Streets are some of the most ubiquitous and valuable public spaces that a city has and cities are showing new ways to use them

From 2007 to 2013, Sadik-Khan was the commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation and today she continues working as a sustainable transportation consultant with Bloomberg Associates. During her six years in New York she showed her city—and the country—what can be accomplished when we put people first in transportation planning. Perhaps most famously, Sadik-Khan closed five blocks to cars on Broadway through Times Square. With some paint and lawn chairs from a hardware store, the project was initially temporary. Then the results of the test project came in: crashes declined, travel times improved, and business was booming. Those outcomes were enough to convince Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other stakeholders to make the installation permanent, creating new space for people in one of the world’s busiest cities.  Sadik-Khan didn’t stop with Times Square. She lead the creation of dozens of such pedestrian plazas, built nearly 400 miles of bike lanes, and improved some of the city’s most congested bus corridors. But more important than her specific accomplishments in NYC, Sadik-Khan showed what’s possible with a little paint, creative thinking, and a human-centered approach.

Communities big and small have used these same techniques to create change on their own streets. In Macon, GA, a bike lane demonstration project boosted biking by 800 percent and has led to the creation of permanent lanes. In Everett, MA, simple orange cones created a temporary bus lane that proved hugely popular and have the potential to be a model for other towns around the country