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Posts tagged "pedestrian plaza"

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The Metamorphosis of NYC Streets

There's nothing more dramatic than looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage to see how much the streets of New York City have changed. In this wonderful montage, check out the incredible changes at Times Square, Herald Square, the Brooklyn waterfront, and many other places that outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and her staff have intrepidly transformed.

We have similarly high hopes for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he takes office, and look forward to what he and new NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg accomplish. Even though so much has changed, the vast majority of our streets still need to be rethought and redesigned. We need more space for efficient modes, slower speed limits, and traffic calming for our most vulnerable citizens. I hope this short gets them excited to top the transportation record of the Bloomberg administration.

Please note: This is but a short sample of the before-and-after footage at our disposal. Seriously, we could have put together a one hour version!

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Hollywood Screws Up NYC Streets Again

I see a lot of films. And since so many are shot on the streets of New York City, I'm quick to pick up on things that are inaccurate (or cool) about our quickly evolving transportation landscape.

I recently got the latest "Resident Evil" chapter on Netflix. Why? Well as I've told many people - I see prefer to watch bad movies because 1) you learn more from very bad movies than mediocre ones and 2) only from watching plenty of potentially bad movies do you discover the 10% of them that are truly great gems you can recommend to friends and look like a film genius. This film is not one of those.

In "Resident Evil: Retribution", there's a scene about halfway thru where Milla Jovovich our heroine-clone-computer simulation (or whatever she is) is in Times Square getting ready to kick some monster ass. She walks around a recreated Times Square except this 2012 video game world eliminates ALL the pedestrian space and crams it with parked cars.

Imagine this scene with planters, chairs and tables. This film missed out big time, those could be great livable streets weapons to use when battling monsters!!

Later when the world goes boom, cars are shown occupying what is usually a great pedestrian environment. Read more...

StreetFilms
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Queens’ Corona Plaza: A Community Place Rises

Something special is happening in Corona, Queens.

Last week, Streetfilms visited Corona Plaza -- the city's newest car-free space, next to the 103rd Street stop on the 7 train -- and found it already packed with families, children, and shoppers.

This plaza has been in the works for many years, and the local community has taken ownership of it immediately. Volunteers help in locking up the tables and chairs at night and assist in cleaning the space themselves.

The area previously had no public seating whatsoever, which is astonishing considering the dozens of restaurants nearby. Now it is a magnet for people, especially kids, who give the place a vibe that feels different than most other pedestrian plazas. To watch parents sit calmly while their kids play would have been unheard of before the street was reclaimed from traffic and parking.

Andy Wiley-Schwartz, an assistant commissioner at the NYC Department of Transportation, tells us about the future of this space and the thinking behind its current incarnation:

We're planning long term for what we call a capital reconstruction -- where we would build this plaza out completely with concrete and pavers and fixed seating with permanent plantings in the ground and really make it into a beautiful, permanent plaza.  But for the moment we can capture this space by putting things on the surface.  So we paved over the asphalt with epoxy gravel - loose gravel that is glued to the ground to make it look like a public space. We moved in planters to green and beautify the space. We have moveable seating that people can move in or out of the sun and also the umbrellas. And blocking off the space with granite blocks so that cars cannot drive in it. That way we can create this space for a few years while we are planning and constructing the capital portion.