Now online at the Bureau of Public Secrets website:
"BANNING CARS FROM MANHATTAN"
by Paul & Percival Goodman
"We propose banning private cars from Manhattan Island. . . . Present
congestion and parking are unworkable, and other proposed solutions are
uneconomic, disruptive, unhealthy, nonurban, or impractical. . . ."
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Of related interest at the same website:
"Urbanism and Community Planning" (Kenneth Rexroth)
"Formulary for a New Urbanism" (Ivan Chtcheglov)
"Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography" (Guy Debord)
"Situationist Theses on Traffic" (Debord)
"Elementary Program of the Bureau of Unitary Urbanism" (Kotanyi &
"Territorial Domination" (chapter of Debord's book "The Society of the
"The Blossoming of Free Communities" (section of Ken Knabb's "The Joy
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BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS
P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA
"Making petrified conditions dance by singing them their own tune."
Do you suggest that people walk instead of take cars? Or, should
socialistic transportations systems be the norm?
What would happen to the private property and private enterprise
system that enabled America to be productive if their liberty, e.g.,
their freedom to act was impaired? Are private property and
individual liberty next to be disappeared in your system?
A non-socialist proposal would be to freely admit private cars
into Manhattan. Government business owned vehicles, except
for police and city government administration vehicles, which
are intended for a legitimate purpose of government, e.g.,
to protect the rights of the citizens, would be sold. The
government's transportation businesses would be sold to
private enterprise concerns or to the general public by means
of public stock offerings. There is no reason whatsoever for
government owned and mandated transportation industry
The excessive New York City sales taxes on parking
prices (that are what? 18 percent?) should be adjusted
to be the same as for all other products and services
in New York City (8,25 percent), or, better, abolished
Restrictions upon the construction of private above ground,
high-rise, and underground parking garages or industrial
parking businesses would be removed.
Capital would flow into the parking industry at unprecedented
rates, and the construction of parking facilities would
increase at a dramatic pace. The new facilities would take
cars off the streets and free the flow of traffic.
How to get into Manhattan? More tunnels would be
constructed if legal monopoly restrictions set to protect
the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey socialistic
businesses would be removed. The PATH owns major
bridge, tunnel, harbor facilities, land, subway, bus, and airport
businesses, and all those should be completely sold as public
stock companies. The sale of the PATH would bring in
massive amounts of capital to the NYC area, and that
would be returned to the public as amortized reductions
in the fees for services charged. A huge renaissance
of harbor facilities would occur, and unprecedented
reconstruction of New York City's drab harbor would occur:
there would be marinas, ship passenger facilities, parking,
recreation, universities, apartment buildings, office buildings,
and you name it that would be built all around Manhattan
Island and New York City in general.
Private firms would free the traffic coming into NYC.
They would charge fees, and those either higher or lower
than present, would be set by the free market. No price
controls or restrictions would be invoked. NYC private
firms would on balance would receive an increase in sales
Underground parking facilities can be built. Proof of that
is the East Side Access project that is constructing four
60 ft. diam. underground railroad tunnels to bring trains
East from Penn Station and then North into a new rail
station located below the two existing levels of tracks
at Grand Central station. Also being constructed are a
passenger concourse and shopping mall to be located above
the new station's two levels of tracks and below the
existing tracks of Grand Central Station. The four new
tubes will then continue to the North and to the East
under the East River and will surface somewhere out in
Jamaica, Queens on Long Island. The project was going
to cost $5B. An engineer I know said that the project
recently went to $6B, and he said that before it
is done the tab will be $10B. Still, the concept of solid
rock tunneling beneath is being demonstrated, and
Manhattan could be tunneled to create parking facilities.
Whether tunneling to create parking facilities would be
achieved at costs lower than for high-rise facilities
remains to be seen.
Parking facilities underground may require integration
with new road tunnel and subway facilities, and the
parking could be placed under the shore areas or the
rivers of Manhattan Island.
I say that free enterprise in the context of liberty
and individual rights is the proved American system
for providing valuable goods and services and making
them available for purchase. Free enterprise solutions
without fascistic controls and governmental monopolies
should be enabled. People and businesses should be
granted the freedom to create the necessary parking
businesses, to freely negotiate and purchase the rights
to subsurface land or easements, and to build what is
I don't know that many more cars would actually be
brought into Manhattan in the future because of
the improvements and convenience of train travel,
however, the congestion of NYC streets and parking
would be greatly reduced by enabling more free
enterprise parking businesses and parking facilities
at untaxed prices. Additionally, deliveries and
construction would be facilitated by the addition
of greater private parking facilities.
Free enterprise should be granted the unrestricted
opportunity to provide all transportation and parking
facilities for New York City.
Liberty means that the people of America are free
to act to create and provide the property and wealth
of facilities that they need for themselves in order
to continue their lives and prosper.
Let the people and free enterprise be free to act.
Private enterprise gave up on the subway systems 75 years ago because the
city would not allow fares to increase. Airports can easily be sold, and
ought to be, all over the country. They make money. ATC should be private
too, as in Canada and Switzerland. However, without the subsidies in NYC it
is likely that businesses would move to vastly cheaper places to do
business. That would help the economy and stop rewarding inefficient
Bentonville is doing just fine and needs no subsidy so the "pinnacle of
American Commerce And Freedom" isn't what is under discussion. NYC is
an obsolete urban form that is surviving on inertia and subsidy.
Removing just one of the numerous subsidies would empty the place out in
a week, transit operating supports.
Provide HPO with just a single example of a subsidy.
The Taxi industry? It would seem to me that the taxis are a rich source
of tax revenues for the city and its coercive altruists.
The three major airports that are owned by PATH? Subsidies? Hell no.
The airports earn 100's of millions for the PATH.
Now don't tell me that NYC subsidizes the parking industry. Its the
other way around. The city looks the other way when parking lot
computers systematically skim an illegal percentage from the customers,
and there is no place to call to complain. No City agency has an open phone
line for that purpose. The police? Monumental disinterest in the subject.
The politicos must be receiving kickbacks to make the skimming possible.
Then there is the 18 percent (that's EIGHTEEN percent) sales tax paid
to the City, Not to mention the NYC mandated ultra-high prices for
parking. And the tricky pricing schedules that college educated persons
cannot understand. And the closing hour requirements that say that if
you are in the garage when closing hour occurs, and one minute after that
occurs, you can get your car out only if you pay the base daily rate for
the next day. You are claiming a subsidy? Get serious.
Then there are the bridges. You pay one way, but that fee is $8.
Millions use the bridges. Subsidy? You are out of your mind.
Where is there a single subsidy?
What is an "urban form"? Some type of Platonic approximation?
New York City is a wonder of American productivity. Industries
that are centered there are in fact those that need that type of
central marketplace, e.g., the financial, banking, commodities,
stock trading, and other markets. You don't find soy bean
production there, honey bees, or aircraft manufacturing there.
The main problem is not the subsidies. It is the rebates that
flow in the opposite direction to support the good thing, e.g.,
the golden calf of money roped in by the greedy coercive
altruists, regulators, government monopolists, land use
manipulation, taxers, politicians, related services and
Privatization would wipe out the rebates, bribery, clout,
payola, under-the table deals, favoritism, special legislation,
and who knows what else types of rake off's of the
You mistake my condemnation of public transit for its' subsidies for the
more general transportation subsidy issue. Except for transit NYC like
most other places not only collects but heavily overtaxes all other
modes of transport including private transport such as air and taxi.
Agreed but PATH turns around and spends even more on transit.
This is also correct and a classic element of an OPAC (Obsolete
Pre-Automotive City). Urban form preserved through coercive public
policy with attendant corruption.
As I have mentioned many times the bridges funnel billions to NYCT.
There's the NYS budget (1999 in this case) for one:
The City of New York
The fiscal health of the State may also be affected by the fiscal
health of New York City, which continues to receive significant
financial assistance from the State. State aid contributes to
the City's ability to balance its budget and meet its cash
requirements. The State may also be affected by the ability of
the City and certain entities issuing debt for the benefit of the
City to market their securities successfully in the public credit
In response to the City's fiscal crisis in 1975, the State took
action to assist the City in returning to fiscal stability. Among
those actions, the State established the Municipal Assistance
Corporation for the City of New York (NYC MAC) to provide
financing assistance to the City; the New York State Financial
Control Board (the Control Board) to oversee the City's financial
affairs; and the Office of the State Deputy Comptroller for the
City of New York (OSDC) to assist the Control Board in exercising
its powers and responsibilities. A "control period" existed from
1975 to 1986, during which the City was subject to certain
statutorily-prescribed fiscal controls.
Generic descriptor, nothing more. NYS and LA differ in urban form.
This is the inertia part I mentioned. There -used- to be a reason for
the NYC urban form. No longer.
$10/gallon gasoline might render the internal combustion engine
obsolete. But cars? I doubt it.
Cars are such an integral part of life for most Americans (Manhattanites
notwithstanding) that we'll sooner develop better ways of powering them
than we would get rid of them altogether.
Well before gas hits $10 a gallon, you'll see an honest investment into
alternative fuels and engines for private automobiles out of the US
automotive industry. Japanese car makers have already started, and the
gas-electric hybrids you see today are only the beginning.
The only way the car will go away is if there is something far better to
replace it. Maybe that will be the NASA Highway in the sky, but nobody
We all know that transit and especially rail has no chance of replacing cars
because transit can not solve the problem of providing the absolute minimum
capability required by the vast majority of commuters.
For rail to replace cars the minimum requirements are:
The train must be able to get some one from any door to any door in 30
minutes or less for a distance of around 10 to 20 miles. Time door to door
for a typical go anywhere trip must include walking time or any other travel
mode on both ends.
Further the 30 minute time must be met for the typical route where there is
a transfer to another train to go roughly 90 degrees in a different
direction to wait for another train and then make second transfer to a third
train including waiting time to get near to your destination.
Assuming one train goes from near your door to near the other door happens
only a small percentage of the trips for all commuters and is not allowable
as a general solution for transportation.
We keep talking about trains being obsolete and no technology to solve the
problem. That is exactly what is meant by needing a technology to satisfy
the above criterion. If anyone has a solution that meets the above
requirements then rail could come back.
The car solved the above requirement which is exactly why it made rail
obsolete with no hope for any technology possible to bring back rail.
Further the car and road has advance far beyond the minimum requirements
which means rail or other transits must be significantly more advanced than
the car for the investment in bringing back rail to have any chance of
capturing the market.
I eagerly await for a transit advocate showing us how transit can meet and
far exceed the requirements demanded by travelers today, not in the 19th
In NYC, they are known as limousine liberals. The entire New York Times
featured writing staff is of this religion. I wonder how the NYT thinks it
is going to get to be able to charge for reading such stuff.
I'd love it if Baxter turned it down to just meaningless drivel. I've
come to expect vicious personal invective.
Jack is correct as his description is very much in line with well
documented personal travel budgets and commute times.
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