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The Streets Ball Is Tonight — Here’s How to Score Tickets

Hi everyone, the time for our annual benefit is fast approaching — it starts at 7 p.m. tonight. If you’ve come to the Streets Ball before, you know it’s a special night, and if you haven’t, now’s a great time to start.

Tickets are $50, and all proceeds go to support the reporting and filmmaking here on StreetsblogNYC and Streetfilms for the year ahead. It’s not too late to buy tickets online — we’ll be keeping the forms open until 3:30 p.m. If you miss that window, you can still get in at the door. Here’s where to go:

ADC Gallery
106 W 29th St
New York, NY 10001

Come out, raise a glass with me and Clarence, and give a warm Streetsblog reception to City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer and Julissa Ferreras and to advocacy heroes Lizi Rahman and Lisa Sladkus for their work supporting safe streets. It’s going to be fantastic.

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This Week: Get Your Tickets to the Streets Ball!

Come out on Thursday to support Streetsblog and Streetfilms at our annual benefit, the Streets Ball. We’ve got a fantastic evening planned, with great food from Kickshaw Cookery, beer and wine, live music, and . We’ll be recognizing the contributions of City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer and Julissa Ferreras, and advocates Lizi Rahman and Lisa Sladkus.

Buy your tickets now and help us produce media that makes a difference for NYC streets in the year ahead. We will have free bike valet courtesy of Spinlister. Thanks to the Law Office of Vaccaro & White for sponsoring the Streets Ball, which makes it all possible.

Here are more highlights for the week — for the full slate of events, check the Streetsblog calendar.

Monday: The Manhattan Community Board 6 transportation committee will discuss the Move NY toll reform plan and dangerous conditions at the FDR exit at 37th Street. 7 p.m.

Wednesday: On the agenda for the Manhattan CB 8 transportation committee — crosstown bike routes for the Upper East Side and a play street for Lycee Francais De New York. 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: The city presents findings from its South Williamsburg Transportation Study, “aimed at improving pedestrian safety, managing roadway congestion, enhancing mobility and accessibility, and better managing parking.” 6 p.m. (You can still catch almost all of the Streets Ball after this meeting wraps.)

Thursday: It’s the Streets Ball! Meet up with Streetsblog readers from all over NYC and pitch in for a year’s worth of reporting on safe streets and effective transit. Tickets start at $50 ($25 for students). 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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The Streets Ball Is Next Thursday — Get Your Tickets!

The big annual benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms is coming up next Thursday, November 5 — get your tickets now and support media that makes NYC streets better for walking, biking, and transit.

Streetsblog is an influential news outlet because we have readers who are highly engaged and care deeply about the issues we cover. We also count on our audience to sustain our work. Thanks to your contributions, we can go out and report on the obstacles to safe streets and effective transit in our city — and how to fix them.

Our guests of honor on Thursday will be City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer and Julissa Ferreras, and extraordinary advocates Lizi Rahman and Lisa Sladkus. They’ve all made huge contributions to the effort to tame the city’s most dangerous streets. Come out next Thursday and help us give them a big warm “Thank you!”

The Streets Ball gets started at 7 p.m. at the ADC Gallery on 106 W 29th Street, with bike valet provided by Spinlister. We’ll have great food from Kickshaw Cookery, beer and wine, a silent auction, live music, and the awesome company of hundreds of Streetsblog and Streetfilms supporters. Many thanks to our longtime sponsor, the Law Office of Vaccaro & White, for helping to make this event possible.

Get your tickets here (starting at $50, or $25 for students) and help us spread the word on Facebook. See you Thursday!

— Ben

Streetsblog USA
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House Transpo Bill Spells Trouble for Transit Projects Across America


Chicago’s Red and Purple Line modernization project could be delayed or worse under the funding formulas in the House transportation bill, says Representative Dan Lipinski. Image via CTA

A provision in the House GOP’s new transportation bill threatens to upend how transit agencies fund major capital projects, delaying or killing efforts to expand and maintain rail and bus networks.

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR), released Tuesday and marked up in committee yesterday, would change funding rules for the three federal programs that support transit maintenance and expansion projects, known as New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity.

Currently, transit capital projects are eligible to receive 80 percent of their funding from federal sources, with local sources providing the remaining 20 percent. This is the same as the federal match available for highway projects. But the new House bill would cut the maximum federal match for transit projects to 50 percent while leaving the highway formula untouched. The bill would also prohibit transit agencies from counting funds from other federal programs (TIFIA loans, for instance) toward the local portion.

Representatives from urban areas warn that the House bill jeopardizes projects to maintain and improve transit systems. At the mark-up hearing yesterday, Representative Dan Lipinski, a Democrat who represents Chicago, said the measure “could end or delay Red and Purple Line modernization projects in Chicago.”

By cutting the potential share of project funds available from federal sources, the bill would also make transit projects less appealing relative to highways in the eyes of local governments, which would have to pitch in a smaller percentage for road projects.

Smaller cities are more likely to take advantage of federal matching funds that exceed 50 percent of a project’s total cost. Albuquerque, for instance, is counting on an 80 percent match to build its downtown BRT route. Larger cities are more likely to supplement a 50 percent federal grant with another source of federal funds, like TIFIA loans.

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Get Your Tickets to the Streets Ball! Thursday, November 5

Streets Ball 2015 banner ad - with reserve tickets

Come join the Streetsblog and Streetfilms team next month for our annual benefit, the Streets Ball, where you can support a year’s worth of high-impact reporting and videomaking in one spectacular night.

Our guests of honor will be Council Member Jimmy van Bramer and Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who’ve been indispensable in the campaign to bring safer walking and biking to Queens, and Lizi Rahman and Lisa Sladkus, fierce advocates for livable streets whose work has benefited so many New Yorkers.

The Streets Ball is a wonderful moment to connect with people who care about safe streets and want to see New York City work better for everyone who walks, bikes, and rides the bus (or train). The event raises funds that propel Streetsblog and Streetfilms through the year ahead, enabling us to create content that makes a difference for NYC streets. And it only happens once a year!

Don’t miss out — tickets start at $50 ($25 if you’re a student).

Enjoy local food from Kickshaw Cookery, beer and wine, a silent auction, live music, and a great crowd of Streetsblog and Streetfilms supporters who envision a safer, more livable city.

The Streets Ball gets started November 5 at 7 p.m. at ADC Gallery, 106 W. 29th Street. See you there, Streetsblog readers.
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Streets Have Changed Before, and They Can Change Again

Some of the fiercest battles over streets come down to resistance to change — fears that claiming a lane of traffic for transit will cause carmageddon, or that converting parking spaces to bike lanes will starve local businesses of customers.

The failed mall "Underground Atlanta" was once a busy urban corner, and it could be again soon. Image: ATL Urbanist

The failed “Underground Atlanta” mall was once a busy urban corner, and it could be again soon. Image: ATL Urbanist

Darin Givens at ATL Urbanist says some of that resistance stems from a failure of imagination. By looking at how streets have constantly changed in response to different values, ideas, and incentives, he writes, we can see cities as “a springboard for good ideas and as a canvas for implementing them.” He calls this a “mindscape” view.

To illustrate his point, he shows the past, present, and potential future of the “Underground Atlanta” area:

Instead of looking around and seeing only what the city is today, as represented in a current streetscape for instance, a mindscape view can allow you to see Atlanta in a way that links its past, present and future in a continuous flow, with its ever-changing cultural and physical environment apparent.

Doing so can establish a good foundation [for] civic innovation; because when the present-day city is viewed as a static entity, tied down to decisions and events from the past, that baggage often becomes a stumbling block to innovation (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or read a phrase similar to “that can’t happen here, Atlantans won’t accept it” or “Atlanta is a car town, that idea can’t work here”).

But when the city’s culture and structure are understood as a constant flow, we can be more optimistic about creativity and change. As an example, let’s look at one streetscape — a single westward vista of Alabama Street at its intersection with Central Avenue. We’ll take in the past and present while also envisioning a future that serves as an improvement to the present while also fitting in with the flow of the urban environment that began in the past.

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Seattle’s Plan to Take Biking and Walking to School to the Next Level

Source: Seattle

Walking and biking to school is on the rise in Seattle, but it could go much higher. Source: Image via Seattle Bike Blog

Last week, communities around the country celebrated Walk to School Day to encourage kids to get to school the old-fashioned and healthy way.

In Seattle, the event was more than a one-off to raise public awareness — it was also the kickoff for a five-year action plan to increase walking and biking to school. While active transportation to Seattle schools has grown recently, reports Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog, there’s a lot of room for improvement: 83 percent of students live close enough to school to walk, and nearly all live close enough to bike.

Fucoloro says Seattle’s walk and bike to school initiative looks like one of the more sophisticated action plans in the nation:

The plan has been a long time in the making and includes extensive research into best practices for cities, parents, students, schools and police to all work together to increase the number of students getting to class under their own power safely. It outlines how to improve safety today, but also outlines how to invest in infrastructure and youth education to increase safety for a generation.

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An Urgent Plea for Better Management at Washington Metro

Ridership has declined on Washington's Metro rail in recent years, bucking national trends. Image: WMATA via WTOP

Ridership has declined on the Washington Metro in recent years, bucking national trends. Image: WMATA via WTOP

Things are not looking up at the Washington Metro. Despite service expansions, strong regional population and economic growth, and a national increase in rail ridership, fewer and fewer people are riding Metro.

Concerned about reliability and safety, riders are losing faith in Metro. Furthermore, Greater Greater Washington has pointed out that the agency’s finances are increasingly unsustainable.

In light of these problems, GGW’s David Alpert joined a coalition of business, labor, and advocacy organizations that drafted an open letter demanding changes, including the hiring of a new general manager:

Our groups have been staunch advocates for maintaining transit service, ensuring adequate funding, and expanding capacity such as through more eight-car trains. Yet recent events have shaken our, and the public’s, confidence in a system and agency which our region depends upon. We are weighing in now to help the agency reach a path to restore this confidence.

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Thursday: Come On Over to Streetsblog’s Goodbye Party for Stephen Miller

At the end of the week, Stephen Miller is hanging up his Streetsblog cleats after three-plus years of powerhouse reporting. Before we post his final byline, come join us at Streetsblog HQ Thursday evening for a farewell party celebrating Stephen’s time here and wishing him the best as he heads over to Council Member Jimmy van Bramer’s staff.

The party will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on the roof deck of 148 Lafayette Street (the top floor). We’ll have beer, snacks, and other refreshments, plus some rousing toasts. Please RSVP by Wednesday at 5 so we won’t run out of supplies and can make sure you’re on the list at the front desk.

To RSVP, send an email to the man himself: Once he gets off the phone with this source, he’ll be standing by…


See you Thursday!

Streetsblog USA
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Will the Pope’s Visit Lead to Massive Car-Free Days in Philly?

Since Pope Francis’s visit this weekend, #pOpenstreets has become a rallying cry in Philadelphia. The hashtag has turned into a collective record of photos and insights about the surprising amount of fun and freedom that city residents enjoyed when 4.7 square miles of the city center went car-free.

The Pope's visit to Philadelphia closed the streets to cars and opened people's eyes about the city's unrealized potential. Photo: Patrick Miner at Rebuilding the Rust Belt

The Pope’s visit to Philadelphia closed the streets to cars and opened people’s eyes about the city’s unrealized potential. Photo: Patrick Miner at Rebuilding the Rust Belt

Impromptu soccer games and bike rides, a lot of relaxed strolling — it’s really easy to see how much people loved this new way of interacting with their streets.

Now a grassroots group inspired by the event is pushing for more. In the past three days, the Open Streets Philly Facebook page has been “liked” 5,000 times. Locals are using that page, the hashtag, and a petition to try to push for more and bigger open streets events.

What they’re asking for is car-free streets on a scale never seen before in the U.S., but much like what happened in Paris last weekend. About 3,500 people have signed the petition, addressed to the Democratic nominee for mayor, Jim Kenney.

“Everything’s kind of open to negotiation,” said Jon Geeting, one of the organizers, who also writes at Plan Philly. “We’re asking for at least like a quadrant [of the city] — we’re asking for a pretty big thing.”

There’s a lot of momentum, including a barrage of positive press. And in the wake of #pOpenstreets the idea is gaining serious political traction. So much so that the current mayor might beat the next mayor to the punch.

Read more…