Some New Yorkers Don't Want to Give Up Their Cars

Donal Fagan
by Donal Fagan
some new yorkers dont want to give up their cars

Some 80 percent of New Yorkers already travel by public transportation, but Mayor Bloomberg has promised increased subway service, faster bus routes and yes, congestion charges to push that percentage ever higher. In a dog-bites-man article, the NY Times observes that some New Yorkers remain fiercely loyal to their cars. Despite traffic jams, honking horns and urban road rage, drivers value the freedom to come and go as they choose: "It gets me closer to the job," says George Ballina, sitting in the car with his wife in Lower Manhattan. "From the train you have to walk. … it's an hour and 15 minutes with the train and about 18 minutes with the car. Big difference." Also not surprising is that drivers prefer to avoid dealing with other people — to have their own quiet space and amenities: "I really make my car comfortable," says Warren William of his touch-screen DVD with speakers lining the doors and trunk. "Every time I step in my car, I have my system, I have my music. I like it really nice and quiet. I like the peacefulness."

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  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Apr 02, 2008

    skor, you're right. I'm going to get Dick Van Dyke on the phone right now. I'm thinking that what we need are 'bullet trolleys'.... and if that doesn't work the cataplut will do just fine. Just imagine it now. "Can you get me to 23rd and 6th?" THWONG!!! The best thing NYC can do for Lawn Guyland, Joisey, and the surrounding communities is enact this tax. At a tone of an extra $2k per worker (on top of what they already charge) and longer/crappier commutes, it won't take long for many companies to consider greener pastures.

  • Skor Skor on Apr 02, 2008

    @ Steve Lang, There ain't gonna be any "greener pastures". The cost of fuel is going to make it impossible to locate business out in the sticks, except for business that actually need to be in the sticks -- farming, logging, mining, etc. Like it or not, our future is going to look a lot more like pre-WWII America. The postwar party of cheap fuel and zero global competition is over.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Apr 02, 2008

    skor, If the fuel situation gets that bad, how will you get the food from the farm to the big cities? Maybe things will work the other way round, and people will all have to move out of the biggest cities and into many medium size cities. My crystal ball must be a lot foggier than yours.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Apr 10, 2008

    postjosh: my family has to cross these streets. we have to breathe the air. if it’s not worth it to you to pay the congestion fees and tolls, take mass transit. if it’s not worth it to you to take mass transit, then stay home. I'm glad to be living in the rural south for these reasons. Yes there are some drawbacks but we have a comfortable life and a reasonable income. I did the big, big city thing for six years. Neat for a while but too many things I want to do that can't be done in a city. Maybe NYC would be a good candidate for fleets of scooters and bicycles a/a Paris... Electric scooters of course. Lived in Italy where thousands of 2 cycle scooters are everywhere in downtown areas and they stink.