"If people need to
drive into NYC, they should be expected to pay for the burden that they are
putting on this tightly packed city."
Jeff McMahon, in a letter to AAA.
Just received the Sept. / Oct. issue of Transportation Alternative, and while
I was delighted to see the "Watch Their Language" article and the
excellent feature on pedestrian protection I was greatly disappointed at the
lack of material on the transit option or on any solutions to automobile
traffic except those involving bikes.
I am a bicyclist, and I thoroughly applaud your efforts for a car- free
Central Park and for better pedestrian protection and an aggressive Stance
against high speed vehicles and more traffic lanes. But transit users are also
I don't see this emphasis anymore in T. A.! What has happened?
Corbin S. Kidder
Saint Paul, MN
Don't fret. T. A. has been
working closely with allies like the Straphangers Campaign. See pages 2 and 6
for more about what we 're doing.
TA member Jeff McMahon
sent this letter to Car and Travel, a Magazine published by the American
Your article "Fed Up with MTA's Tolls" makes me ashamed to be a
member of the AAA. Your shortsighted views on transportation are of special
disservice to those of your members who live in New York City and rely on
public transportation. Some of us may own cars, but we also use bicycles,
public transportation, and our feet. I am a member of AAA for your services,
but I am also a member of Transportation Alternatives an organization that
fights against the narrow-minded transportation policies that AAA
Everyone pays, big, for such car-friendly policies. We pay in increased air
and noise pollution, congestion, and the sacrifice of more and mo republic
space to the automobile. To equate money spent on public transportation with
that charged for tolls is irresponsible. Public transportation seeks to
provide equal access to all in an energy-efficient fashion. Every full bus or
train means fewer cats on the road belching out pollution and destroying the
How much better it would be if organizations like AAA and Transportation
Alternatives could sit down with the MTA and design an ecologically
intelligent policy that acknowledges the needs and capacities of this city. If
people need to drive into NYC, they should be expected to pay for the burden
that they are putting on this tightly packed city. I try to minimize my own
driving, but there are times when I need my car. So I pay the tolls and hope
that the money is going improve public transit.
I look forward to a more enlightened public policy by AAA, one that does not
treat drivers as a special interest group but realizes that we all need to
work together to make is more sustainable environment. Otherwise, you should
stick to maps and road service.
New York, NY
You are one of my favorite, most admired organizations in the world, but I
gotta say that the design quality of the new mag so far has been a big
It's a common mistake, and ecologically unsound of course, to use two colors
where one will do. And it often results, as here in weaker design since the
one color limitation makes the designer think real hard and usually come up
with a strongest result.
Get rid of the red, it's an ugly shade anyway, it's really unsuitable for an
organization that seeks to promote environmental responsibility to use two
colors when one works better anyway. The one color CC looks lean and mean, the
two-color T.A. looks Suburban Tacky, I'm afraid.
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
I can't say enough good things about the NYC Century ride. It was wonderful.
Of course you can't take credit for the two best things - New York City and
the weather. But your efforts made it possible for the rest of us to enjoy
those two things on our bikes while you took care of the de tails such as
route and food and rest rooms. And you did a great job taking care of those de
tails too! Thanks to all of you folks at T.A. and to all the volunteers who
helped along the way.
Your century was the only one I planned to do this year. It was definitely a
Was I dreaming or had a couple of those bridges been resurfaced since last
year? If so, congratulations. I'm sure your advocacy efforts had a lot to do
with it. Keep up the good work.
Member,Wash. Area Bicyclists Assn.
Auto Free DC
I regret to report that that Chicago is a far less bike friendly town than
New York, in spite of the presence of "ribbons" for locking your
bike spread liberally around. So far, I have been "menaced" both by
vehicles and kids reaching out of passing cars; have had my bike vandalized
(smashed fenders, contorted front gear, and cut spokes) and dodged way more
potholes and shards of glass than even in New York. All this in a little over
The following letter was
sent to NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern.
Dear Mr. Stern:
It's a genuine pleasure and an important reprieve from the stress of city life
to take a walk in Central Park, and your efforts at maintaining and
revitalizing the Park through clean-up and projects such as tree-planting are
appreciated. You play a key role in affecting the quality of life of NYC
residents like ourselves.
Thus we wish now to appeal to you to take measures to make Central Park
car-free-cars bring a cacophony and a toxic miasma, plus a sheer physical
intrusion, to a space which should be wholly free of this intrusion. The
environmental and social toll of cars, which are allowed to penetrate into
virtually every corner of this city, with little respite for pedestrians who
are entitled to a little space and clean air, is intolerably high. Please make
Central Park a perpetually safe haven from the blight of NYC's seemingly
ubiquitous car culture.
Thank you for considering this appeal, Mr. Stern; we wish you the best of
success in all your efforts to enhance Central Park.
Rego Park, NY
New York, NY