Without automobiles

New Yorkers, individually, drive, pollute, consume, and throw away much less than do the average residents of the surrounding suburbs, exurbs, small towns, and farms, because the tightly circumscribed space in which they live creates efficiencies and reduces the possibilities for reckless consumption. Most important, the city’s unusually high concentration of population enables the majority of residents to live without automobiles—an unthinkable deprivation almost anywhere else in the United States, other than in a few comparably dense American urban cores, such as the central parts of San Francisco and Boston. The scarcity of parking spaces in New York, along with the frozen snarl of traffic on heavily traveled streets, makes car ownership an unbearable burden for most, while the compactness of development, the fertile mix of commercial and residential uses, and the availability of public transportation make automobile ownership all but unnecessary in most of the city…. Manhattan actually has the lowest car-to-resident ratio of anyplace in America.

David Owen
Green Metropolis