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!

NEXT MEETING: September 15
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
How to Join/Donate
Visit These Links
Recent Books
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!

A rare Vision Zero electronic sign at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn exhorts motorists to slow down, May 2015. Not long after this picture was taken, the sign vanished.  Photo: Wayne Fields

HARD-TO-SEE VISION ZERO: A rare vision Zero electronic sign at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn exhorts motorists to slow down, May 2015. Not long after this picture was taken, the sign vanished. The paucity of Vision Zero signage citywide, and the ongoing siege of the city by reckless, speeding motorists leads some to suspect the safety measure is almost a top municipal secret. Photo: Wayne Fields

 Letter from George
September 1, 2015      

Manchester UK's Light Rail Plan!

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

Throughout the world, a growing number of cities have discovered that modern light rail transit can be a transformative tool to attract motorists from their cars and to encourage sustainable economic development at substantially less cost than building new subways. The city of Manchester, in England, is one of them. A post-industrial city some 150 miles northwest of London, Manchester chose to advance a plan for a light rail system that would connect isolated remnants of British rail lines with key links through auto-free streets in the core of the city.

Find out more about 'Manchester Metrolink: Reinventing Transit for the Post-Industrial City' at our September meeting when guest speaker Bon Provenzano will present the Manchester plan. Bon is a project manager for British Aerospace and has been splitting his work time between Manchester and NYC for the past 10 years. He holds an MS in Transportation Management.

Plan to attend the next meeting of Auto-Free NY/vision42 working group on Tuesday September 15, 2015, 6-8pm at Transportation Alternatives office at 127 West 26th St, 10th Floor in Midtown Manhattan. The meeting will also offer an opportunity to catch up on IRUMís efforts to advance vision42 Ė an auto-free light rail boulevard on 42nd Street and to transform the three commuter rail lines serving the NY-NJ-CT metropolitan area into a regional rail system Ė with frequent service, integrated fares and through-running at Penn Station.

   results of the design competition for vision42
   op-ed on closing the Times Square pedestrian plaza
   IRUM's regional rail plan.

IRUMís walking tour of Red Hook and Gowanus in August was well attended, and timely. Read about a new initiative to press for a waterfront light rail that stretches along quite a bit of Brooklyn and Queens.

Note that this will be our last meeting at T.A.ís current HQ in midtown. Beginning on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 6-8pm, Auto-Free NY/vision42 will meet at Transportation Alternativesí new office in Lower Manhattan, at 111 John Street, Suite 260, only a short block from the South Street Seaportís auto-free Fulton Street. The closest subway station is the recently modernized Fulton Street (2/3/4/5 and A/C/J/Z) subway complex.

Many thanks are due to T.A. for making this space available. Save the dates for the November 17, 2015, 6-8pm and December 15, 2015 6-8pm meetings as well - speakers to be announced.
George Haikalis, Chair          

P.S.      GEORGE IN TV DEBATE, NOW ON YOUTUBE: I invite you to watch on youtube a lively TV panel debate I was on, on the Brian Lehrer cable TV show (April 2, 2014). The debate, "Rail or Trail (or both) for the disused Rockaway Beach Line in central Queens" featured myself, as president of IRUM, arguing for restoration of the rail right-of-way, and Travis Terry, of the Friends of Queensway, arguing to convert it into a linear park. The youtube address:

(or use youtube's search function). Note: skip forward around 40 minutes into Lehrer's show, when the debate portion, around 15 minutes long, begins. Enjoy!!
     NYC SMOG ALERT UPDATES:Despite 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 breath when outdoors. For updates, call the state Dept of Environmental Conservation at 1-800 535-1345.
     Regional Rail Group Update: Our Regional Rail Working Group also meets monthly. This group showcases the efforts of individuals from a variety of transit advocacy groups to awaken our region's sleeping giant, its commuter rail system. Note that because of the damage from Hurricane Sandy done to Hoboken in fall 2012, we cannot hold our regular monthly meetings at the Hoboken City Hall.) Until further notice, we urge those who can make it to attend our regular Auto-Free NY/vision42 working group meetings. Information on a restored meeting time and place will be announced as soon as possible.


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

EarthDay NY 2015: Brought to you by Toyota

New York Times: Filler vs. Reporting
on 'Vision Zero'

New tracking technology in our neighborhoods
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
Remarkable (& Free)
Long Island Bike & Hike Map


The Inexorable Logic of Urban Auto Use Reduction

Auto-Free NY Meetings, 2015:

Tuesday, September 15, 6-8pm
Manchester UK's Light Rail Plan
Bon Provenzano, project manager
TA Office, 127 West 26th Street, 10th Fl.

Tuesday, October 20, 6-8pm
topic to be announced
Speaker to be announced
time and location to be announced

Tuesday, November 17, 6-8pm
topic to be announced
Speaker to be announced
time and location to be announced

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): The bulk of these top-heavy, inadequately braked "bloatmobiles" makes their driver feel invulnerable, and so they drive worse, and crash more. Big business, attuned to wasteful and overdesigned products in principle, embraced SUVs as prime subjects beginning in the mid-90s, for one of the most intensive marketing and indoctrination campaigns in US car company history. But inexorably, American price supports for lower cost gasoline are going to end, while the realities of declining world oil production, and increasing political, military and climate chaos will grow more stark. 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  |
© Copyright 2014, 2015. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated September 3, 2015.