Mike Lydon's blog

Mike Lydon is the founding Principal of the Street Plans Collaborative.
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International Walk to School Day/ Livable Streets Education Invade Washington Square

Did you know that yesterday was International Walk to School Day? While many communities may have let this important public awareness opportunity pass by, New York City public school students were out in full force. Perhaps one would expect nothing less in a city where 80% of students already walk to school (transit trips require walking, too!). 

Strange Turn of Events Impedes the Adoption of Miami 21

Hundreds of activists, students, politicians, lawyers, developers, architects and planners swarmed Miami's City Hall on Thursday for the City Commission's first reading of Miami 21. By some estimates, nearly 80% of the the 100-plus testimonials were spoken in favor of  Miami 21, with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz kicking off the event with an 11-minute pro-Miami 21 paean. It was certainly one of the most eloquent, if not most passionate speech I have heard him deliver during his tenure. Strangely, Commissioner Angel Gonzalez was missing from the dais for what might have been the most important vote of the year. Apparently, the two week notice was delivered in time for him to reschedule surgery.

Miami 21's Final Act?

After more than four years of public meetings, new drafts, extensive revisions, debate, and controversy, Miami 21 is finally scheduled for its first City Commission reading on August 6th. For all who have, or continue to work patiently and dilligently on the groundbreaking zoning code, this is exciting and relieving news.  

Athletes (Like Stallworth) Are Not The Only Ones Who Get Off Easy

If you watched or read the news yesterday, then you likely came across the sentencing of Donte Stallworth. Previously known (maybe) for being an NFL role player, Stallworth will serve a 30 day sentence for hitting and killing a pedestrian named Mario Reyes while driving intoxicated here in Miami Beach. The typical sentence for such an offense in Florida is 4 to 15 years. Stallworth will be released just in time for his NFL training camp.

How convenient. 

Meeting The Vanguard

This past week I had the pleasure and honor of participating in the Next American City's Urban Vanguard conference. Held in Washington DC, the event brought 35 young urban leaders together from a wide variety of backgrounds. The magazine--one of my favorites--did an outstanding job organizing and running the two-day blitz of tours, events, networking opportunities, and intimate conference sessions. In an effort to keep this brief, I have outlined three highlights from the second day of the conference. 

The World's Greatest Threat: Cul-De-Sacs?

Viva La Ciclovia!

Livable streets proponents look back on 2008 as the year some of the movement’s best laid plans became mainstream. Bicycle sharing systems launched in both Washington DC and Montreal. Auto-dependent Charlotte saw its LYNX light rail surpass 2025 ridership projections, while Seattle also beat ridership projections on its snazzy new Streetcar. And New York City and Portland continued to reclaim space for less auto-centric uses—witnessing 35% and 25% growth respectively in bicycle mode share.

What A Difference A Year Makes

In late 2007, it was with increasing frustration that I penned and op-ed entitled "Make Miami a Bicycle-Friendly City." Appearing in the December 13th edition of the Miami Herald, the article implored City officials to make the city more amenable to bicycling (It was no surprise in the spring of 2008 when Bicycling Magazine named Miami one of the three worst cities in America in which to bicycle).

The City's response exceeded all of my expectations.

If You Stripe It, They Will Come

The most recent bicycle counts from two of America's most progressive cities, New York City and Portland, have been made public. The results are impressive as much as they are instructive.

The Global Transit Space Race: China's $272 Billion Advantage

This morning I was reading through my daily dose of planning related blogs and dropped in on The Overhead Wire, Jeff Wood's excellent transit soapbox. One of Jeff's most recent posts links to an October 25th Reuters article announcing China's $272 billion dollar investment in new rail infrastructure. Yes, you read that correctly. 272 billion. Can't you see president Hu Jintao bringing his pinky to his lips, à la Dr. Evil?

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