Kinder Institute to Host Former NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan

Ryan Holeywell | @RyanHoleywell | April 18, 2016

Image via flickr/Bloomberg Associates.

Image via flickr/Bloomberg Associates.

Janette Sadik-Khan, who ushered in a new age of pedestrian and bicycle improvement in New York City, will bring her message to Houston next month.

Sadik-Khan served as the city’s transportation commissioner from 2007 to 2013 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where she gained a national reputation for her no-holds-barred approach to transforming streets into more walkable and bicycle-friendly places.

She’ll speak at a Kinder Institute event in Houston May 18.

Sadik-Khan gained national attention for transforming segments of Broadway and other areas of the city into pedestrian plazas. She also oversaw the rollout of New York City’s bikeshare program, and her department installed hundreds of miles of bike lanes throughout the city. Her projects — and her tactics — often infuriated drivers but made her into a national hero among those who prioritize pedestrian and bike access.

Her reach in New York can’t be overstated. New York magazine describes her as “equal parts Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses.” The New York Times says she’s a visionary. Esquire calls Sadik-Khan a prophet.

Her critics have had choice words for her too — the New York Post called her the “psycho bike lady.”

As Governing magazine wrote during her final year in office:

Janette Sadik-Khan has perhaps been the biggest beneficiary of an administration that has been unafraid to shake things up. As Bloomberg’s transportation commissioner since 2007, Sadik-Khan has transformed the role of her office by placing a serious emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists. Under her leadership, the city has created 300 miles of bicycle lanes. She’s been on a quest to make streets safer and more accessible to those who use modes of transportation besides driving. (As she points out, only about one-third of New Yorkers regularly drive.)

And she’s probably not exaggerating when she says her office has made the most significant changes to New York’s roadways since one-way streets were introduced 50 years ago. “Our streets were out of balance,” Sadik-Khan says. “They were not designed for the demands that are on them today. That’s really what we’re doing. And we’ve gotten a lot done.”

Her appearance in Houston follows the release of her new book, “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution,” published earlier this spring. The publication is intended to be a road map for those who seek to redesign the streets. Her publisher writes:

Breaking the street into its component parts, Streetfight demonstrates, with step-by-step visuals, how to rewrite the underlying “source code” of a street, with pointers on how to add protected bike paths, improve crosswalk space, and provide visual cues to reduce speeding. Achieving such a radical overhaul wasn’t easy, andStreetfight pulls back the curtain on the battles Sadik-Khan won to make her approach work.

Click here to RSVP for the May 18 event.

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