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
Scion Boxian Smeli-Pootr
Subaru Deforester
Toyota Runovia
VW Smoggia

Be a patriot - use mass transit!

Conservancy Shuts Out the Public.

Above: HEY! YOU! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!: Here in Central Park, a Conservancy sign fences out the public in order to preserve "their" lawns. In the summer of 2014, the residents of an ever more crowded city flock to their parks, eager for open space and quiet, only to find more and more fences, restrictions, intrusive police patrols and commercial activities. Photo: W Fields, summer 2011.

 Letter from George
August 1, 2014     

August Walking Tour:
Guided Tour of Inwood

Dear Friends of Auto-Free New York:

[Special Note: The July Walking Tour of Inwood was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms that afternoon and evening. The exact same tour has been rescheduled for August, as below:] The island of Manhattan, one of the world’s most densely populated, houses a million and a half residents and hosts daily another two million workers and visitors. But the vast majority of its open space, measured in square feet, is smothered with pavement devoted to high-speed motorized vehicles, with dedicated space for pedestrians - ie, sidewalks - a distant second. And despite all the hoopla, only a tiny fraction of NYC's streets, measured in lane miles, has bike lanes.

As many New Yorkers know, there is some open space at the very northern tip of Manhattan, and remarkably, it remains in a relatively pristine natural wooded state. This green space provides some breathing room for the otherwise densely-developed, highway-ringed residential neighborhood of Inwood. Our July AFNY Walking Tour will take place there.

For the past two decades, in July and August, our Auto-free monthly meetings have abandoned our regular indoor meeting space, generously provided by Transportation Alternatives in Midtown Manhattan, for popular free walking tours to see firsthand the good, the bad and the traffic-jammed in our city.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 from 6-8pm, we’re fortunate to have a regular member of Auto-Free NY - M. Frank - who has offered to give us a guided tour of his neighborhood of Inwood. The tour will be a river-to-river walking tour, beginning at the Dyckman Street station of the #1 subway. We will be joined by several neighbors who know the history of Upper Manhattan and have experienced its remarkable revitalization. We have invited and hope to welcome NYC Councilmember Ydanis A. Rodriguez, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee, and lives nearby. Thanks to City and State efforts to enact a 25mph speed limit, we can also monitor its progress in taming the notorious traffic chaos of Washington Heights.

The tour will take place rain or shine. The #1 subway, the city’s first line, emerges from below ground right at the Dyckman Street station; we'll meet in front of the token booth inside the station at street level. M. Frank plans to first head east to the Harlem River, then back on Dyckman Street to the Hudson, passing the A train station and the former streetcar line (now a bus), and the Amtrak West Side rail line (this line is a candidate for upgrading to regional rail) and ending at the Marina on the Hudson River.

Along the way we will catch up on some of IRUM’s initiatives including the latest news on vision42 - an auto-free light rail boulevard on 42nd Street and our efforts to make the case for regional rail to the new City Administration. The tour begins at 6pm sharp. An rsvp is strongly recommended f you plan to attend:

Also, this fall we will celebrate the publication of vision42 principal Roxanne Warren's new book, "Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimagining Urban Space" (MIT Press). And I invite you to watch on youtube a lively TV debate I was on back in April, 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!!
George Haikalis, Chair

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

Peter Freund, 1940-2014<br>AFNY co-founder and Professor Emeritus
Peter Freund, 1940-2014
Professor Emeritus, AFNY co-founder
(obit to appear here soon)

New tracking technology in our neighborhoods
Recognize this Grey Box?
EZ-Pass and Big Brother Join Up

Remarkable (& Free)
Long Island Bike & Hike Map


The Inexorable Logic of Urban Auto Use Reduction

Auto-Free NY
Meetings, 2014:

Tuesday, August 19, 6-8pm
Guided Tour of Inwood, upper Manhattan
Meet at 6pm sharp, #1 subway, Dyckman Street station, at token booth inside street level entrance

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.

Auto-Free New York . . . more than just bollards and paintstripes
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 2013, 2014. All rights reserved. Auto-Free New York. This page last updated August 2, 2014.