Light Rail
Regional Rail
Penn Station
Livable City Plan
Serving NYC since 1989!

pedestrians first!

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. Invest in new transit options and expansion -- not just baby steps -- and make bicycling better. A livable city is possible!

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, 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.

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

Light Rail: perfect for cities (photo courtesy, based in Austin, Texas)

How the NY Times Covers NYC
42nd St. Trolleys - Recent 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)
Life's a Beach for Paris Mayor
Berlin: Transport Politics
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The Five-Minute Activist
Previous "Letters from George"
Remembering Steve Dobrow

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.
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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!

Photo: Wayne Fields

ECO-FEST UNION SQUARE APRIL 2016 NYC:Cars cars cars! Toyota took center stage at the "EcoFest" in Union Square April 17 with a huge car promotion (above, looking towards Broadway in the background). Other booths helping people to avoid public transportation were Lyft, Zipcar, Enterprise Rent-a-car, etc. There was one car-free booth, sponsored by City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Photo: Wayne Fields

 Letter from George
July 1, 2016      

AFNY's 2016 Summer Walking Tours:
July: New Auto-Free Spaces in Jersey City

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

Free-wheeling motor vehicles have been embraced by much of the world’s ruling elites as the centerpiece of future urban development. The argument for cars is that "freedom of the road" (for those can afford auto travel) is the essence of human liberty.

But there is a downside to this "freedom," as every pedestrian and cyclist (and transit rider) can attest. In our cities, the competition for scarce street space is anything but equitable. The winner is the usually solo driver, enshrouded in a ton or more of of metal, glass, plastic, airbags and a loud horn. Each crosswalk, in a dense urban place, is a battleground for this "shared" space. Even if a traffic guard were to be posted at each intersection - a totally unaffordable option - the virtues and benefits of urban living are greatly diminished by unfettered motor vehicle use.

Auto-Free New York, formed over two decades ago, was an early advocate for drastically reducing the hazards, environmental degradation and societal injustices caused by auto-domination. While in NYC, supposedly the country's most sophisticated city, the going was slow at first, there now seems to a growing recognition of the need for cities - even in NYC - to push back against cars - one street segment at a time.

The bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives over time has also grown to recognize this - see their Spring 2016 magazine -

This trend has also appeared across the Hudson River, where Jersey City benefits from a light rail line opened in 2001. We'll visit Jersey City for this month’s Auto-Free NY/vision42 meeting, during our latest walking tour, focused on the tri-state region’s latest auto-free street: Newark Avenue in Jersey City.

Plan to join us on this two-hour walking tour, rain or shine, which will begin promptly at 6pm on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. The tour begins at the top of the escalator at the Grove Street PATH station in Jersey City. This PATH station is served by 33rd St-Journal Square and WTC-Newark trains. (When you are on the train platform, look for the exit marked Grove Street.) Our Tour coordinator is Ed Walters, a stalwart advocate and longtime supporter of Auto-Free NY. After a round trip walk on an auto-free Newark Avenue, the tour will return to the Grove Street PATH station at 6:30pm to gather late joiners, and walk past some Jersey City highlights, including City Hall, the Public Library, Van Vorst Park, the landmark district, and some vestiges of abandoned rail and canal transportation infrastructure. After a short walk on Jersey Avenue to the nearby Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station, we will ride the light rail to Exchange Place to view another auto-free place: the Katyn Massacre Memorial plaza at Exchange Place.

In many ways, the roadway street segments of the visionary light rail line in Jersey City that we will traverse resemble the revised street geometry needed for the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront streetcar, whose initial plan was floated by NYC Mayor de Blasio in February 2016. The extraordinary economic development on the Jersey City waterfront, now largely in place, was to a significant extent generated by its new light rail line. This is what the Mayor envisions for the BQ waterfront.

Tour participants can take the PATH at Exchange Place or continue on the light rail tour to Hoboken, where we will end with a quick look at the historic Hoboken Terminal. After that, those so inclined will repair to one of the outdoor cafes nearby for refreshments.

We have, of course, invited Jersey City planning officials, local residents and history experts to join us on this tour. An RSVP to join the tour is not required but is strongly suggested, to [Please note: PATH does not accept unlimited ride Metro-Cards, so a full fare will be required.] Rail advocates have long proposed an integrated fare for the region which would eliminate this glitch:

The light rail single-ride fare permits passengers to make unlimited trips with a 90 minute period.

Hope to see you on July 19, 2016, rain or shine!
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.


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

EarthDay New York, April 2016:
Brought to you by Toyota, Mazda
and Enterprise Rent-a-Car

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

The Inexorable Logic of Urban Auto Use Reduction

Auto-Free NY Meetings, 2016:

Tuesday, July 19, 6-8pm
July Guided Tour: Jersey City LRT and Newark Avenue
Meeting instructions: Grove Street PATH station, Jersey City, top of the escalators, 6pm. [Use Grove Street exit from the PATH train platform.]

Tuesday, August 16, 6-8pm
August Guided Tour - Location TBA
Meeting instructions TBA

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  |
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