For more than 100 years New York City government policy has prioritized the needs of the automobile over the needs of any other mode of transport. Working under the faulty assumption that more car traffic would improve business, planners and engineers have systematically made our streets more dangerous and less livable. As a result, even the idea that a street could truly be a “place” – a shared space for human interaction and play – has been almost completely destroyed.
In “Rethinking the Automobile” livable streets advocate Mark Gorton explores the history of transportation in New York City with a focus on how policies that prioritize the car have diminished many other aspects of life in the city. As a cyclist, pedestrian, neighbor, and parent, Gorton questions why we have allowed automobiles to transform our streets from vibrant places full of play, human interaction, and commerce, into dangerous, stress-inducing thoroughfares.