Charles Komanoff


Cars I - Who owns the streets?

Since mid-2006 I've been blogging on cars, bicycles and livable streets for the NYC-based Streetsblog. Click here for a compilation of my 150-odd pieces on that site. -- C.K., May 2018.

New from the archives: The Price Of A Ticket: Racial Profiling and Highway Deaths in New Jersey. Co-authored with Michael Smith and published by Right Of Way, in 1999, this brief but compelling report defined and quantified the "collateral" damage of racial profiling by NJ State Police in terms of highway deaths: that by misplacing police attention from dangerous driving onto racially-motivated harassment of minority drivers, even when they were not driving dangerously, racial profiling made New Jersey highways less safe than they would have been if the police had concentrated their efforts on dangerous drivers without respect to skin color.

Also new: A Causerie at the Military-Industrial -- a reprint of the address at the National Security Industrial Association in October 1967, on the eve of the March on the Pentagon, by the liberational author ("People or Personnel," "Growing Up Absurd") Paul Goodman, as published in the Nov. 23, 1967 New York Review of Books. Goodman's remarks, delivered confrontationally yet conversationally to an assemblage identified by Dwight Eisenhower as the U.S. military-industrial complex in his 1961 farewell address (and called out here by Goodman as "the most dangerous body of men at present in the world"), constitute both a stunning example of "speaking truth to power" and a clear-eyed expression of moral and political outrage against the militaristic descent of U.S. society during the escalation of the War in Vietnam. In my view, it is a perfect bookend to the other immortal speech of that year -- the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's April 4, 1967 Riverside Church speech, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." -- C.K., Jan. 21, 2016.

Traffic Justice: A Prospectus -- manifesto to liberate the streets (Dec. 2004). This 26-page proposal laid out lines of judicial, regulatory and cultural organizing for safer-streets advocates in New York City and across the U.S.

Killed By Automobile (PDF) -- Right Of Way's seminal analysis of traffic violence in NYC (1999). To our knowledge, the first systematic analysis of who is killing pedestrians in a major U.S. city (NYC), and how -- and with what (little) consequence. A powerful synthesis of statistics, compassion and outrage.

The Only Good Cyclist (PDF) -- RoW's 2000 sequel to "Killed By Automobile," focusing on cycling fatalities.

My 2nd Declaration on Critical Mass (PDF) -- detailed analysis juxtaposing NYC's suppression of cycling vs. drivers' free pass (Dec. 2004).

My 1st Declaration (PDF) -- Oct. 2004 precursor to Dec. 2004 declaration, above.

Police Must Release Reports On Major Bike Accidents, op-ed decrying NYPD's refusal to share its crash-investigation data with the public, "The Villager," July, 2011.

Silence = Death on Greenwich Street, op-ed on NYC DOT's inaction on vehicular endangerment of children, seniors and other pedestrians, "Downtown Express," June 2008.

PowerPoint Slides of illustrations and aphorisms on automobility's intrinsic inequity. From a talk given at the New School, Dec. 10, 2007

Spreadsheet deriving mortality data for my May 30, 2007 Streetsblog post, The Burbs: Extremely Safe or Especially Dangerous?

My Dec. 2006 op-ed on the death of NYC bicyclist Eric Ng, killed by automobile on the Hudson River Greenway

My 2001 Daily News op-ed, "Yet another helmet law? Let's skip it"

My 2000 essay, "Letters to the Times I Didn't Send," published as "Provocateur" feature in Transportation Alternatives magazine, March-April 2000 (PDF)

My 2000 Daily News op-ed, "Too Many Cyclists Are Dying"

My speech at Jan. 2000 Rider Remembrance Rally

My 1998 New York Times op-ed, "Pedestrians in Peril"

My 1997 Daily News op-ed, "Bikes Are Safe, It's Cars That Kill"

My 1997 City Limits essay, "A Fitting Memorial", Commemorating Gavin Cato

My 1997 essay (with Michael Smith), "Some deaths are more equal than others"

My Fall 1996 correspondence with the office of Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau, published as "Provocateur" feature in Transportation Alternatives magazine, Jan-Feb 1997 (PDF)

My eulogy "For Rachel Fruchter", as reprinted in "Bike Culture," Dec. 1997.

From the archives: "Death in the Streets" -- my 1993 media analysis and cri de coeur from "Lies Of Our Times." This piece anticipated many of the arguments being made today by safer-streets advocates.

My 1993 review of Wolfgang Sachs' book, "For Love of the Automobile"

My 2002 letter to Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute) on whether automotive pollution outranks road-traffic crashes as a global killer

Another from the archives: In 1994, the editors of The Workbook -- the invaluable activist journal published in Albuquerque, NM, invited 20 activists to reflect on the "past, present and future of citizen action." My contribution, Undoing Automobile Dependence, was both a call to action and a recounting of my personal odyssey in urban environmental-transportation activism.