Light Rail
Regional Rail
Penn Station
Livable City Plan
Serving NYC, and your quality-of-life, 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 away from highway expansion and subsidies for private cars, to investments in new transit options and extensions -- not just baby steps. Last but not least, make bicycling better. A livable city is possible!

NEXT MEETING: to be announced!
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"
How to Join/Donate
Visit These Links
Recent Books
Remembering Steve Dobrow
42nd St. Trolleys - 1990's Planning 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
The Five-Minute Activist

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!

Inbound traffic over the free East River bridges; the vast majority of these cars carry only one person - the driver. May 2010.

Above: Inbound traffic over one of the still untolled East River bridges, showing the city's longstanding success in subsidizing and incentivizing private car commuting; the vast majority of these cars only carry one person - the driver (or if a Uber, only one passenger). The recently passed congestion pricing plan, coupled with major improvements in and expansion of mass transit, could make such unwelcome scenes less common, and our city much more livable.

 Letter from George
September 1, 2020      

Welcome to Pandemic New York!

Dear Friends of Sustainable Transport:

Greetings to all, and we at AFNY hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and wearing masks during this Trumpian pandemic, which will undoubtedly stretch well into next year - even with a new President and federal administration pursuing a course of healing and safeguarding the American people rather than the opposite. We've of course suspended our monthly meetings for the first time since 1989, but hope to soon have them back again, as zoom meetings.

Meanwhile, NYC has sprouted street-side cafes all over, and even a few street "openings", ie, open to people, closed to cars; something many have been arguing for, long before the pandemic struck. The ambiance is not Paris, however, with motor vehicles careening by within a few feet of the outdoor diners sipping their lattes. Already, a few of the booths have been struck by reckless motorists, but thankfully no deaths yet, as tables, coffee cups and diners go flying!

Even the most die-hard automobile apologist has taken notice that urban space can be used in a better way than just storing motor vehicles or allowing them high speed access. Remarkably, the NY Times, which for years smeared, insulted and ignored public transit, its riders, and bicyclists, has taken notice. Back on Sunday, October 6th, 2019, pre-pandemic, they had published a full-page article decrying cars in NYC as death machines ("Cars Really Are Death Machines: To Make Our Streets Safe, We Need Fewer, not Smarter Cars", by Allison Arieff, a contributing opinion writer). Then, on July 12th, 2020, the paper devoted the entire front cover of its Sunday Review section to introduce a two-page article by Farhad Manjoo, "The End of Cars: I've Seen A Future Without Cars and It's Amazing." We can only guess what's next at the paper: actual reporting on the urgent transit issues facing the region??

The paper has also run several articles examining the subway system in terms of risks of contagion, concluding that as long as most riders wore masks, time spent inside the cars was short, and the trains weren't shoulder-to-shoulder crowded, the risks were manageable. However, things could change this fall, as cold weather ends outdoor dining and more people return to work in Manhattan. In the meantime, we urge all to wear masks when around others, to social distance, to support candidates who acknowledge global warming, and to vote this November!!

We remind everyone once more, that pandemic or not, your financial contributions to IRUM are always needed, necessary and welcome, and can be mailed to the address shown at the bottom of this page. [Note: our online donation portal has unfortunately closed.]
George Haikalis, Chair          

P.S. ALTERNATIVE TV: Take a break and cut the costly and car-ad-filled cable of your TV - there is great programming available free over the airwaves. Take a look at NYC's official TV station - on Channel 25-1. Or visit Channel 25-2, which broadcasts city hearings, sometimes tediously, and usually without identifying the speakers, but allowing you to see actual elected officials in action, as well as actual citizens talking back to their representatives, even if only allowed exactly three minutes each. In some cases, you may actually recognize some of the politicians. And there's arts-oriented CUNY TV, on Channel 25-3, which also carries Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman.

NYC SMOG ALERT UPDATES:New reports by the American Lung Association ( and other organizations have ranked NYC as having the third-worst air pollution in the country. Last summer - 2018 - was almost one long Air Quality Alert Day here in NYC, due mostly to the overuse of motor vehicles. Despite ongoing propaganda about how clean cars are these days, NYC's air quality continues to be the worst on the East Coast. Such alerts indicate you really shouldn't breathe when outdoors, or live within a few blocks of a city highway or busy "sacrifice" street. For updates, visit WWW.AIRNOW.GOV, WWW.LUNG.COM, or 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 up 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, 2020:

Meetings are on hold until it is safe to resume. Zoom meetings will be announced by invitation. Stay safe!

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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