The 2008 Streetsie Awards, Part 1

streetsie_mini.jpg

We’ll be back to a regular publishing schedule starting Monday, January 5. This week we’ll be posting our year end awards, The Streetsies, once per day. Here’s the first batch…

The Year’s Best Livable Streets Project: Summer Streets. In a year of rapid and remarkable improvements in New York City’s public spaces, bike lanes and bus infrastructure, the opening up of Park Avenue to pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and recreation-seekers for three consecutive Sundays in August was the livable streets movement’s watershed moment. In one fell swoop, tens of thousands of New Yorkers personally experienced the benefits of reclaiming city streets from the
automobile. It was really just a lot of good, healthy, inexpensive fun and Streetfilms was there…

The Year’s Top Bicycle Project: New York City’s bike network grew like kudzu in 2008
as DOT’s hardworking team of bikeaucrats worked to surpass their 2006 mandate to produce 200 miles of new bike lanes in three years. There were so many outstanding bike projects in 2008 it’s hard to single out just one. And, really, singling out one bike project is almost besides the point. Commuter cycling jumped an unprecedented 35% last year not because of any one new bike lane but because New Yorkers can now see a complete network of bike lanes filling out and
taking shape on the streets around them.

Still, one project stands out as the year’s most significant advance: The Grand Street bike lane.
Grand Street now offers Manhattan’s first crosstown protected bike path. It’s a design that can be replicated on many New York City streets. And it’s the kind of infrastructure that can make New York
City a safe and comfortable place for pretty much anyone to ride a bike.

grand_street.jpg

Best Bus Project: New York City got its first taste of bus rapid transit-ish service on Fordham Road in the Bronx in 2008. While DOT needs to do a better job of providing the MTA’s buses with lanes that can’t be obstructed by private automobiles, travel times on the Bx12 have been cut by 24 percent and the early results are promising.

bx12bus.jpg

Best New Street Design Element: The nipple bollard.

nipplebollards.jpg

Best New Public Space: Broadway Boulevard is the year’s most groundbreaking public space project. Paris has the Champs-Élysées, Barcelona has La Rambla and New York City should have a fully pedestrianized Broadway from Columbus Circle to Union Square. Broadway Boulevard is a great start and a smart way to dip a toe in the water and test the idea.

bwayblvd3.jpg

Best Local Livable Streets Project: Despite a couple of rainy weekends, Williamsburg Walks on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn was outstanding.

wburg_walks

  • J. Mork

    I guess I’ll have to head over to http://usa.streetsblog.org for my headlines fix!

  • As an Upper West Sider, I would like to see Broadway Boulevard extended not just to 59th St., but to 110th or (if Columbia wants it) even 125th. Of course truck deliveries would have to be allowed to supply local businesses. But Broadway on the UWS is a major shopping street and pedestrianization would work here.

  • Whoops, I confused Bway Blvd with total pedestrianization. My new year’s resolution is fewer dopey posts.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It’s the kind of infrastructure that can make New York City a safe and comfortable place for pretty much anyone to ride a bike.”

    It really is about the kids, long term. If they start getting around by bicycle, perhaps they won’t stop. The risk of having a bicycle stolen, which poorer families cannot afford, or a child run over, a disaster for any family, is what stands in the way.

    The New York State Department of Education released its fiscal data for 2006-97, which I’ve been restructuring and doing some calculations on for a Room 8 post.

    I was surprised to find that NYC’s share of state spending on student transportation, some $935 million in that year, was 37.2% of the state total, or higher than the city’s share of state students. That’s something like $930 per kid, or $77.50 per kid per month.

    Yes the cost of living is higher here, and many of those transported are handicapped children in need of great care. On the other hand, the city’s density ought to mean the vast majority of kids are able to walk to school — meaning the cost of transporting those receiving transport services must be extreme. Of course, the private bus companies are politically active large-scale donors, and while senior citizens get half-fare service from the MTA I’m not sure about its charge for school children.

    You wonder if some of that money could be re-directed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “That’s something like $930 per kid, or $77.50 per kid per month.”

    I forgot about the 10-month school year. Make that $93 per kid per month. So how much would it be just for those getting transported?

  • Sarah Goodyear

    @J. Mork,

    We will be updating http://usa.streetsblog.org every weekday this week with top stories from the national blogger network.

    Delicious users can also tag important streets-related stories for:streetsblog and they’ll show up there in the “What You’re Reading” section of http://usa.streetsblog.org.

    Also, if you’re a Twitter user, you can follow us there. We’re @streetsblog.

  • how do we know if we’re a delicious user? Are we covered in chocolate?

  • Ian Turner

    This discussion just surpassed the excessive cannibalistic innuendo threshold.

  • Rhywun

    @Larry Littlefield:

    Students get either a half-fare or a free card. And if the city is anything like the one I grew up in upstate, I bet around 2/3 or more of high school students travel across town to get to school.

  • Jealous of all the great things NYC has going for it, can’t wait for Milwaukee to get on board.

  • Michelle

    No ‘best street performer’ category? I vote for the ‘Saw Lady’ (http://www.sawlady.com/blog ). I think I have been seeing her at the Union Square subway for at least a decade. ‘Most persevering street entertainer’, that’s for sure, but also ‘most entertaining’.

    About Broadway Boulevard – yes, please give us New Yorkers a FULL pedestrian street like they have in Europe!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The 2011 NYC Streetsies, Part 1

|
The presentation of the 2011 New York City Streetsies kicks off with highlights from the past year. To catch up on the nominees and winners in the people’s choice categories, have a look at the voting results. Best Moment Streetsblog spent the better part of 2011 covering a half-baked lawsuit. Merit-less though it was, the […]

The 2010 NYC Streetsies, Part 1

|
We’re kicking off this year’s NYC Streetsies with the good stuff — the best street redesigns, transit enhancements, policy innovations, and advocacy moments of 2010. Tomorrow we’ll round up the bad stuff. And on Thursday we’ll recognize the people and personalities who shaped the past year. Streetsblog will be back on our regular publishing schedule […]

Streetsblog Interview: Ryan Russo

|
Ryan Russo is the New York City Department of Transportation’s Director for Street Management and Safety, a newly-created job that he started in July. Previously, Russo worked as DOT’s Downtown Brooklyn Transportation Coordinator where he was instrumental in designing and developing a number of improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and more livable streets (PDF file) over the last three years. Streetsblog caught up […]

The 2008 Streetsie Awards, Part 5

|
Best Spontaneous Livable Streets Moment: Joyous New Yorkers take to the streets to celebrate Barack Obama’s victory. Movement of the Year: This year we saw cities across the U.S competing to run the first, biggest and best Bogota-style Ciclovia events. San Francisco debuted Sunday Streets (after local activists sat Mayor Gavin Newsom down in front […]