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Streetsblog and Streetfilms Are Searching for a Development Director

After three stellar years with Streetsblog and Streetfilms, our development director Christa Orth is embarking on a new chapter with the fundraising consultancy Wingo. Christa masterminded the creation of a fundraising system essentially from scratch, and it’s safe to say Streetsblog and Streetfilms would not be in the position we are today without her. If you’ve ever attended one of our benefits or happy hours here in New York, you probably heard her ebullient laughter. We’re going to miss her and we wish her all the best.

We are now accepting applications for the development director position, which is based in our headquarters in New York. Here’s what we’re looking for in our next hire…

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Founded in 2006, Streetsblog and Streetfilms produce powerful media that makes the case for designing cities around people, not cars. With outlets in four major cities plus coverage of national policy, Streetsblog is the marquee news source in the movement for streets that work better for walking, biking, and transit. Streetfilms is the go-to online video site for educational and fun short films about how smart transportation policy results in better places to live, work, and play. Streetsblog and Streetfilms are projects of OpenPlans, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Streetsblog and Streetfilms have a robust fundraising program supported by small donors, large donors, foundations, advertising, and corporate sponsorships. We seek an experienced development leader to work with our staff, board, and volunteers to grow our fundraising, so we can increase the impact of our media outlets.

Responsibilities

Working closely with the Streetsblog Editor-in-chief, the Development Director will be responsible for strategic planning, implementation, and oversight of all efforts to raise approximately $800,000 annually and grow additional support over time. Activities include:

  • Work with the Streetsblog and Streetfilms Advisory Board to grow our base of small and large donors
  • Identify prospective foundations, write grant proposals and reports, cultivate relationships with existing philanthropic supporters
  • Grow individual funding base through online fundraising campaigns, direct mail, and events
  • Solicit corporate sponsorships and manage corporate funding relationships
  • Oversee all events including our annual fall benefit, The Streets Ball (250+ attendees)
  • Write organizational materials including funding reports, appeals, and acknowledgments
  • Manage the Salesforce donor database, generate reports for finance reconciliation and budgeting
  • Supervise volunteers and other members of the development team

Qualifications

Qualified candidates have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years development experience, with demonstrated growth in responsibilities over time and a track record of raising funds from a number of sources. Must have experience working with major donors and managing an annual funding program. A passion for and understanding of livable streets issues is a plus.

Please send your resume and cover letter to developmentdirector@openplans.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with the position to start by June 15th or earlier.

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Two Weeks to Go in Our Spring Pledge Drive — Support Streetsblog Today

We’re rounding into the home stretch of the Streetsblog spring pledge drive. If you haven’t given yet, please make a donation today. Your support makes a world of difference.

When you give to Streetsblog you’re helping to set the agenda for streets and transportation policy in NYC. Ideas that surface in Streetsblog posts have a way of turning into official policy. We were reporting on the success of London’s 20 mph zones back in 2010, and today humane speed limits are in place in a growing number of neighborhoods — and could go citywide. In 2011, Streetsblog reported on the problems with NYPD’s public crash data release. As of this month, police release that information daily in a format that lets more New Yorkers see where streets are especially in need of safety fixes.

Streetsblog reporting puts public officials on the record and holds them accountable. Earlier this month, Brad Aaron got to peek inside the head of Queens State Senator Tony Avella to see the kind of thinking that the campaign for safer speed limits is up against in Albany. And remember when it looked like federal and state bureaucrats were ready to tangle NYC bike projects in years of red tape? Streetsblog broke that story, and it’s not a problem anymore.

Like many media outlets, Streetsblog is grappling with how to survive and thrive financially. We believe our readers value the impact of our reporting and will contribute to keep it going. If you agree, don’t assume other people will take care of it. Please make a secure, tax-deductible donation today. We need 250 more donations by June 1 to reach our goal!

This week, bike apparel maker Velocio has generously put up a $200 gift certificate for their goods, to be awarded to one lucky donor who gives before midnight on Tuesday.

Thank you Velocio, and thank you to everyone who’s pitched in to the pledge drive. Keep it going this week and help us finish strong.

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Police Seek Hit-and-Run Driver Who Ran Down Pedestrian on Sidewalk

Via Gothamist: Early Saturday morning, a driver ran over a pedestrian on the sidewalk in Astoria inflicting serious injuries, then sped off, continuing to drive on the sidewalk. Police told Gothamist that the victim suffered a broken leg and concussion, and they’re looking for help locating the hit-and-run driver.

The collision at 30th Avenue and 45th Street was captured in this disturbing footage sent out by the 114th Precinct:

When we talk about Vision Zero, we’re talking about preventing violence like this on NYC streets.

If you have information about the perpetrator of this hit-and-run, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, or submit a tip to the Crime Stoppers website.

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Become a Streetsblog Superhero and Support Media That Makes a Difference

We’re about halfway through our spring pledge drive, and we need more readers to shed your mild-mannered identities, don your superhero capes, and give to Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

Readers who’ve contributed to our spring campaign call Streetsblog a “trusted source of news” that produces reporting which “makes a difference” for safer streets. Every day our team is working to produce stories that keep you informed about what needs to change to make our city work better for walking, biking, and transit. Who else is going to hold City Hall’s feet to the fire on parking reform, or track the progress of badly-needed street safety overhauls through the city’s most torpid community boards?

Please join the readers who’ve given so far and keep Streetsblog and Streetfilms going strong with a tax-deductible contribution today. You’ll be making a difference for media that makes a difference.

And, if you give before Friday at midnight, you’ll be entered to win this sweet rack-mountable bag from Po Campo:

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Thanks as always for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms! Your regularly scheduled posts will resume shortly.

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Vanderbilt Avenue Bike Corral Community Meeting

Three Vanderbilt Avenue businesses have applied for bike corrals: Milk Bar, 620 Vanderbilt (at Prospect Place); Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt (at Bergen St); and Bar Chuko, 565 Vanderbilt (at Pacific St).  This public meeting will provide community members the opportunity to submit feedback on the proposed corrals, which will be important in convincing Community Board 8 to support the applications.

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Keep the Momentum Going — Give to Streetsblog Today

Thank you to everyone who gave to Streetsblog and Streetfilms in the first week of our spring pledge drive. We need about 320 more donations to hit our target of 400 before June 1. Help us keep the momentum going and make a tax-deductible gift to support media that makes a difference for our streets.

Reader contributions fuel the excellent reporting about livable streets issues that you read every day here on Streetsblog. Right now, City Hall is thinking big about street safety, surface transit, and — fingers crossed — parking reform. The more support we get from readers, the better equipped Streetsblog will be to make the most of these opportunities.

If you value the information and commentary we publish and appreciate how Streetsblog frames the debate about transportation and planning in New York, please drop a tip in our secure donation form. You can make a one-time pledge or, even better, sign up for a monthly contribution. Every bit helps.

We’ve got a fun giveaway this week for two lucky donors. Author Elly Blue has graciously donated a collection of books and zines, including The Culinary Cyclist, PDX by Bike, and the one-of-a-kind anthology Bikes in Space. Give before Tuesday at midnight and you’ll be entered to win.

Thanks for supporting us and a happy Bike Month to all.

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Driver Who Killed Cyclist Sues the Dead Teen’s Parents

In a case the Ottawa Citizen called “astonishing evidence of the raw appeal of… victimhood,” a woman who struck and killed a teenage boy riding his bike outside of Toronto is suing the boy’s family for $1.35 million.

Brandon Majewski was 17 when he was killed in a collision with an SUV. The driver is now suing his family. Photo: National Post

Brandon Majewski was 17 when he was killed by an SUV driver. The driver is now suing his family. Photo: National Post

The driver, Sharlene Simon, is seeking compensation for the ”great pain and suffering” she has sustained since killing Majewski with her SUV, as well as “a severe shock to her system” and lessening of “her enjoyment of life,” her lawyers wrote in the suit, filed in an Ontario court.

Simon struck 17-year-old Brandon Majewski and his two 16-year-old friends in October 2012, killing Majewski and badly injuring another boy. The three were riding home from a coffee shop on a Saturday night on rural Innisfil Beach Road, about 50 miles north of Toronto.

“I think it’s very cruel,” said Brandon’s father, Derek Majewski, of the lawsuit. Derek said Brandon’s death was devastating for his family. Brandon’s grief-stricken brother, Devon, died six months later after consuming a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs.

No charges were filed against Simon, after local police concluded that limited visibility was the main cause of the collision, and that the boys had only “minimal reflectors” and were wearing dark-colored clothes. The fact that the boys weren’t wearing helmets and were riding abreast were also cited by police officers in their report, despite being wholly legal.

The victims’ families are suing Simon and Simcoe County, where the crash occurred, for $900,000. The suit alleges Simon was “speeding, under the influence or texting” at the time of the crash and that her husband, a police officer in nearby York, should have prevented her from driving. The Majewski family has also charged that the investigation by local police was biased against the boys.

As for Simon’s countersuit, Lloyd Alter at Treehugger wrote that it “may just be a smart legal tactic.”

“Or,” he added, “it might just be totally disgusting.”

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Be a Streetsblog Superhero and Give to Our Spring Pledge Drive

We’ve all seen the graphs: Driving and car ownership have passed their peak in America, while transit ridership and biking are on the rise. On the ground, however, city buses still move at a crawl, bogged down in traffic. Most streets remain too dangerous for most people to feel comfortable biking on them. And the traffic death toll continues to put our cities to shame compared to our global peers.

Streets aren’t going to fix themselves. Every street redesign is a fight, and every proposal to shift subsidies away from cars and driving meets stiff resistance. If you follow Streetsblog and Streetfilms, you know it takes a lot of smart, committed people to make change happen. By connecting people to information about what’s going on with transportation and planning policy in their communities, we’re accelerating the transition toward safe, efficient, equitable streets.

We need our readers to pitch in so we can keep on delivering the high-quality reporting and videos you expect. Please make a tax-deductible contribution to our spring pledge drive and help us reform the cars-first status quo on our streets.

Every month more than 200,000 people come to Streetsblog and Streetfilms. So for this pledge drive we’re asking you to step up and be a superhero. Out of hundreds of thousands of readers, we need just 400 donors to reach our goal — will you be one of them? We now accept both one-time gifts and recurring donations (think of them like a monthly subscription payment to Streetsblog), and you can direct your contribution to support the Streetsblog site of your choice.

As always, we have a few extra reasons for you to give. If you make a donation before Tuesday at midnight, you’ll enter a drawing to win this nifty hip pack made from recycled bicycle tubes, courtesy of Montrose Stitchery:

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Thank you for reading and for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

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Suppressing the Housing Supply in Cities Isn’t Progressive

The housing affordability crisis in cities like San Francisco is a big progressive cause. But not everyone agrees about what’s causing the problem, and that makes it harder to address.

High housing prices in San Francisco are partly a result of constraints on new construction. Photo: Wikipedia

With so may constraints on housing construction, rents in cities like San Francisco have been skyrocketing. Photo: Wikipedia

Alex Block at Network blog City Block has a good roundup of recent articles exploring the pheonomenon. The authors — Kim-Mai Cutler at Tech Crunch, Ryan Avent at the Economist, and the blog Let’s Go L.A. — agree that the root of the problem is insufficient supply. Essentially, land use and zoning constraints that limit development of new housing are driving up prices for everyone:

Cutler’s article lists a whole host of other potential actions, but concludes that any path forward must work towards adding more housing units to the region’s overall supply. Unfortunately, even this broad conclusion isn’t shared by everyone. In section #5 of Cutler’s article, she notes “parts of the progressive community do not believe in supply and demand.”

Ryan Avent notes that this denial of the market dynamics, no matter the motive, is not only misguided but also counter-productive: “However altruistic they perceive their mission to be, the result is similar to what you’d get if fat cat industrialists lobbied the government to drive their competition out of business.”

Without agreement on the nature of the problem, it’s hard to even talk about potential policy solutions. And there are a whole host of potential policy solutions once we get over that hump. Unfortunately, discussion about supply constraints in cities (via exclusionary zoning, high construction costs, neighborhood opposition to development, etc) means the conversation naturally focuses on the constraint. Advocating for loosening the constraints can easily be mistaken for (or misconstrued as) mere supply-side economics, a kind of trickle-down urbanism.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Voice of San Diego relays news about compromises to a local bus rapid transit project. And Flat Iron Bike introduces a new paper that looks at how to make “managed lanes” on highways more equitable by incorporating transit.

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Park Slope Vision Zero Town Hall Meeting

This Vision Zero Town Hall meeting is co-sponsored by Councilmember Brad Lander and the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership.  Hear from the Department of Transportation, NYPD, TLC and other city agencies about the Mayor’s Vision Zero Action Plan, and contribute your feedback, air concerns, and help identify problem locations and potential solutions.