Chart: There Is No "War On Cars" in New York City Chart: There Is No "War On Cars" in New York City
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Chart: There Is No "War On Cars" in New York City

by Ben Jervey

March 3, 2011

Credit Noah Kazis with crunching the numbers. Kazis explains:

While the DOT under Janette Sadik-Khan has made incredibly important steps to improve safety and mobility for New Yorkers, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of New York City’s streets remain about the same. We did some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate just how much street space has been reallocated from drivers to pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders in recent years. The answer: not a whole lot.

In fact, we estimate that less than one half of one percent of NYC’s street space has changed in the past three and a half years...And that’s with the generous assumption that on-street bike lanes and bus lanes aren’t constantly encroached upon by motor vehicles.

Click through for details about how they calculated the area devoted to bike lanes, new bus lanes, and new pedestrian space. The takeaway, to my mind, is that there is no "war on cars," except to the motor-mad Murdoch-owned media, and to the the wealthy minority of car owners in New York City. And it is a considerable minority: As of 2000, the last census data available, 54 percent of New York City households neither owned nor leased a vehicle, and looking at Manhattan alone, that number jumps to 78 percent.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
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Chart: There Is No "War On Cars" in New York City