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. 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!

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.

• 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
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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

LAST YEAR: 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). Notice ugly "racing" car with tinted windows, illegal in NYC. Other booths encouraging people to avoid public transportation were Lyft, Zipcar, Enterprise Rental, etc. There was one openly auto-free booth, sponsored by City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Photo: Wayne Fields

 Letter from George
May 1, 2017      

Reflections on Regional Rail:
Andy Sparberg on Penn Station and "From a Nickel to a Token"

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

A key strategy for reducing car use in our overcrowded city is to awaken the sleeping giant of regional mobility: New York's severely disconnected network of three commuter rail lines that had been designed chiefly to haul suburbanites to jobs in the core of the city. These rail lines ought to be reconfigured into a comprehensive regional rail system with frequent service, integrated fares and thru service, first at Penn Station, and then by connecting Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.

This strategy will be a major concern at our next Auto-Free NY/vision42/regional rail working group meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 6-8pm, at the Transportation Alternatives office at 111 John Street in Lower Manhattan. We are honored to have as our Guest Speaker Andy Sparberg, a retired LIRR rail planner, whose presentation, Reflections on Regional Rail, will focus on the challenges of operating a dense commuter rail service in the NY region, with emphasis on the Penn Station issues that have recently gone to the top of the radar screen. Andy will share a few "war stories", but also mention some of the good things that have happened. Andy will also bring copies of his new book From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA. He will autograph copies for anyone who would like to purchase one.

The meeting will also include a progress report on vision42 - an auto-free light rail boulevard for 42nd Street - and IRUMís analysis of transport needs to advance the cityís rezoning proposal for Manhattanís East Side - "The Sky's the Limit" - now under consideration.

Also note several other meetings that may be of interest to regional rail advocates:

(1) Jim Venturi of ReThink Studio (see is presenting his Plan 2050 for rail transit in the New York region at Cooper Union on Tuesday evening, May 9, 2017. Hereís the link:

(2) The "nominal" entity for metropolitan planning in the NY-NJ-CT region - the MAP Forum - will be meeting next Wednesday, March 10, 2017 at 10:30am in Stamford, CT. Several interesting regional rail presentations are planned for that meeting, which will be streamed on the internet. For details see:

The AFNY meeting starts promptly at 6, and ends at 8pm, at the T.A. offices (a bike-friendly building), not far from the South Street Seaport. An RSVP is not required but strongly recommended at

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.

Peter Moskowitz's book
This new must-read book asks the question, what is the point of a city when only the rich and the super-rich can afford to live there? Read more
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, 2017:
Tuesday, May 16, 6-8pm
Andy Sparberg on Regional Rail
TA's office, 111 John Street, 2nd Fl., NYC

Tuesday, June 20, 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.
ROME, October 2004. Photo courtesy Wayne Fields.
ROME, Oct. 2004: A modern trolley waits quietly on the Via Arenula, at the terminus of the popular #8 Argentina line, about 3 blocks south of the Pantheon. Behind the trolley can be seen the state-funded Teatro Argentina. Sophisticated cities the world over are acting now to dramatically expand transit and reduce automobile use, while NYC languishes in a smog of cars, public relations, baby steps on pedestrianization and deep-seated political decadence. AFNY's web manager stands in foreground. Photo: Wayne Fields.

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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