Streetfilms: Intersection Intervention



Intersection Intervention
A Clarence Eckerson Streetfilm
Running time: 3 minutes 56 seconds

As people living in the neighborhoods around Downtown Brooklyn are learning the hard way, New York City government’s installation of pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures is remarkably slow and expensive. Even as children are dying while crossing the street in potentially preventable crashes, and even with projects approved and funded, New York City’s bureaucracy appears to be organizationally unable to move faster than a snail’s pace when it comes to installing fine-grained, spot-by-spot pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures.

Sometimes, when city government is unable or unwilling to act to make streets safer and more friendly to local communities, neighborhoods take it upon themselves to re-envision and reshape their own streets. In Portland, Oregon, a group called City Repair has been doing it for years. In this Streetfilm (an old BikeTV clip, actually), City Repair’s Mark Lakeman shows what happens when neighborhoods reclaim ownership of their own streets:

City Repair engages people at the most local levels to come together and to directly transform the commons where people live. City Repair began with a kind of creative uprising at this location where we just came out into the streets and we took them over and we said, "You know, we don’t have any public squares, we don’t have any places of gathering right where we live. It’s about time that we came out together and just created a commons that actually reflects our common vision."

  • One of my favorite street artists is De La Vega, who writes thought provoking messages in colored chalk.

    In July 2003, De La Vega was charged with vandalism for a mural he painted on a blank wall in the Bronx. He was offered one year’s probation in exchange for a guilty plea, but that would have required him to state that his intent was to “damage” property. He refused to say this. As a result, in June 2004, he faced trial for the offense, and a judge found him guilty. After apologizing to the building’s owner, De La Vega was sentenced to 50 hours of community service(NYT Oct 2004).

    http://www.delavegainternational.com/

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