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
Previous "Letters from George"
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42nd St. Trolleys - 1990's Planning History
What's so Great about Streetcars?
Light Rail in the Lincoln Tunnel!
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Life's a Beach for Paris Mayor
Berlin: Transport Politics
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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

AFNY SUMMER WALKING TOUR IN JERSEY CITY: Light Rail works! We wish more anti-trolley advocates would visit just across the river (the "Hudson Ocean") to see how well light rail works. Above, participants in our July 2016 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
May 1, 2018      

We Must Connect Penn Station with Grand Central!

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

IRUM has long called for a rail link connecting Penn Station and Grand Central - "the mother of all train station connections" - and remaking the three commuter rail lines serving the NY-NJ-CT metropolitan area into a coordinated regional rail system, with frequent service, integrated fares and thru-running, first at Penn Station and then through the connection to Grand Central.

Plan to attend the next monthly auto-free New York/vision42/regional rail working group meeting on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 6-8pm at the TA offices, 111 John Street in Lower Manhattan, where the discussion will center on this essential connection. Ethan Finlan, a Boston-based freelance researcher and writer focused on transportation planning issues, will present some interesting findings from his recent study "Examining Commuting Patterns to the Grand Central and Penn Station areas."

Also at the meeting, highlights of an April 20th panel hosted by the City Club of NY and moderated by former NY City Council member Dan Garodnick will also be summarized. The panel, organized by IRUM board member John West, was a lively debate among leading rail experts on three competing visions for a regional rail "trunk line" in the core of Manhattan.

The May 15th working group meeting will attempt to devise a credible strategy for moving forward on the connection, taking into consideration some of the findings presented by Mr. Finlan and the positions articulated at that City Club panel. Also, Roxanne Warren, chair of vision42, will walk us thru IRUM's most recent draft of a presentation that makes the case for this for an auto-free light rail boulevard, river-to-river on 42nd street. We will look forward to your comments and suggestions on how to sharpen this presentation.

As you may have noticed, these two IRUM initiatives intersect at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan - the East-West crosstown light rail on the surface, and the regional rail tracks below ground from Penn Station approaching the lower level regional rail tracks at Grand Central. These critical initiatives will ease access and improve the walking environment in the very epicenter of East Midtown, the crowded hub that has been recently "upzoned" in order to shoehorn in another six million square feet of office space.

Since this is a "working group" meeting, please come prepared to commit to some specific efforts that you can do to help to advance these two efforts. The meeting will also feature progress reports on IRUM efforts to advance congestion pricing for the Manhattan core by using carrot-and-stick pricing strategies. Hope to see you at the Tuesday, May 15th. An RSVP is not required but strongly recommended, at Also, contributions to IRUM are welcome and can be mailed to the address shown below or on-line:

George Haikalis, Chair          

P.S. Get your FREE 2018 NYC Bike Map, available now at most bicycle shops! This map, published by the City DoT, as part of its WalkNYC program, and updated annually, is one of the best deals around. Pedestrians and transit users will find it useful too since it indicates many local streets, all subway station locations, and all bridge access paths.
  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, 2018:

Tuesday, May 15, 6-8pm
The Penn Station-to-Grand Central Connection
Ethan Finlan, transportation writer and researcher
TA Office, 111 John Street, 6-8pm

Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 6-8pm
Topic TBA
TA Office, 111 John Street, 6-8pm

* DIRECTIONS: Except for our summer walking tours, meetings are held at Transportation Alternatives' HQ, at 111 John Street, 2nd Fl. (just off Water Street, below the 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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