Cities Are Doin’ It for Themselves

Between Chris Christie’s decision to wind down construction on the ARC tunnel and the fare-hiking aftereffects of Albany’s political malevolence/incompetence, it was a rough week for sustainable transportation in the New York City region. Governors and legislatures may call a lot of the shots when it comes to transportation policy, but thankfully not all of them. Case in point: All the great changes in New York documented by the fine team at Embarq in this stunning video, the first in a series called “Cities in Focus” which will also showcase innovations from Curitiba, Istanbul, Mumbai, Los Angeles and Mexico City.

Watch this installment and see Michael Bloomberg, Janette Sadik-Khan, and Streetsblog originator Aaron Naparstek all appear within a few seconds of each other. And check out City Fix blogger Jonna McKone’s report on the video premiere earlier this week. (NYC DOT Senior Policy Adviser Jon Orcutt dropped a few intriguing bits of info about how the city is developing bike-share plans.)

We’ll see more results of NYC innovation this Sunday, when Select Bus Service and the re-designed First and Second Avenues officially debut.

  • These people would not be in if it was not for climate change.

    What do you think PlaNYC is all about?

    And, why do you hardly mention it?

  • Important philosophy

    Intense investment in natural capital where human capital in the most important component.

  • Kancamagus

    Maybe this ARC tunnel cancellation was for the better. Yes, it means that NJ residents get the short end of the stick until the 2020s or later, but perhaps this will allow everyone to reflect on the situation and come up with a better solution. Maybe this can even get added into the plans to improve service on the Northeast Corridor to provide real High Speed Rail service.

    So instead of a stub-ended tunnel near Penn, what about a parallel set of tunnels that connect Penn Station and Grand Central and allow through service between the two? With a sufficient number of platforms, this proposal can allow NJ Transit trains to run to Grand Central, Metro-North trains to Penn Station, and allow more capacity for Amtrak Acela and NE Regional through trains.

  • Kaja

    That was just a lovely video. Best post in a while. Mailed to half of my friends. Thank you.

  • Yes the video is nice as are the heroes of positive of change but there’s a sense of the unreal plodding of business-as-usual on a planet of rapidly accelerating environmental devastation and climate change and high probability of a terribly unstable near future as detailed by

    Bill McKibben’s (of today’s 10/10/10 event) book “Eaarth”

    James Lovelock’s latest “The Vanishing Face of Gaia”

    Joseph Romm’s “Hell and High Water” and daily blog at

    etc., etc., etc.

  • “We do not live any longer on the flat earth that Tom Friedman postulated. Eaarth is an uphill planet now, where gravity exerts a stronger pull than we’re used to. There’s more friction than we’re used to. You have to work harder to get where you’re going.”

    — “Eaarth,” Bill McKibben, 2010, page 86

  • The first uphill battle is human:

    ” . . . the existing fossil fuel infrastructure, from power plants and supertankers to oil furnaces and SUVs, is worth at least $10 trillion, and scheduled to operate anywhere from ten to fifty more years before its capital costs can be paid off. If we shut down early, merely to save the planet someone will have to eat that cost . . . ”

    — “Eaarth,” Bill McKibben (founder page 55

  • Big car-free space in the middle of the city, more bike lanes, Select Bus Service: there’s a lot to like here. Bloomberg, JSK, and crew deserve a round of applause. It would be thrilling if their successors kept up the pace — and yeah, that may sound like optimism, but sometimes daring to hope is the first step to getting anywhere. I’ll be sure to share this with friends via the usual social networking channels.

  • Liam

    Does this video need to autoplay? I want to come to the site without having to mute the volume on my computer every time.

  • Kaja

    > Does this video need to autoplay?

    Install FlashBlock or Click2Flash; live happily ever after.

  • There is a big disconnect between the collapse of fossil-fuels and allowing a few people to walk in a few streets. We need dramatic change and we need it fast. Join the campaign for free public transit.


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