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Serving NYC since 1989!





pedestrians first!




WHAT IS AUTO-FREE NY?
A movement aimed at exploring and achieving the upper limit of "devehicularization" of our nation's largest city: Get cars out of our parks. Curb the reckless motorists who dominate our streets. Cut noise, smog and traffic costs. Increase pedestrian space and safety. Shift city and state funds from highway expansion to investments in new transit options and extensions -- not just baby steps. Last but not least, make bicycling better. A livable city is possible!


NEXT MEETING: MARCH 21
Auto-Free NY has been holding FREE monthly meetings, featuring a wide variety of guest speakers, since its founding in February, 1989. Usually held in Manhattan, on the third Tuesday of each month, they are open to the public, and no reservations are needed.
The Livable City Transport Plan
is an affordable, comprehensive vision of our city, designed to be achievable in just one four-year mayoral term. Using innovations now common in more sophisticated and democratically run cities here and abroad, this plan would raise New Yorkers' quality of life through better functioning public transit, a noticeable reduction in car use and much more auto-free space in the core of NYC, the most densely populated city in the nation. As always, we look forward to your thoughtful review and comments.

CURRENT EVENTS:
• The City's plaNYC 2030
Lower Manhattan
Light Rail in NYC
Regional Rail Working Group

Light Rail: perfect for cities (photo courtesy www.lightrailnow.org, based in Austin, Texas)

FEATURES:
Glossary
How the NY Times Covers NYC
AUTOMOBILE HORROR!
Previous "Letters from George"
How to Join/Donate
Visit These Links
Recent Books
Remembering Steve Dobrow
42nd St. Trolleys - 1990's Planning History
What's so Great about Streetcars?
Light Rail in the Lincoln Tunnel!
New York Streetcar News Index
East River Bridges
Rockaway Beach Line (Qns)
OTHER VOICES
Life's a Beach for Paris Mayor
Berlin: Transport Politics
The Five-Minute Activist



Auto-Free NY operates under the aegis of the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, Inc. (IRUM), a not-for-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.
Note: this website is best viewed with Text Size set to "Smaller" or "Medium."
If Car Names Were Honest:
Audi My-Way
Chevy Fistfight
Chrysler Criminal
Dodge Tumor
Ford Poluta XS
GMC Denial
Honda Discord
Hyundai Enslava
Lamborghini OINK
Lexus Segregator
Lincoln Alienator
Mazda MeFirstLastOnly
Mercury Dioxin
Saab Flatus
Saturn UrFaddas
Subaru Deforester
Toyota Runovia
VW Smoggia

Be a patriot - use mass transit!

Traffic jams in both directions, East River Drive, looking north from the Manhattan Bridge. Sept 2016. Photo: Wayne Fields.
Traffic jams in both directions crowd the East River Drive in this view looking north from the Manhattan Bridge (Sept 2016). Hundreds of millions of dollars of public money have been spent adding lanes and ramps to this waterfront-killing highway. This new space for cars was sold to us as a way to eliminate traffic bottlenecks, but of course only invited even more motorists. The vast majority of the cars in this picture carry only one person - the driver; most of the cabs and for-hire cars carry only one passenger. Photo: Wayne Fields.

 Letter from George
March 1, 2017      

Taming Suburban Sprawl: Transit-Oriented Development along the 110 Corridor

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

For many decades, NYC aggressively pampered and prioritized private motorists in NYC. The ensuing car chaos severely lowered everyone's quality of life, and motorists came to dominate our streets.

In recent years, City Hall, forced by public pressure to do something about the smog, the noise, the traffic deaths, destruction of neighborhoods and the loss of public space, responded with bollards, band-aids and baby steps. Which we applaud of course, but: "not good enough." This struggle has been well told in Janette Sadik-Khan's recent book, Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, where you can see how activists have relentlessly combatted sandbagged bureaucracies, pandering politicians, a dull-witted, mean and backward media, including the NY Times, and last but not least, some of the most ignorant and selfish people NYC has to offer - the car-huggers - who acted to preserve their motoring privileges at all costs.

AFNY has long presented, and has made available here, its comprehensive and affordable Livable City Plan to deal with car chaos, that within one mayor's term of office would dramatically change for the better the tenor of the city. One strategy it did not explicilty mention was to improve the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the 300 commuter rail stations just outside NYC's city limits. These neighborhoods could become focal points for more transit-friendly development.

We are pleased to announce our guest speaker at our March 21st AFNY meeting will be Thomas D'Ambrosio, environmental advocate, who will give us a suburban perspective:"Taming Suburban Sprawl: Transit-Oriented Development along the 110 Corridor". Tom is a member of the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Committee.

After the presentation and discussion, there will be progress reports on IRUMís initiatives, including vision42 - a river-to-river auto-free light boulevard on 42nd Street - and regional rail - remaking the commuter rail lines into a comprehensive regional rail system, with integrated fares, frequent service and thru-running, initially at Penn Station and then on to Grand Central.

Plan to attend the next Auto-Free New York/vision42/regional rail working group meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6-8pm to learn about a suburban perspective. The meeting will be at the Transportation Alternatives office at 111 John Street in Lower Manhattan, not far from the South Street Seaport. All are welcome, and it is free. An RSVP is not required but is highly recommended, at geo@irum.org.

Sincerely,          
George Haikalis, Chair          

P.S.  NYC SMOG ALERT UPDATES:Despite ongoing propaganda about how clean cars are these days, NYC's air quality continues to be the worst on the East Coast -- practically every day here is an Air Quality Alert Day, meaning you shouldn't breathe when outdoors, or live within a few blocks of a city highway or through street. For updates, call the state Dept of Environmental Conservation at 1-800 535-1345.


WISHING TRAFFIC AWAY IS NOT EFFECTIVE


The car plague is still with us. Illustration dates from the early 1990s.







Janette Sadik-Khan's book Street Fight

NY Times: Filler vs. Reporting on 'Vision Zero'

New tracking technology in our neighborhoods
"I Refuse to Give Up My Freedoms!" Recognize these gray boxes? EZ-Pass and Big Brother have joined op to invade our privacy, using taxpayer money. Location: Atlantic Avenue at Boerum Street, Brooklyn. Read more
SCAPEGOATING BICYCLISTS FOR
NYC'S RECKLESS MOTOR VEHICLE CLIMATE

The Inexorable Logic of Urban Auto Use Reduction

Upcoming
Auto-Free NY Meetings, 2017:

Tuesday, March 21, 6-8pm
Taming Suburban Sprawl
Thomas D'Ambrosio, Suffolk Cty environmental advocate TA's office, 111 John Street, 2nd Fl., NYC

Tuesday, April 17, 6-8pm
Topic to be announced
TA's office, 111 John Street, 2nd Fl., NYC


* DIRECTIONS: Meetings are at Transportation Alternatives' HQ, at 111 John Street, 2nd Fl. (just off Water Street, below Seaport. Bike-friendly building!) Meetings start promptly at 6pm and end at 8pm. Our meetings are always FREE and open to the public.
Wrecked SUV at Canal Street; 2010. Note parking ticket on ground. Photo by Wayne Fields.

Another SUV smashed by its reckless driver (Canal Street, Feb 2011): With gas cheap, SUV's are back, much to the glee of the car companies. The bulk of these top-heavy, inadequately braked "bloatmobiles" makes their driver feel invulnerable, and so they drive worse, and crash more. Big business, pressing its wasteful and overdesigned products, embraced SUVs as prime subjects beginning in the mid-90s, during the Clinton regime. Americans were subjected to one of the most intensive marketing and indoctrination campaigns in US car company history. But inexorably, lower-priced gasoline is going to end, as growing climate chaos intersects with environmental collapse and increasing political and military chaos. Once the true costs of our national gasoline orgy start being paid by US motorists themselves rather than everyone else, these gas guzzling giants will quickly end up more worthless junk - and we may just get the quality public transportation -- and the sustainable economy -- we deserve.


Car Hugger as seen in yet another 'NY Times' car promotion, April 16, 2003.

Above: This car-hugger illustration appeared in the New York Times, which has a longstanding grudge against doing serious transit journalism.

Auto-Free New York George Haikalis, Chairman  |  One Washington Sq. Village, #5D, NYC 10012  |  Phone: (212) 475-3394  |  geo@irum.org
© Copyright 2016, 2017. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated March 15, 2017.