Streetfilms: A Conversation With Janette Sadik-Khan

In this exclusive Streetfilms interview, The Open Planning Project’s Executive Director Mark Gorton talks with Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan about how her agency is redefining public space in New York City.

As the two take a walking tour of recently revamped streetscapes designed to encourage car-free movement and foster social activity — including Broadway Boulevard, Gansevoort Plaza, Meat Market Plaza and the Ninth Avenue cycle track — Sadik-Khan explains how she sees the city grid evolving from "utilitarian corridors" into civic amenities.

Too much of the time I think pedestrians have been seen as guests in this space. Putting a prime role for designing for people — designing for pedestrians, designing for cyclists, designing for buses, designing for better mobility, designing for a more sustainable city — is all part of the package.

  • momos

    It’s incredible what JSK has accomplished in such a short time. NYC is so vast, with such inertia. This compilation of what’s been done really puts things in perspective. Go JSK!!

  • curmudgeon

    The livable streets drinking game: bottoms up every time she says “iconic.”

  • Good interview, and I think Janette Sadik-Khan is doing a fine job, but I would have liked to hear more about the timetable to realize fully completed streets, in which bike lanes are flipped with car parking to create safe corridors for cyclists. My experience is that bike lanes are (almost) a waste of paint — the only solution is to have truly out-of-traffic dedicated bike lanes.

  • Lola

    Thank you Commissioner for breathing life and vision back into our streets. We have a long ways to go, but now aided with a substantial roadmap, powerful demonstration projects, and political will.

    Another insightful Streetfilm!

    My own pitch: Close Park Ave. to cars permanently.

  • gecko

    My own pitch: Safe routes to work; like during the last transit strike with the refrain “Get me a bike and I’ll come to work!” where, the number of cyclists more than tripled overnight to about one-half million.

    Commissioner Sadik-Khan has been truly inspirational! — though, by all appearances one not to rest on her laurels.

  • Orlando Strambi

    Great video. A concise, articulate and objective description of innovative actions towards sustainable transport and, more important, about creating a better place to live. I was quite impressed by Jannete’s vision of the importance of giving priority to pedestrians and cycling. Reclaiming spaces from cars and transforming it in public space may be the step needed to make people interested in improving their cities. Pedestrians live in the city; car drivers hide from it inside their cars. There is an advertisement from a car manufacturer currently running in the Brazilian television that says: escape from the city, without leaving it. It says it all, doesn’t.

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