New York: A “Drivers’ Paradise”

525647532_503487f0f5.jpg

Move over, biker babes. A presumably tongue-in-cheek article in the Observer heralds the "Californication of New York," thanks to the proliferation of automobiles in "young, lifestyle neighborhoods" like Williamsburg, Astoria and Inwood.

According to the piece, a growing number of suburban transplants see auto reliance as a comforting reminder of home.

"I didn’t realize how much I missed the car until I had it here," said Lauren Robinson, a 25-year-old dietician with pixie-cut brown hair, a fetching dimple, and a bearded beau who was dutifully loading groceries into her Honda CR-V. The Honda was a relic of her youth in upstate New York, but she had recently brought it to the city after moving from car-hostile Manhattan to auto-friendly Brooklyn. She didn’t really need the vehicle, and, theoretically, she could have grabbed a bus to Fairway. But, as she explained, "It’s just so easy to jump in and drive somewhere."

"I don’t think you need a car," she said, "but I think it’s definitely a plus. And it definitely makes me feel more" — she paused to search for the word — "well, not like such a city person."

The article says the relative ease of keeping a car almost anywhere outside Lower Manhattan, due in part to auto-centric development and plentiful parking, makes the city a "drivers’ paradise." It even gives a wink to that most heartwarming ritual of suburban youth: drunk driving.

Perhaps the real sign of the car culture apocalypse — the hint that, when it comes to wheels at least, Williamsburg and Winnetka might not be so different after all — is the sobriety check that cops have set up on Meeker Avenue, near one of the on-ramps to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway … A floating barricade of police, batons and breath-a-lizers, just like back home!

And what of the costs, environmental or otherwise, of bringing a "four-wheeled friend" to the city?

"It just seems to me, if I stop driving my car, I don’t think that’s doing anything about the real issue," said Hans, a 31-year-old Williamsburg media guy (and musician, of course) with a receding, Jack Nicholson hairline and Chattanooga drawl, as he eyed his silver Elantra. "I know I’m contributing to it, but the end of the day, I obviously don’t feel bad enough about it to not drive my car."

Photo: Love_is/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Weekly Carnage

|
The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (5 killed this week, 52 this year, 4 drivers charged*) Bensonhurst: Henry Garcia, 13, Killed By Hit-and-Run Driver While Riding […]

34th Precinct Cracks Down on Drivers Double-Parked in Inwood Bike Lanes

|
When DOT installed new bike lanes on Sherman Avenue in Inwood a few weeks back, it didn’t take long before they were blocked by double-parked drivers. Sherman is one of many Inwood streets that effectively has four parking lanes. This isn’t good for anyone, as it makes it dangerous to walk and bike, and creates aggravation for drivers — which, […]

The City Council Vote in Two Dimensions

|
This map depicting Monday’s City Council vote comes to us courtesy of Justin Kray at the Pratt Center for Community Development. You can use the City Council website to identify who represents which district. And here’s some good data to go along with the map: car commute rates for every district. Bill de Blasio’s Brooklyn […]

Eyes on the Street: Time for Automated Turn Ban Enforcement in Inwood?

|
Motorists are ignoring new turn restrictions intended to keep pedestrians safe at a revamped Broadway intersection in Inwood. Over the summer, DOT added pedestrian space and implemented turn prohibitions where Broadway meets Dyckman Street and Riverside Drive, a five-spoked intersection that sees a lot of crashes. The four left turn bans are meant to keep motorists […]

Queens CB1 Chair: Secure Bike Parking Serves “No Purpose”

|
A zoning change that would provide better bike parking options in new buildings is wending its way through the city’s public review process, which means 59 community boards have a chance to vote on it. The Queens Gazette reports from the goings on at CB1, which encompasses Astoria and Long Island City: "I see no […]