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Streetfilms: A Montreal Intersection Morphs Into a Wonderful Neighborhood Space

On a Bixi bike excursion to get some ice cream in Montreal, my wife and I stumbled upon the intersection of Fairmount Avenue and Rue Clark, recently upgraded with colorful new street furniture, traffic calming treatments, and a two-way protected bike lane. The space is teeming with street life. When you arrive at this lovely place your first instinct is to stop, sit down, and enjoy.

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Video: The Magnificent Bioswales & Stormwater Treatment Along the Indy Cultural Trail

With seemingly no end in site to all this rain, and our rivers quickly rising toward and beyond flood stage, this video which takes a look at bioswales, a form of storm water retention is quite timely.

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?

From Streetfilms via The Atlantic Cities.

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First bike lane inaugural parade

Streetfilms points out one of the many first that was overlooked during yesterday’s inaugural:

The networks were busy tripping over themselves trying to point out all the numerous “firsts” during today’s Presidential Inauguration. But when President Obama and his wife Michelle stepped out of the presidential motorcade to greet well wishers on Pennsylvania Avenue they missed a huge one in the livable streets community: he’s the first U.S. president to walk down a bike lane during his Inauguration.

The unique center-median, two-way bicycle lane down Pennsylvania was instituted by DDOT back in Summer 2010, so this is the first Inauguration in which the Avenue featured the new look. Check out this clip from ABC News that shows when the President steps out of his limousine, he commences his walk almost right on top of a bike stencil!

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Streetfilms looks at New Yorker’s getting back to business with limited transport

NYC has suffered greatly post superstorm Sandy. While we still have a long ways to go, people are starting to go back to work and venture out of their homes.

Thursday marked the first day of modest subway restoration. It also saw the return of limited ferries. As well as a full MTA bus schedule and Mayor Bloomberg’s emergency order declaring all vehicles crossing the East River Bridges must have three occupants. But the numbers of people using their feet and bicycles is huge and an always encouraging sign. Streetfilms was up early in Queens near the Queensboro Bridge to see how people were using all the transportation options out there. Here’s the montage we got.

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Video: “The Porch” at 30th Street Station Welcomes You to Philadelphia

For nine months now, Philadelphia’s awesome new public space “The Porch” has been flying under the nation’s livable streets radar.

Installed next to 30th Street Station as part of a larger PennDOT undertaking, the project reclaimed asphalt from cars and devoted it to people. The Porch provides a great place to meet up, and it shows what American cities can achieve at major transit hubs when they strive to create great public spaces.

The planners of The Porch looked to New York City’s Times Square for inspiration, and there might be something for NYC to learn in return as the city considers transforming parts of Vanderbilt Avenue outside Grand Central Terminal into pedestrian spaces.

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STREETFILMS: Medellí­n: Colombia’s Sustainable Transport Capital

For many who have heard of Medellín, Colombia, the name brings to mind the drug-related violence of the 1980s and 1990s, when it was often described as the most dangerous city in the world.

Over the last decade, Medellín has worked hard to change its image. The local government is investing in education and social programs, and the city recognizes the importance of providing an integrated public transportation system as the backbone of these projects.

Read more at Streetfilms.

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Streetfilms: Groningen’s Green Phase for Cyclists

Groningen is the largest city in the northern region of the Netherlands. With 57 percent of all trips in the city made by bike, it has acquired the title “World Cycling City.” In Groningen, even the large multi-lane roads have been tamed for safe cycling.

At this intersection on the main ring road around Groningen, cyclists get their own green phase. When the bike signal says go, cyclists at any point in the junction can travel in any direction, including diagonally. Engineer Hillie Talens explains how it works in this short video, which kicks off a series of Streetfilms we made on trip to the Netherlands with a delegation from Bikes Belong.

Video & text (cc) Streetfilms

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Why is non-auto infrastructure always “too expensive”?

In one of the meetings of the Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework Study Committee, of which I am a member, we discussed the idea of a pedestrian/bike bridge over Route 95 between Point Street and Eddy Street. There is a long-term proposal for Rhode Island Hospital to build on a site along the highway, and the other side of the highway is a potential home for a parking structure.

Pedestrian/Bike bridge over Route 95

Click image to enlarge

The idea was thrown about for a minute, then immediately shot down as too expensive, would never happen, and we moved on. But why? We had money for the Iway. We have money for the Pawtucket River Bridge, on and on, we’ve gone over this before. Yes, we are in a recession, especially in this city and this state, but when there is a need for autos, we find a way.

In Minneapolis, they’ve found a way to build a stunning bridge for bikes and pedestrians. And their bridge was built to bypass a road that actually does have crosswalks. Albeit a terribly wide, dangerous road, but you can cross it. One cannot cross Route 95 on bike or on foot.

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Streetfilms looks at Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare

The Phenomenal Success of Capital Bikeshare from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Nearly three years ago Streetfilms took a day trip to Washington, D.C. to see their Smart Bike DC in action. We found the trial bike share system a fun ride with great potential, but with only 120 bikes there wasn’t a great sense of widespread use.

Flashforward to 2011 and with over 1100 bicycles and 110 stations D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare’s is amazing testament to having to “go big or go home” when deploying bike share programs.

Streetfilms

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News & Notes

→ Public Seating Beyond Parks and Playgrounds [Urban Design Week]

We’ve all been there: exhausted, hot, annoyed, and just looking for a seat! With over eight million people calling New York City home, finding a place to sit outside of parks and playgrounds can be a bigger challenge than one might imagine. Megan in Clinton Hill wishes there were places to sit in public space besides in parks: free, public resting spots on every block for a coffee, lunch, and conversation. Ultimately, she wants the city to be “more free and open to all! Not limited to only people who eat at outdoor cafes, etc.”

More and more this is how I feel about Downcity. You can sit at Grant’s Lot, and you can sit at the tables at Burnside Park, that’s about it.


→ The 1950s Called, and They Want Their Transportation Bill Back [AltTransport]

What costs $230 billion and shortchanges pedestrian and bicycle safety and already cash-strapped urban transit systems? If you guessed the new transportation reauthorization proposal from the GOP-led House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, you’d be right.


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