Written by By Sigrid Jeffrey, CNN
With over three years of experience in making the city streets safer for pedestrians, The Fixer’s founder, Sigrid Jeffrey, has seen her fair share of pedestrians hit by cars. But her experience makes her realize that the focus of the cityscape is itself a problem: traffic density.
“The problem of traffic is often looked at only as solely a street issue but we believe it’s only part of the puzzle,” she said in an interview.
“The problem of pedestrians and cyclists getting hit is part of the bigger traffic and infrastructure issue.”
Two weeks after her blog in 2013 about how New York City pedestrians were being hit more often than ever before, she penned a piece for nypost.com in which she described why she tried not to become a pedestrian casualty.
Sigrid Jeffrey. Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
By looking at the bigger picture, she discovered that infrastructure could be made to change. Jeffrey thought about how to bring in more out-of-town shoppers — so she wrote about bikes as a new type of transportation.
It was in this part of a 2013 feature for the Verge — which reached more than 1.5 million visitors — that The Fixer came to life.
The vehicle that lit up Sigrid Jeffrey’s life
It quickly became clear, to her and others in her circle, that a piece about helping pedestrians and cyclists to avoid accidents would take off.
“I heard from so many writers and editors about how amazing what I was doing was,” she said.
“They had never seen anything like it.”
The Fixer said that it was lucky to have been the right time for a new “anti-concrete” transportation project.
“The Internet changed all this. All of the engineers and planners at the time would say that new projects were not feasible because they would get crushed underfoot traffic. It was that fear of traffic that kept projects like The Fixer on the drawing board,” Jeffrey said.
Projects like The Fixer have become more of a reality under mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected last year and has focused heavily on encouraging New Yorkers to spend more time on foot, by creating thousands of new, mixed-use rental housing units.
The improvements that “The Fixer” has achieved
But while Sigrid Jeffrey’s next move after The Fixer launched is yet to be determined, she has certainly settled on a new mode of transport.
It’s about to happen: Over the past few months, her blog about making it easier for cyclists to do what they do best, now has 500,000 followers on Instagram
“Instagram and my large following has been a huge reason why I’ve been able to keep ‘The Fixer’ going. I get thousands of emails from people from every corner of the globe who want to learn more and want to share their messages about how they are improving the world around them,” she said.
“If I weren’t on Instagram that would not have been possible.”