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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: SEPTEMBER 13
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:
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AUTOMOBILE HORROR!
42nd St. Trolleys - Recent History
What's so Great about Streetcars?
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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.
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!

Photo: Wayne Fields

AFNY SUMMER WALKING TOUR IN JERSEY CITY: Light Rail works! We wish more anti-trolley advocates would visit just across the river to see how well light rail works. Above, participants in our July Walking Tour prepare to board the northbound light rail line in Jersey City. George Haikalis is at front center, with white shirt and black shoulder strap. Photo: Wayne Fields

 Letter from George
September 1, 2016      

de Blasio's East Midtown Upzoning Proposal:
Add Better Transit Now!

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

Now is the moment!

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been pressing hard to advance his "skyís the limit" East Midtown upzoning. In this pro-mega-development climate, now is the moment for IRUM to forcefully advocate for its two longstanding initiatives for that exact area, that would greatly improve rail access and increase walking space:

1. vision42, an auto-free river-to-river light rail boulevard on 42nd Street passing through the heart of this proposed upzoned East Midtown district, would greatly expand pedestrian space and upgrade crosstown surface transit; and

2. Making the Connection would link Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal permitting a convenient one-seat ride rail service to East Midtown for west-of-Hudson commuters, avoiding transfers to two crowded subways while remaking Grand Central into a more efficient through station.

Though each of these rail proposals makes enormous sense on its own merits, advocating for them together, at this time, could be very productive, because it would help calm the jitters of communities who are rightly concerned about the Mayorís looming upzoning proposal. The de Blasio plan would shoehorn a whopping six million sq ft (or more) of new office space into the nationís most crowded Central Business District (CBD), while providing as yet unspecified subway stairway additions and sidewalk widenings. Clearly, this is not enough; this whole part of Manhattan is desperately overcrowded, both above and below ground.

Join us at our September joint Auto-Free NY/vision42 working group meeting, to be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 6-8pm at the Transportation Alternatives office at 111 John Street in Lower Manhattan, where we will discuss strategies to advance these sensible transport measures. Note that the meeting this month is a week earlier than normal, due to a scheduling situation that TA had. As always, an RSVP is not required, but is strongly 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.








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
SCAPEGOATING BICYCLISTS FOR
NYC'S RECKLESS MOTOR VEHICLE CLIMATE

The Inexorable Logic of Urban Auto Use Reduction

Upcoming
Auto-Free NY Meetings, 2016:

Tuesday, September 13, 6-8pm
East Midtown Upzoning: Add Better Transit Now!
TA's office, 111 John Street, 2nd Fl., NYC
[Note: meeting is on the 13th, not the 20th, for this month.]

Tuesday, October 18, 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 2014, 2015, 2016. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated September 8, 2016.