“How can more of us recognize streets as an asset?” - Ashley Hahn, Managing Editor at PlanPhilly
For more than a decade, Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s transportation commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pushed the city and residents to rethink who streets are designed for and how public space should be used. Through her leadership, the city began to redesign streets to accommodate not just automobiles, but all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. A total of 365 miles of bike lanes and over 50 pedestrian plazas were established throughout the city.
Sadik-Khan recently visited Philadelphia while promoting her book Street Fight, which rethinks the way cities are designed. During her visit, Sadik-Khan met with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kinney and went on a bicycle tour with Philadelphia Bike Share, the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Planning Department, Urban Engineers, and PlanPhilly. The tour was led by Streets Department staff and showcased some of Philadelphia’s Complete Streets and pedestrian plaza designs.
Like New York, Philadelphia is taking impressive advancements in street design to create safe conditions for everyone. “We had this incredible bike ride today and saw some of the work that’s underway. I think there’s so much potential on the streets of Philadelphia, and it was really exciting to walk around and bike around with some of the leaders here,” said Sadik-Khan.
PlanPhilly and WHYY hosted a book signing event at WHYY Studios, which was sponsored by Urban Engineers. “As Philadelphia works to reimagine our streets, building more Complete Streets, adding better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and transit, what can we learn from New York’s example?,” asked PlanPhilly’s managing editor, Ashley Hahn. “How can more of us recognize streets as an asset?”
Sadik-Khan gave a talk at the event detailing how NYCDOT navigated city bureaucracy and worked with the public to modernize the street space for today’s vibrant communities. She also had some kind words for engineers. “I am a huge fan of engineers. You have to be if you’re a transportation commissioner – they make the world happen.”
PlanPhilly asked Philadelphians to chime-in on the city’s public space and safety from the point-of-view of pedestrians and cyclists. Check out some of their responses in the illustrations and video above.