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Streetfilms comes to Washington, DC and checks out SmartBikeDC
|| 8/22/2008 || 8:30 pm || Comments Off on Streetfilms comes to Washington, DC and checks out SmartBikeDC || ||

I stumbled on to this short video because I trying to find a Wikipedia entry on SmartBike DC (there isn’t one yet). I was originally going to post two Google Maps (see below) showing the number of stations in DC compared to the number of Velib stations in Paris. The point of the two maps was to show that Clear Channel, which was beat out in Paris by JCDecaux, went a little skimpy when planning and implementing DC’s SmartBike program.

Velib was launched just about a year ago on July 15, 2007, with 10,000 bicycles and 750 automated rental stations each with 15 or more bikes/spaces. This number has since grown to 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 stations, about 1 station every 300 m throughout the city centre, making Velib the largest system of its kind in the world. Washington, DC, on the other hand, started with 10 stations, about 120 bikes, and is the first program of its kind in North America.

While Paris is a much larger city, I am disappointed that with all the hype surrounding the SmartBike program, the planners were not as Smart as they could have been. Had they placed racks at *ALL* DC-based Metro stations before launching I would have bought my SmartBike pass immediately and I bet more would-be bicycle riders would have as well. Until then, I don’t see myself purchasing a pass because I can get to all the current locations on my own bike.

Washington, DC’s natural topography features a hill that surrounds the “Federal City,” or the old part of the city below Florida Ave, which was once called Boundary Street because it was the natural line of demarcation. This hill is what stops me from going to some places on my bike versus taking the Metro. Yet the locations of all the SmartBike stations are located below the hill, so why bother using the bikes when mine works fine for this area? For example, I’d rather take the Metro to Tenleytown, hop on a bike there, and take it down the hill to Georgetown.

Anyways, I still want to make a video called “Doing Dumb Things On A Smart Bike,” but I guess I am going to have to wait…

For a comparison of scale, check these two Google Map screen grabs featuring the locations of the Velib stations and the SmartBikeDC stations:


Velib




SmartBike DC

Related Bicycle Entries:

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Streetfilms: “Summer Streets 2008” in New York City
|| 8/11/2008 || 6:35 pm || Comments Off on Streetfilms: “Summer Streets 2008” in New York City || ||

Click Here To View Video On Website

Looks like the first Summer Streets was an absolute success! When I wrote about Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia, I mentioned how I thought it would be fun to have one in DC and even went so far as to demarcate a few streets that could be the starting ground. Watching this video made me seriously wonder how difficult it would be to organize something like this in DC in the not-so-distant future. With the new Smart Bikes coming on-line, I bet there will be more support for this type of community activity. I know I’d have a sound system setup on the closed-off street bumping music mad decent block party style. I already ride my bike everyday.

Related Bicycling Entries:

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You Street on YouTube || East Meets West || A Game of Locational Awareness
|| 8/5/2008 || 2:28 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

The other day after I watched the interview conducted on a bicycle the idea that had been swimming in the back of my head resurfaced. Originally it was going to be something simple, as in, one YouTube video for U Street (sometimes written out as You Street) in Washington, DC that featured me riding down the street at night and another video that would be filmed on the exact same stretch of road, but filmed during the day. By using the YouTube Doubler, the on-line mashup helper, the viewer would be able to simultaneously see the same stretch of road at two different times of the day.

After thinking about the concept more thoroughly, I literally went in a different direction (actually two) and came up with a game of sorts. Last Saturday I filmed myself riding on the same stretch of U Street going to one end of the street and then filmed myself going back to the same point where I started. I then edited the videos so they start where the other on ends and then I placed the two videos side-by-side using YouTube Doubler.

The object of the game is to find the exact location where the videos cross paths. As in, the video on the right features me riding my bike on U Street going due East and the video on the left features me riding my bike due West and somewhere in the videos there is a specific point where the two videos cross paths.

Since they were filmed at different times you won’t actually see me riding down the street, but there is an exact point on the street where the two videos intersect and its up to the viewer to figure out where East meets West or West meets East.

Since I had more traffic going West than I did going East, the West video is slightly longer, but the spot where the two videos cross paths does not change. It might take a couple tries, but eventually you’ll be able to figure out the spot in question. If you need help with a map or two, I created a special Google Map that shows the starting locations of the two videos.

I’ve already found the location, but do you think you can find it? If you do, leave the estimated time in the comment section!! The answer is quite easy.

Click the screen grab below to try it out:

One disappointment with this game is that YouTube’s compression still stinks. I uploaded the videos at 640×480 in size with minimal compression with the hopes that they’d show up less pixilated, but alas the option to view the videos in high-quality was not there when I checked last. I still don’t know why either. The unfortunate result is that you are unable to see as much detail in the videos, which means the game is slightly harder to “win.” Currently Vimeo does not have an autoplay option which makes this mashup impossible on their platform, so there really isn’t much I can do to fix the compression issue.

One idea is to remove the YouTube Doubler component and redesign the videos in Final Cut Pro. By adjusting the size of the final video, I can place both East & West into one video and release the game without compression. This will take me longer to complete, but I think it might be a worthy effort. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy this game.




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Video of “Gas Prices” by Hutchy
|| 8/4/2008 || 10:37 am || Comments Off on Video of “Gas Prices” by Hutchy || ||

Two weeks ago I ran into Hutchy outside of Wonderland Ballroom here in DC. I was there for the monthly Funk DC party. Hutchy gave me the CD and said “This iz da fresh shit mon,” which I laughed at because anytime someone gives you their CD it’s always the freshest in their head. I put it my pocket for the rest of the night and left it on my dresser until last Saturday afternoon. I popped it in my CD player and actually enjoyed the track. I think I liked it so much because this reggae tune takes on a few contemporary issues that are important to people; namely gas prices, corporate control, and the mortgage crisis.

This morning I got word via my RSS from Brian Liu that ToolboxDC, a creative firm owned & operated by a couple of my friends, had made a video of the tune (below). It was directed by my friend Robin, who I’ve mentioned here before and it features some bicycle riding, scenes from around Washington, DC, and a bunch of cameos from my friends- including one of the DJs who I saw the night Hutchy gave me the cd!


For more information on Hutchy, check out his record label Ruffcut Records or his MySpace page.



An interview on a bicycle conducted while riding through Amsterdam
|| 7/31/2008 || 5:56 pm || 3 Comments Rendered || ||


Amsterdamize Bicycle TV : Riding With Marie from Amsterdamize on Vimeo.

Yesterday I watched the video above and smiled. It was the first time I’d seen an interview conducted whilst riding down the street. Have you ever seen one conducted in this fashion?

The 9 minute video above features the author of the Dutch bicycle advocacy blog Amsterdamize as he rides side-by-side & interviews the co-author of Copenhagen’s bicycle advocacy blog Copenhagenzine. They discuss the differences in bicycle riding in their respective cities while showing the beautiful scenery of Amsterdam. It truly made me want to go back to Amsterdam just to ride around the city and take in the city’s car-free culture & rich history.

Anyways, this year I’ve added bicycle advocacy to the disparate topics this website covers. It makes sense as well because my main transportation method is a bicycle and the 120-year-old house I live in is on the site of a former bicycle racetrack.

Since I recently purchased a digital camera I’ve been running through a bunch of ideas as to how I can creatively use this simple technology to make new content for this blog. Expect some more bicycle related entries in the coming days….

In case the video above didn’t satiate your appetite for urban bicycling, here are few of my favorite bicycling videos from Amsterdamize, Copenhagenzine and it’s sister site Copenhagen Cycle Chic for you to enjoy:

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Bicycle Freedom! [Vélib’ in DC]
|| 6/3/2008 || 6:33 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

With Washington, DC about to begin the first bicycle sharing program in the United States, I’m posting some videos featuring the Parisian bike sharing service called Vélib’. The names in French is a combination of vélo liberté or vélo libre and in English it means free bicycle or bicycle freedom.

I think these YouTube videos are a fitting follow-up to my new bicycle freedom in Washington, DC :-)


Bikes Belong presents: Velib
Bikes sharing is transforming how cities look at public transit. We went to Paris in November 2007 to see for ourselves what Velib is all about.
[I really like the use of the infographics]




V̩lo Libert̩ РParisian Bike Culture
The author of Copenhagen Cycle Chic rides around Paris with his wife:
“In ten short months the urban landscape of Paris has been transformed by the Vélib’ bike share programme.” See Blog Entry




Bicycle Freedom
TV News Footage from Canadian Global Television Network:
The city of Paris rolled out a citywide bicycle program involving 10,600 bikes in a bid to cut gridlock and give citizens a greener way to get around town. The program, named Vélib’ a blend of vélo (bike) and liberté allows users to swipe their credit card and take and return a bike from one of 750 stations in the city.

“In the morning, you can go to work in the tram and come home by bike; it depends on the weather, it depends on your mood and on your friends,” said Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe Sunday.

Delanoe aims to cut car traffic in the city by 40 per cent by 2020.




Velib’
[en Français]Voici un reportage sur Vélib’, le nouveau service public offert par la mairie de Paris que j’ai réalisé pour le magazine Webcarnews. Retrouvez le sujet complet sur www.webcarnews.com
Here is a report on Vélib, the new public service offered by the mayor of Paris that I produced for the magazine Webcarnews.
Find the subject comprehensive www.webcarnews.com



I post more when I find them….

Related Bicycling Entries:



Streetfilms: Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia
|| 4/15/2008 || 8:55 am || Comments Off on Streetfilms: Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia || ||

Continuing on the topic yesterday’s post about how my neighborhood used to be a bike track, I figured that I should follow-up the entry with something bicycle related. I saw this video a few months ago and even sent it to my old Urban Geography Professor. The 7 minute video is about Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, which is a a weekly event in which over 70 miles of city streets are closed to traffic. As you can see in the video, residents come out to walk, bike, run, skate, recreate, picnic, do aerobics, and basically enjoy the city safely and pollution-free.

I found the video to be very inspirational. In the back of my mind, I began constructing the theoretical Ciclovia map of Washington, DC. What roads would be closed? Would people take part en masse? Or would it be relegated to some corporate sponsored yearly event like Bike to Work Day?

Frankly, I don’t know, but I think it would be fun to start small. DC currently has miles 17 miles of bike lanes, and I don’t think people would give up their coveted on-street parking in favor of bicyclists, so most streets can’t be closed off. However, there are some streets that could be (and sometimes are) made one-way (P Street) and there are some wide streets that could be partially closed (15th Street). In this respect, DC could do a Cyclovia and it wouldn’t require that much work.

But what about participation? If you delineate it, will they ride on it? That being, if there was to be a Cycloviva, would there be enough people riding their bikes to justify the road closures? Frankly, I don’t think there would be enough sustained interest if it were a weekly event– not enough bicyclists in DC. Instead I think it would work better as a seasonal event. Cyclovia Spring, Cyclovia Summer, etc. and over time there might be a critical mass.

Related Bicycle Entires:

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  • thank you,
    come again!