Foreign Correspondent: Bogotá’s Lack of “Vibrancy”

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Before Enrique Peñalosa took over as Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, this thriving downtown plaza was a decrepit, crime-ridden, traffic-congested slum. Peñalosa cleared out the old shacks, banned private motor vehicles, launched the Transmilenio bus service, created the plaza, and returned this public space to his city’s people. Granted, the neighborhood pictured above clearly lacks the First World "vibrancy" that we boast of here in New York City, but it seems pleasant enough, no?

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Bogotá-Gate

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Step aside Jack Abramoff. In the pantheon of palm-greasing, backslapping political fixers, you’re a pale imitation of Gil Peñalosa. Sources say that a recent bag search at JFK revealed contraband including planning notes, renderings and other "big ideas" from "somewhere else." Peñalosa is the head of a group based in Mississauga, Ontario called "Walk and […]

Important Manhattan Transportation Forum on Thursday

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Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is holding a day-long forum on Manhattan’s transportation future. Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, will be the keynote speaker. This should be a great event. Peñalosa is the inspiring and visionary politician who transformed his city of 7 million into a model for sustainable urban transportation. In recent months Peñalosa […]
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Wooing Suburban Drivers With Cheap Parking: A Losing Strategy for Cities

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There may be nothing sadder than distressed cities trying to compete with the suburbs by adding more parking spaces. (We’re looking at you, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo!) Chris McCahill and Norman Garrick recently wrote in Atlantic Cities about the failure of this approach: Cities that attempt to use parking as an economic development strategy actually undermine their […]

Eyes on the Street: Plaza Street Bike Lane Goes Both Ways

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Well, the paint and striping aren’t all the way there yet, but there’s now room to bike in both directions on Plaza Street in Brooklyn. Doug Gordon posted a few pictures on BrooklynSpoke this morning, and reader Steve O’Neill sent in a few more. This DOT project will make it much more convenient to bike […]

Trottenberg Announces Plaza Equity Program at Plaza de Las Americas Reveal

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Just eight months after the groundbreaking ceremony, officials held a ribbon-cutting this morning at Plaza de Las Americas, an impressive new public space in Washington Heights. Also today, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced a City Hall initiative to assist plazas in neighborhoods without the resources of a major business improvement district. Plaza de Las Americas reclaims one block of […]

Willoughby Plaza, Already a Hit, Gets a Capital Upgrade

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Downtown Brooklyn’s Willoughby Street plaza, located just off Adams Street, was the forerunner of New York City’s current efforts to reclaim roadways as pedestrian spaces. Built in 2006, before Janette Sadik-Khan took over the city Department of Transportation, the city used now-familiar ingredients — concrete planters and folding chairs — to close the block to […]