Tom Vanderbilt Dissects “The ‘E’ Word”

eword.jpgImage: Reclaim

In the latest issue of TA’s Reclaim, "Traffic" author Tom Vanderbilt revisits the May New York Magazine profile of Janette Sadik-Khan, and its portrayal of projects like car-free Broadway as tributes to the city’s oft-mythologized non-driving "elite."

Vanderbilt’s piece, entitled "The ‘E’ Word," deconstructs what he considers one of the most "abused word[s] in contemporary political discourse."

A few facts — "stubborn things," as Reagan called them — are in order. The most obvious thing to note is that car drivers make up a very
small portion of the commuter population — 16.9 percent of travelers
into the proposed "congestion zone" of Manhattan, and that includes
trucks. And as the New York City Independent Budget Office has found,
those people who do drive into Manhattan have a median annual income
that exceeds other commuters by some 28.6 percent. And yet it’s the
cyclists who are elite.

Council Member Liu complained that Sadik-Khan’s job is not to be a
"visionary." Rather it’s to strike a "balance between all the entities
competing for street space." Well, let’s think about that "balance"
under the status quo so beloved by Liu. In regards to the Times Square
project, the space under consideration currently hosts nearly seven
times as many pedestrians as vehicles. And yet how much space was
devoted to those pedestrians? 11 percent.

Of course, what else but propaganda such as this would we expect from a publication produced by Transportation Alternatives — the group that, according to one anonymous New York Mag source, "is literally writing
transportation policy in the city of New York — unchecked."

Carry on, TA overlords. We look forward to future elitist measures like parking reform, car-free parks and, naturally, the ultimate prize of the ruling class: congestion pricing.


Where Do Manhattan Auto Commuters Come From?

Bruce Schaller’s studies continue to give New York City policymakers a much more detailed idea of who commutes into Manhattan’s Central Business District each day, where they came from and what they are doing once they get there (PDF file).  Towards that end, his new Manhattan Institute study, Battling Traffic: What New Yorkers Think About Road Pricing, offers […]

The Times is a Changin’

A chart illustrating the number who commute by auto to the Central Business District from Bruce Schaller’s study for the Manhattan Institute, Battling Traffic: What New Yorkers Think About Road Pricing. A great story on New York City traffic congestion, In Traffic’s Jam, Who’s Driving May Be Surprising, ran on the front page of the […]
We all pay for the status quo of free car access to the most crowded parts of the city.

The Unbearable Hassle of Carpooling From Eastern Queens

There is no right to drive for free within New York City limits. What we do have is a transit system where the poorest have to pay more per trip than the richest, and where people forgo reasonable transit options and the slight inconvenience of carpooling to clog streets with their polluting single-occupancy vehicles.

Today’s Headlines

Tonight: Obama Jobs Speech Heavy on The Infrastructure (Politico, WaPo) Citing Deficient Bridges and Job Security, Schumer Calls for Transpo Bill Extension (Scribd) Tom Vanderbilt: Drivers Who Begrudge Sadik-Khan Don’t Know What’s Good for Them (Observer) Commendable Coverage of East Harlem Bike Lanes From DNAinfo Lower Manhattan Streets, Pedestrian Bridges to Be Closed for 9/11 […]