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Carless Streets and Creative Thinking: What LA Can Learn from NYC

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Streetsblog thinks New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn is a god, and apparently so does everyone else who heard her speak last night at Occidental College as part of the Streetsummit conference, currently underway in Los Angeles. Sadik-Kahn spoke about NYC projects big and small, from making Times Square carless (the beach chairs were a last minute and casual add, but the thing that everyone ended up talking about) to a bus improvement program in the Bronx that uses pre-paid boarding passes to speed up travel times. If NYC came off looking great, LA? Less so, according to Streetsblog.

---"One thing that you could palpably feel from the NYCDOT boss was the sense of pride in how her department has changed the way people think about transportation and even about city government..."

--"While NYCDOT is constantly pushing the envelope, and seeing dramatic success in reducing car dependency; the LADOT has resisted all efforts to change business as usual. NYCDOT is concerned about moving people, LADOT seems more concerned about political gamesmanship and protecting their jobs and the failed status quo on our streets."

--"To nobody's surprise, she reminded the audience that the kinds of changes brought to New York City cost a heck of a lot less than traditional road widenings and other similar projects."

--Sadik-Khan told the audience, "You can do a lot with a paint brush and paint can," and while she was doubtlessly talking about the changes a DOT could bring, to L.A.'s activist D.I.Y. community that's a lesson already learned." LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne also apparently was at the event---and it sounds like he was equally impressed by her talk. He's been tweeting about the event today.
Photo via Streetsblog Flickr
· Sadik-Khan Packs the House, Then Brings It Down [Streetsblog]