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Streetsblog Capitol Hill Is Now Streetsblog USA

I’m pleased to announce that our national news site has a new name: Streetsblog USA. Say it with pride.

Why the change? Simply put, “Streetsblog USA” is a better reflection of the nationwide coverage that Tanya Snyder and Angie Schmitt are producing.

The new name was a long time coming. Streetsblog Capitol Hill launched five years ago, aiming to connect our readers to the important yet byzantine process of reauthorizing the federal transportation bill. At first there seemed to be a window of opportunity to pass a landmark piece of legislation. That changed when the Tea Party Congress came to power, and expectations for major policy reforms at the federal level deflated. There were still important fights to track on Capitol Hill, but they were all about playing defense. Transit and active transportation programs had to be protected from a hostile Congress.

Meanwhile, cities aren’t waiting around to build safer, more multi-modal streets. Mayors are tossing aside the cars-first approach to transportation policy, local governments are shedding 1960s-era regulations that prioritize space for automobiles above space for people, and grassroots advocates are winning battles to bring down highways. With or without support from Congress, great ideas for city streets are popping up everywhere, and we want to help them spread. We also want to show all the ways that national, state, and regional policies foil this progress, and we’ve had no shortage of stories about state DOTs using federal cash to go on highway binges or regions sacrificing their future to build more sprawl.

So we’ve been doing all that for a few years now, and “Streetsblog USA” has been brewing for a while. The new name is really an acknowledgment that our publishing title needs to catch up with our published content. Streetsblog USA will continue to provide the mix of Beltway coverage and livable streets updates from around the country that our readers have come to rely on. We’ll keep on looking for better ways to bring you Streetsblog content, like the new Talking Headways podcast, but the basic purpose, style, and scope of that content isn’t going to change.

A few notes about the details. The location of the site is now usa.streetsblog.org. You may have to refresh your browser cache to see the new header graphic. We’re wrapping up the new navigation graphics today — pardon the temporary inconsistencies. As we complete the transition, all pages using the previous domain will redirect seamlessly to the new one. The @StreetsblogDC Twitter account will morph into @StreetsblogUSA later today. For everyone who subscribes to the RSS feed, the new URL you want is feed://usa.streetsblog.org/feed. If you subscribe to the daily email feed, you don’t need to change a thing.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned. There are more changes coming to Streetsblog that we’re really excited to share with you later on in 2014.

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We’re Hiring: Streetsblog Is Searching for a Managing Editor

Streetsblog is looking for a talented journalist to shape and oversee coverage throughout our growing family of news sites.

The Managing Editor will work with the Editor-in-Chief and our roster of editors and reporters to hone Streetsblog’s coverage of transportation and planning issues, grow our audience, and bring our brand of advocacy journalism to more cities.

We welcome applications from journalists with extensive experience in new media and a keen sense of transportation policy and politics, who share our vision of Streetsblog as a respected, influential source of information and commentary.

Job description

Streetsblog currently publishes four city-based sites, a national policy and livable streets news site, and highlights from bloggers around the country who belong to the Streetsblog Network. Reporting to the Editor-in-Chief, the Managing Editor will work directly with our team of reporters and editors to assign and select stories, edit drafts for content and style, write headlines, present graphics, and share content on social media.

Streetsblog content runs the gamut from video- or photo-based posts with scant text to 2,000-word enterprise pieces with detailed reporting. On any given day, stories might deal with bikeway design, infrastructure financing, traffic-related case law, parking policy, or a range of other topics that affect the quality of city streets. Most posts must be situated within a specific political context and/or advocacy campaign. The Managing Editor will shape and fine-tune every type of post, from headline to kicker, to achieve the desired impact.

In addition to possessing excellent writing and editing skills, applicants should be enthusiastic about the notion that journalism can be conducted with integrity and fidelity to the truth while espousing a clear point of view. The ideal candidate will have the background knowledge and analytical skills to accurately process information and make sense of it for a mass audience in a timely manner. A passion for livable streets is essential.

Read more…

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Streetsblog Hiring a Reporter to Cover Statewide News Out of Sacramento

Streetsblog is happy to announce the opening of a new, full-time Sacramento-based reporting position to cover livable streets news from around California and the state capitol beginning in early 2014.

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The writer would cover the state legislature, executive branch, Caltrans, high-speed rail, and other issues outside of the greater Los Angeles and Bay Areas, working closely with the editors of Streetsblog LA and San Francisco, as well as the team at OpenPlans, Streetsblog’s parent organization.

Major funding for the position comes from the California Endowment and a generous anonymous donor. And, of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our readers.

Streetsblog LA is also hiring a local reporter in that area. You can find the text of the applications for the Sacramento position and LA position on Google Drive. They will be posted tomorrow on the Streetsblog jobs board.

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Bid While You Can: Streetsblog’s Online Auction Ends Tomorrow at 9 PM

There are less than 36 hours left in Streetsblog’s first online auction, with more than a dozen items up for grabs. Whether or not you win an auction item in the end, your bids will help Streetsblog and Streetfilms produce media that makes the case for safer streets, effective transit, and livable neighborhoods. So why wait to snipe at the last minute?

Prizes include a new Breezer bikeRickshaw bagsphotographs by Peter Lika hand-painted Belle helmetCleverhood rain cape, livable streets-themed signs by Smart Sign (they really make a statement in your apartment) — and a lot more.

Auction item winners can specify which Streetsblog outlet you’d like to direct your donation to, or make an open-ended contribution to our areas of greatest need. The auction is over at 9:00 p.m. Pacific on Halloween. Happy bidding!

Streetsblog NYC 7 Comments

LeBron and Friends Reclaim Miami’s Streets in New Ad


Looks like the new LeBron James Nike ad that debuted during “Sunday Night Football” was at least in part the star’s idea.

The spot portrays the two-time NBA champion performing his off-season workout regimen, accompanied by hundreds of kids and adults on bikes as he rides through Miami. Bystanders watch or join in as the swarm of non-motorized humanity takes over the streets and disrupts highway traffic.

“They allow me to have a lot of input on the spots that come out and they’re basically geared to who I am and what I do on a day-to-day basis,” James told the AP. “It was great to put that together.”

James’s charity foundation has a program that links cycling and physical fitness to education in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and we’ve written before that he and teammates Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers are regulars at Miami Critical Mass.

The Heat played the Nets in Brooklyn twice in the preseason, and will be at Barclays and Madison Square Garden a few times this year as they go for the three-peat. We wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron already has a Citi Bike fob.

Streetsblog NYC 4 Comments

Bike Activism Wins Championships

Miami Critical Mass, November 2012. Photo: Craig Chester

I normally root for the underdog in the NBA Finals unless the Knicks are the favorites (like that will ever happen). And I would have enjoyed seeing Tim Duncan claim one more ring. But I’ve had a soft spot for LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers since the news broke last year that they like to drop in on Miami Critical Mass when the schedule allows.

“It gave my body a different type of conditioning challenge,” Wade told Men’s Journal this spring. “I had one of my best games of the season after a Critical Mass bike ride.” I’m glad these guys repeated.

So, now that the off-season is here, can the Heat’s stars do something about Miami’s awful, car-centric streets? By all accounts, the transportation bureaucracy in Miami is especially brutal for livable streets advocates — layer upon stifling layer of different jurisdictions, with the heinous Florida Department of Transportation suffocating everything underneath them. If any celebrity spokesperson has the power to break through and shake up the street design status quo in South Florida, it’s gotta be four-time MVP, two-time champion LeBron.

Streetsblog NYC 52 Comments

Video: A Dutch Perspective on U.S. Cycling Infra

SF editor’s note: This video features plenty of examples of San Francisco’s stressful bicycling streets — the kind that the SFMTA hopes to transform in its Bicycle Strategy. The agency has determined that only 10 percent of the city’s bike network is “comfortable for most people.”

Last December I traveled to Amsterdam for the first time. I don’t ride a bike, but as a pedestrian, to be surrounded by human-oriented infrastructure (see these Streetfilms) was a little like visiting another planet. And the strangest part was how normal it was. In the Netherlands, bikes are about as controversial as umbrellas, and only once in eight days did I feel threatened by a driver.

From BicycleDutch, this critique of street conditions in the U.S. flips this dynamic on its head. You’ll chuckle and cringe as the narrator calmly eviscerates typical American bike “infra.” (See? Even their descriptors are more elegant.)

On the other hand, he seems impressed that American cyclists have the fortitude to ride the streets at all, and that bike lanes are “popping up everywhere.”

What do you think, Amerikanen?

Streetsblog NYC 13 Comments

Colbert Gets in on This Whole Rabinowitz Thing

It’s not quite as brilliant as Al Madrigal’s segment on the Daily Show last week, but Stephen Colbert’s riff on Dorothy Rabinowitz at the end of this clip is totally worth your time this morning.

Streetsblog NYC 17 Comments

“The Daily Show” on Citi Bike: “Doesn’t Anybody Have a Real Objection?”

Forget the ridership numbers: you know you’ve hit the big time when Jon Stewart and company spend a full nine minutes satirizing you at the top of “The Daily Show.”

The first segment, which leans heavily on the fact that European cities also have bike-share and pseudo-satirizes unfounded fears about the program’s safety, is funny while not exactly pro-bike. But the second segment, embedded above, is a needed laugh for New Yorkers who have endured nonsensical objections about bike-share from NIMBY neighbors and editorial board members alike.

Correspondent Al Madrigal traveled to the West Village to talk to people who object to bike-share in the pricey Manhattan neighborhood. ”Apart from the 159 meetings, they didn’t say a word,” Madrigal said to a man who claimed the stations appeared overnight and without warning. “Even though that’s not true,” Madrigal asked, “why is it?”

Madrigal also went to Bedford-Stuyvesant to hear from a man who complained that the program wasn’t expanded further into Brooklyn. Let’s just say Bed-Stuy’s residents come off looking a lot more reasonable — and also managed to pop a wheelie for the camera.

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Streetsblog Needs Your Support Tonight to Keep Rolling in 2014

Tonight at midnight marks the end of Streetsblog’s spring pledge drive, and we need your contributions to helps us stay on the beat for livable streets and sustainable transportation in San Francisco in 2014.

We’re looking forward in the coming months to bringing you the details on the approaching launch of Bay Area Bike Share, advancing the discussion on transforming streets like Second and Barlett into people-friendly havens, and keeping the pressure on city leaders to increase the abysmal levels of funding for Muni and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

It’s because of your contributions that we’ve been able to bring recent coverage setting the facts straight on heated issues like freeway removal, rational parking pricing, and fearmongering around parking removal for protected bike lanes on Polk Street.

If you haven’t already donated, please show your support if you care about what we do. If you have donated, thank you — and feel free to donate again! Don’t forget — those who donate $50 or more will be in the running to win a gorgeous hand-painted Belle Helmet, a Yardstash tent for your bike, or the grand prize: a Dahon folding bike.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to those who have shown their support. See you on the streets.

– Aaron