What are your plans for World Carfree Day? Are you going to participate in activities in your city? Or will you take transit instead of driving?
I will be doing my usual slate of activities – taking public transit and walking to/from work and on personal errands. I do want to have a few minutes to check out the crowds and see how many people are going car free, even if it is for one day only.
The Department of Transportation has agreed to relegate space on the middle deck of the Staten Island Ferry to become a designated “Quiet Zone.” The SI Advance says that the area will be a place where passengers can seek solace to “avoid loud cell phone conversations, general chatter and ferryboat preachers who seek a captive audience.” For now the Quiet Zones will be voluntary and self-policed, but City Councilman Ken Mitchell is drafting legislation for the DOT and NYPD to be able to enforce the new rules as well. Mitchell and State Senator Diane Savino pushed for the areas, similar to ones employed on Amtrak and LIRR trains, because Staten Islanders face the longest average commute in the nation. After a survey went out to Ferry riders asking about their commutes, Savino says, “Everyone of them said that they wanted some place to go on the boat where they could go and just contemplate their life.” The signs will be posted on the Bridge Deck of the three newest Molinari-class ferryboats; Savoy says she is brainstorming how to make the plan work for older ferry models as well.
Staten Islanders have some of the longest commutes in the United States, so a quiet place to just think, read or catch some sleep is valuable.
How noisy is your commute? Are people on their cell phones? Can you often hear someone’s music from their iPod? Mine is by bus and subway in NYC, so I deal with a lot of noisy cell phone talkers on the bus, but most people are quiet on the subway. However, the subway itself is noisy, sometimes unbearably so. Two not-so-noisy systems I’ve enjoyed are in Washington, DC and Atlanta. Is transit (the actual buses or trains) noisy where you are?
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I started a new job this week, and I’ve been commuting about an hour and a half via subway to my job. As a survivor of the 2003 Northeast Blackout, I can’t help but wonder how I will go about getting home in case of another blackout or subway outages. I work about 16 miles from home. Walking would take about 5 hours on a good day, so what should I do?
My first plan is to stay put at my office. It might be the safest place to be, especially since I have snacks in my desk. If this is not possible for whatever reason, then I will try to get buses home, which might take up to 5 hours, too. The masses of people trying to get home would block streets and bridges, but at least I would be able to make it home if I absolutely had to.
During the Northeast Blackout of 2003, I was fortunate enough to pair up with some people in my office who found a rental car with a 1/4 tank of gas and made it home to Jamaica, Queens. However, I may not be as lucky this time as I work in Brooklyn and live in Harlem. Most of my neighbors don’t have cars and none of my coworkers live near me.
What’s your plan if the transit system shuts down or some emergency prevents you from getting home car-free?
I'm an urban planner and alternative transit advocate living in NYC. This blog contains thoughts on living car free and being transit friendly, as well as developments in America related to public transit and alternate modes of transportation.
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