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Countdown: The 12 Most Influential Streetfilms of All Time

With the 10-year benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms coming up on November 14 (get your tickets here!), we are counting down the 12 most influential Streetfilms of all-time, as determined by the impresario himself, Clarence Eckerson Jr. The countdown starts with the second-most-viewed Streetfilm ever.

Lakewood: The Suburb Where Everyone Can Walk to School

Publish date: April 28, 2014

Number of plays: 470,000 (second all-time)

Why is it here? This Streetfilm struck a nerve with people across the United States, perhaps because many people can still remember walking or biking to school when they were kids, or wish their children could do it safely today. In Lakewood, where the city has preserved and actively encourages walking to school, you can see what the trip to class and back home was like when most students did it on foot.

Fun fact: This film nearly didn’t happen. Why? I was in Cleveland to shoot video for three days, and it rained almost the entire time — except from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on this day!

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Vanessa Gibson Endorses Grand Concourse Protected Bike Lane

Council Member Vanessa Gibson wants protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse. After meeting with Bronx Transportation Alternatives volunteers this week, Gibson signed onto the campaign, joining four other council members whose districts include the Concourse.

Below 162nd Street, there is no bike infrastructure whatsoever on the Grand Concourse. Above 162nd, where the street becomes a divided road with service lanes, there is a buffered bike lane that’s frequently obstructed by double-parked cars.

The Grand Concourse is one of four “Vision Zero Great Streets” in the city supposed to receive safer designs as part of upcoming reconstruction projects. It consistently ranks as one of the state’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians.

Gibson joins council members Fernando Cabrera, Andrew Cohen, Rafael Salamanca, Ritchie Torres in supporting TA’s “Complete the Concourse” campaign, which has amassed 2,500 petition signatures. The effort also has the tacit support of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who committed to safer bike lanes on Grand Concourse in his February “State of the Borough” address.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Engineers to U.S. DOT: Transportation Is About More Than Moving Cars

A trade group representing the transportation engineering profession thinks it’s high time for American policy makers to stop focusing so much on moving single-occupancy vehicles.

Should roads like this be considered a "success?" ITE doesn't think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

Should roads like this be considered a success? ITE doesn’t think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

U.S. DOT is currently deciding how it will assess the performance of state DOTs. Will it continue business as usual and equate success with moving huge numbers of cars? That’s what state transportation officials want, but just about everyone else disagrees — including professional transportation engineers.

In its comments to the Federal Highway Administration about how to measure performance, the Institute of Transportation Engineers — a trade group representing 13,000 professionals — said that, in short, the system should not focus so heavily on cars [PDF].

Here’s a key excerpt:

Throughout the current proposed rulemaking on NHS performance, traffic congestion, freight mobility, and air quality, an underlying theme is apparent: these measures speak largely to the experience of those in single occupancy vehicles (SOVs). While such a focus is understandable in the short-term, owing largely to the current availability of data from the NPMRDS and other national sources, ITE and its membership feel that FHWA should move quickly within the framework of the existing performance management legislation to begin developing performance measures that cater to multimodal transportation systems.

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DOT Posts East River Bridge Bike Counts, But Not as Open Data

DOT has posted detailed bike counts from the four East River bridges from April through July of this year, a promising new step in making its data on bicycling publicly available. The data was released as monthly PDFs that include bike counts on each bridge, cumulative precipitation, and temperature ranges for each day.

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The increasingly crowded Queensboro Bridge north outer roadway. Image via Streetfilms

It’s the first time DOT has published such granular information. But the release would be better if the counts were published as a feed on the city’s open data portal, which would make it much easier to analyze the information.

DOT has been counting bicyclists on the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Queensboro bridges since the 1980s, but only since 2014 has it deployed automated counters to collect a more robust data set. The city used to only count bicyclists a few days out of each month. Now it counts every day.

Last year’s “screenline” bike counts (which include the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal and the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street, in addition to the bridges) were not released until this past May. Not only will the timely release of data speed up public access, but the greater detail in these spreadsheets can also lead to a better understanding of how factors like temperature or precipitation affect cycling rates.

To measure changes in cycling volumes, DOT uses counts from weekdays without precipitation, to ensure that it is comparing apples to apples. Using this method, the new counts show that the number of cyclists riding over the bridges increased by 7.9, 7.2, 10.3 percent respectively in April, June, and July, compared to the same months the previous year. In May, the count decreased 3.7 percent.

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Streetsblog.net
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Cheap Gas, More Driving Make 2016 an Especially Deadly Year on U.S. Streets

Graph: National Safety Council

Traffic fatalities on American roads are rising faster than driving mileage. Chart: National Safety Council

The number of traffic deaths in America each year is so staggering, it almost defies comprehension — about 35,000 lives lost is the norm. But 2016 is shaping up to be even worse.

Emma Kilkelly at Mobilizing the Region reports on newly-released data from the first half of 2016 showing a disturbing increase in traffic deaths:

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently estimated that motor vehicle fatalities rose 9 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2015, and 18 percent compared to 2014. At this rate, 2016 is shaping up to be the deadliest year for driving since 2007. This Labor Day weekend is on track to be the nation’s deadliest since 2008, with 438 fatalities projected over the three-day period.

The jump in traffic fatalities coincides with sinking gas prices and an uptick in driving. During the first half of 2016, U.S. motorists collectively drove 3.3 percent more compared to last year, reaching 1.58 trillion miles traveled. The recent upswing in miles driven has been linked to the availability of cheap gas and a sharp increase in traffic deaths.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Son of Slain Cyclist Michael Schenkman: “We Are Not a Bike-Friendly City” (NYT, News)
  • Politico Asks Whether First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris Has Too Much on His Plate
  • As Uber and Lyft Grow in NYC, So Do Crashes Involving Black Cars (Post)
  • Sanitation Commish Kathryn Garcia Makes the Business Case for Waste Carting Reform (Crain’s)
  • Driver Rear-Ends Parked Bus, Critically Injuring 5-Year-Old Boy in Car (News)
  • Texas Woman Who Crashed on Central Park Loop Succumbs to Injuries (News)
  • A New Defense Tactic for Drivers Who Harm Pedestrians With the Right of Way (Post)
  • The Lesson of the Cricket-Filled Subway Car Is: Never Pull the Emergency Brake (Post, 2AS)
  • Not on the List of Terrible Things About NYC Buses: The Lack of Wi-Fi (AMNY)
  • Read the Comments on This Change.org Petition and Gaze Into the Abyss
  • Got a Rhyme About What the NYC Region Needs Today? Send It to the RPA

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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3,000 People Join Sister of Lauren Davis to Call for Bike Lane on Classon Ave

A driver struck and killed a cyclist at Classon Avenue at Lexington Avenue. Image” Google Maps

A driver struck and killed Lauren Davis at Classon Avenue at Lexington Avenue in April. Image: Google Maps

Danielle Davis lost her sister in April. Lauren Davis was biking on Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill when a driver turned left across her path, killing her. Now Danielle is calling on the city to add a bike lane to the street where Lauren lost her life.

With the support of Transportation Alternatives, she launched an online petition yesterday addressed to local City Council members Laurie Cumbo and Robert Cornegy and Brooklyn Community Boards 2 and 3. (Classon Avenue also runs through the district of Council Member Stephen Levin, as well as community board districts 8 and 9.) In just one day, the petition has amassed more than 3,300 signatures.

Lauren, 34, was biking in the direction of traffic at around 8:35 a.m. on April 15 when the driver of a 2015 Fiat turned left off eastbound Lexington Avenue and killed her. Police initially reported that Davis was biking against traffic, an account that was later proven false by an eyewitness.

DOT converted Classon from two moving lanes to one in 2012 but maintained extra-wide parking lanes instead installing of a bike lane. The street remains prone to reckless driving by motorists seeking speedy passage to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Between 2009 and 2014, 119 pedestrians and 84 cyclist were injured on Classon Avenue between Washington Avenue and Flushing Avenue, and two pedestrians and two cyclists were killed, according to Vision Zero View.

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Thursday Job Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are the current listings:

Senior Transportation Planner — Planning Division, SF County Transportation Authority, San Francisco, California
The Transportation Planner Series-Planning Division includes three levels of professional Transportation Planners who manage planning and corridor studies and other planning projects, facilitate community outreach efforts, and represent the Transportation Authority on technical and policy advisory groups.

Open Space Planner, Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado
Under limited supervision, provides professional planning related to Open Space preservation and management. Oversees all stages of plan and project development of Open Space parks with heavy emphasis on trail planning and development.

5291 Planner III, City and County of San Francisco – City Planning, San Francisco, California
The Planning Department has one (1) 5291 Planner III opening in the Historic Preservation program within the Current Planning Division.

Director of Operations Strategy, Bay Area Motivate, San Francisco, California
Bay Area Motivate (BAM) is headquartered in San Francisco and operates Bay Area Bike Share. Bay Area Bike Share is seeking a visionary and collaborative Director of Operations Strategy to lead the Operations team in delivering a world-class bicycle sharing system for customers.

Facilities, Vehicle Fleet, & Safety Coordinator, Bay Area Motivate, San Francisco, California
Bay Area Motivate is seeking an experienced Facilities, Vehicle Fleet, & Safety Coordinator to maintain its headquarter locations in addition to any temporary or ancillary locations (e.g. expansion Warehouse, valet stations, temporary office spaces).

Read more…

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TA Calls on de Blasio to Act After Driver Kills Cyclist, 78, on Northern Blvd

NYPD filed no charges and issued no summonses after a driver struck and killed Michael Schenkman, 78, while he biked on Northern Boulevard in Bayside.

Michael Schenkman was the 16th cyclist killed by a New York City motorist this year. Photo via Facebook

Michael Schenkman was the 16th cyclist killed by a New York City motorist this year. Photo via Facebook

New York City motorists have now killed 16 cyclists this year, compared to 14 cyclist fatalities in all of 2015, according to city crash data. After yesterday’s crash, Transportation Alternatives called on Mayor de Blasio to pick up the pace of Vision Zero safety improvements.

Schenkman was eastbound on Northern Boulevard near 223rd Street at around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when a motorist traveling in the same direction hit him with a Chevrolet sedan. Schenkman, who lived in Flushing, sustained head and body trauma and died from his injuries at North Shore Manhasset Hospital, police said.

The NYPD public information office said Schenkman “collided in the left lane” with the car. A photo published by the Daily News shows the car with a dented hood and a large hole in the windshield — the type of damage that would occur in a high-speed collision. Information released by NYPD did not mention driver speed.

As is customary when police don’t ticket or charge a motorist who kills a person, NYPD withheld the driver’s name, identifying him only as a 25-year-old man. The department said the investigation was ongoing as of this afternoon.

Schenkman was a driver for former public advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the Daily News reported, as well as a long-time cyclist and member of Transportation Alternatives. “Every morning he got on his bike and rode 15 or 20 miles,” Peter Schenkman, the victim’s son, told the News.

“Michael, who was passionate about bicycling, was a beloved Transportation Alternatives member who joined us on many of our bike tours and supported our work to make New York City streets safer for all road users,” said TA Executive Director Paul White in a statement released today. “We are dedicating our upcoming NYC Century Bike Tour on September 10th to his memory.”

In addition, TA has scheduled a “Ride for Mayoral Action” on September 15. In his statement, White noted that a large share of cyclist fatalities this year happened on streets that the city knows are dangerous:

Read more…

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Cyclist Severely Injured After Swerving to Avoid Pedestrian in Central Park

A 67-year-old man was critically injured when he fell off his bike after dodging a jogger in Central Park last night.

The collision occurred yesterday at around 6:05 p.m. on East Drive near East 102nd Street, according to NYPD. Police said the cyclist was traveling northbound in the East Drive bike lane “when he swerved to avoid a jogger” and fell off his bike. He suffered body and head trauma and was rushed to Saint Luke’s Hospital, where he is currently in stable condition.

The cyclist flipped over his handlebars and flew 25 to 30 feet, according to the Daily News. NYPD says an investigation is ongoing.

Serious collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are rare, but they do happen, and the crowded loop roads of big parks seem to present unique risks. In the summer of 2014, 75-year-old Irving Schachter and 58-year-old Jill Tarlov were struck and killed by cyclists in Central Park. That period was an exception, however. In the last decade, most calendar years come and go without any fatal bike-pedestrian crashes citywide.