Streetsie Awards People’s Choice: Vote for the Best and Worst of 2013

streetsie_2013We’ve been very restrained all year, people. Out there in the world, people were doing crazy things and amazing things, and all year we have refrained from giving out cheeky awards for awesomeness or idiocy.

Well all right, we may have accidentally given out a few cheeky awards along the way — worst intersection (Omaha), worst parking crater (Tulsa), most insipid motor mouth (St. Louis County’s David Wrone). But by and large, we have been truly demure.

Time to take the muzzle off. What did we think of 2013, Streetsblog community? Here we tell the bozos what we thought of their shenanigans and take our hats off to the sustainable-streets heroes out there.

Cast your votes by midnight on New Year’s Eve. When that ball drops, this poll ends. We’ll post the results when we come back to work, January 2.

Until then, we wish you the happiest of holidays.

Most Kick-Ass Grassroots Movement for Livable Streets

  • Cincinnati streetcar advocates who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat this week (85%, 798 Votes)
  • NYC's StreetsPAC, whose candidates won 16 out of 21 local races in its very first primary election (6%, 54 Votes)
  • Jim Howell and the other activists who successfully fought back the Columbia River Crossing boondoggle (3%, 29 Votes)
  • The London die-in for safe cycling streets, which attracted 1,000 people (3%, 29 Votes)
  • The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center and MOSES, fighting back against Michigan's plans to build more highways in a shrinking Detroit (3%, 28 Votes)
  • The spirited, though ultimately unsuccessful, push to "86" part of I-64 in Kentucky (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 940

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Outrage of the Year

  • Judge lets Texas teen off with just probation for killing four while driving drunk because he's too rich to know right from wrong (74%, 403 Votes)
  • Toronto cops blame 10 pedestrians for getting hit when two cars jump curb (12%, 64 Votes)
  • Tennessee grandma cited for letting little ones ride bikes on residential street (7%, 39 Votes)
  • No charges for commercial driver who was "too short" to see the pedestrian he killed (4%, 22 Votes)
  • Cops fall prey to anti-cyclist bias in DC and Boston (4%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 548

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Best Place to Tear Down a Highway

  • Niagara Falls, New York, where a highway disconnected residents from the natural beauty that surrounds them (28%, 120 Votes)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, where I-94 and I-35 mar two vibrant urban centers (21%, 91 Votes)
  • Dallas, where you could take 245 acres, now monopolized by IH345, and get 200 times more development potential out of it (21%, 90 Votes)
  • Long Beach, where an underutilized stretch of freeway is getting converted into a park (16%, 71 Votes)
  • Rochester's Inner Loop, the noose that encircles downtown (14%, 60 Votes)

Total Voters: 432

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Safe Streets Star of the Business Community

Total Voters: 386

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There Are So Many Potential Candidates For This Award For State Ineptitude

  • Ohio's new rule restricting pedestrians' rights to be in an intersection even when they have the signal (while other states expand that right) (43%, 188 Votes)
  • NC Gov. Pat McCrory, who, in his spare time from blocking streetcars, tries to ban use of state funds for transit and rail, earmarking all money for roads instead (25%, 109 Votes)
  • Scott Walker's Wisconsin, a magical place where it somehow makes sense to break the bank on highways even while driving rates diminish (18%, 78 Votes)
  • Highway-happy Texas DOT, which tried to block El Paso from using congestion mitigation and air quality funds for bike-share (6%, 26 Votes)
  • Oklahoma DOT, which ignored a federal warning that Tulsa is a death trap for pedestrians and rejected a grant opportunity to address the problem (4%, 19 Votes)
  • Connecticut, which despite an epidemic of deteriorating roads, wants to pour $500 million into three miles of road widening (3%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 433

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Most Awesome DIYer of the Year

  • “Reasonably Polite Seattleites,” who installed a protected bike lane on Cherry Street -- which the city then made permanent (33%, 121 Votes)
  • New Haven, CT, guerrilla crosswalk painters whose vision is now official city policy (22%, 80 Votes)
  • Retired Marine Anthony Cardenas, who got arrested for striping a new crosswalk in Vallejo, CA, to protect public safety (20%, 71 Votes)
  • The Miami "cone fairy" who takes traffic calming into her own mysterious hands (15%, 56 Votes)
  • Mr. Money Moustache, who preaches liberation from auto-dependence and long commutes as a path toward financial independence (and ridiculously early retirement) (10%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 364

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Issue That Most Needs to Resolve Itself Because We’re Just Really Sick of Talking About It

  • The gas tax and the Highway Trust Fund (43%, 158 Votes)
  • Structurally deficient bridges (25%, 94 Votes)
  • The eternally-expiring transit tax benefit (20%, 72 Votes)
  • The infrastructure bank (12%, 45 Votes)

Total Voters: 369

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The Clearest and Most Exciting Evidence that the Country Is Changing

Total Voters: 382

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Biggest Bonehead

  • Congress, for being so stubborn and unimaginative that they shut down the government for three weeks at a cost of $24 billion (43%, 179 Votes)
  • Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt, who said cyclists should be taxed because they cause pollution by exhaling (30%, 124 Votes)
  • Sen. Rand Paul, for trying to kill a bike/ped program he's already weakened, and for everything else that's ever come out of his mouth (13%, 56 Votes)
  • The city of Baltimore, for running a 180-mph car race through the streets of downtown, at great risk and annoyance to pedestrians (8%, 35 Votes)
  • Virginia "Outer Beltway" Supporter Bob Chase, who believes you should build more of the same, even when the status quo is a huge, unsustainable mess (6%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 417

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  • BillCollins45227

    I live in Cincinnati, and am part of “Believe in Cincinnati,” the group that in recent weeks fought so hard and pulled off the “Miracle on Plum Street” to continue the Cincinnati streetcar/light-rail project. Please remember that our project is being built to technical specifications (rails, vehicles and electric power supply) that is duel-use.

    So, although this project will start in Cincinnati’s basin area (Downtown and the historic Over-the-Rhine community) as a street-level, one-car streetcar service, is has the technical horsepower to continue northward up the Mill Creek Valley (the Interstate 75 corridor) as high-speed, above- or below-ground light rail. This means that as this Phase 1 of this fixed-rail project is being built, we’re enjoying the economic-development “hit” of the streetcar, but also laying the cornerstone for a much-needed light-rail infrastructure some day from Cincinnati to the northern suburbs, Middletown, Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    One more point: SOCIAL MEDIA. Believe inn Cincinnati was, indeed a mass movement that emerged very quickly *after* the November 5th election when a 6-3 anti-streetcar majority was elected to City Council, along with an anti-transit, fanatically pro-automobile mayor. Because of the power of social media, Believe in Cinicinnati was able to emerge very quickly *after* the election, organize mass events attended by 500-plus people, and launch a successful citizens-initiative petition campaign (*without* any paid canvassers) that gathered 11,000 signatures on these petitions in eight (8) days in the midst of unseasonable cold and snowy weather *during* the holiday season.

    Social media is our friend in the popular battle for Complete Streets, public transit and walkable communities. Until this month, I had never fully appreciated the power of Social Media to mobilize people quickly to fight this good fight. If we can achieve this kind of success leveraging Social Media in a City like Cincinnati, you can do it anywhere in the USA.

    Onward and upward!

  • Mike Mills

    Light rail is not high speed. Averages 20 mph at best in urban areas and slightly faster in dedicated ROW.

  • BillCollins45227

    Mike, you’re right. If I could edit the words “high speed” out, I would, but I cannot figure out how to do that. What I mean to say is that light rail works at *higher* speeds than streetcars, because light-rail trains aren’t compelled to wait at stoplights and move with traffic at street grade. Thanks for the correction.

  • Some of these categories beg a second vote….

  • Froggie

    Curious where the options for highway teardown came from. There are far better options out there than the Minneapolis/St. Paul examples cited.

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