AUTO-FREE NEW YORK!
Livable City Plan
Jan 14, 2013.
Pro-Transit, Pro-Earth Groups and AgenciesWe've listed here, for the New York metropolitan area, then nationwide, the websites for some of the many, many organizations that are trying to make our local, state and federal governments more responsible and responsive. These groups are generally hardworking and quite outspoken. Some have big budgets, hundreds of staffers and executive directors with whopping big salaries, while others operate on a shoestring or rely heavily on volunteers. Regardless, they all deserve your support, not just a visit to their website. Also listed are some relevant government agencies. Ultimately, these advocacy groups speak out for the planet we live on, and for nature, which, of course, has no voice at that crooked table where perhaps a couple of dozen men from around the world are deciding humanity's, and the natural world's, fate. These groups often bring a marvelous wealth of information and a worldview which says, above all, that citizens have the right and duty to become involved in the democratic process, locally, regionally and nationally, when it comes to preserving the planet we live on. Remember the old saying, more true than ever: the price of democracy is endless vigilance. What a refreshing contrast these groups offer to the blunt economic censorship and consumerist coercion of the corporate-owned media, who try to distract, divide and misinform us!
[PS - Please contact us if you see a link that needs updating]
New York Metropolitan Area:
Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org)
Join this group! They are on the frontlines of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy in NYC. The group's executive director, Paul Steeley White, who for some time had a hard-hitting column in AMNew York, one of the free daily papers, gets regularly quoted in the 'real' newspapers. Take a look at the transalt.org website, which, although a little too busy visually, is updated weekly with very timely information and action points. Great print newsletter, too. TA, however, is not strong on aggressive transit investments, though.
Village Crosstown Trolley Coalition (www.villagetrolley.org)
"Vision 42" - Light Rail for 42nd St. (www.vision42.org)
Straphangers Campaign (www.straphangers.org)
Transit Riders Council (www.nyctrc.org)
Cars Suck! (www.cars-suck.org)
Bridge Tolls Now! (www.bridgetolls.org)
Tree Branch (www.treebranch.net)
This is the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition.
Sustainable Long Island [www.sustainableli.org]
New York Rideshare (State DoT) [www.511nyrideshare.org]
On this site you can request by mail a FREE Long Island Bikeway and Trailway map, published by the NY State Dept of Transportation. It is a terrific, detailed map showing what network there is of these pathways, in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the fabled Land of SUVs. It even includes LIRR lines and stations. The only caveat is that the map is undated, and the 1st Edition was probably published around 2010. (The TA office on West 26th St usually also has copies.)
Walk NY (www.walkny.org)
NJ Association of Rail Passengers (www.njarp.org)
NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (www.nyceja.org)
New York League of Conservation Voters (www.nylcv.org)
From their website: "the New York League of Conservation Voters is the non-profit, nonpartisan political arm of NY's environmental community. NYLCV seeks to make environmental protection a priority with NY's elected officials, political candidates, businesses and voters by mobilizing New Yorkers as a political force on behalf of the environment."
The Obama Administration has turned out to be kinder and gentler to the planet we all inhabit than the Bush/Cheney/Karl Rove regime. However, the White House, and Congress, of course, is still besieged by corporations and their armies of K Street lobbyists. These non-democratic influences necessitate continued environmental activism on every level, from protestors in the streets to lawyers in the suites. Some of the following groups have enough dues-paying members -- some 800,000 in the case of the Sierra Club -- that they can collectively bring a little leverage come election time. Please join them even if you have quibbles about their approach, their priorities or the 'greenwashing' car ads and car promotions that infest some of their publications. League of Conservation Voters (www.lcv.org)
Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org)
Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org)
"Because the Earth needs a Good Lawyer" is the motto of this lawyers' group, based in Oakland, California.
Environmental Defense (www.environmentaldefense.org)
Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsUsa.org)
Scientists generally prefer to consider transit advocacy as belonging in the political realm. This group focuses not on public transportation as a technological antidote to mobility chaos wherever human dwellings are concentrated, but instead on encouraging people to buy cars that aren't SUV's, and on advancing an overall awareness of global warming.
National Association of Rail Passengers (www.narprail.org)
Amtrak gives 10 percent discounts on many of its train tickets for members of this organization, although this discount seems to be a very-well kept secret compared to the national railroad's promotions for American Automobile Association members. NARP memberships start at $16.
Light Rail Now (www.lightrailnow.org)
A terrific information clearinghouse about national efforts to introduce or expand light rail transit systems in our country's urban areas. Based in Texas.
Railroad Museum of Long Island (www.rmli.us)
Federal Transit Administration (www.fta.dot.gov)
U.S. Senate (www.senate.gov)
Suggested Reading about the Senate: "The Empty Chamber", an article by George Packer, in the August 9, 2010 issue of the New Yorker.
U.S. House of Representatives (www.house.gov)
Find the people here on these convenient and well-organized sites who are supposed to represent your interests in our government and make them act responsibly. Send real letters, not just emails. Give them the spine they need to stand up to corporate lobbyists, "captured" agencies like state departments of transportation, and yes, even mismanaged bureaucracies like Amtrak. It may be unreasonable for us to expect the lawmakers whose salaries we pay to be statesmen, or even just honest, but they can at least stop being congressmice.
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