Last night we hosted Janette Sadik-Khan, the woman who transformed New York City’s notoriously contested streets as Mayor Bloomberg’s Transportation Commissioner 2007-13. We are extremely grateful that she found time on her four day visit to Auckland to share her wisdom and experience with us advocates.
Despite arriving at 5am that morning JSK and her team gave us all a great deal of attention and engagement [colleague Seth Solomonow said of the flight: "why'd y'all have to be so far away?"]. JSK still works with Michael Bloomberg at his new not-for-profit post-Mayoral agency Bloomberg Associates. Here is the opening line their mission statement:
Bloomberg Associates, an international consulting service founded by Michael R. Bloomberg as a philanthropic venture, helps city governments improve the quality of life of their citizens.
So the first recommendation from JSK last night is that Mayor Brown contact ex-Mayor Bloomberg to see how Auckland get to see a whole lot more of JSK and here team to help improve our city in more detail.
Other soundbites from the night include:
- Changing the Streetscape and adding to the movement options can hugely improve the economic vitality of the whole city as well as individual areas.
- You have to try out radical changes to the streetscape cheaply, quickly, and temporarily.
- Don’t just do part of what’s needed; be bold keep it cheap and temporary so whole areas can be done together.
- Be prepared change it, or even change it back to how it was, if it isn’t working.
- If half the city doesn’t hate what you’re doing you probably aren’t doing anything.
She also said the reason she made it a priority to meet with us was that groups like ours in NY had been hugely influential in enabling change. Particularly streetsblog, a clear role model for transportblog.
Also it was just a great night down at Imperial Lane:
We are now looking forward to her presentation at Auckland Conversations on Monday. And thanks to the Auckland Conversations team for hosting her visit, and in particular lending her to us for the evening.