July/August 1995, p.3
Publisher's Letter: Unity
I'm getting married next week. It's very exciting and I even get a few weeks off work to relax and ride my bike. Getting married was a big decision that prompted me to think about the idea of unification. Unity is also on my mind because two new T.A. projects, this publication and the Neighborhood Streets Network, are all about joining people together.
We've merged City Cyclist and Auto-Free Press; you're reading our first issue. Transportation Alternatives gives T.A. a single voice that reflects our vision of a great city in which to cycle, walk and live. City Cyclist will still be distributed at newsstands, but will be excerpted from Transportation Alternatives and will only include vital cycling information. T.A. will continue to strive to bring cycling into the mainstream, but cycling does not exist in isolation. Indeed, our cycling experience has made us aware of the overwhelming biases that grant so much public space and consideration to motorists and so little to cyclists, walkers and neighborhoods.
In New York City, more than in most places, this inequity is especially glaring. But in our zeal to redress this imbalance and assert the rights of cyclists and walkers, we too often fail to find common ground with the people who can help us achieve our goals.
Around the city, thousands of citizens are waging disconnected campaigns for safer streets. Often, these efforts consist of block associations or concerned parents trying to get a traffic fight or a stop sign installed.
We need to unify these efforts, so in concert with the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Environmental justice Alliance, we are creating a coalition called the Neighborhood Streets Network. The Network will be a grassroots coalition of block associations, community school boards, civic groups, and merchants associations seeking to reduce the heavy through-traffic and speeding that isolate and degrade many New York City communities.
The Network's first goal will be to establish a 15 mph speed limit on non-arterial Neighborhood Streets. These slow streets will favor pedestrians and use traffic calming techniques to reduce automobile traffic, noise and speed (see page 4 for more).
The Network and its goals are designed to appeal to drivers and non-drivers alike. No one likes heavy traffic and speeding on her street. Thus, the Network aims to create a pro-active, positive movement out of neighborhood demands for safer, quieter streets.
The Neighborhood Streets Network will unify these disparate efforts so that local battles waged against long odds can be weaved into a citywide campaign with a large and vocal following.
The Neighborhood Streets Network, T.A.'s most ambitious grassroots; effort yet, will be a permanent part of our work. I hope that it, our new publication, and my marriage will evolve and flourish.
P.S. Remember, you are our strength. Your letters, calls, and voice make City officials sit up and listen. If you are impatient for change how it! Instead of complaining to a friend about that pothole or dangerous intersection, complain to the people who say they represent you.
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