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Posts from the Randy Cohen Category


Randy Cohen on the Ethics of Driving in Transit-Rich NYC

On Friday we asked why the Times editorial staff chose to call for ticketing cyclists after forgoing a few good opportunities to weigh in on the need for stepped-up enforcement of dangerous driving. Lest you think the Times just won’t publish opinions that note the hazards of driving or criticize car culture, have a listen to the latest Podcast from the Ethicist, Randy Cohen:

Cohen refers to two core principles to frame his list of ten reasons why driving in Manhattan is a bad choice:

First: Ethics involves the effects of our actions on others. There can be solitary sin. You can sit alone at home and covet your neighbor’s ox. But if you want to be unethical, you must  get up, get dressed, go out, and steal the ox. Ethics isn’t ethics until other people are involved. When you drive in Manhattan, you harm those other people. A lot.

Next: Ethics involves actions that are volitional. If you live in Atlanta or Phoenix or Dallas and you want to buy a newspaper or visit a friend or hold a job, you must drive. Here in Manhattan, you can walk to the corner for a paper, take the train to Brooklyn to visit your pals, bike to work. In Manhattan, driving is done by choice.

As for the choices we make while cycling, Cohen gives a great explanation of the wrong-ness of wrong-way riding in this Streetfilm from earlier this year.

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Biking Around NYC With Randy “The Ethicist” Cohen

A few years ago, Randy Cohen, who writes the "Ethicist" column in the New York Times Magazine, visited the Streetfilms set for an interview about "transportation ethics." For this sequel, we got out of the studio for a two-wheeled jaunt around Manhattan and popped him a few more questions.

During our ten-mile journey, Mr. Cohen weighed in on making Central Park car-free, the ethics of "salmoning" and stopping for red lights on your bike, and the transformation of our streets to better serve pedestrians and cyclists. He made no attempt to hide the incredible "policy crush" he has on NYCDOT chief Janette Sadik-Khan.


The Trafficist: An Interview With Randy Cohen

"It seemed to me that what was significantly undermining the ordinary daily happiness and health and economic life of both me and my fellow New Yorkers was the private car."    -- Randy Cohen, "The Ethicist"

Open Planning Project Executive Director Mark Gorton recently interviewed New York Times Magazine's "The Ethicist," Randy Cohen, on the ethics of urban automobility. The result has been condensed into a nine minute StreetFilm touching on a multitude of topics ranging from congestion pricing to parking policy.

Here is The Ethicist on congestion pricing:

It would be misleading to say that wise policy decisions never restrict individual freedom. They do. What civilization is is the restriction of individual freedom. We have for instance fire codes. You can't build your apartment out of kerosene-soaked cardboard because it endangers other people. We have a thousand laws that restrict what an individual can do because it is singularly destructive to the larger community.

This one [congestion pricing] is an interesting policy in that so many members of the community so overwhelmingly gain. And the unfortunate consequences are the restrictions in freedoms that are so tiny.


The Trafficist

"It seemed to me that what was significantly undermining the ordinary daily happiness and health and economic life of both me and my fellow New Yorkers was the private car."
-- Randy Cohen, "The Ethicist"

Who knew? It turns out that one of New York City's most captivating and articulate voices for Livable Streets is a guy who spends most of his day analyzing right and wrong as the New York Times Magazine's acclaimed "Ethicist."

Open Planning Project Director Mark Gorton recently interviewed Randy Cohen on the ethics of urban automobility. The result may very well be the best StreetFilm we've ever produced. Clarence Eckerson has put together a short teaser to whet your appetite and, perhaps, provide some moral underpinning for this evening's Livable Streets workshop on the Upper West Side. The full interview will be published later this month.