The 2008 Streetsie Awards, Part 1

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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.

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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.

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Best New Street Design Element: The nipple bollard.

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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.

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

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