To build a more sustainable, resilient community we need to remodel our cities. One key area in need of attention: our streets. Our publicly owned streets are meant to help everyone get from point A to point B, but more often that not, they are designed in a way that favors only a few modes of transportation -- namely, the personal automobile.
We're excited to announce that we're now partnering with the U.S.-based Streetsblog to help bring more attention to transportation and urban design issues issues. This open source site is dedicated to collecting opinions, stories and videos about new ideas and innovative designs that help us to use our thoroughfares more effectively. Though Streetsblog's focus is largely on New York and other major U.S. cities, their work is informed by transportation developments around the globe
We're looking forward to cross-posting other worldchanging work captured by Streetsblog and Streetfilms. For those of you new to Streetsblog, check out this recent collection, which highlights their picks for the best of 2008:
Movement of the Year: This year we saw cities across the U.S competing to run the first, biggest and best Bogota-style Ciclovia events. San Francisco debuted Sunday Streets (after local activists sat Mayor Gavin Newsom down in front of Streetfilms' Ciclovia video and sold him on the idea), Portland and Chicago both called it Sunday Parkways, in south Florida it was Bike Miami and, of course, New York City experienced the phenomenal Summer Streets.
Best International Transportation Concept: The huge success of Paris's Velib has made it so that if you are a big city mayor and you want to be considered "green" you've got to have a public bike-sharing program in the works.
The Year's Most Promising National Trend: Increasing demand for transit.
Welcome to the Future Award: Atlanta motorists used Twitter to locate service stations that haven't run out of gasoline.
Simplest, Cheapest, Best Bike Infrastructure Idea: Portland's bike corral.
Best Public Service Video: Transport for London's "Awareness Test."
Coolest New Web App: New York City cyclists get their own online route mapping service with Ride the City.
Book of the Year: Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic."
The Year's Best Livable Streets Project: Summer Streets. In a year of rapid and remarkable improvements in New York City's public spaces, bike lanes and bus infrastructure, the opening up of Park Avenue to pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and recreation-seekers for three consecutive Sundays in August was the livable streets movement's watershed moment. In one fell swoop, tens of thousands of New Yorkers personally experienced the benefits of reclaiming city streets from the automobile. It was really just a lot of good, healthy, inexpensive fun and Streetfilms was there...
The Year's Top Bicycle Project: New York City's bike network grew like kudzu in 2008 as DOT's hardworking team of bikeaucrats worked to surpass their 2006 mandate to produce 200 miles of new bike lanes in three years. There were so many outstanding bike projects in 2008 it's hard to single out just one. And, really, singling out one bike project is almost besides the point. Commuter cycling jumped an unprecedented 35% last year not because of any one new bike lane but because New Yorkers can now see a complete network of bike lanes filling out and taking shape on the streets around them.
Still, one project stands out as the year's most significant advance: The Grand Street bike lane. Grand Street now offers Manhattan's first crosstown protected bike path. It's a design that can be replicated on many New York City streets. And it's the kind of infrastructure that can make New York City a safe and comfortable place for pretty much anyone to ride a bike.
Best Bus Project: New York City got its first taste of bus rapid transit-ish service on Fordham Road in the Bronx in 2008. While DOT needs to do a better job of providing the MTA's buses with lanes that can't be obstructed by private automobiles, travel times on the Bx12 have been cut by 24 percent and the early results are promising.
Best New Street Design Element: The nipple bollard.
Best New Public Space: Broadway Boulevard is the year's most groundbreaking public space project. Paris has the Champs-Élysées, Barcelona has La Rambla and New York City should have a fully pedestrianized Broadway from Columbus Circle to Union Square. Broadway Boulevard is a great start and a smart way to dip a toe in the water and test the idea.
Best Local Livable Streets Project: Despite a couple of rainy weekends, Williamsburg Walks on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn was outstanding.
Lots of great projects here, but I'm compelled to make a couple of mentions for Cleveland (especially given the left and right coastalism of the award list).
First Ciclovia in the US? Arguably Cleveland's in 2006 (and still going strong).
Best Bus Project? Arguably Cleveland's HealthLine (with its own dedicated lane, to boot).