Skip to content

SB event logo 580x200

Streetfilms

By Clarence Eckerson

1 Comment

The 8th Most Influential Streetfilm 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 Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Complete Streets: It’s About More than Bike Lanes

Number of plays: 53,500

Publish date: May 9, 2011

Why is it here? Five years ago, protected bike lanes were still a relatively new thing in New York City. The press really did not know what to make of them — for most part, local reporters stuck to a sensationalist narrative pitting cyclists against everyone else. This film was an attempt to show how protected bike lanes include design features that make streets safer for everybody (even drivers), and that they fit into a new approach toward streets that prioritizes walking, biking, and transit.

Fun fact: Essentially this film exists because NYC DOT and Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan were getting a tremendous amount of tabloid heat for street redesigns that were saving lives. It was absurd, and called for some countermeasures. The idea for this Streetfilm was to show how the new designs were making life better by speaking to people on the street.

Read more…

StreetFilms
View Comments

NYC Buses: Time for a Turnaround

New Yorkers take 2.5 million rides on the city’s buses every day. While NYC’s buses provide essential transit, especially in areas beyond the reach of the subway, they are among the nation’s slowest and least reliable.

Now a coalition of transit advocates are promoting practical strategies to improve the performance of NYC buses systemwide.

Transit advocates knew something was wrong when they observed declining bus ridership despite increasing population, a growing economy, and record-high subway ridership. To figure out what could be done about it, they spoke to industry experts and researched successful efforts in peer cities to identify common sense solutions to NYC’s bus problems. This research is summarized in their report “Turnaround: Fixing New York City’s Buses”.

The bus system faces big challenges, but these challenges have clear, proven solutions. By transforming how riders get on and off the bus, designing streets to prioritize buses, adopting better methods to keep buses on schedule, and redesigning the bus network and routes, policy makers in city government and the MTA can turn around the decline of the city’s buses and attract riders back to the system.

We’ll get to see how serious public officials are about tackling these problems on October 6, when the City Council transportation committee holds an oversight hearing on how to improve the quality of NYC bus service.

This Streetfilm was produced in partnership with TransitCenter, the second in a series of four films examining transit in American cities. If you enjoyed this one, check out the first film, “High Frequency: Why Houston is Back on the Bus.”

StreetFilms
View Comments

Vancouver’s Breathtaking Network of Safe, Protected Bike Lanes

In 2012, the Vancouver City Council set an ambitious goal for bicycle mode share — 7 percent of all trips by 2020. The city proceeded to hit the mark in 2015, five years ahead of schedule!

When you ride around Vancouver’s fantastic network of bike lanes, it’s no wonder the city is experiencing a leap in ridership. Most of Vancouver feels safe to ride, and it’s fun to see all sorts of people out on bikes.

A key factor in Vancouver’s success is that the city constantly goes back to re-engineer, tweak, and improve its bike lanes for greater safety. Hornby Street, which features prominently in this Streetfilm, used to just have painted bike lanes. At the time, women accounted for 28 percent of bike trips on the street, according to Manager of Transportation Planning Dale Bracewell. After the city installed a landscaped protected bike lane on Hornby, bike trips grew rapidly — especially bike trips by women, who now account for 39 percent of the street’s bike traffic.

Compared to New York City, which has made significant strides in the past eight years to carve out street space for protected bike lanes, Vancouver is clearly going the extra mile. In three days of riding, I didn’t see one car parked in a protected bike lane. When you ride downtown, conflicts with drivers are rare.

In New York, we need to take additional steps to shore up protected bike lanes and keep cars out. In many cases, we already have the real estate, w just need bolder designs and with more physical protection.

No Comments

The 9th Most Influential Streetfilm 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.

Snowy Neckdowns (a.k.a. “Sneckdowns”)

Number of plays: 52,349

Publish date: February 5, 2011

Why is it here? This Streetfilm started the #sneckdown craze and inspired planners and transportation geeks to go out and document how we’ve overbuilt streets for the movement of cars. The sneckdown concept provides a simple, compelling visual that has made the case for real changes in many cities (especially Philadelphia).

Fun fact: At first this film didn’t get a ton of attention. By the end of 2013 it had only racked up about 4,000 plays. But in the winter of 2014 I decided it might be fun to cajole people on Twitter to send in photos of snowy traffic calming in their city. When we were deciding on a hashtag to use, Streetsblog founding editor Aaron Naparstek brilliantly suggested #sneckdown. It clicked, the hashtag stuck, and submissions rolled in from all over the world. The media frenzy peaked in 2014 but social media still lights up with #sneckdown photos whenever there’s a big winter storm in the United States.

Read more…

13 Comments

The 10th Most Influential Streetfilm 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. If you’re just tuning in, catch up on #12 (Lakewood, Ohio: The Suburb Where Everyone Can Walk to School) and #11 (Mark Gorton Interviews Enrique Penalosa).

Zurich: Where People Are Welcome and Cars Are Not

Number of Plays: 41,000

Publish Date: October 25, 2014

Why is it here? Variety! This is probably the Streetfilm that best illustrates how several overlapping policies can fit together to deliver exceptional streets and transportation. It captures how parking restrictions, quality transit, and traffic management all complement each other.

And you have to love a city with a “Historic Compromise” that capped the number of parking spaces in the downtown. With this Streetfilm, you can clearly see how deemphasizing the automobile has made the city more welcoming for people.

Fun fact:  Making this piece entailed the longest Streetfilm post-production ever. I shot most of it in August 2013, 14 months before the final cut was posted. To put that in perspective, I assemble most Streetfilms in days or weeks, or at most a few months. I struggled mightily to bring all the parts of this Streetfilm together, then it finally gelled when I interviewed Professor Norman Garrick from UConn about his time studying transportation in Zurich. His personal narrative gave the film a much needed cohesion and perspective.

2 Comments

The 12 Most Influential Streetfilms of All Time: Number 11

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. This week: Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton sits down with Enrique Peñalosa, then-former and current mayor of Bogota.

Mark Gorton interviews Enrique Peñalosa

Publish Date: Feb 1, 2007

Number of Plays: 21,000

Why is it here? Early on in Streetfilms history, Mark Gorton sat down for interviews with many influential transportation professionals. His talks with Enrique Penalosa, and Jan Gehl in Times Square in 2005, were easily the most eye-opening, clueing in viewers on how policy changes could quickly make a city better.

Peñalosa and Gorton discussed how ciclovías, bus rapid transit, new parks, and protected bike facilities transformed Bogota into a happier and more equitable place.

Fun fact: I set up and operated a pretty complicated three-camera shoot all by myself. This was back in the days of actual videotape and no live mixing board, so to assemble it I had to digitize all three tapes and edit an hour of intense talk to 10 entertaining minutes, and add ample expository b-roll.

1 Comment

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!

4 Comments

Streetfilms Shortie: Fast and Easy Bus Boarding in Oslo

While in Oslo shooting a Streetfilm on the city’s ambitious plans to become as car-free as possible by 2019, I got to interview Frode Hvattum, head of strategy for Ruter, the regional transit agency. I asked a quick question about Oslo’s amazingly efficient train and bus service. In this short video, Hvattum discusses how Oslo’s city center buses and proof of payment system speed things up for riders.

StreetFilms
View Comments

Touring Copenhagen’s Car-Free Bridges

One of the things that makes Copenhagen great is the city is continually finding ways to make biking and walking better — like building car-free bridges.

Bicycle Program Manager Marie Kastrup was very kind to take me on a tour of some of the bike and pedestrian bridges Copenhagen has constructed in the last decade. And more are on the way, with four others planned for the next few years.

With DOT looking to improve the Brooklyn Bridge for people who walk and bike, and the Port Authority planning to shortchange George Washington Bridge pedestrians and cyclists for generations to come, it’s a good time to consider how a leading city for car-free transport moves people across the water.

StreetFilms
View Comments

How to Build a Thriving, Equitable Bike-Share System

Bike-share has the capability to expand access to jobs and transit for communities in need of better transportation options — but only if the system is set up and operated in an equitable way. Our latest collaboration with the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) examines how to build a thriving, equitable bike-share system.

At the end of June, the Better Bike Share Conference brought together advocates, employers, and experts in the field to share ideas and strategies about how to improve access to bike-share. We interviewed a dozen leaders about what bike-share systems are doing to overcome barriers to use, and what more needs to be done.

NACTO has some great resources available for people who want to take a deeper look at issues of bike-share and equity, including papers on:

This Streetfilm features footage of nearly a dozen bike-share systems, but primarily Indego in Philadelphia, Citi Bike in New York, and Capital Bikeshare in DC. As part of the filming, I got to ride along with Black Girls Do Bike NYC for a Citi Bike tour from Bed-Stuy to Red Hook in Brooklyn — you can see more scenes from that ride in this short.