Am I a ninny to admit that this film sort of got me a little choked up? When I lived in New York a million years ago, my friends thought I was insane to ride my beater bike around the city. I thought I was having fun although I also thought I was usually in harm’s way. I remember a particularly great afternoon of riding through midtown on the handlebars of my bike messenger friend’s bike. Ah… that was stupid fun. It would totally not have been fun had we crashed.
To see the change New York has accomplished on its city streets is inspiring. In a non-stop, commercial city of almost 19 million, it would have been easy to see the existing infrastructure as an intractable limitation on redesign. Instead, New York figured it out. Many people drive but most people don’t. Most people walk, ride buses or trains or bikes. So NYC revamped a few main arteries to accommodate these folks with protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands, zebra crossings and narrower car lanes to slow traffic. It’s all very sane and this Streetfilm captures the sanity well. Pedestrians are safer, cyclists are safer and people are still getting where they need to go. The film is about 11 minutes long, so get a cup of tea and settle in for a bit.
What about Wellington, then? Are we willing to challenge the status quo a bit? Maybe trade some convenience for safety? Are we willing to strike a balance for all road users– on foot, on wheels, whatever– and make our city that much more liveable? I say yay.