The Streetsies (Now Interactive!): Best of the Web
Every year between Christmas and New Years, Streetsblog celebrates the year that was by handing out our Streetsie awards celebrating the best, and remembering the worst, of the year that was. This year, we’re going to have a few fewer awards than last year, but also a chance for you to give out your own Streetsies by voting on your own winners for each category. Today we’ll be looking at the best of Streetsblog and the best of the web. Tomorrow we’ll get in to the people and events that made 2010 such a banner year.
Best of Streetsblog:
Best Contributed Series
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: Enci Box’s Series on Bike Infrastructure
I know you all must get tired of me from time to time. No, it’s ok…I do too. That’s why Streetsblog is so lucky to have a group of writers who contribute pieces that add so much to the site. If I tried to highlight every great freelance submission, it would take up the whole front of the website, so instead let’s narrow it down a little by looking at some of the great series of articles that were contributed this year.
Some of the series’s spanned the entire year. Regular readers are used to seeing a by-line by Drew Reed reporting on Long Beach, or Dana Gabbard informing us of some upcoming important transit meeting somewhere in L.A. County. But there are also more occasional-series, such as Gloria Ohland’s exhaustively detailed columns on Transit Oriented Development and other Smart Growth Issues, or Joe Linton’s first hand account of riding L.A.’s new bike lanes no matter where they were painted.
And last, we had some great series’ that popped up for a short piece of time. Carter Rubin burst on to the Streetsblog scene with coverage of the events of Bike Week. While I had actually forgotten about Enci Box’s amazing series critiquing bike planning and infrastructure in Los Angeles, her series generated a lot of views, and controversy. But a lot of the ideas she expressed there last January seem to have found their way into the Final Draft of the Bike Plan and were a part of the year that was for bike advocacy.
Best L.A. Streetfilm
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: Ivy London for “L.A. Freedom Ride: BkoB”
This year we had more coverage by Streetfilms than we were used to: three “Los Angeles Streetfilms,” one Streetfilm Shortie, and one Streetfilm based in Long Beach. We started in March with a handful of films by Streetfilms Director Clarence Eckerson Jr., visiting from New York. First up was “the shortie” covering of NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s appearance as part of the Street Summit and “Building Momentum for Change” coverage of the Summit itself. A couple of weeks later, Eckerson debuted Streetfilms for Long Beach with”Long Beach Shifts Cycling Into High Gear.”
Our next two films were both local efforts. Ivy London was the first local film maker to create a Streetfilm. London’s “L.A.’s Freedom Ride: BKoB” took a look at efforts to make bike riding cool and fun in the black community, an issue that is surely under covered here in Los Angeles, even on Streetsblog. The year wrapped with CicLAvia, Let’s Go! by Robin Adams which wasn’t just a hit on Streetsblog, but was also screened during a City Council meeting.
Best Commenter (aka the Ubrayj 02 Award)
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: Herbie Huff
When we first started Los Angeles Streetsblog, we didn’t have nearly the readership or comments that we do today. As a result, the comments section was dominated by Josef Bray-Ali, aka Ubrayj 02, for about our first year and a half of publishing. We could pretty much call him commenter of the year every year, but instead we find the writer who can be both funny and informative. Herbie’s been a consistently great writer who has contributed posts both short and long. She can preach to the choir, call me on lazy writing and articulate positions that aren’t always popular here. For example, she raised a lot of issues with the Westside Subway, but managed to make a lot more sense than the L.A. Times or LA Weekly while doing so.
Best of the Web:
Best Blog (Personal, not organizational):
2010 Streetsie Award Winner:Biking In L.A.
What can you say about this website. It’s updated nearly daily, is full of unique material and manages to serve as both a journal and news source all at the same time. Ted Rogers does all of this for no compensation. Biking In L.A. would be a first rate site if Rogers was doing it for pay. That he’s doing it for free as a labor of love is just really impressive.
This isn’t to say there’s not a lot of great blogsites out there. Juan Matute and Dan Wentzel have both been plugging away to promote transit projects for the West Side and West Hollywood respectively at the L.A. Subway Blog and Ride the Pink Line. Josef Bray-Ali has been plugging away at both the Flying Pigeon blog and Brayj Against the Machine. Cyclists should also check out the excellent website at Bicycle Fixation blog for news and views on life on the streets of Los Angeles.
An honorable mention for this category has to go to The Bus Bench, which when it’s publishing is second to none. But as Browne and Randall are pursuing other interests at the moment, we’ll let other sites take the poll position this year.
Best News Site:
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: The Source
No offense to the writers at local news sites such as The Eastsider or Blog Downtown, or straight news websites such as LA_Now, LAist, or Curbed, but only one website has had such an impact on the transportation scene that it changed the way I cover events. No longer do I bother to chase breaking news at Metro, I can’t really compete with an in-house news magazine when it comes to posting the designs and project updates that transit junkies demand. Now that they’ve added our own Carter Rubin and Sirinya Tritipeskul to the original team of Steve Hymon and Fred Camino, they really have a power-house team. Now if only we could get them to stop posting 400 surveys about why people in Arcadia don’t ride transit everyday…
Best “Professional” Blog:
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: Bikeside
It doesn’t seem fair to compare the “labors of love” listed above to the work done by teams of writers representing an organization. A lot of groups have started blogging as a way to inform members, but there are three that are heads and shoulders above the rest: the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Blog, Bikeside L.A. and the L.A. Eco-Village Blog. Of the three, Bikeside’s team of Alex Thompson, Mihai Peteu and Sara Bond (and others) have given a fresh voice to bike advocacy. Even Thompson has refined his voice from the angier and goofier posts from Westside Bikeside (archived at the current Bikeside site) to what we see on Bikeside today. A lot of people bristled at some of his more confrontational posts aimed at other advocates, but his piece “Undiscovered Country” on the first LAPD/LACM ride is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on the web on any topic.
2010 Streetsie Award Winner: Joel Epstein
One of the reasons Streetsblog exists is because other news sources don’t give just coverage to transportation issues that don’t effect the writer’s car commutes into the city from somewhere in Long Beach or Ventura County. However, there are a handful or writers who have a more mainstream platform who add their voice to ours. Stephen Box has been plugging away City Watch for years covering not only the bike-beat, but the struggles of Neighborhood Councils, the trouble with T.O.D.’s and issues relating to open space. By contrast, Joel Epstein has kept a laser-like focus on 30/10 and transit expansion issues for the Westside Epstein has been so loud preaching the gospel of transit expansion that he might even wrestle the mantle of Mr. 30/10 from Denny Zane.
Patrick Coolican’s time at L.A. Weekly was all-too-short as the “alternative weekly” has such trouble seeing past its dislike for the Mayor that its taken stands against the Westside Subway because it wouldn’t do enough to “improve” car congestion and CicLAvia. Rounding out the list is the Times’ architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne who found time to write about the visit to Los Angeles by Janette Sadik-Khan earlier this year and about the battle for the fate of the city between urbanists and those that like the city the way it is.