NYC Editorial: Battle lines are drawn in ‘car culture’ wars

Anyone tuned into city council news has likely heard Speaker Corey Johnson talk about “car culture” this past summer.

The term is new, at least to the general public, referring to the preferential treatment cars receive over other types of transportation. In a city riddled with buses, subways, ferries and cabs, owning a car can feel to some like a hassle. But for many, especially in the outer boroughs, it can be a necessity to get from one place to another.

That necessity can make car owners resistant to change. Improving all transit pretty much means cars need to make sacrifices, advocates say. Bike lanes often narrow traffic lanes, and dedicated bus lanes take over a general traffic lane for a good part of the day. Those can feel like major changes, especially to those not getting around on bikes or in buses.

According to the U.S. Census, 58 percent of Bronx County households exist without cars, a statistic not too far off of New York City as a whole. But within Community Board 8, only 39 percent of households don’t have a car available, meaning more than 60 percent do.

That statistic is evident on the streets inside CB8. Cars are parked bumper-to-bumper along many curbs, and even double-parked along busy corridors like Riverdale Avenue and Broadway.