AUTO-FREE NEW YORK!
Livable City Plan
Serving NYC since 1989!
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. Invest in new transit options and expansion -- not just baby steps -- and make bicycling better. A livable city is possible!
NEXT MEETING: June 18
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 lower 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.
CURRENT EVENTS: The City's plaNYC 2030
Light Rail in NYC
Regional Rail Working Group
Remembering Steve Dobrow
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
The Five-Minute Activist
Previous "Letters from George"
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:
Ford Poluta XS
Scion Boxian Smeli-Pootr
Be a patriot - use mass transit!
Above: Only in NYC would such an asset as the LIRR Rockaway Beach line right-of-way lay in ruins for decades. View from A train looking north near Howard Beach stop, April 2013. Photo: W Fields. Letter from George
June 1, 2013
Why Not Upgrade to World Class:
The JFK Airport Express Plan
Dear Friends of Auto-Free New York:
One of the key hallmarks of a modern city is fast, frequent, one-seat-ride rail service to its major airport(s). Recently, even Salt Lake City -- in so-called 'red state' Utah -- has started up a rail line linking its downtown and its 'international' airport. So where's NYC's one-seat airport access to JFK, the nation's busiest international air hub? As of 2013, it's still the laughingstock of the civilized world - with visitors stuck in overpriced cabs, caught in endless traffic jams on the Van Wyck Expressway! Over the decades, activists have tried to get refurbished the LIRR Rockaway Beach line in Queens, a 4.2 mile long high-speed line abandoned generations ago - but no-one listened, except a handful of NIMBYs who prioritized their fears over the transit needs of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Then, in 2012, two major events cast a new light on this rail right-of-way. One was Hurricane Sandy in October, which cut subway service to the Rockaways and made clear the area's lack of good transit options. The other was the opening of the High Line Park in Chelsea, an overdesigned strolling attraction meant to further hypergentrify that part of west Manhattan, in preparation for the shoehorning in of a whole new phalanx of taxpayer-subsidized Mondo Condo luxury mega-high-rises. This new park gave abutters along the Rockaway Beach line the motive to start a campaign to make it the 'High Line' of Queens - and preclude a rail line. The Rockaway Beach line rail right-of-way lies on an almost arrow straight shot between the Manhattan central business district, the nation's largest, and JFK, in central Queens. Tree-choked, rat- and weed-infested, this priceless city-owned rail right of way could easily provide a key link between the MTA's LIRR mainline in Rego Park and the Port Authority's JFK AirTrain at Ozone Park. Restoring this link and purchasing a small fleet of rail cars that can run on both the LIRR and Airtrain tracks is all that is needed. Now a 68-page, lavishly illustrated new report - dubbed the Capstone report - has just been issued under the auspices of IRUM and NYU's Wagner School of Public Service. (The report, available in pdf format, was prepared by four urban planning students at the Capstone Program at Wagner: Scott Hobbs, Hang Huynh, Gabriel Kleinfeld and Daniel Simoes.) Find out more about this precious resource at our next Auto-Free NY meeting, on Tuesday, June 18, from 6-8pm, at the Transportation Alternatives office, 127 W 26th St. 10th Fl., Midtown Manhattan. (An rsvp is recommended: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Sincerely,P.S. NYC SMOG ALERT UPDATES: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 (800) 535-1345. P.P.S. 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 will not be able to 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.
George Haikalis, Chair
WISHING TRAFFIC AWAY IS NOT EFFECTIVE
This car-hugger illustration appeared in the New York Times, which has a longstanding grudge against doing serious transit journalism.
The NY Times Remembers Jane Holtz Kay
Remarkable (and Free) Long Island Bike & Hike Map
Scapegoating Bicyclists for NYC's Reckless Motor Vehicle Climate
New Book on NYC Mayor 'One Percent' (see cover below)
Upcoming Auto-Free NY
Tuesday, June 18, 6-8pm
JFK Airport Express: World-Class Rail Plans
Speaker: George Haikalis, ASCE, President, IRUM
TA Office, 127 West 26th Street, 10th Fl. Tuesday, July xx, 6-8pm
Summer Walking Tour #1
Location and Date TBA
* DIRECTIONS: Meetings are at Transportation Alternatives' HQ, at 127 West 26th Street, 10th Floor Conference Room. Meetings start promptly at 6pm and end at 8pm. Our meetings are always FREE and open to the public.
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.
Auto-Free New York . . . more than just bollards and paintstripes
Auto-Free New York George Haikalis, Chairman | One Washington Sq. Village, #5D, NYC 10012 | Phone: (212) 475-3394 | email@example.com
© Copyright 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated June 6, 2013.