Complete Streets: It’s About More Than Bike Lanes

Over the last four years, New York City has seen a transportation renaissance on its streets, striking a better balance by providing more space for walking, biking, and transit.

As with any departure from the status quo, it can take a while for everyone to grow accustomed to the changes. So Streetfilms decided to look at three of NYC’s most recent re-designs — Columbus Avenue, First and Second Avenues, and Prospect Park West — and show how pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers benefit from safer, calmer streets. We talked to transportation engineers with decades of experience, elected leaders, community board members, people on the street, and business owners to get their take on the new configurations.

The truth is, no matter how hard some media outlets try to spin it otherwise, these new street safety projects have broad community support. And while the story of these changes often gets simplified in the press, the fact is that the benefits of the redesigns go far beyond cycling. A street with a protected bike lane also has less speeding, shorter pedestrian crossings, less lane-shifting and more predictable movements for drivers, and the opportunity to add more trees and plantings. Injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and car passengers drop wherever the new designs go in. And on the East Side, these improvements have been paired with dedicated bus-only lanes with camera enforcement, making service more convenient and attractive for thousands of bus riders.

At 11 minutes, this is one of our longest Streetfilms. We cover a lot of ground here, and we hope it’s illuminating no matter what side of the issue you fall on.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

StreetFilm: Room to Breathe

|
Room to BreatheA StreetFilm by Clarence Eckerson Jr.Running Time: 3 minutes 41 seconds Inspired by a poster produced by Portland’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) in the mid-1990s, this weekend Transportation Alternatives gathered a gaggle of cyclists on 42nd Street in Manhattan to stage New York’s own dramatic illustration of how much street space would be […]

A Look at D.C.’s Contraflow Cycle Track

|
While we were down in Washington D.C. for the National Bike Summit, Streetfilms got the chance to check out some of the innovative bike infrastructure. Tops on our list: the city’s first protected, contraflow lane for bicyclists. The D.C. DOT has redesigned 15th Street NW between U Street and Massachusetts Avenue to accommodate two-way bike […]

StreetFilm: Talking Transportation with Bob Kiley

|
Talking Transportation with Bob KileyProduced by Cicala FilmworksRunning Time: 13 minutes 7 seconds The debate over congestion pricing has been heating up in advance of Mayor Bloomberg’s big Earth Day speech tomorrow. What better time to get some talking points on the matter from Bob Kiley, who served as the Commissioner of Transport for London […]

StreetFilms: “Something Has to Be Done”

|
Emergency Pedestrian Safety RallyRunning time: 4 minutes 38 seconds  Here are some highlights from Sunday’s rally for pedestrian safety. In the words of Audrey Anderson, whose 14-year-old son, Andre, was killed by an SUV while he was riding his bike: "Drivers who kill and are not apparently drunk walk away from crash sites as free […]