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Reminder: The T.A. office will be closed from December 23rd to January 3rd, but your donation will still be credited to 2002.

T.A. In the News


12/15 Going the distance, Daily News

12/14 Let's talk token utopia, Daily News

12/13 Transit strike would squeeze NYC, USA Today

12/13 Water they'll do during walkout?, Daily News

12/11 Forget Taxis: Some Say Biking Is Best Bet In Event Of Transit Strike, NY1

12/11 How About Biking to Work?, NBC4

12/9 For whom the bridge tolls, Daily News

12/7 Runaway car kills teen, injures man, Daily News

12/1 TA's Budnick Named to Board of Thunderhead Alliance, The Ride

11/24 Connecting the Lines: MTA studying links for plaza's transit, Daily News

11/18 Fare deals called way to go for TA, Daily News

11/7 Sea of bikers participated in 8th annual Tour de Bronx, Bronx Times Reporter

11/6 Mayor's tolls talk not swaying local politicians, The Villager

11/4 A Vow on Downtown Redevelopment: City says Olympic plans won’t hurt lower Manhattan, Newsday

11/2 Rumble Over West Side: Sides line up for stadium fight if city gets Olympics, Newsday

10/28 Olympic VIPs To Be Easy Riders, New York Post

10/27 Why Use the Park to Ease Traffic Congestion? New York Times

10/27 Where Big Rigs Roll, Howls of Dismay, New York Times

10/24 On Bridges, Raising Money but Not Blood Pressure, New York Times

10/23 East River tolls could float without Albany's OK, Daily News

10/22 Mayor Weighs Plan to Turn Over Bridges to Transit Authority, New York Times

10/20 An Old Idea, Still Rolling: Fewer Cars in the Park, New York Times

10/19 The free ride could be over: Mike talkin' tolls on E. River spans, Daily News

10/18 Big Apple Biking, The Savvy Traveler

More Quotes...

T.A.  News

Come to the Volunteer Mailing Party, Wednesday, January 8th at 6 pm at the T.A. Office (115 West 30th, #1207). 

Paid Advocacy Internship/
Asst. to Executive Director

16 to 20 hours a week. Minimum commitment of one semester. Visit for details.

Time on your hands? Eager to make a difference? T.A. needs folks who are retired, work part-time or between jobs to help our top-notch advocacy staff make the city a better place for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders.
Call 212-629-8080 or e-mail

Valet Bike Parking Volunteers Needed

Volunteer to provide valet bike parking at events throughout the year. Register online to express your interest in this opportunity.

T.A. still has two open internships: 

- Advocacy (work with T.A. program staff)
- Bicycle Advocacy

Please visit for more information.

Donations Wish List

Help cycling and walking and get a tax deduction. Donate to T.A. We need:

-Pentium II or better PCs
-Laptop computer (P 100+)
-Digital Camera
-Good chairs for conf. table or desks
-Computer Projector

Contact Matt:

Do Your Part for Safer Streets!  Report:

Potholes and Hazards:
212-CALLDOT (hit 0 to speak with a human) or report them online at

Sidewalk obstructions: Mayor’s Quality of Life Hotline at 888-677-LIFE/

Read more about T.A.'s work to reduce street hazards at

Report Dangerous Cabs: 212-221-TAXI or report them online.

Read more about T.A.'s work to make cabs safer for pedestrians and cyclists at

The T.A. Bulletin is a bi-weekly publication of Transportation Alternatives. The Bulletin has 23,000 subscribers.

Transportation Alternatives is a 5,000-member NYC-area non-profit citizens group working for better bicycling, walking and public transit, and fewer cars. We work for safer, calmer neighborhood streets and car-free parks. Join T.A. today!




Week of December 16, 2002

Bikes, Mike and Transit Strike

Fortunately, the transit strike didn't happen. The city avoided economic devastation and the chaos and disruption a strike would cause. Deft negotiating by the transport workers union and MTA gave transit workers a "non-raise bonus" of $1,000 and modest future pay raises in exchange for work rule changes and consolidation of bus operations. Some intriguing issues emerged from the strike threat:

  • How mysterious are the MTA's finances? Is there really a billion dollar plus deficit? Will the "Crooks open the books?" Will the pressure to do so continue after the strike?
  • Will the MTA seize the TWU's visionary proposal for Bus Rapid Transit in New York City? Or will it let this big opportunity for better bus service slip away?

Mixed Cycling Message in the News 

Cycling featured prominently in news stories about options for transit riders in event of a strike. The mayor made front page of the Daily News when he purchased a mountain bike and gear and vowed to bicycle to work during the strike. The papers were full of pictures of cyclists thronging the streets and bridges during the 1980's transit strike, and some of them printed detailed bicycling maps.

Unfortunately, the mayor's vow to bicycle met with more public derision than delight. Joyce Purnick, a columnist at the  Times wrote that the mayor's bicycle was a strike "symbol worth dropping ..." because "... there are probably not many average New Yorkers who can buy a bike like that or risk bicycling through tunnels and across bridges in bad weather and traffic." This sentiment was echoed by many smirky TV and radio reporters and disappointingly, by thousands of protesting transit workers who chanted, "Shut up mike, where's your bike" and "Mike rides a bike" and "Hey mike whaddya say? How many bikes did you ride today?" Even thoughtful transit advocates said that the mayor's new found cycling enthusiasm was off-putting. They cited his ostentatious purchase of a shiny new mountain bike, and the perception that he was recommending cycling as a one size fits all solution to stranded transit riders.

NYC Mayor John Lindsay, 1967

NYC is a tough town and the mayor's use of the bike as symbol of self-reliance clearly backfired. Just the same, many New Yorkers would still appreciate it if the mayor cycled to work periodically--in addition to daily subway rides--to show that he wants to see and experience the city firsthand instead of from behind a windshield.

Straphangers Campaign asks key questions about MTA finances after the contract settlement including: the fare hike--who gets hit harder, straphangers or motorists? Check it out.

Also see Michael Smith in the Gotham Gazette on Biking and the Transit Strike.

T.A. Poll: Bloomberg on a Bike

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg said he would ride a bike to work in case of a transit strike.  

All polls are anonymous. If your e-mail program does not support forms, simply visit this page online to participate in this poll.

Read more about bicycle advocacy.

Ivan Illich, Car-Free Philosopher, Priest, Genius, Dead at 76 

Ivan Illich, a provocative iconoclast, died on December 2 in his native Germany at age 76. Illich spent his life working with the poor and writing in Germany, Mexico and Washington Heights. He was an iconoclast and provocateur whose essays examined everything from the Roman Catholic Church to higher education and transportation. Illich articulated some of the most sophisticated and insightful criticisms of automobile-based culture and wrote at length on the role of the bicycle and pedestrian in contemporary life.

We strongly recommend the on-line edition of Ivan Illich's "Energy and Equity." It features very short (one page or less) essays that are easy to read. Note chapters on the "Industrialization of Traffic" and the bicycling in "Degrees of Self-Powered Mobility."

Stereolab's Mary Hanson Killed in London Cycling Crash

On December 9, Mary Hansen, a leader of the internationally known pop band Stereolab was killed by a motorist while bicycling in London. Stereolab is well known to many NYC music fans from their shows in Central Park. Hansen, a native of Brisbane, Australia, was 36 years old.

Hey DOT: Pedestrians Still Need Bollards 

--You Need Bollards 

One of the five sand-filled dump trucks on guard at One Police Plaza. Each is manned by a Sanitation worker 24 hours a day at a cost of $45,000 a week. [read the full story in the New York Post]

In a pre-transit strike plea, the E-Bulletin asked readers to fax DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall a message to Install Bollards to Protect Pedestrians from Curb Jumping Killers. E-Bulletin readers sent five hundred faxes to the commissioner, which we hope got her attention. Our request came in the wake of two horrendous curb jumping incidents. Since then, the New York Post has joined the Bollard Beat. Retractable bollards rated to stop trucks cost about $35,000 apiece.

Check out T.A.'s bollard brochure "Establishing Attractive Security and Pedestrian Areas in Lower Manhattan."

New Bike/Ped Path Opens on the Williamsburg Bridge 

On Thursday, December 12, the City opened the new bicycle and pedestrian path on the Williamsburg Bridge. The new 18 foot wide path is a great improvement over the narrow boardwalk it replaces. Gone are the 83 stairs that were a barrier to cyclists and pedestrians alike. The path runs over the JMZ train tracks and, at the main span, splits in two. At the split, pedestrians are supposed to take the old path on the south side of the bridge (opened in 1999) and cyclists the new path on the north.

Unfortunately, the bicycle and pedestrian stencils on the new path are dangerous. They direct cyclists and pedestrians to travel head-on into each other. The DOT should immediately remove these dangerous bicycle and pedestrian stencils and replace them with safer lane designations that clearly separate bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

With construction about to finish on the Williamsburg Bridge, this is the perfect time to correct the new path's bicycle and pedestrian stencils and ensure that it is safe for the 3,000 people that walk and bike over it each day.

Manhattan Entrances to the Williamsburg Bridge

Ride the New Path!

The Manhattan entrance to the path is on the median of Delancey Street at Clinton Street. 

Brooklyn Entrances to the Williamsburg Bridge

There are two access points in Brooklyn. The DOT left the existing access point on Bedford Ave between South 5th and South 6th Streets open and added another at the corner of South 5th Street and South 5th Place. A full compliment of directional signs, traffic lights, walk signals and crosswalks on both sides of the path should make it easy to find and access.

Read more about the Williamsburg Bridge.

Important Questions After the Transit Strike 
Straphangers Campaign, December 16, 2002

Over the last twenty years, improved subways and buses have been one of the city's real success stories. Transit workers and management both deserve great credit for this turnaround. Monday's agreement acknowledges the key role of both, by providing raises for workers and new ways for managers to improve productivity to benefit riders and hold down expenses.

Now, public attention is turning to the MTA's proposal to hike fares to as much as $2. We hope that there will be a  a vigorous conversation on fares and service. Among the key questions are: 

  • Are the MTA's financial problems so severe that many vulnerable New Yorkers must be socked with a whopping 50-cent-a-ride increase in a recession? Many have asked for an independent review of MTA finances, give widespread concern about how a $24.6 million surplus for city and suburban transit in 2002 turns into a projected $1.1 billion deficit in 2003. 
  • What is a fair burden to place on transit riders? We already pay 60% of the costs of operating the system. That's the highest fare box burden in the nation; the national average is 40%. A $2 fare will likely propel that burden to astronomical heights, perhaps 75% or higher. 
  • Are alternatives possible, such as reinstating the commuter tax to hold down fares? There would be more support for a renewed commuter tax if the proceeds were used to keep Long Island Rail Road, MetroNorth and city subway and bus fares affordable. More than two-thirds of suburban riders switch to city subways during their weekday commutes. 
  • Will there be service cuts even with a $2 fare? News accounts report that transit officials will push to close or reduce hours at more than 180 token/Metrocard booths in the subways. 
  • Will the City and State try to cut subsidies to the system? Mayor Bloomberg has already issued ominous warnings that the City is going to attempt to do just that. New York City contributes less than 5% of New York City Transit budget, about $225 million out of $4.8 billion. That's already too little for a system that the City owns. 
  • Can we improve unlimited-ride MetroCards, especially by making them more accessible to low-income riders? This is key, especially if the MTA deeply discounts the passes even more. The Straphangers Campaign has made several recommendations, including having the MTA replace lost or stolen 30-day passes and sell 14-day unlimited ride passes and flexible passes good for five non-consecutive days. 
  • MTA's suggested increase in transit fares: 33%

    MTA's suggested increase in tolls for motorists: 14%

    Will transit riders be socked harder than motorists? The MTA's current options call for greater percentage increases for subway and bus riders than motorists. That's wrong. The MTA should consider higher peak period tolls to reduce rush hour congestion.

So, congratulations on the settlement. Now on to the next debate.

Read more about transit issues.

Fall 2002 T.A. Magazine  
This issue is being mailed to all T.A. members. It includes news on bicycle, pedestrian and car-free Central Park and Prospect Park, sensible transportation, features and much, much more! View the Table of Contents or request a copy!

request a sample copy

Selected articles

Port Authority Eyes Bike Improvements on Both Ends of GWB

DOT Waiting for Cyclist to Be Killed on Brooklyn Side of Manhattan Bridge  

Five Easy Things Gov't Should Do to Better Bicycling in 2003

Bike Parking at Penn Station

Bikes Aboard Staten Island Railroad Now: Child Cyclist Struck as SIR Dithers

New High Security "Chicago" CityRack Hits the Sidewalks

Heralding the New Herald Square: T.A. Calls for Bike Improvements and More Pedestrian Space

T.A. and Taxi Industry Hold Safety Talks

Take Action

T.A. has many volunteer opportunities.  Please visit our site to learn more about how you can help.  Come to the Volunteer Mailing Party, Wednesday, January 8th at 6 pm at the T.A. Office (115 West 30th, #1207).

Advocacy Committees
Want to do more? Step into the front lines of T.A.’s campaigns for better cycling, walking, transit and car-free parks. Join a T.A. volunteer advocacy committee. Read more at:  


Sign-up Online! T.A.’s members support our advocacy for bicyclists, pedestrians and car-free Central and Prospect Parks. So should you.


Call the Mayor's Quality of Life Action Line (real people 24 hrs a day): 888-677-5433 or 888-677-LIFE.


Call DOT at 212-225-5368 and hit 0 to skip the message and speak with a human. You can also report them online at


Savvy transit riders get their lowdown on the subways here:

The ultimate source for bus and subway service changes, rider comments and complaints that produce action. Help yourself and T.A.’s favorite transit advocates. Check it out.

Sensible Transport Junkies:

Subscribe to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s e-weekly, Mobilizing the Region.

Insiders Breakfast on Fresh Baked NYC Politics & Policy

The daily Gotham Gazette
: gothamgazette.

NYC News summaries and savvy commentary.

Bikes in Bogota? Car-Free Cartagena? Tel-Aviv by Train?

Go global at!

Give on-line at 

Quick! What's your city council
member's name?
Don't know? See:


Check our maps page for links to NYC-area bicycle and transit maps.


Wednesday, December 20, 6:30 pm. Lights in the Heights. City Hall across from the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Fast and Fabulous.

Saturday, December 21, 9:15 am. Staten Island Chocolate Run. Chelsea Piers, 22nd St. & 12th Ave. 5BBC and NYCC.

Sunday, December 22, 9:30 am. On a Winter's Night. Cunningham Park. 5BBC.

Sunday, December 22, 10 am. Frostbite Series #4: Xmas Lights in Dyker Heights, Dim Sum in Brooklyn's Chinatown. City Hall. 5BBC and NYCC.

Sunday, December 22, 4 pm. Lights in the Heights Ride. City Hall, across from the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge (by Horace Greeley Statue). Time's Up!

Tuesday, December 24, 9 am. Central Park Boathouse. New York Side of the GWB. Fast and Fabulous.

Wednesday, December 25, 8 am. Christmas Tour of Manhattan. Central Park Boathouse. Fast and Fabulous.

Friday, December 27, 7 pm. Critical Mass. Union Square Park North. Time's Up!

Saturday, December 28, 9:30 am. Quick Spin Peekskill. Plaza Hotel. 5BBC.

Saturday, December 28, 10 pm. Riverside Ride. Columbus Circle. Time's Up!

Sunday, December 29, 9 am. Frostbite Series #5: Giuseppe & Alice. City Hall. 5BBC and NYCC.

Tuesday, December 31, 10:45 pm. New Year's Eve Ride. Union Square Park North. Time's Up!

More Rides and Walks...