September 28, 2011
Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or highlights innovations in transportation, sustainability or energy.
This week are lucky to have the New York Press review Peter Norton’s book, Fighting Traffic, the story of what happened when cars first appeared on American roads and the uproar they caused. Norton reminds us that there was a time when mobs of New York residents would threaten automobile drivers. As the review notes
Norton argues that the great Automobile Backlash of the 1920s wasn’t so much a fight between different modes of transportation, it was a turf war over New Yorkers’ shared public space: the street. The sudden arrival of large numbers of private automobiles in the 1920s forced New Yorkers to face new questions about who the streets were for and how they were to be shared and used. Today, the sudden arrival of a rapidly growing number of bicycles is forcing New York City to face these questions once again.
When lawsuits now threaten bike-lanes and newspaper columnists wage war on bicyclists, it’s worth noting, we have been here before.