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Posts tagged "Transportation Alternatives"

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Streetopia: Reclaim Your Streets! (Streetopia Kickoff Promo)

Welcome to Streetopia the new push to drastically reimagine our city streets as places for people, with more efficient transport and safety for children & seniors to recreate and live. This is the "kickoff" promo, one of five we produced for the event.

The below paragraphs were so excellently written by Streetsblog's David Meyer in the article "Envisioning NYC Next Streets Revolution" that I'll now just lift those paragraphs below to describe some of why Streetopia is upon us.

About 12 years ago, a coalition of advocates under the banner of the New York City Streets Renaissance set out to transform city transportation policy away from the car-oriented status quo and toward people-first streets. Streetsblog and Streetfilms have their origins in that campaign, propelling a growing public awareness that NYC doesn’t need to settle for dangerous, traffic-choked streets.

While small interventions like signal changes, pedestrian islands, and safer markings have touched many neighborhoods, only a sliver of a fraction of city street space has been reallocated from cars to other modes. You’re less likely to lose your life in traffic now than 12 years ago, but New York still doesn’t have streets where, say, parents feel comfortable letting a child in elementary school walk a few blocks on their own to a friend’s house.

New York can be a city where everyone from young kids to elderly seniors can get around without fear, where neighborhood streets can be places of congregation and activity instead of motorways. To become that city, we’ll have to shift a lot more street space from cars to transit, biking, and walking.

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NYC Bike to Work Day 2017

Another great ride with the NYC Progressive Council which always turns out bigly for all of these rides dating back to 2014, which thanks to StreetsPAC is when these rides began.
This year saw three separate rides converge at City Hall. We decided to start pretty early on the Upper East Side with Council Member Ben Kallos who has been helping to lead the call for better biking for his constituents and those who ride thru his district.
We met up with several dozen others at Union Square (and lots of other cyclists who decided to join up on the ride on their daily commute) enjoying a mostly stress free jaunt to City Hall. Upon arrival there we met the Brooklyn delegations and at one point eight City Council members and NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg were outside addressing the very large group.
Another fun day of bike riding. Thanks to all.

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NYC 4-Boro Protected Bike Lane Ride

I've been riding a bike in NYC for more than 25 years. When I started, there wasn't much in the way of good bike infrastructure, but in that time I've watched the bike network expand and slowly get safer.

With recent bike lane additions and enhancements on Jay Street, Chrystie Street, and First Avenue, NYC DOT has pointed out that you can now ride on protected bike lanes almost continuously from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Connecting to other segments of protected bike lanes, with just a few blocks exposed to traffic, you can do enjoyable, low-stress rides of 10, 20, 25 miles on city streets.

So I pitched the good folks at Transportation Alternatives about doing a small group ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx to Randall's Island to Queens and back to Brooklyn -- about 25 miles. After sketching it out, we estimated that 97 percent of the ride could be done on protected lanes, car-free bridge paths, and greenways.

Of course, New York still has a long way to go to make cycling safe for all ages and abilities throughout the city. But we are on our way. As recently as 10 years ago, I can remember the huge advocacy effort that went into gaining two meager strips of white paint for bike lanes here or there. Now we are building up to a useable network.

So come along for the ride, get a good look at the protected bikeways and bridge paths along our route, and meet some of the volunteers who've been working hard to make biking better in New York City. As the soundtrack (which the great Eric Bazilian and Mats Wester generously gave permission to use) goes, "That's a good thing!"

Also, if you want to see the details of all the turns in this journey, I compiled this map.

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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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Biking NYC Pre-2005: Shorts from the bikeTV era of 2001-2005!

That's me above in a promo for bikeTV!

Many of you know that before I got heavily involved in what was to become Streetfilms, I produced a cable access show in New York City called bikeTV. We had a lot of fun and the main goal of the half hour weekly slot was to show New Yorkers how much fun it was to bike places in the city with friends, how much better biking could be and to cover the advocacy world (Transportation Alternatives, Time's Up, 5BBC, etc) and what they were promoting.

Recently, I took the time to finally upload some episodes from my work (and other contributors) to Vimeo and Youtube. It's quite amazing some of the work we did - usually trying to produce a new half hour show every month. I still have people come up to me and say they discovered biking through bikeTV!

Read more...

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Biking on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC — Now More Like Biking in Amsterdam!

Getting a protected bike lane on NYC's Amsterdam Avenue was an epic struggle. This year, safe streets finally won.

Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street on the Upper West Side, but it was designed like a highway with several lanes of one-way motor vehicle traffic. Local residents campaigned for nearly ten years to repurpose one of those lanes to make way for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian islands. They kept butting up against a few stubborn opponents of the street redesign on Community Board 7 (for viewers outside NYC, community boards are appointed bodies that weigh in on street redesigns, among other neighborhood changes).

Fed up with the dangerous conditions on Amsterdam, residents ramped up the activism. They staged silent protests and neighborhood actions to publicly shame the community board members stalling the redesign. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year when CB 7 voted in favor of DOT's plan for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Although not fully built yet -- 14 more blocks above 96th Street are still to come -- the project has changed the feel of the street dramatically.

It was a hard-earned victory, and yesterday people who fought for a safer Amsterdam celebrated with a ride down the new bike lane. Here's a look at the ride -- a sight we should see many times again as advocates organize for more space for safe biking and walking throughout NYC.

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Why are New Yorkers bicycling to work in record numbers?

Today is Bike To Work Day in NYC. And as usual Transportation Alternatives was out hosting some fueling stations in the morning.

We thought with the newest NYC DOT data showing bicycling at an all-time high, it would be great time to ask bicyclists why they are riding their bikes more. Interestingly, the answers seemed to fall in three distinct categories: it is safer, it is healthy and MTA is falling apart.

But don’t take our word for it, listen to what your fellow city riders told us.

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In Queens: 111 Moms Shut Down 111th Street for 111 Seconds

On the day before Mother's Day in Queens, 111 moms (and plenty of other supporters) angry that their Community Board (Queens, CB 4) has failed to even vote on a NYC DOT proposal that would add protected bike lanes, wide crosswalks and a road diet by completely re-designing 111th Street showed up for an act of civil disobedience to shut down the street to motorists and let their feelings be known.

Council member Julissa Ferreras has allocated $2.7 million dollars to the revamp of the road, which was last majorly designed for the Worlds Fair. The road features extremely wide driving lanes which leads to speeding and has been missing crosswalks at most crossing points, even though it is a popular commuting route for cyclists and for pedestrians going to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  Here's another video we did showing just how scary it is to cross: https://vimeo.com/132055092

The group was led by Mujeres en Movimiento and many groups combined to make it happen including Make the Road, Transportation Alternatives, Make Queens Safer, Immigrant Movement International and Queens Bike Initiative.

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Peatónito in NYC: Protecting Pedestrians in the Crosswalk

Peatónito ("little pedestrian") might be the most beloved figure in the world of street safety. How can you not love a superhero who protects pedestrians from cars?! Since donning the cape and luchador mask three years ago, he's become a media sensation in Mexico. This week he's in New York City for Transportation Alternatives' Vision Zero for Cities 2016 conference, and Streetfilms was lucky enough to squeeze in this exclusive whirlwind walking tour of Brooklyn and Queens streets showing him in action.

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate in Mexico City for quite a while. He's been involved with many tactical urbanism-type of interventions, like painting crosswalks with his own spray can. As Peatónito, he's attained a new level of fame for gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections, and pushing cars (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to make motorists more aware of their transgressions.

Come along for a fun short as Peatónito hits the intimidating streets near Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the constantly blocked bike lanes on Jay Street by MetroTech, and crosswalks in Jackson Heights, Queens, helping children walk to school.

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

Sunday, November 15th was World Day of Remembrance and Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives hosted a march from NYC's City Hall to the United Nations to honor those we have lost to traffic violence and enlighten New Yorkers to use the term "crash" instead of "accidents" when describing such events on our streets.

About 500 people turned out for the powerful event which included speeches by many elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio who promised he has only begun to change NYC's street when he first announced "Vision Zero" would be one of his priorities early in his administration. Marchers wore yellow, carried flowers, and held photos of loved ones that are no longer with us. It was one of dozens events held thru-ought the world on World Day of Remembrance.

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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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A Thousand New Yorkers Call for Action on Vision Zero

A crowd estimated at 1,000 people strong gathered in Union Square yesterday evening to remember victims of traffic violence and call for preventive action at the Vision Zero Vigil, organized by Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets.

The message was simple: Traffic crashes and the suffering they cause are preventable. We can’t accept life-altering injuries and the deaths of loved ones as unavoidable “accidents.” Robin Urban Smith was there to capture it for Streetfilms.

New York’s streets are getting safer, but not fast enough. With 123 traffic deaths and more than 23,000 injuries so far in 2015, the city has to do better. There’s much more the de Blasio administration can do with street design and traffic enforcement to rapidly reduce the scale of traffic violence. Hopefully last night’s gathering left an impression on DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD Deputy Inspector Dennis Fulton, who were both in attendance.

Aaron Charlop-Powers, whose mother was killed by a bus driver while she was biking in the Bronx five years ago, closed out the vigil with a call to carry the momentum forward. “We aren’t asking for your condolences,” he said. “We are asking for your action.”

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Watch 18 Years of Car-Free Parks Advocacy and Progress in NYC

The exciting news about the big expansion of car-free zones in Central Park and Prospect Park is a milestone in a very long campaign. The movement for car-free parks goes back nearly 50 years -- much farther than the videos I've posted here. But it wasn't that long ago that car-free hours in these parks were the exception, rather than the rule. These clips capture the spirit of the last 18 years of activism, which has yielded tremendous progress.

The above video is a small segment I taped of one of the first "traffic calming rides" that Transportation Alternatives used to do in Central Park back in 1997!

There was a lot of action going on in Prospect Park as well. I was the chair of the Brooklyn Transportation Alternatives committee for two years and my immediate successor was Streetsblog founding editor Aaron Naparstek, who brought new energy and came up with the brilliant idea to do some car-free theater. Transportation Alternatives' director Paul Steely White (who then worked for ITDP) can be seen among the advocates -- and if you keep watching you'll see a rookie City Council member named Bill de Blasio endorse a car-free park trial.

Read more...

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Tour de Staten Island 2015

Transportation Alternatives' 5th annual Tour de Staten Island showed off some of the best biking highlights in S.I.