Watch New York’s streets get dramatically better for walkers and cyclists

By Sarah Laskow on 3 Jan 2014

Source: Grist

There’s nothing more dramatic than looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage to see how much the streets of New York City have changed. In this wonderful montage, check out the incredible changes at Times Square, Herald Square, the Brooklyn waterfront, and many other places that outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and her staff have intrepidly transformed.

We have similarly high hopes for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he takes office, and look forward to what he and new NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg accomplish. Even though so much has changed, the vast majority of our streets still need to be rethought and redesigned. We need more space for efficient modes, slower speed limits, and traffic calming for our most vulnerable citizens. I hope this short gets them excited to top the transportation record of the Bloomberg administration.

Please note: This is but a short sample of the before-and-after footage at our disposal. Seriously, we could have put together a one hour version!

Sometimes, when change happens slowly and incrementally, it’s hard to remember how bad the status quo was in the past and how many nice things have happened in the intervening years. The improvements to the streets of New York have been like that — it’s sometimes hard to remember when Times Square was full of cars and bereft of places to sit your butt down, or when bike lanes were fading paint jobs at best.

So we love this video from Streetfilms, which shows how the city has changed over time — and how much for the better:

NYC Streets Metamorphosis from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Maybe in another eight years or so we’ll be saying, “Wow, remember when cars were allowed in Times Square? Remember when there was only one bike lane on that avenue?” Who knows?


So it needs to be said. But given all the hoopla about the transformation of NYC over the years between 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2012 and all the supposed safety that the word done on its streets (not to mention the money spent) just how effective can it be said to be if this year alone two pedestrians lost their lives to bicyclists in Central Park?

Somebody had better mothball this propaganda until after the trial of the second killer.