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Livable Streets

Streetfilms: Intersection Intervention

2:09 PM EST on February 23, 2007



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."

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