Now Mainstream, What Does the Future Hold for Once-Fringe Alternative Transportation Advocates?

J. David Goodman spotlights New York-based Transportation Alternatives, the 40-year-old pedestrian, bicycle, and transit advocacy organization that has become a potent political force.
August 12, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The arrival of bike share to New York City, whenever the delayed program actually launches, will mark a culmination of sorts for the work of Transportation Alternatives (TA), founded forty years ago by a "ragtag collection of environmental advocates and bicycle riders, dissident city planners and urban preservationists." 

Since its public debut in a "traffic-snarling protest ride" down Fifth Avenue in 1973, TA has evolved into a "potent political force" with, "a staff of 23 full-time employees, roughly 8,000 dues-paying members and an active e-mail network of more than 40,000, not to mention a deep bench of alumni working in government."

"But when the City of New York has made your agenda its official policy - including pedestrian plazas and a vast bike-lane network - how alternative can you continue to be?" asks Goodman.  

"Very, [TA Executive Director Paul Steely White] said. 'We see this as the beginning rather than a culmination,' he said in a May interview. 'Now we have a mainstream audience.'"

 

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Published on Friday, August 10, 2012 in The New York Times
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