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Posts tagged "Queens Boulevard"

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There are now 100 Streetfilms featuring Protected Bike Lanes for your advocacy!

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"Protected Bike Lane Bonanza" Screenshot from Vimeo (Click to go there!)

Well congratulations to us! We've now posted our 100th Streetfilm that features elements, designs or pilots of protected bicycle lanes all over the world. But really it is congratulations to you, too, since you just have that much more evidence to show your elected leaders and cities that this type of safe design works.

Just go to this link on Vimeo where our programmed channel is neatly organized all 100+ films for your perusal. Here: https://vimeo.com/channels/protectedbikelanes

To celebrate, I thought I'd point you towards some of my personal favs and those with useful content. It's extremely hard to choose, but here are my Top Five. Please don't be limited by these!

1. Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes

I made this Streetfilm over 8 years ago and it still holds up smashingly well. I've lost count of the hundreds of messages I have gotten over the years (especially the first three years it was up) of advocates, politicians and neighborhood leaders who told me having this film to screen/share totally changed the game in their fight for better lanes for their city/town/state. And at nearly 350k plays (that I can count) it's the fifth most popular Streetfilm of all time.

Best story from this trip: Within minutes of arriving to my hotel I saw my first platoon of about 30 cyclists heading towards me. It's like I had seen a bike unicorn and I hurriedly raced to capture it on film, severely spraining my ankle in the process.  Of course the same scene of bikes continued over and over. All day. Dopey me. Thankfully, biking proved to be the easier method of getting around as I was walking was so badly I probably should have been on crutches the 5 days!

2. Cycling London’s Bicycle Super Highways

A few years ago London's first Bicycle Superhighway lanes opened to much fanfare and immediately were filled up during rush hours by thousands of commuters. In fact, the Central Business District now has almost equal numbers of bikes and cars entering daily. There were scores of photos and short clips of huge masses of cyclists dominating the Twitterverse but really almost no substantial video reports of the lanes. So I felt it was my duty to get there this past summer and talk to many London residents about them and see for myself these immensely wide, beautiful structures that admittedly can make you get jealous!

And a related Streetfilm that details how an advocacy group formed to organize business leaders to push for the lanes is also a great watch!

3. The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

This is a straight forward, nuts and bolts documentation of some of the work NYC DOT pulled off in what once seemed like an impossible task: to create a safe and working protected bike lane on Queens Blvd, once named "The Boulevard of Death".  This was following Mayor de Blasio's allocation of millions of dollars to reformat the roadway in the wake of his passionate support of Vision Zero. Then at NYC DOT (now the head of Oakland, CA's DOT) Ryan Russo detailed the how every-block-is-different design came about.

I really wanted to make this as a historical document and thought it would be a little dry, especially a 10 minute film with only one speaker.  But this ended up a pretty popular Streetfilm with scores of curious folks around the country watching and other city transportation departments and students studying it.

4. Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

Made in 2013, it is the third most popular Streetfilm of all-time! At this point in my life I had been to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, two cities that do bicycling right. But I absolutely fell in love with the silence and breathtaking beauty of Groningen in the north Netherlands. For one, I laughed while walking the mile from the train to check into my hotel. Why? I didn't see one car! People seemed so happy. It was like Disneyland for bikes.

Besides the excellently designed bike infra, there is also a traffic circulation plan built in to the city that forces cars to detour to longer routes making almost every trip you can do either faster by bike or competitive to the point that you might as well not own a car.

5. Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride/

Sunnyside Family Fun Bike Ride

Okay, the fifth one is actually a tie (yeah, I 'm cheating a bit). But both of these Streetfilms have been very important in the struggle for holding on to very important bike lanes implemented by NYC DOT that were under assault from local communities vehmently opposed to losing parking and road space. In both cases, families and groups in favor of the lanes wanted to provide a powerful visual of the lanes in use, so they both planned celebratory rides that put children out front.

The top is the Prospect Park West Family Bike Ride, which in April 2011 was under attack by a Brooklyn group called "Neighbors For Better Bike Lanes", who - shockingly - really weren't for better bike lanes at all!  They were suing the city for their removal (eventually they lost over and over) and had uncomfortable ties to former NYC DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. That's the skinny, but you can read all about it here in the Streetsblog archives.

The bottom is almost the nearly the same video but seven years later in the Sunnyside community of Queens where the struggle to initiate an integral pair of protected bike lanes on Skillman & 43rd Avenues went bonkers. It featured tons of Community Board drama - which still continues today - and a similarly themed "group" called "Queens Streets for All" which is really just about fighting for free car parking on the two streets.

Watch both videos and you'll see why if you have a bike lane in your neighborhood you should bring out families!

So those are my picks. Enjoy the list which gets automatically updated with each new protected bike lane Streetfilm we produce. As always these films are free to share or embed anywhere, used in their entirety in journalistic endevaours or even screen in your community (however, we do require permission if you choose to re-edit parts of video in other productions.)

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Street Transformations – Sunnyside Lanes (Skillman & 43rd Avenues)

For the latest in our Street Transformations series (for others see here: Street Transformations) we check out the dramatic before and afters of the Sunnyside protected bike lanes installed by NYC DOT at the end of Summer 2018.

The links complete a missing section that will enable cyclists to go from the center of Queens all the way to Brooklyn Heights without ever really leaving the safety of a protected bike lane!

The NYC DOT really thought innovatively to get the lanes installed, particularly the final blocks of Skillman Avenue to reach the overpass of the Sunnyside rail yards cycle track. Angled parking was moved further away from the sidewalk and concrete parking blocks were installed to keep drivers from going too forward to interfere with the path of bikes.

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The Women’s Ride on Queens Boulevard Takes Aim at NYC’s Cycling Gender Gap

Braving the brisk cold of a March morning, hundreds of people turned out Sunday for the Women's Ride on Queens Boulevard.

The event was both a celebration of women's role in bike advocacy and a call to action. About a quarter to a third of cyclists on NYC streets are women, according to NYC DOT, and this ride sent a strong message that the city can do better.

Watch these highlights from the ride and hear from participants about why cycling matters to them, and how changing infrastructure and culture can make cycling in New York more welcoming for women.

The ride started along the new Queensbridge Park Greenway, traveling through Sunnyside to Queens Boulevard and its new protected bike lanes, before wrapping up at Queens Borough Hall. The route was chosen intentionally: Two significant segments -- in Sunnyside and on Queens Boulevard approaching Borough Hall -- are slated for safer bike infrastructure this year, but local politicians have been waffling on those projects. Participants want to make sure these important bike connections get built this year.

Thanks to all these organizations for putting on a wonderful event:

Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee
Ciclistas Latinoamericanos de New York
Make Queens Safer
Bike New York
Queens Bike
Jackson Heights Beautification Group
New York Cycling Club
NYSBRA Juniors
Women's Adventure Cycling Club
Trips for Kids
NYC Youth Cycling
Eastern Queens Greenway
Families for Safe Streets
WE Bike NYC
Mujeres en Movimiento

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Marching With a Message: Fix the Missing Link in the Most Important Bike Route in Queens

The St. Pats for All Parade is a wonderful, upbeat celebration of inclusion on Skillman Avenue in Woodside, Queens. The Queens Committee of Transportation Alternatives has participated since the parade's inception, and this year, they marched to renew their call for protected bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenue.

The two streets are an important bicycle link to the Queensboro Bridge, but they're not safe. Last year, a driver struck and killed Gelacio Reyes as he biked home on 43rd Avenue from his delivery job in Manhattan. There's a DOT plan on the table to upgrade Skillman and 43rd with protected bike lanes, but momentum has stalled since it was first presented last fall.

With these protected bike lanes in the place, there would be a safe bicycle route connecting many neighborhoods along Queens Boulevard to the bridge. Queens residents are calling on Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to advance the project.

The contingent of nearly 50 people marching for a safer Skillman and 43rd Avenue was one of the biggest of the 90 groups in the parade, getting lots of cheers and good vibes from the crowd.

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Street Transformations – Queensboro Bridge North Plaza Bike Lane (2000-2016 Timeline)

I edited together this montage on a whim to show a timeline on the progress on the Queensboro Bridge bike/ped path from 2000 to 2016 - just to see how much interest out there is in biking New York City history.
If this proves popular, there are dozens of spaces in New York City that have seen similar changes. I could put together many similar inspirational shorts since I've been documenting NYC streets since the late 1990s. So please let me know if you enjoy this.
The entire 20+ year fight from advocates from Transportation Alternatives and other groups to get dedicated space on the Queensboro bridge is the stuff of legend, but it require far more than the 2 minutes I have devoted here.

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The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

For many years, New York City's Queens Boulevard was known as the "Boulevard of Death." The street cuts through the heart of the Queens, expanding at some points to a chaotic 12 to 16 lanes of traffic -- which makes it extremely dangerous for human beings. From 2003 to 2013, 38 pedestrians and cyclists were killed and 450 suffered severe injuries.

Last year, the New York City DOT announced a $100 million dollar commitment from the de Blasio administration to humanize Queens Boulevard and make it safer, a flagship project in the city's Vision Zero initiative. Instead of waiting until the planned permanent reconstruction in 2018 to make any changes, DOT wanted to build in safety improvements immediately. After holding public workshops with communities along the corridor, 1.3 miles of Queens Boulevard have been redesigned, and the changes are already making a huge difference.

If you're an urban planner, transportation engineer, or advocate wondering just what can be done with what seems to be an irredeemably messed up street, then this is the Streetfilm for you. We got an exclusive tour of the changes with NYC DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo, going block-by-block over the creative solutions the DOT team implemented. Queens Boulevard is as complicated a roadway as there is: Nearly every block is different. To add a functional bike lane and pedestrian mall seemed highly unlikely. Yet here it is.

I'll admit, I'm especially excited about this project since I've lived near Queens Boulevard for years. I was skeptical when the announcement was made that I would see any truly life-altering change, and even if the city pulled it off, it would take years and years. But the installation has been swift and extremely well thought out. The service road is noticeably slower, narrower, and easier to navigate for people walking or biking. So much so that I was motivated to document the transformation with this Streetfilm, which I hope will be a learning tool that people can put to use in their communities. If you can put a good protected bike lane on Queens Boulevard, then just about any street in America should be in play.

In 2015, no one was killed on Queens Boulevard.

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The Queens Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

If Queens Boulevard can get a protected bike lane, you can probably put one on almost any street in the country.

Yesterday, the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee hosted the first of what it hopes are many celebratory bike rides down Queens Boulevard, trying out the first 10 blocks of the bike lane installed this month by NYC DOT. When complete, this project will run 1.3 miles from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street. It’s the first phase in what the city has promised will be a thorough overhaul of the “Boulevard of Death,” which is also the most direct east-west route in the borough.

Over the years, many lives have been lost on Queens Boulevard. I spoke to riders yesterday about all the hard work that volunteers and advocates put it in to make this bike lane happen.

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In Memoriam: James Langergaard, Bike Philosopher

On Friday night, August 14th, James Langergaard was killed by a car crossing Queens Boulevard. According to his family, witnesses told police that James ran a red light on his bike and died instantly. James was 38.

I have known James since 1997 when he and I were volunteers at Transportation Alternatives. Over the years we volunteered together for many events, went on countless rides & hikes, and in general just enjoyed talking with each other about the world and bicycling, almost always in a humorous (and sometimes absurd) manner.

It was one of those fun brainstorming sessions between us that led to the idea that James would become the official "bicycling philosopher" for bikeTV - the cable access show I produced from 2001 thru 2006. Thus I present: "What is the essence of cycling?" which we filmed in 2005 while at a Central Park volunteer appreciation party for workers and marshals of the T.A. Century. James' wit and humor are on big display here as he questions people about bicycling and why they do it, then cleverly encapsulates their thoughts.

In a world full of lots of uninteresting people, James was always had something off-beat or quirky to say. He could make you laugh, and laugh hard. Without James, the world just got a whole lot more boring.

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Queens Boulevard Bike Pool

On the second Friday of the month, Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee leads a "bike pool" along Queens Boulevard. This street is a critical, yet dangerous part of many bike commutes in Queens. By riding together in a group each month, the bike pool aims to educate drivers that bikes are on the street, make a statement about the need for a bike lane, and give the borough's bike commuters a safe, escorted ride home. I joined up with the ride last month after seeing on the Bike Month Calendar. The next "bike pool" is tomorrow Friday June 12.

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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