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Posts tagged "United Kingdom"

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London Cycling Works: How Savvy Campaigning Got 180 Employers to Support Bike Lanes

When I met up with Londoner and self-professed "Streetfilms fan for ten years" Chris Kenyon in New York City recently, he had a great story to tell.

In 2014, there was an intense bikelash in London in reaction to groundbreaking, high-quality protected bike lanes in the city center. Chris's advocacy group, London CyclingWorks, played a critical role in countering this pushback, gathering endorsements of the new bike infrastructure from a wide range of businesses in central London. The campaign was so effective that afterwards the mayor and Transport for London told Chris it led the city to implement its full plan for "cycle superhighways," which Londoners are now using in droves.

So of course, I made him tell the story on camera. In this short interview, he explains how the campaign came together and why he thinks it can be replicated in other cities. Hopefully other advocates can learn from this model to build political support for streets that work for biking and walking.

Oh, and thanks for watching Streetfilms all this time, Chris!

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20’s Plenty: The Movement for Safer Speeds in the UK

Five years ago, Streetfilms was in the UK town of Warrington to talk with the great folks behind 20's Plenty For Us, a largely volunteer group trying to get speed limits reduced to 20 mph. The first film drew broad interest in the 20's Plenty movement, and on a recent trip I caught up with them again.

Founder Rod King MBE reports some amazing statistics: More than 14 million residents of the UK now live on streets with speed limits of 20 mph or less, including 3 million in London. Despite being a very small organization, 20's Plenty has empowered 263 local campaigns across the UK asking for 20 mph streets. The film captures some of the impact of 20's Plenty in Central London, Liverpool, and Cambridge. It's amazing to see energized volunteers deploying all sorts of creativity to get the message out: stickers, banners, yarn-bombing, children's art, t-shirts. The success has been remarkable.

20's Plenty is now campaigning for "Total 20 By 2020" -- the goal of making most of the streets in the entire country 20 mph. For viewers in the United States, this film is like a road map for building public support and getting your community energized around lower speed limits.

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Cambridge: Britain’s Cycling Capital

In the city of Cambridge, just about an hour's train ride north of London, you'll find lots of people bicycling. In fact, the official bike mode share is 22 percent, but advocates believe it's even higher and could comprise up to 50 percent of all trips in the city center.

More than protected bike lanes, the key to Cambridge's success has been the management of motor vehicle traffic. For one, the city center is now ringed by a cordon of moveable bollards that only recede for buses, taxis, and some service vehicles. Private cars are not allowed downtown but people on bikes are free to enter at any time -- which makes the bicycle the most convenient mode of transportation.

In residential neighborhoods, Cambridge has also tamed cars using a strategy called "filtered permeability" -- placing physical barriers at some intersection that divert motorized traffic while allowing other modes to filter through. This prevents motorists from using residential areas as short cuts and encourages cycling. Similar techniques are employed in famous cycling cities like Groningen, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, and even here in the U.S. in places like Portland and Berkeley.

Cambridge is a growing city, and if new residents choose to drive cars, its streets could become overwhelmed by traffic. So the effort to create better streets for biking and walking continues. Recently, the city has adopted a 20 mph speed limit for most of its roadways, and a new push is on to install much more robust protected bike lanes in targeted areas where cycling feels less safe.

For bonus footage of Cambridge streets, check my post from earlier this week.

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Teasers & Bonus Videos from our upcoming Cambridge, UK Streetfilm!

In early August we'll be debuting an exciting new ten minute Streetfilm from Cambridge, UK. The city lies about an hour train ride north of London and is easily the highest mode share for bicycling in Britain: 22% of residents ride (though some say it's even higher than that.)  But the most fascinating thing is how the city has accomplished that without building a huge amount of protected bike facilities.

Instead they have achieved at least the atmosphere of safety by using many traffic management techniques - including a series of rising bollards that prohibits drivers without transponders (which are mostly on buses & cabs) from entering the city center - making it a better place to walk, shop, eat and bike. They have also done much work over the past decades around the idea of "filtered permeability", a process by which neighborhoods have had key intersections re-designed so that only people walking and biking can use them but vehicles need to go navigate around.

They've also recently begun converting most of their roads to 20 mph thanks to adopting the campaign by the organization "20 is Plenty for Us".  (On a side note we will have an updated Streetfilm on that organization up by end of summer!)  So enjoy these few bits we've posted here of various clips and extended bits that just didn't make it into the final film. Consider them just a small teaser of what you will be seeing in August!

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