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
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!

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
June 1, 2016      

The City Council's POPS Plan
for Lower Manhattan:
Convert Open Space to Shopping Space?

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

The next meeting of IRUMís Auto-Free New York/vision42 working group will be held on Tuesday, June 21, 6-8pm, at Transportation Alternatives' headquarters on John Street in lower Manhattan.

Now that weíre back in Lower Manhattan, a block below the Seaport, this seems like a good time to reflect on some of Auto-Free NYís past initiatives to reduce car traffic and improve transit on the historic southern end of Manhattan, the islandís most built up area. We will review our plan for a light rail loop and a grid of pedestrian streets. Now before the City Council is a plan to "privatize" POPS - privately-owned public space. Many civic activists and park advocates are very concerned about this proposal, which will convert the often windswept and usually barren ground-floor spaces around office towers into more shopping opportunities. These POPS were granted back in the 1970s by the city as bonuses to increase office building density throughout. AFNYís proposed pedestrian grid plan can offset much of the harm of this plan, which unfortunately seems like all but a done deal.

Time permitting, we will also reflect on efforts to bring regional rail service to Lower Manhattan, and also review other regional rail initiatives.

Finally, the working group should lay out a plan for more robust efforts to advance vision42 - a smart plan for a river-to-river auto-free light rail boulevard on 42nd Street. The Mayor sidestepped this longstanding and well-thought-out plan to instead actively promote his Brooklyn-Queens waterfront light rail plan. With IRUMís updated economic study nearing completion, now is an excellent time to press for vision42. Perhaps as a testimony to his persistence, Fred Papert - the civic activist who devoted nearly five decades of his life promoting the 42nd Street light rail - did manage to enjoy this turnabout of mayoral attitude toward streetcars/light rail in the final months of his life. Please read this wonderful reflection on his many efforts to enhance the public realm:

Following the meeting, we will do a mini-walking tour (with stops for refreshments) of the South Street Seaportís auto-free pedestrian spaces on Fulton Street.

Finally, please save the dates for our popular summer walking tours Ė Tuesdays, July 19 and August 16, 2016, 6-8pm, location to be announced.

The T.A. offices (a bike-friendly building) are at 111 John Street in Lower Manhattan. 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.

EarthDay New York 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
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, June 21, 6-8pm
Privatizing Public Spaces - Council's POPS Plan
TA's office, 111 John Street, 2nd Fl., NYC

Tuesday, July 19, 6-8pm
Guided Tour - Location TBA
Meeting instructions TBA

Tuesday, August 16, 6-8pm
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  |
© Copyright 2014, 2015, 2016. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated June 21, 2016.