The L.A. StreetSummit kicked off last night with a rousing keynote address and slide show by the groundbreaking New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn. Three levels of an Occidental College auditorium were packed with students, bike advocates from around the county, and others interested in Livable Streets to hear Sadik-Kahn talk about the changes that have come to New York City's streets under her and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's leadership in the past three years.
lecture was continually interrupted by cheers and even gasps of
astonishment for the "before" and "after" pictures of the now car-free
pedestrian plaza in Times Square and Herald Square.
One thing that you could palpably feel
from the NYCDOT boss was the sense of pride in how her department has
changed the way people
think about transportation and even about city government: The speech
was peppered with New York City promos, my favorite of which came when
she pointed out that "New Yorkers have one-third of the carbon
footprint of the average American. If you're really serious about
saving the planet, you should move to New York City," she said.