Tag Archives: Janette Sadik-Khan

Janette Sadik-Khan, together with Jon Orcutt, visiting Jan Gehl and Gehl Architects in 2010

She truly is one of our heroes at Gehl Architects: New York City Commissioner of Transportation Janette Sadik-Khan.

She was the envoy that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent to Copenhagen to learn about the streets of Copenhagen. She came, along with Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, was greeted by Jan Gehl, and got on a bicycle, where, as Jan likes to tells, they stayed for 48 hours before returning to New York City with a vision for how the streets of New York could become so much better – become World Class Streets.

Gehl Architects were invited to share some of their experience, but it was through the persistent work of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, that all of the ideas came to become reality. Miles and miles of new cycle lanes, closing down of Broadway at Times Square and Herald Square, and many, many other improvements in the public realm of New York.

We realize that not all people feel the same about the accomplishments of Janette Sadik-Khan. It is evident that she has been met with a lot of both positive as well as negative feelings for the many changes she has brought to the streets of New York City. And as is evident in the article in the Esquire (see below) she is not everyones ‘cup of tea’, as we say in Denmark. But in our eyes she is and remains a wonderful and dynamic cup-of-tea and therefore we do not hesitate to call her a true hero of ours.

Read more about Janette Sadik-Khan in this feature in Esquire, who recently named her one of 15 Geniuses Who Give Us Hope.

Open house at Gehl Architects during Velo City Global2010 in Copenhagen

On the evening of the first day of the Velo City Global 2010 conference Gehl Architects hosted an open house for both old and new friends. More than 150 people stopped by for a drink and for networking with the many cycling advocates present.

Andy Clark, Gil Penalosa and Ida Auken

Andy Clark and Helle Søholt

In the middle: Karen Overton and Klaus Bondam

Gil Penalosa, Sibyl from Istanbul, Lars Mortensen and Janette Sadik-Khan

Open house at Gehl Architects

Faizan Jamed and Louise Kielgast

Helle Søholt and Jon Orcutt

Jan Gehl and Lawrence Man

Andy Clark and Jan Gehl

Antonio Suarez and David Sim

Louise Didriksson, Louise Grassov and Rikke Sode

Andy Clark and Jan Gehl

Open house at Gehl Architects

Open house at Gehl Architects

Open house at Gehl Architects

Open house at Gehl Architects

Janette Sadik-Khan speaking at the opening of Velo City Global 2010 in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, New York and Jan Gehl, were some of the most mentioned words at the opening of the Velo City Global 2010 conference at Øksnehallen in central Copenhagen today.

Copenhagen, of course, because the city hosts the conference and excels in cycling on a level hardly any city can boast of. And both Lord Mayor, Frank Jensen, and Technical Mayor, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, proudly shared insights in the successes and welcomed the many conference participants to the city of cycling. But both mayors were also looking ahead. Frank Jensen restated the ambition of Copenhagen to have a 50 % cycling modal share for everyday commuters in 2015 and also told how increasing the modal share for cycling lays the ground for innovations in green-tech at large and how the city benefits from this.

Copenhagen Lord Mayor, Frank Jensen, speaking at the opening of Velo City Global 2010.

Technical Mayor, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, referred to Jan Gehl paraphrasing the Danish urban planning legend, when he said that ‘Prioritizing cycling is prioritizing people’. He also stated how important learning from each other is and how we need to look across borders to learn and to raise the bar for our ambitions even higher. But even if Copenhagen is a success story he also humbly acknowledged, that the real heroes of the Copenhagen cycling story are the thousands of ordinary people, the citizens of Copenhagen, who chose to use the cycle every day and thus are the true source of the fantastic modal share numbers, the city can boast of.

Technical Mayor of Copenhagen, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, speaking at Velo City Global sporting the Cycling Embassy of Denmark badge :-)

New York City Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, gave an insight into one of recent years most impressive turnarounds when it comes to cycling: The New York story. Cycling here is part of a comprehensive plan to prepare the city for the challenges facing it, the PlaNYC, launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But cycling and improving conditions for cyclists is an integral part and the success is already evident in the city, that now has more than 320 km of protected cycle lanes, and adding every year more than 80 km. Also Janette Sadik-Khan referred to Jan Gehl, both for the inspiration and contribution to the change that New York City is undergoing, but also when she quoted him and said ‘That there is more to cycling than cycling’, a quote that underlines the importance of all the issues that need to be tackled to really create a cycling culture – from proper cycle racks to supporting the cycling culture through public activities such as Summer Streets in New York City.

Transportation Commissioner of New York City, Janette Sadik-Khan

Finally professor Pan Haixiao from Tongji University in Shanghai told how cycling is faced with severe challenges in China – a country that can still boast of having the most cyclists in the world and the longest cycling network of any – but of course also has the most citizens of any country! But cycling is being put under pressure in China. Increase in car ownership and a struggle in the streets of the big cities for space to cater for transportation needs of an increasing urban population, means that cycling lanes – formerly an integral part of Chinese planning – is now being cut away in many cities to make space for cars.

Professor Pan Haixiao from Tongji University in Shanghai.

Before the ‘professional’ speakers began, former CEO and now cycling advocate, Anders Hedin, gave an insight into how the real challenge we (continue) to face, when we speak of increasing the modal share of cycling in any society, is the car! “Cars is what we are up against,” he said and described how he himself had lived a full life being a ‘car-afficionado’ that only in recent years had re-discovered cycling, even if this was the mode of transportation he grew up with. “We must create stronger and more positive connections between cycling and identity,” he said, in order to face the challenge of cars, that in many if not most countries continue to play a role as both an aspiration connected to growth and wealth, and the identity that owning a private car continues to lend to most people.

Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, was the Master of Ceremonies for the day and is so for the conference as such, and he told how this years conference has participants from almost 60 countries. In the audience he also acknowledged a couple of participants, who had been part of the Velo City journey all the way from the beginnings in Bremen in 1980!

Master of Ceremonies, Velo City Global 2010, Andy Clark, president of the League of American Bicyclists.

Janette Sadik-Khan (DOT Commissioner New York City), Jan Gehl and Jon Orcutt (DOT New York City).

Janette Sadik-Khan, the Department of Transport Commissioner of New York City, visited Jan Gehl and Gehl Architects today. She was joined by DOT Senior Policy Advisor, Jon Orcutt. They are both in Copenhagen for the Velo City Global Conference 2010, that begins Tuesday 22nd June. After a visit to the office, Janette and Jon took off on a bike tour around Copenhagen taking full advantage of both the sun and the splendid bike lanes of Copenhagen.

Ready to ride: Janette Sadik-Khan, Jan Gehl and Jon Orcutt ready to go bike riding in Copenhagen.


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