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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

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Help Streetsblog Keep the Lights on — Donate Today

We’re extending our spring pledge drive til the end of the week to reach our target of $40,000 in reader donations. If you haven’t given already, please make a tax-free gift today and help keep Streetsblog and Streetfilms going strong this year.

Streetsblog and Streetfilms rely on individual donations, foundation support, and sponsorships and ads to produce content that makes the case for safer streets and more effective transit — and to pay our internet bills and keep the lights on. To sustain this media enterprise, we need to hit all of our fundraising targets. We’re not there yet this spring but the goal is within sight. If 100 readers make a contribution by Friday — less than 1 percent of our daily unique visitors — we’ll wrap up this pledge drive in good shape. Please contribute.

For extra motivation, we have two more prizes to give away. In addition to the grand prize of a Dahon folding bike for one lucky reader who gives $50 or more, one reader who gives before Friday at midnight will win a beautiful Belle Helmet, handpainted by Danielle Baskin, and another donor will win a Yardstash tent to keep your bike gear dry and outside (if you have the yard space).

Note: Image not to scale.

If you’ve been holding out on donating until just the right moment — now’s the time! Thanks for reading and for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

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Support Streetsblog, Your Translator of Transpo Planner Jargon

Even SF transportation planners know: they can be pretty hard to understand. Listening in on a discussion about safer streets encrypted in countless acronyms and technical terms can often leave the layperson feeling pretty lost.

See, in planner-speak, it’s not “getting run over” — it’s “a multi-modal right-of-way conflict.”

In San Francisco, this language barrier is perhaps most likely to be found in a staff meeting at the SF County Transportation Authority, which manages San Francisco’s transportation financing and long-term planning. You know, the dry stuff.

The SFCTA candidly admits this — the agency produced the tongue-in-cheek video above, in which one character explains that transportation planners are “trained to talk about our shared urban experiences in a way that is nearly unrecognizable to the general public.”

Not to worry, though — that’s one reason Streetsblog is here. Before we post many of our articles, we decode zoning terms, planning documents, presentations and interviews — and turn them into legible stories about what’s happening to our city’s streets. And it’s contributions from our readers that allow us to continue that work.

If you value the work we do to translate cryptic concepts into a cohesive narrative about re-shaping San Francisco’s streets for people — not cars — please make a donation to Streetsblog. And don’t forget: All donors who contribute $50 or more will get a chance to win a new Dahon folding bike.

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Support Pro-Human Transportation Journalism – Give to Streetsblog

We are rolling right along with our spring pledge drive. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far — your donations will be converted into Streetsblog posts making the case for more livable streets and Streetfilms videos showing success stories and ideas from cities around the world.

But we need more readers to step up and contribute. Streetsblog and Streetfilms cannot continue to produce the level of content we currently churn out unless we hit our fundraising targets. If you value the media we make and you haven’t given to our spring pledge yet, please donate today.

All donors who contribute $50 or more will be in the running to win a new Dahon folding bike, and everyone who gives between now and Saturday at midnight will also be entered to win one of these handmade messenger bags courtesy of Forest City Portage, a one-man shop operating out of Cleveland, Ohio.

Here’s a look with the flap down, and with the flap up:

More people are reading Streetsblog now than ever before. If our regular readers all pitch in, we’ll be able to make media that supports streets for people, not cars, for a long time to come. Please make a contributiontoday.

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Pledge to Streetsblog and This Awesome Elly Blue Collection Could Be Yours

Have you given to Streetsblog’s spring pledge drive yet? If not, may we suggest that this is the week to do so. In addition to supporting livable streets journalism and putting yourself in the running to win a Dahon folding bike, you could take home a sweet collection of books and zines courtesy of eminent bike-ologist Elly Blue.

If you make a habit of reading Streetsblog and you value the work we do to make the case for transforming our streets, please make a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing it.

We’ll send one donor who gives by midnight Friday this Elly Blue library, including Bikenomics, Taking the Lane, and the brand new Bikes in Space: A Feminist Science Fiction Anthology (sample story: “in Elizabeth Buchanan’s classic pulp tale of postapocalyptic Appalachia, a gripping bicycle-truck chase gives a young woman a surprising new hope”).

If you value the work we’ve done to counteract all the misinformation about the redesign of Polk Street and other projects to improve walking, biking, and transit in San Francisco, show your support by making a generous donation to Streetsblog. Judging by the situation in New York, the approaching launch of Bay Area Bike-Share may mean there’ll be lots more work in store for us in the fact-checking department.

Streetsblog NYC No Comments

Give to Streetsblog By Thursday and You Could Win Goodies From Planet Bike

Thanks to everyone who’s given to Streetsblog and Streetfilms so far in our spring pledge drive — we’re nearly a quarter of the way to our fundraising goal of $40,000. I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is for readers to chip in and help us reach our targets. Your contributions keep us going so we can deliver news and commentary about the transition to safer city streets that work for people, not cars. So keep those donations coming!

For the next two days, we have an extra set of goodies to give away to three lucky donors: a commuter pack courtesy of Planet Bike. This bicycle accessory horn-of-plenty includes all of the following:

Give by Thursday at midnight to be eligible for this drawing. And don’t forget that anyone who gives $50 or more at any point during the pledge drive will be entered to a win a new Dahon folding bike.

Thank you for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms. If we could give all our donors a free bike, we totally would.