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Carless New Yorkers save, help city economy: Report

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If New Yorkers drove cars to nearly everywhere like in most of the rest of the United States, it would require parking space the size of Manhattan, according to a new study.

The study said city residents average only about 9 miles of driving daily compared with 25 miles in most of America.

“It’s no secret that New York City’s high density, extensive transit and excellent walkability are fundamental contributors to the lifestyle enjoyed by its citizens,” said the report, “New York City’s Green Dividend.”

“Because New Yorkers drive substantially less than the average American, they realize a staggering $19 billion in savings each year — money that their counterparts in other metro areas spend on auto-related expenses,” said the report by CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders.

“New York City households can use these savings for help to offset the city’s higher cost of housing,” the study said. “While it may come as a surprise, the combined cost of transportation and housing is lower in the city than in surrounding suburbs,” the study said.

The study said that if city drivers rolled up the same daily mileage in most of America, it would require 4.5 million more cars than there are now and 25 square miles of parking space — roughly the area of Manhattan.

In most urban centers nationwide, at least 77 percent of people own cars. In New York City, only 23 percent are auto owners.

The study also said:

• about 57 percent of New York City residents commute by subway or bus, 32 percent drive or go by taxi, 10 percent walk and a little over 1 percent ride bicycles or use other forms of transportation;

• New Yorkers buy only a fraction of the cars that are sold in most of the United States as well as less gasoline and auto insurance and incur less other auto expenses at a savings of $19 billion annually in a massive boost to the city economy; and

• New York City’s yearly total of carbon dioxide emissions total 25 million tons less than in most urban areas.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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