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Posts tagged "protected bike lane"

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These four Streetfilms may help sway Your City into accepting Protected Bike Lanes

I am gonna keep this simple: are you having difficulty convincing your city/town about the merits of protected bike lanes? Streetfilms can help.

The above Streetfilm was put together back when then-New York City Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was under a full-on bikelash assault from the media. It was done to show that protected bike lanes on wide avenues can have a wide range of benefits. From pedestrians to transit riders.

That was nearly four years ago. All those lanes survived and now some of the earliest lanes installed in NYC are becoming greener and making the streets more wonderful. Just see for yourself.

One excerpt I posted from that original video that I have gotten positive feedback was the next video. I interviewed Gary Toth from Project for Public Spaces and we chatted about why you need to have a buffer. So many people have emailed or told me this little clip was very useful.

Finally, hopefully cities in the U.S. will have the courage to do protected bike lanes with true style and safety like Copenhagen and Amsterdam do. One way of encouraging that is to show one place in the U.S. that has done an amazing job. Like they've done along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Yes, this loop was expensive, but you could do them with a little less panache for far cheaper and still make them look good. I hope these Streetfilms help.

 

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Hey #bikenyc: Where Would You Put New York’s Next Protected Bike Lanes?

At the September press conference where Bicycling Magazine named New York City the best American city for biking, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg committed to adding five miles of protected bike lanes per year "all over the city, not just in the core of Manhattan.”

Since then, anytime I've been at bike events or out on the streets shooting video, I've been interviewing riders about where they would like to see new protected bike lanes. As with most things bike, when you talk to the people riding the streets every day you get incredibly smart recommendations.

So I present this montage of New Yorkers who bike, sounding off on where they want the city to install protected bike lanes. I think they all made great suggestions.

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The Green Benefits of NYC Protected Bike Lanes

As I have watched the numbers of protected bike lanes grow in New York City each year, I've noticed the tree canopy above the lanes gets denser and number of trees extending out into the roadway grows.

Though I freely admit this could just be anecdotal, I'm pretty sure the simple reason is this: on the avenues with protected lanes large vans & trucks are no longer constantly brushing and bruising trees since they aren't parking curbside. Although it's not an exact correlation since you can certainly find some blocks where the opposite is true, generally there is much, much more green on these bike corridors.

Add in pedestrian safety islands that have trees and other plantings (many thanks to community associations and businesses) and the buffer zone being a perfect place to put bike parking and Citibike stations, and I think this helps make for a future selling point to communities!

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Watch as Copenhagen Drivers Turning Right Exhibit Incredible Patience for Cyclists (as they should)

Amazingly, I put up this montage of nearly raw footage I shot in Copenhagen to exhibit the patience of drivers as they prepare to make right turns as passing cyclists cruise by with little fear of every being "right hooked". I didn't think it would get more than a few hundred views so I didn't put it on Streetfilms proper. Now after over 6000 plays (almost all thru social networking shares) I changed my mind and put it up.

What's most amazing is that in two or three instances of each shot there's a point where American drivers in most of our cities would have gunned it to make the turn. Or just invaded the cyclist's space.

Of course the reason so many Copenhagen drivers exhibit so much patience is with a 42% bike mode share, they are cyclists themselves. And also all Copenhagen school kids receive lots of road education while in school.

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Videos from Stockholm, Malmö & Copenhagen: Featuring CPH Driver Patience, Vision Zero and NYC Bike Lane future?

Our newest video showing new-fangled bike stuff from Copenhagen was such an immediate hit (30K plays in 3 days!) I decided not to wait to post a "bonus" video showing the respectful cooperation between turning drivers & cyclists. Why? Well we all know the dreaded right hook collisions that happen often in the U.S. and other places.  In Copenhagen they're almost unheard of which is thanks to the education drivers must go thru and the traffic safety all residents get taught while in grade school. Plus: with a bike mode share of 42% that means that most drivers are likely cyclists sometime during the week.

The primary goal of this Streetfilms swing was to visit Stockholm, Sweden and talk to residents & experts about walking, biking, transportation and livability. Also: Vision Zero, a term which has been embraced NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as a program to cut the number of traffic deaths on the streets of New York. I was very lucky to have Mary Beth Kelly from Families for Safe Streets accompanying me and we met with Claes Tingvall, the Director of Traffic Safety at the Swedish Transport Administration. Above is that full interview, but you'll also be seeing him in at least one other Streetfilm in the near future.

DSC08951The above photo is from Stockholm and is what I envision as the future of NYC protected bike lanes. Recently, they've began a trial study in Södermalm on Götgatan Street, by upgrading an older, narrow bike lane (see it to left in photo) by removing a travel lane for cars and moving parking out, freeing up a wide space for bikes, which gets crowded at rush hour.

DSC08956It looks a lot like the typical NYC style Avenue except that every few feet there are small concrete barriers, something that is cheap, easily deployable and would be a nice deterrent we could use in NYC lanes.

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The same street also offers something I found, well, bike-adorable (see above). Most bike travelers are familiar with the "Copenhagen left" style turns, which is rolling up to the light and waiting across the street for another green to make a left. This is typical in Stockholm. And on the same street Götgatan, they have recently installed turning wait areas on all four corners via a nicely crafted nook in the sidewalk!

Finally, I had intended to get to Malmö, Sweden for a full day since I have always heard so much great stuff, but thanks to a bad back, jet lag and a long train delay, I only got to stroll around for a few hours. But I still wanted to show what a peaceful place it is and put together this short montage of footage of my experience. I will have to go back.

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Why do we need a buffer in Protected Bike Lanes? Well, here’s why….

Recently I had a quick exchange with a visiting cyclist who was pleasantly amazed at the "extra" space afforded bikes in most NYC protected bike lanes. He was referring to the painted zone between parked cars and the actual "green" bike lane - amazingly it's not the first conversation I've had like that. And you know if that's true among riders, you can image the consternation of the motorist crowd when it comes to examining why that "extra" space exists.

That's one reason I put together the above Streetfilm with Gary Toth many years ago. To explain why it's there and how both drivers & riders benefit from the placement. It's a great resource if you are working in a city or country with a government that doesn't get it. So use it.

And to show just how much it gets used, Friday I took the following series of photos during a ten block stretch riding a Citibike.  Within less than 3 minutes you'll see exiting drivers, a mom with stroller and taxi drivers just chatting outside their car in the zones, all very typical in NYC.

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The Power of Bicycling (Get Psyched)

Has winter fatigue set in yet? Time to get psyched about biking again!

This has been the worst winter of my adult life. And if you live most places in the United States you'd probably agree.  Between the extreme below-average temperatures and the constant barrage of snowstorms, it's made cycling outdoors a rough proposition - even for the intrepid.

To attempt to lift my spirits, I started browsing archived Streetfilms bike b-roll from all over the world, and I could feel my mood instantly change. We've certainly been lucky to shoot in great bicycle places in beautiful weather and that magic of bike love easily translates via the camera.  So I thought maybe I should share some of that joy and get some of you looking forward to the Spring with this hasty-assembled montage.  

Warmer days are coming my friends. Enjoy the bike porn.

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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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West Coast Swing: Portland’s 100th Bike Corral, Seattle’s First Cycle Track and Railvolution 2013

Portland Now Has 100 Street Bike Corrals! from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Above is a Streetfilms Shortie showing that Portland, OR is now up to an astounding 100 bike corrals, far more than any other U.S. city has installed.  And they can't keep up with demand!! It's so nice that they aren't anything unusual anymore, in fact they are expected and welcome by businesses.

I got to spend a few days at the Railvolution 2013 conference in Seattle. This year they hit a record 1200+ attendees.  My solo Streetfilms University session on Monday was a huge hit as we had over 100 people pack a room to hear how you can make your own transporatkltion films in 90 minutes.  I'm hoping to do this again in 2014 for even more captive audiences at the Bike Summit in DC in March and ProWalkProBike (ProPlace) in Pittsburgh in Septemeber.  Mark your calendars now.  And if you want some instant tips, here is an older, abbreviated version of my presentation to watch right now.

I didn’t get to make any full Streetfilms there, but got to poke around Seattle a bit and saw two of the more innovative street designs currently in production.

Streetfilms Shortie - Seattle's Broadway Protected Cycle Track (Snippets) from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

A portion of the new Broadway cycle track opened while I was there.  Design wise it is interesting since just about every block looks different then the pervious one.  Check out the snippets of video and photos I took above (again, note that some of this is under construction).  There were bviously many challenges on this corridor with driveway access, bus stops, and – in parts – the University Link light rail, which is being tunneled as we speak.

Read more...

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Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

It's no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.

The story of how they got there is a mix of great transportation policy, location and chance. You'll learn quite a bit of history in the film, but essentially Groningen decided in the 1970s to enact policies to make it easier to walk and bike, and discourage the use of cars in the city center. By pedestrianizing some streets, building cycle tracks everywhere, and creating a unique transportation circulation pattern that prohibits vehicles from cutting through the city, Groningen actually made the bicycle -- in most cases -- the fastest and most preferred choice of transportation.

It does feel like bicycle nirvana. When I first got off the train in Groningen, I couldn't stop smiling at what I saw around me. In an email exchange with my friend Jonathan Maus from Bike Portland, he described it as being "like a fairy tale." This jibed with my first thought to him -- that I had "entered the game Candyland, but for bikes!" In fact, for our teaser I originally titled this Streetfilm "Groningen: The Bicycle World of Your Dreams," before I talked myself out of it. Although there is a magical quality about being there, in reality there is nothing dreamy or childlike about it. With political will and planning, what they have done should - and can be done - everywhere.

In our Streetfilm you'll see the 10,000 (!) bicycle parking spaces at the train station, some of the incredible infrastructure that enables cyclists to make their journeys safer and quicker, and you'll hear from many residents we encountered who go by bike just about everywhere they travel. But as one of my interview subjects, Professor Ashworth, wanted me to point out: the three days I was there were bright and sunny, and the hardy people keep up the bicycling through the cold winters. As with many bicycling cities, there area also big problems with cycle theft, and residents are always yearning for more bicycle parking.

I think most of us would trade some of those problems for a city with 50 percent mode share (and up to 60 percent in the city center!!).

 

 

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My 24 Hour Trip to DC is all about Togas, Bike Share & Tiny Bike Messages of Love!

When I boarded an Amtrak Wednesday morning for Washington, DC to go shoot some interviews for a great ciclovia project I am working on, I stuck around to grab some extra b-roll of D.C. cyclists at rush hour. Little did I know with that decision an adventure began.

I'll start off with this 1 minute montage of inspirational bike phrases someone (some group?) stenciled along the 15th Street protected bike lane. You could call it graffiti, sure. But when they are this tiny and scattered amongst the hundreds of other marks on a block of asphalt, it certainly doesn't feel much like that. And frankly, when you were riding uphill, I found them extraordinarily motivating. Sweet.

As you know, we very rarely feature bike culture events on Streetfilms because we are usually busy doing lots of policy and best practice films around the world.  But every so often the stars align like they did for me in the Nation's Capital for the monthly DC Bike Party Ride. Friends alerted me it was happening, so I moseyed on over.

The theme was "Toga Toga Toga" and of course that means some participants were wearing togas. So we had to ask folks just WHAT or WHO they were wearing. The DC denizens didn't disappoint with plenty of humorous answers. The ride was plenty 'o fun, featuring many hundreds and crusied past many landmarks, but of course everything in the Downtown is practaclly a landmark.  But I digress. Just enjoy.

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The Magnificent Bioswales & Stormwater Treatment Along the Indy Cultural Trail

Many American cities are growing to the idea that they need to do a much better job handling their stormwater runoff at ground level. In Indianapolis, they decided to not only do that but significantly green the city along its newly opened Cultural Trail.  The 8 mile separated biking and walking route loops thru the heart of the downtown and as you'll see in this short (expanded from our larger work) Karen S, Haley, the Executive Director of Indianapolis Cultural Trail, tells us a little about the substansial and verdant bioswales they installed.

Imagine if these became standard for roads in some vulnerable-to-storms- U.S. cities?

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The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: The Next-Gen in U.S. Protected Bike Lanes

In May, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a bike & pedestrian path connecting some of Indy's most popular cultural institutions, had its long-awaited public coming out with a ribbon cutting and celebration. It's one of the biggest bicycling infrastructure achievements in North America, and yet it's still practically a secret.

As you'll see, the Cultural Trail runs eight fantastic miles through the heart of downtown and features beautiful stone work, green landscaping and even bioswales to absorb stormwater runoff. There is great signage and trail design with an eye for maximum safety. In many places, parking and/or a car travel lane was converted to trail space. But most importantly, the trail features ample room for both cyclists and pedestrians (most of the time in separate environments) to get around downtown, whether they're commuting, exercising, running errands, or just going for an afternoon jaunt. It's fun and very safe and people of all ages using it.

Across the U.S. cities such as NYC, Chicago, and Washington are doing tremendous work installing miles of protected bike lanes with inexpensive materials. Although the Cultural Trail cost quite a bit, it's nice to know that to find extensive downtown bike infrastructure made with beautiful, permanent materials, we don't have to look to Europe. We can go check out Indianapolis.

Note: Please don't miss our related Streetfilm on Indy's bike-friendly GOP Mayor Greg Ballard and a 2 minute short looking more in-depth at the bioswales and storm water management system along the Cultural Trail.

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The NYC Rush Hour Bike Parade On 1st & 2nd Avenues

Just a series of photos to share. Today, I grabbed a Citibike and roamed around on our protected bike lane couplings on 1st & 2nd Avenues for about 5 minutes during the PM rush. Frankly, I've never seen so many people in NYC on bicycles. It's even more than last summer!

It's possible that the great weather combined with the addition of Citibike, people's desire to get fit and save some money could all be factored in, but in just five minutes I snapped these photos to share.  Every block had at least 5 or 6 riders at all times. It felt like a constant bike parade.

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Citi Bike Debuts in New York City!

Memorial Day 2013 marked a milestone in NYC transportation history: the debut of the city's bike-share system, Citi Bike. At 330 stations, 6,000 bikes (of a planned 10,000) were available to more than 13,000 members who signed up for a yearly pass - and many of them couldn't wait to hit the streets!

The press conference at City Hall was a media frenzy. Hundreds of reporters and cameras were on hand to watch Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan ring in the launch. Streetfilms was there at this historic moment and put together this fun four-minute film which features a Citibike bike share station along a protected bike lane, David Byrne telling us what he will do with bike share and the best shot anyone got of Commissioner Sadik-Khan test driving the bike at City Hall.