Cities in Focus | New York City

Uploaded by EMBARQNetwork on 29.07.2010

I think that world-class cities are understanding that they have to do whatever they can
to improve the quality of life in their cities.
So what we’re looking to do is to make New York City the greatest, greenest big city in the world.
A lot of the changes that you’re seeing in New York City right now are a direct result of mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative,
which is looking at all sorts of different ways
and all sorts of city agencies to improve the way people live, work, and play.
Our agenda is to unclog our streets so that commerce doesn’t get stifled.
Our agenda is to clean the air and the water and use less energy.
We really try to focus on things that improve the quality of our lives today.
New York’s approach is really fantastic because what it does is take this culture that we’ve created
that really focuses on automobiles and shifts it a little bit
to looking at people and actually moving people rather than moving automobiles.
When you really start looking at streets in a people-oriented way
rather than a car-oriented way, it just starts to make sense.
You start to realize that the car in the most practical of terms
doesn't make a lot of sense in a place like New York City.
One of the really fantastic things that New York is doing is really ramping up its bicycle infrastructure.
We just rolled out two hundred miles of on-street bike lanes in the last three years
so we now have over four hundred and fifty miles of on-street bike lanes, which is creating a real network.
Now we really actually have a a cycling infrastructure.
You ride to spots of New York City that you’d never ride to before, you know,
because you have a dedicated lane. Some of them are even off traffic so you’re really protected.
We’re building more robust bike facilities like this one, like the protected lanes on 8th and 9th Avenue.
We’re putting in more bike parking all around the city.
We have the Bikes in Buildings Bill now which allows tenants to request access, from their landlords,
to commercial office buildings so they can have safe, secure bike parking.
This is really for everyone. It's not just for the Spandexed or the brave, this is for moms, dads, kids, everyone!
(bike bell rings)
Hi Josh!
That’s our bike coordinator.
Bus rapid transit is very important to the future of New York City and I look at it as really a surface subway system.
We put a new select bus service in the Bronx called the BX12,
which is the major east-west connector in the northern part of the city
and we put in transit signal priority technology so that when buses hit a green light the transponder would read
that it was a bus there and give the bus the green light and hold the green light longer.
Then we put in off board fare collection so that people could pay for their fare before they got on the bus.
That delay, when people are going through their pockets looking for change
and trying to get their farecards out, it's about a third of the delay in bus travel.
Bus ridership went up thirty percent.
Bus speeds were improved by twenty percent.
And, something that's really unheard of in my entire life time in New York City,
some ninety eight percent of New Yorkers were very satisfied with the service.
356,000 pedestrians each and every day in Times Square.
So many of them were trading the safety of the sidewalk for dangerous streets because there just wasn't enough room.
There was like a ten-to-one ratio of pedestrians versus cars and yet ninety percent of the space was allocated to cars.
They were very dysfunctional streets.
They weren’t really even working very well for motorists.
We came up with a plan that, while it was kind of counterintuitive to take Broadway out of the system
to make the network work better, it actually worked better for traffic.
It was a huge win for pedestrian space. We’ve creative 1.8 acres of new pedestrian space there.
That’s like one and a half football fields.
It was a tremendous win for safety with some sixty three percent reduction of injuries in the corridor.
You go there now and the first thing you notice is how quiet certain parts of Times Square are now.
You can have a conversation and not have to shout above the din of traffic.
Then businesses really loved it.
As you can imagine, the more foot traffic, the better it is for business.
And so the way we re-engineered our streets is not only to make them better from a safety perspective,
better for mobility perspective, but it’s better business.
Well, since the PlaNYC was released in 2007, traffic fatalities are down twenty percent.
That's good. New York City’s life expectancy has gone up one year and seven months
in the last eight years and part of that is reduced traffic deaths and a variety of other things, as well.
It’s taken them, essentially, three years to have a huge change in the way that their citizens commute,
the way that the people that live there actually enjoy their outdoor space.
That’s a big deal! Three years in a planning timeframe is a very short amount of time.
We’re in a global economy and people can choose to locate their businesses and locate themselves anywhere so we want
to improve quality of life, make our cities livable so people choose to stay here and invest their capital here.
Once you realize that you can use your street to improve the quality of life,
the economic and environmental health of your city, I think that's a transformative moment.
So mayors around the world are looking at their streets differently
and you don't have to be a big city like New York to be able to make important changes that matter
to millions of people each and every day.