New York Cities, “Transportation Alternatives, the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, is bracing for a new administration less friendly to the agenda it has pushed for decades.”
New York Times | For Bike Advocates, Delayed Gratification
Commissioner of NYC Transportation on Sustainable Transportation implementation
Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, in not an architect (B.A. in Political Science from Occidental College, and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law) – but she is implementing transportation infrastructure changes that are part of a New Urbanist inspired vision of what cities are at their essence: people and neighbourhoods.
Jane Jacobs began thinking about cities as neighbourhoods of people in the 1950′s – when most urban planners were allowing latest technology to drive the planning process — rather than as Jane Jacobs postulated: create infrastructure, and apply technology to support what people who live and work in neighbourhoods are doing. Communities of People as ‘drivers’ of planning.
“[Jane Jacobs] .. was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, and after moving to Canada in 1968, equally influential in cancelling the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto planned and under construction.
Wikipedia | Jane Jacobs
Janette Sadik-Khan gave the Eighth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism this spring (April 5, 2012) at The City College of New York at the The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. Janette Sadik-Khan’s lecture marks a full circle, the administrator applying an ‘outsider’ theory. The person who gave the first Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism was Jane Jacobs – in 2004 – who when she wrote her great work, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961) was a radical to say the least.
The Eighth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism “Janette Sadik-Khan: It’s Not Impossible To Change A City”
April 5, 2012, City College of New York http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=ccnyssa- begins at 11:40 (best experience: click ‘Menu’ Tab, click “2012 Mumford…”; then on ‘Slide’ tab – to see the slide presentation that goes with Ms. Sadik-Khan‘s talk)
Great question in the Q and A section, where an individuaal asks if she has ant ideas about creating safe spces for political protest – referencing with out saying it, Occupy Wall Street. The way she side steps the question, while not being antagonistic to the idea, was to say essentially, ‘ it’s not my department’. The question and the answer for me, brought to the fore the idea that what is needed is an Infrastructure Czar (currently the Mayor) – to institute a comprehensive plan – a mirror of the Sustainable Cities meme itself.
Janette Sadik-Khan on Sustainability:
Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s Sustainable Streets – Part 1 (at “The City of New York. reSITE conference” – 5/24/2012 – Prague Czech Republic)
New York Times | N.Y. / Region | August 10, 2012 | For Bike Advocates, Delayed Gratification | by J. David Goodman | http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/nyregion/for-new-york-bike-advocates-delayed-gratification.html
See VIDEO below, “TEDxCarlton – Gil Penalosa – Creating 8-80 Cities, from thinking to doing” – in this writers opinion, the point of the recommendations in this Coroner’s Report is to arrive at something close to what Gil Penalosa lays out in this TedXCarlton Talk.
The motto of the Coroner is to ‘Speak for the Dead to Protect the Living’.
It is difficult therefore to pick out the positive elements in this report – that is by necessity – about 129 deaths of cyclists over the period – it’s a statistical break down of those who died: children out playing; adults riding casually; groups of cyclists hit by a car; commuters dying on the way to work – what time of day they died, what caused their deaths… .
So of coarse the second part of the coroners motto, ‘to protect the living‘, is where the hope is – and the hope is a vision that the recommendations try to capsulize – and in this cycling advocate’s opinion, they are very good recommendations; and a very good vision. It’s not new; it’s the New Urbanism school; it’s the Complete Streets meme; it’s Sustainable Transportation; it’s Livable Cities.
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario:
Cycling Death Review A Review of All Accidental Cycling Deaths in Ontario from January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2010
Dan Cass BSc, MD, FRCPC
Deputy Chief Coroner – Investigations
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario
Chair, Cycling Death Review
Team: Dr. Dan Cass as Chair, Dr. Bert Lauwers, Dr. Nav Persaud, Ms. Dorothy Zwolakowski and Ms. Emily Coleman
Published: June 2012
• Adoption of a “complete streets” approach – focused on the safety of all road users – to guide the redevelopment of existing communities and the design of new communities throughout Ontario.
• Development of an Ontario Cycling Plan to guide the development of policy, legislation and regulations and the commitment of infrastructure funding to support cycling in Ontario.
• A comprehensive cycling safety public awareness and education strategy, starting in public schools, and continuing through the purchase of every new and used bicycle and through driver’s license testing.
• Legislative change (Highway Traffic Act (HTA); Municipal Act; relevant Municipal By-Laws) aimed at ensuring clarity and consistency regarding interactions between cyclists and other road users.
• Strategies to promote and support helmet use for cyclists of all ages.
• Implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages, within the context of an evaluation of the impact of this legislation on cycling activity.
• Establishment of a “one-meter” rule for vehicles when passing cyclists.
• Prioritizing the development of paved shoulders on provincial highways.
• Mandatory side-guards for heavy trucks.
• Enforcement, education and public safety activities targeted to the specific issues of cycling safety identified in a given community.
The mass media a glommed onto the 6th of the recommendations, “Implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages…” to the exclusion of all the others – the others that are key to preventing death and injury, preventing 1,500 car / bike collisions per year in Toronto – and the key to increasing cycling numbers that will go a long way to solving traffic congestion crisis, the global warming crisis, the obesity crisis and … the economic crisis!
In a few words it is Dialectical Urban Planning.
The mass media’s distillation of the report is an old metric of easy answers at a time when the car – as the geopolitical centre of an economic universe, the basis of the post World War II economy – is over-represented in every aspect of our culture – where in, the oppressor culture fixates on a mandatory helmet law – that when taken separate from the whole of the list of recommendations – serves not to reduce death and injury – but rather, to blame victims for their lot.
Here’s a great essay on these things from the editors of the Kitchener Waterloo Record, from Friday June 22, 2012:
Helmets not the only answer
Humans naturally crave quick and easy fixes for tough problems, and this holds true whether the human is pedalling a bicycle or driving a car.
No surprise, then, that this week’s release of a report on bicycling deaths by the office of Ontario’s chief coroner sparked heated demands for a new law forcing every cyclist in the province — regardless of age — to wear a helmet.
The coroner’s report recommends precisely this change and a public debate on such legislation would surely be timely. Yet the report’s call to action includes so much more than just a mandatory helmet law that it would be wrong, in fact needlessly distracting, to focus on this issue alone. Too many people are doing this.
The public deludes itself if it thinks a tough new helmet law will suddenly end all the dangers cyclists face on the road or that the passage of such a new rule will free us to move onto other matters, confident our roads are safer. Not so. It might be quick and easy. But it would hardly confer the armour of invincibility on those who mount a bicycle for fun, recreation or a commute.
In fact, to read the Cycling Death Review of 129 fatal accidents involving cyclists in Ontario over a five-year period ending in 2010 is to reach a far different conclusion. Major changes, extensive changes, very expensive changes are needed in how this province builds its transportation networks.
One of the contributors to this Coroners Report was “8-80 Cities”.
8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto. 8-80 references the idea that (from the website), “If you create a city that’s good for an 8 year old and good for an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for everyone.” (http://www.8-80cities.org/about-us/the-8-80-philosophy.html)
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I manage two blogs here at BikingToronto: "@Blog_FreeWheel" and the "Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki". The Blog and the Wiki are two sides of a coin - the blog to discuss bicycle routes and the politics of bicycle routes - and the Mapping Wiki to publish bike route maps contributors and I have discovered to help city planners, cycling advocates and road users to choose and advocate for, safe and efficient cycling routes on Toronto's busy and dangerous car-centric infrastructure.