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Via Streetsblog Denver
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Get Ready for Streetsblog Denver

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I’m pleased to welcome the newest member of the Streetsblog collective: Starting Monday, you can get news and commentary about safe streets, effective transit, and walkable development in the Mile High City by pointing your browser to Streetsblog Denver.

Streetsblog Denver arrives at a pivotal moment. The city is growing at an incredibly rapid pace, and it desperately needs streets and transportation policy that respond to these changes with intelligence and foresight. While there’s a huge grassroots appetite for walkable, bikeable neighborhoods and excellent transit access, for the most part the city’s streets remain stuck in the cars-first status quo. Working with an energetic advocacy community and the support of dedicated readers, Streetsblog Denver aims to change that.

Streetsblog Denver is run by a new, Denver-based non-profit of the same name, under the umbrella of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center. The site is possible thanks to the generous support of The Gates Family Foundation, the New Belgium Family Foundation, Zeppelin Development, Joel Noble and Julie Hock-Noble, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Editorial guidance and technical support come from Streetsblog’s main office in New York. Many thanks to Streetsblog founding editor Aaron Naparstek for getting the ball rolling.

Streetsblog Denver editor David Sachs

Streetsblog Denver Editor David Sachs

Leading Streetsblog Denver is editor David Sachs, who lives in Congress Park. David brings a background in journalism, communications, and political organizing to the job. As editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times in Virginia, he regularly covered transportation and development. David’s been hard at work cultivating sources and generating story ideas, and starting next week he’ll be cranking out posts every workday.

Denver came of age in the highway era, and its streets still reflect that. Wide, car-centric roads like Colfax, Broadway, Colorado, and Federal feel more like Autobahns than functional urban streets. Key measures of street safety are heading in the wrong direction, with pedestrian deaths on the rise. While the city has a reputation as a bike-friendly place, the truth on the ground doesn’t measure up — bicycling on Denver’s high-speed streets will get your pulse pounding for all the wrong reasons.

While transportation planners have done well connecting the region’s suburbs to downtown via rail, it’s not enough. The Regional Transportation District still caters to Denver’s suburban past. Its rail lines circle the city but barely penetrate it. For city dwellers, Denver’s neighborhoods remain fragmented by a landscape designed for cars, without effective transit to connect them.

But as a young city, Denver is also very capable of envisioning a new way of doing things.

Read more…

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Streetsblog Retains BlankSlate to Strengthen Our Bottom Line

Earlier this year, I wrote about the imperative for Streetsblog to generate more revenue from our website. With so many unsold impressions, ads were a clear opportunity to put Streetsblog’s sizable reach to use strengthening our bottom line. Today I’m pleased to announce that we’ve retained BlankSlate to help us sell ads and make good on that potential.

BlankSlate is an experienced shop that works with several other publishers similar in size to Streetsblog, in addition to owning and operating the Brooklyn real estate site Brownstoner. Their team will be selling ads and setting up ad networks on Streetsblog, and you’ve probably noticed the new ad zones on the site this week. BlankSlate has also set up filters to prevent automotive and fossil fuel industry advertisements from appearing on Streetsblog, which should keep many heads from exploding.

Streetsblog is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and we continue to rely on reader contributions and foundation support to fund our work. Ads are the third leg of the stool, and we’re excited to be working with BlankSlate to build a durable publishing operation.

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Welcome Back, Streetsblog Chicago!

Congratulations to John Greenfield, Steven Vance, and the readers and supporters who enabled Streetsblog Chicago to pull off a rousing comeback and resume regular publication today.

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Congrats, John.

At the beginning of the year, budget constraints compelled OpenPlans to sever our relationship with the Chicago team after two years of publication. Right off the bat, John told me he would revive Streetsblog Chicago under the umbrella of a new non-profit organization. Volunteering his time, he proceeded to set up a 501(c)3 from scratch and raise the funds necessary to reboot the site. It was a big personal risk for John, and he embraced it. (He even kept posting headline stacks every weekday morning!)

With an outpouring of reader donations, a surge of local sponsorships, and key support from the Chicago Community Trust, which provided a $25,000 challenge grant, the Chicago team has met its initial fundraising targets. Streetsblog Chicago will now be getting back into the swing of chronicling the city’s progress toward more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly streets.

John will continue to serve as both editor- and fundraiser-in-chief for the Chicagoland Streets Project, his newly-formed non-profit. We’re looking forward to more excellent coverage from him, Steven, and the roster of contributors they work with.

In other news from the Streetsblog publishing world, Damien Newton and Melanie Curry launched a new flavor yesterdayStreetsblog California will combine Melanie’s coverage of statewide news out of Sacramento with local stories from the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and other regions outside the beats of Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF. Streetsblog California is funded by The California Endowment and produced by the California Streets Initiative, the non-profit run by Damien that also produces Streetsblog LA.

We’ll have Streetsblog California up in our top menu shortly. No other state is connecting the dots between transportation, land use, and climate change like California right now. We’re seeing momentous changes like Level of Service reform that should be a model for the rest of the country. If you want to keep up with the latest on these advances (as well as helmet law stupidity), Melanie’s coverage is a must-read and you should check it out.

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Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards Select Bus Service Public Workshop: Woodhaven Blvd, Queens Blvd to Union Turnpike

Join the NYC Department of Transportation and the MTA to give feedback on the first round of block-by-block street designs and proposed Q52/53 SBS bus stops for the Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevards Select Bus Service project. Each workshop will focus on the section of the corridor noted below; however, input on the entire corridor is welcome.

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Riders Alliance’s Strategize for Better C Train Service

Riders Alliance members have been working hard with our local elected officials and the MTA to win better C train service.

Brainstorm with your neighbors and fellow riders for faster and more reliable C train service!

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Manhattan Community Board 4 Transportation Committee Meeting

The agenda includes:

  • Discussion/Vote: Megabus operations at W. 34th Street
  • Discussion: Addition of a bus shelter on W. 42nd Street and 9th Avenue (near Manhattan Plaza)
  • Discussion: Response to MTA letter re M11 feasibility study request
  • Discussion: Preservation of protected bike lanes during street fairs
Streetsblog USA
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It’s Time to Vote for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America

We asked you to point us to the nation’s worst bus stops and you answered. After receiving dozens of nominees from our readers, Streetsblog editors narrowed the pool down to eight very sorry bus stops.

These bus stops are ugly. Ugly! In a transportation system where public agencies never seem to lack the money for $800 million interchanges or $2 billion highway tunnels, bus stops become an afterthought. Many of these contenders are situated in the midst of car-oriented development without so much as a sidewalk or bench nearby, let alone a shelter. To make transit dignified and comfortable, we need to do better.

Help us crown America’s sorriest bus stop by voting below. Here are the contestants:

Pennsylvania Avenue in Forestville, Maryland

This entry comes to us from author and transit advocate Ben Ross. This is the same Pennsylvania Avenue that runs past the White House:

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Google Street View via Ben Ross

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A New Type of Streetsblog in St. Louis, Ohio, Texas, and the Southeast? Yep.

A little more than six years ago, we launched the Streetsblog Network as a way for people across the country writing about livable streets, sustainable transportation, and smart growth to band together and share ideas. There are many wonderful things about the Streetsblog Network, but I would put this is at the top of my list: It is both profoundly local, full of people working on the nitty-gritty of street design, transit service, and planning issues in their hometowns, and broadly distributed, with hundreds of members operating in cities all over the nation.

For a long time we’ve been thinking about how to build on these strengths. And today we’re going live with a new way to channel the energy of the Streetsblog Network and broadcast it to the world.

We are launching affiliate sites that combine the work of Streetsblog Network members in four regions: St. Louis, Ohio, Texas, and the Southeast. These sites run on a different model than our other city-based Streetsblogs with full-time staff. Each Streetsblog affiliate syndicates material from several blogs in its region and runs a daily dose of headlines to satisfy the universal craving for morning news. Have a look. (Doesn’t it blow your mind to see the words “Streetsblog Texas” in a site banner?)

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Our partners in this endeavor are volunteers writing in their spare time, independent media entrepreneurs, and people working at non-profit advocacy organizations and academic institutions. By running their work in this format, on the Streetsblog platform, we aim to help build their audience both nationally and in their home regions. The geographic scope of most of these sites is bigger than the usual Streetsblog city-based beat, but the writers are addressing overlapping issues — a Paleolithic state DOT, for instance, or city leadership that struggles to get Complete Streets right. We believe there will be strength in numbers like there’s been with the national Streetsblog Network.

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Auto-Free New York/vision42 Working Group Meeting

Join the next Auto-Free New York/vision42 working group to discuss opportunities to advance vision42:

“Light Rail — Superstar of Urban Planning” highlights of a forum held last month featuring a presentation made by one of the four winning teams from the recent vision42 urban design competition, KB Architecture from France, a firm with many years of experience designing and actually building light rail in France, Germany and Jerusalem.  Roxanne Warren and George Haikalis will summarize the results of the forum and show some of the extraordinary slides prepared by this winning team.

 

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Changes at Streetsblog in 2015

When Streetsblog launched in 2006, the site made an impact almost immediately. The daily scrutiny of NYC transportation agencies and elected officials created new opportunities for policy reform, leading to real change in the design and operation of our streets. It wasn’t long before advocates from out of town contacted Streetsblog about bringing this model of advocacy journalism to their cities, and where we could assemble the resources to pull it off, we did. In the course of a few years, Streetsblog became a truly national voice for overhauling our car-based transportation system.

With growth come risks. Our team knows how to make an impact with our reporting and commentary, but like many other media outlets, we’re still figuring out how to make the business of our journalism work. This process isn’t a straight line — there’s bound to be some trial and error.

In 2015, we’re making key changes based on what we’ve learned so far. While this will entail some difficult transitions, the new approaches Streetsblog is adopting position us to continue making an impact in more places over the long run.

Yesterday, we announced that Streetsblog Chicago is suspending publication after two excellent years of coverage from John Greenfield and Steven Vance. We hope this will be a temporary situation as John rustles up the financial support to revive the site under the umbrella of a new 501(c)3 separate from OpenPlans, the non-profit that publishes Streetsblog. (In Los Angeles, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton weathered the same transition a few years ago by starting up the Southern California Streets Initiative, which today runs a thriving local transportation news site at Streetsblog LA.)

Given current budget constraints, we’ve also had to cut two other valued members of our editorial staff, Tanya Snyder and Payton Chung.

We hired Tanya in 2010 as editor of our national site, called Streetsblog Capitol Hill at the time. Her leadership and energy built it into a compelling news source, with a broad and influential audience.

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