Typically I have to travel to some Scandinavian city to get discouraged about the state of Toronto's non-motor vehicle transportation system.
Not so last week when all I had to do was listen to Noah Budnick of New York City's Active Transportation. He's in charge of campaigns to promote congestion pricing and building complete streets, as well as advocating for increased federal transportation funding.
The org, which has 15,000 activists, has racked up a load of impressive victories cyclists and pedestrians. Some notables: a conversion of Ninth Avenue from a four lane death-trap into a separate bike haven, the Madison Square pedestrian project, covered parking, converting car parking to bike parking, and a pile of awesome studies.
Budnick pointed out that a lot of work simply involves letting the government think it came up with the good ideas. That happened with looknyc.org. Their posters (pictured) look like Banksy flowers, which means they're cool.
He spoke to a packed Centre for Social Innovation, and got some excited whispers, a couple of gasps, and a few sighs.
New York isn't the first city you think of when talking about successful cycling network (it's Copenhagen or Amsterdam, right?), yet it's kicking our asses. Or at least it can make us jealous.
One positive is that the Toronto Cyclists Union had a hand in the presentation, which means the burgeoning union has its eyes in good places.
Some other stuff for your eyes courtesy of Budnick's presentation:
- streetfilms.org, which hosts all kinds of good docs on active transport;
- crashstat.org, which shows Google map overlays of bike collisions in NYC.
He did praise our city on one good move: "Toronto has the most detailed Coroner's Report on bike collisions in this part of the world."
I guess that's a compliment.