Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Wiki Wednesday: Car-Free in NYC

5:47 PM EDT on April 22, 2009

If you live in New York City, chances are you've already done your part this Earth Day with a car-free commute to work. As this week's featured Streetswiki article by DianaD reminds us, vehicle ownership in the five boroughs is far less common than in most areas of the U.S. -- even in relatively auto-centric Staten Island, where 18 percent of households are car-free.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, only 8% ofAmerican households do not own a car. Vehicle ownership is stronglyrelated to distance traveled. People in households with at least onevehicle travel twice far as those in households without a vehicle. Theyalso use a car for more than 90% of their trips, while those without avehicle travel on foot or via transit 57% of the time. Households witha vehicle walk or take public transit for only 1% and 8% of theirtrips, respectively.

In addition to a more pedestrian-friendly street grid than most Americans enjoy, most New Yorkers owe their car-freedom, of course, to the MTA. However, even as the city looks to expand sustainable transportation options to complement its overworked mass transit system, the majority of its citizens remain at the mercy of motoring class lawmakers who spew anti-MTA vitriol like so much noxious CO2.

It would have been nice this April 22 to wake up to headlines announcing that the Fare Hike Four and their ilk had come to realize that they could, and should, promote a healthy transit system while reducing congestion and pollution. Unfortunately, news that good only comes on April 1.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Tuesday’s Headlines: Don’t Look Up Edition

It's hard to believe that it's going to rain again today, plus other more important news.

September 26, 2023

Another Flip-Flop: City Hall Allegedly Pauses Almost-Done Underhill Ave. Bike Boulevard

City Hall is intervening in yet another street redesign project, and supporters fear it could be the start of dismantling other improvements.

September 26, 2023

Analysis: Everyone Agrees — Less Parking Means More Housing

Let's take a second-day look at Mayor Adams's "City of Yes" zoning proposal to do away with mandatory parking in new developments.

September 25, 2023

What is the Life of a Dead Pedestrian Worth?

A cop laughed that a normal person is only worth $11,000 — and that figure was partly due to his racism, but also how little we value the lives of people on foot.

September 25, 2023

Monday’s Headlines: ‘What is Up With All These Flip-Flops, Mayor?’ Edition

It's the same old story with this mayor and his chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin. Plus other news.

September 25, 2023
See all posts