Transportation Alternatives is having a big rally at City Hall at noon on Sunday in support of a summer’s worth of 24/7 traffic-free bliss in Central Park. (We’re talking about banning traffic from the loop drive, where you walk, jog, rollerblade and cycle, not the sunken transverse roads, which will continue to have all the crosstown speeding cabbies and honking, pollution-spewing traffic that we’ve come to love.) In preparation for that rally, TransAlt sent out an e-mail to their many members:
Come and show the Mayor a sea of Central Park Green as we unfurl banners showing the names of our 100,000 supporters across the steps of City Hall.
We’re closer than ever to winning a three-month ban of cars from the loop road. City officials will soon make a decision. A big turnout at Sunday’s rally will make the difference. Many prominent elected officials will speak and with your help, many more will take notice.
There will be an announcement at the rally that could change the face of this campaign.
Ooh, tantalizing! C’mon out on Sunday and help us improve the park and reduce the city’s overall traffic burden.
In the early 20th century, cities were associated with air pollution because of all the factories they had. In time, James Howard Kunstler notes in “The Geography of Nowhere,” this association was one of the things that led people to conclude that suburban life was preferable. Now that we’ve managed to outsource most of our manufacturing to China and India, and Mayor Bloomberg has banned nearly all indoor smoking, emissions from automobiles are the worst remaining pollutant. We pay a price for auto congestion, as detailed in this Daily News report:
You might want to breath carefully: The polluted air in New York State is the deadliest in the nation, federal officials said yesterday.
Data show dirty air puts New Yorkers — especially people in New York City — at the greatest risk of getting cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency warned.
Next on the worst-air list are California, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey. The safest places to fill your lungs are Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana, the feds said.
The findings are based on emissions of 177 toxins such as lead, benzene and combustion byproducts in 1999 — the last year for which data were available. A study of 2002 emissions is underway.
The EPA said New Yorkers’ risk of developing cancer from air toxins is about 68 residents per million. The national average is 41.5 per million.
Manhattan has the worst air in the city, with the risk of developing cancer from air toxins estimated to be 136 residents per million. In the Bronx, it’s 106 per million; in Brooklyn, 95 per million, and in Queens, 93 per million.
A state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman denied New York had the worst air, saying the findings are skewed because states gather data differently.
We gotta figure out ways to reduce traffic in New York City. Congestion pricing is one way. Banning cars from Central Park is another.
- Cars Out for Summer: Give Us One Hour, We’ll Give You Three Months [TransAlt]
- An airing for N.Y. pollution [Daily News]