.

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NYC CityRacks Design Finalists

The Department of Transportation along with Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Google and Transportation Alternatives have been sponsoring a CITYRACKS design competition. Yesterday, the designs of the ten finalists hit the streets and were put on display at the museum. The winner will be announced on October 24th. Make sure to check out the nearest public installation and comment on the finalists online before then.

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The Prospect Park Youth Advocates

The Prospect Park Youth Advocate Internship Program is Transportation Alternative's first youth led campaign focused on making Prospect Park car-free.  Four talented Brooklyn high school students worked hard all summer to rejuvenate the car-free Prospect Park campaign while learning first hand about advocacy and community organizing. They blogged (check out http://youthforcarfreeparks.org/), performed street theater, met with New York City Council members, appeared on television, recorded cars breaking the speed limit in the loop drive, and gave out free lemonade and ice tea to park goers.  On September 15, 2008, the Youth Advocates, joined by supporters from Freedom Academy High School, the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment and the Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to rally at City Hall and hand deliver more than 10,000 signed postcards asking Mayor Bloomberg for a car-free Prospect Park.  Simply put, these young Brooklynites are awesome.

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Tour de Queens 2008

Not even the heat and humidity of a sizzling 96 degree day could keep nearly 500 people from pedaling the inaugural Tour de Queens. The beautiful, family-friendly course - which hugged much of the northwest perimeter of the borough - was put together by the Queens Transportation Alternatives Committee and featured "lots of smiles per hour." Highlights included: a very bike-friendly Queens Museum of Art (which also showed some Streetfilms) and a briefly ironic moment where it looked like riders were queuing up for $4.25 per gallon gas!

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Lady Liberty Marries Mr. Transit

Thousands of people flocked to the NY International Auto Show at the Javits Center on Saturday. In the midst of it all, Lady Liberty ended her 100 year “spectacularly combustible love affair” with the automobile. Lady Liberty said, "Frankly, this relationship has just gotten to be much more work than it's worth. My health, liberty and freedom have suffered greatly, and now I hope that my new relationships will finally give me security and happiness.” Then Reverend Billy officiated her marriage to "Mr. Transit" and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir sang in celebration.

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From Tragedy to Advocacy: Mary Beth Kelly

Mary Beth Kelly's story is as inspirational as they come.

In June 2006, she and her husband Dr. Carl Henry Nacht were bicycling home from dinner on the Hudson River Greenway in Chelsea when an NYPD tow truck turned sharply into the bike lane at 38th Street and 12th Avenue. Despite signs telling drivers to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, the tow truck did not slow down as it headed toward a riverfront tow pound. The truck struck Carl, injuring him severely. He died four days later.

Bicycling was an integral part of Carl and Mary Beth's lives. Their first date was done on bikes and they often took their bikes on vacation. A physician at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Carl regularly used his bike to commute to the work and to make in-home visits to sick patients.

Rather than forsaking cycling after Carl's death, Mary Beth and her children Zoe and Asher got right back on their bicycles. Perhaps most important, Mary Beth has emerged as an outspoken and eloquent advocate for New York City cyclists. She now serves on the advisory council for Transportation Alternatives, where she is working to create and pass comprehensive complete streets legislation in honor of her husband.

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Transforming NY City Streets

Neighborhood activists, professional planners, and experienced advocates gathered this week at the New-York Historical Society to share their secrets on how New Yorkers can transform the public realm. The event was hosted by NYC Streets Renaissance and was moderated by Streetsblog editor Aaron Naparstek. Here are some of their thoughts.

Panelists included:

Christine Berthet (Clinton Hells Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety)
Joshua David (Friends of the High Line)
Penny Lee (Department of City Planning)
Milton Puryear (Brooklyn Greenway Initiative)
Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives)
Robert Witherwax (Grand Army Plaza Coalition)
Chauncy Young (Highbridge Community Life Center)

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Bay Ridge Express Bus Riders Discuss Congestion Pricing

StreetFilms joined up with Transportation Alternatives' Executive Director, Paul Steely White as he discussed congestion pricing with Express Bus commuters in Bay Ridge where riders could use a faster commute and less-crowded buses. White outlined how congestion pricing would decrease traffic in Bay Ridge and offer better transit as he listened to the commuters' concerns.

A poll released by Quinnpiac today reports that a resounding 89 percent of respondents believed traffic congestion was a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. However, New Yorkers are divided on how to accomplish reductions.

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LOOKing to Make Cycling Safer in NYC

Last week, the LOOK campaign - which aims to educate the public about bike safety - was launched in Union Square. In an unprecedented collaboration, the NYC Bicycle Coalition, the City Departments of Transportation, Health & Police, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Triple AAA, and the Office of the Public Advocate all endorsed the campaign.

StreetFilms personally loves the ads appearing in TimeOutNY and New York Magazine as well as city bus shelters. They are creative and handsome; they stop you in your tracks.

The LOOK campaign ads were created pro-bono by Publicis in Seattle.

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PARK(ing) Day NYC 2007

Update: Park(ing) Day 2008 is fast approaching and here in NYC you can apply for a mini-grant to get your parking spot up and running.  This year’s Park(ing) Day is doubling in size – with 50 spots coming to the streets of the 5 boroughs.  Make sure your neighborhood isn’t left out of the fun!  For more info, you can check out www.parkingdaynyc.org.

National PARK(ing) Day was a huge hit here in NYC where Transportation Alternatives & The Trust for Public Land organized a of group of motley advocates in liberating parking spaces to open green areas for city residents to enjoy. Last year, NYC had just one spot, but this year nearly two dozen were sponsored across the city - ranging from a mini-gym on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn to a tribal village (complete with tee pee!) on Manhattan's West Side.

Parking Day photo
Most amazing was the overwhelmingly positive response the event received. Residents, tourists, commuters, and drivers (yes drivers!) were seen voicing approval. Peds relished the chance to take a seat or diddle their feet in fresh sod. Some ate pizza. Yum!
Related StreetFilms:
T.A. Parking Spot Squat (June 2006)
Rebar PARK(ing) Day 2006 (September 21, 2006)

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Little Legs for Green Streets

Brooklyn kids say, "Go Green!"

Students at P.S. 321 in Park Slope participated in an Earth Day walk-a-thon to raise money for three non-profit green groups, including Transportation Alternatives.

Hundreds of kids got a rare car-free experience by being able to walk up a closed down 3rd Street to Prospect Park. T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White was on hand and joined future advocates, parents, and teachers on a short loop of the Park.

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Room To Breathe: NYC

Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) gathered a gaggle of cyclists on 42nd Street in Manhattan to stage a dramatic visual that shows how much street space is gained if more people rode bicycles or took mass transit instead of driving personal cars.

"Room to Breathe" is borrowed from a poster featuring a dramatic series of photos taken by Portland's Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) in the mid-1990s. There have been numerous permutations over the years in myriad cities, but this is the first we have documented in NYC.

In this StreetFilm, you'll get a little sneak peak into how this event was staged and hear from volunteers and T.A. staff on why spatial efficiency is so important to the livable streets movement. T.A. aims to have the poster available by Summer 2007.

Room to Breathe overhead

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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

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Physically Separated Bike Lanes

Advocates from Transportation Alternatives, The Project for Public Spaces, and The Open Planning Project join "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz and Enrique Penalosa to call for New York City to consider experimenting with some form of physically separated bike lanes in the near future.

Physically Separated Bike Lanes - Paul White

Featuring ample footage and photos from over a dozen cities worldwide, this video makes the case that America is woefully behind the curve in protecting its cyclists in big cities.

Physically Separated Bike Lanes - Diagram

Though this video is NYC-centric in nature, all lessons and video easily apply to cities across the U.S.