Saturday, June 23, 2007

New York City: Beyond the Automobile

I've written a lot about the F&V train lately, and clearly as a Carroll Gardens resident it's an issue near to my heart. But restoring the F express and extending the V out to Brooklyn is just one example of the investments we as New Yorkers can and must make in our transit infrastructure to keep this city on an upward trajectory.

The rise of the automobile was a devastating blow to this city, among others. For 50 years, scarcely any additional resources were put towards developing our transit systems, as countless billions were spent building and rebuilding thousands of miles of space hogging, environmentally disastrous highways and additional lanes on local streets.

Pedestrian flow is the life of this city. How conducive to community is it to cross a six-lane through street to see your neighbors? Or to cross under a dark, noisy and crumbling structure like the Gowanus Expressway to get to a park? Or to look out your window and see a Cross-Bronx Expressway or the BQE gouging its way through your neighborhood like a deep, painful scar?

One of the beautiful things about New York is that millions of our inhabitants can get by without ever owning a car. Without an expansive, 24 hour transit system this would be impossible. It follows that the greater the transit coverage, and the more frequent and rapid the service, the more people will travel the rails and buses, and get out of their cars.

After 50 years of favoring the automobile and truck, it's time for New York to invest in transit for people and for freight, to take back pieces of the road infrastructure for open space, and remember that a thriving city centers around people and places, not cars.

3 comments:

JustCurious said...

You are so right! I could not imagine having to take the car everywhere. As Brooklynites and as New Yorkers, we have to demand better subway service and better connections. New York has neglected to invest in its infra-structure. With all the residential construction going on, all the services will be stretched to the limit

Jose said...

This is one of the changes that the MTA should be rushing to make (assuming increased capital investment from proposed congestion pricing revenues make their way to transit improvements). It would add a line without building any significant new infrastructure. A no-brainer for sure.

Jose said...

Whoops meant to comment in the F&V post.