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The Rise of Open Streets

Introduccion by Ajith Kuruvilla

To all my friends that still believe that streets belong to car, watch this documentary. I remember when i first started cycling to school, uni, work over 15 years ago it was a world where there were no bicycle lanes, close shaves with a car on a daily basis and often abuse and spitting by many car users. I know how much has changed since then for bicyclist, but i also know, for car users their ownership of the road has decreased, the speed limits have decreased and the petrol price has gone from 75c to 1.60c.

So for my friends who still want to complain about the cyclists and the hippies and continue to elect pro automotive governments ahead of greater levels of public transport and people friendly streets, just think where the world will be in another 15 years time considering major cities like LA, NYC, Bogota, Mexico City have already moved in people ahead of cars direction.

The Rise of Open Streets


The Rise of Open Streets from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
Streetfilms has been documenting the ciclovia/open streets movement for over seven years, beginning with our landmark film in 2007 on Bogota's Ciclovia, currently our most popular film of all time.

Not soon after that film's debut Mike Lydon of The Street Plans Collaborative decided to get one going in Miami in 2008 which led to his research for The Open Streets Project, a joint project with the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

In 2008, there were new events in over a dozen cities including San Francisco, Portland and NYC. Since 2006, open streets events have increased 10 fold.

Since Streetfilms has ample footage of nearly a dozen such events, we decided this was an opportune time to interview some of the most important people in the movement, including former City Transportation Commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan (NYC) and Gabe Klein (Chicago), as well as former Bogota Parks Commissioner Gil Penalosa and Enrique Jacoby, from the Pan American Health Organization.

"The Rise of Open Streets" looks at myriad angles of the Open Streets movement. From its little known origins to the joy it brings to participants. From the sundry types of programming to the health benefits it brings citizenry. From the inspiration it gives people to further change the balance of our streets to giving city residents a few hours of peace from the normal tumult of loud city traffic. And it not only looks at big cities like Los Angeles, but smaller ones like Fargo, Berkeley, and Lexington.

We were proud to partner with The Street Plans Collaborative and the Alliance for Biking & Walking to produce this film, which we hope will give municipalities another tool and encourage even more events throughout the world. Funding for "The Rise of Open Streets" was graciously provided by the Fund for the Environment & Urban Life.


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