Aug
20

Cuomo, New York City gear up for a congestion pricing reboot

By

Hollywood these days is suffering from reboot fever. Spider-Man, now a part of the all-encompassing Marvel Cinematic Universe, witnessed its third stab at the webbed avenger in 15 years while the all-female Ghostbusters drew headlines last year. By some accounts, there are over 120 reboots in the works. New York, now a city to be left out of the latest trends, wants to join in, and the reboot may just be a traffic pricing plan.

When last we left congestion pricing, so many years ago, the City Council had approved Mayor Bloomberg’s request but it died a closed-door death in the New York State Assembly when the now-disgraced Sheldon Silver killed it. This move was a blow to home rule and a blow to an effort to rationalize East River tolls and reduce the ill effects of congestion pricing. It killed a potential steady stream of income for transit investments and killed the productivity gains that would come with limited single-occupancy vehicle traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan.

Now, as the mayor and the governor square off over transit funding, some form of a traffic pricing plan seems to be back on the table. It’s a reboot, baby, and this time, our mayor is the villain (or perhaps just playing one).

The story broke last week when Gov. Andrew Cuomo said congestion pricing is “an idea whose time has come.” He didn’t say too much more than that, and in the week since the story first broke, he’s been silent on details despite some back-slapping at the future Moynihan Station a few days ago. The Times had a little bit more on the lack of details and politics:

“Congestion pricing is an idea whose time has come,” Mr. Cuomo said. He declined to provide specifics about how the plan would work and what it would charge, but said that he had been meeting with “interested parties” for months and that the plan would probably be substantially different from Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal.

“We have been going through the problems with the old plan and trying to come up with an updated and frankly better congestion pricing plan,” Mr. Cuomo said. A key priority is making it as palatable as possible to commuters from the suburbs and boroughs outside Manhattan without undercutting the primary goals: providing a dedicated funding stream for the transit system, while reducing traffic squeezing onto some of the country’s most gridlocked streets.

…Unlike a tax on wealthy New Yorkers, which would be limited in scope and affect a relatively small number of people, congestion pricing would have a far broader impact on people inside and outside the city. After Mr. Cuomo’s past skepticism that state lawmakers would support congestion pricing, his willingness now to support the idea may improve its fortunes in Albany.

Without any details of what kind of plan Cuomo is supporting, it’s hard to assess this move, and it’s even tougher to see through the politics of it. Mayor de Blasio, forever willing to give up leading on key transportation issues, has repeatedly said that congestion pricing is dead on arrival in Albany, and although some transit advocates think this is a maneuver to draw Cuomo’s hand in pushing congestion pricing as an opposite reaction to de Blasio, the mayor continued to speak ill of any traffic pricing plan this week. In fact, he and I. Dankee Miller, one of the worst City Council members on progressive transit issues, spoke out against Cuomo’s idea last week. The Times’ editorial board likes it in theory but Staten Island too is skeptical. (Some villains always show up for the reboots after all.)

As we speculate about Cuomo’s ideas for congestion pricing and what comes next, Streetsblog, in response to Mayor de Blasio’s complaints about unfairness and “penalizing” the Outer Boroughs — has written a thoughtful defense of the Move New York plan. This plan would rationalize tolls across all river crossings into Manhattan and provide money for transit upkeep while reducing congestion.

The real wild card here though is Cuomo. We don’t know what he wants to do, and his plans have always been, well, his. He’s proposed half-baked plans for Penn Station, a backwards AirTrain for Laguardia and an overpriced Penn Station Access. He hasn’t shown a willingness to let experts help guide him to the best decisions, and everyone seems to be holding their breaths on congestion pricing. New York has an opportunity to get this right, but we can’t let it slip away. While congestion pricing won’t solve every transportation ill, it’s piece in a larger puzzle of solutions that will. It’s up to Cuomo to lead properly, and so far, he has a very mixed record on that very topic. But stay tuned. This reboot hasn’t played itself out yet, and as the 2018 gubernatorial campaign inches into view, this won’t be the last we hear of it.



Categories : Congestion Fee

66 Responses to “Cuomo, New York City gear up for a congestion pricing reboot”

  1. Dave of Sunnyside says:

    Why doesn’t anyone mention the commuter tax as a transit funding source?

    • marvin gruza cpa says:

      A- politically it is too hard to pass
      B- NYC wants outsiders to come in to work
      >>>>>>> a commuter tax feels like a sin tax on an undesired activity
      but the problem is their cars, not the people who work,
      enlarge the economy, and pay sales tax while they are here

      Thus we want to and should tax the undesired activity – no the desired one

      Congestion pricing at times of congestion (not after 8pm etc) does this and will both raising revenue and improving the quality of life (faster travel for both those on buses and those who do pay the congestion price.

      • Bolwerk says:

        Do New Yorkers not go to work? Commuters aren’t going to stop coming to their jobs because they have to pay some fraction of the local taxes we have to pay.

        • Adirondacker12800 says:

          Non residents pay the same taxes residents do. Last I heard 5 billion dollars in income taxes from people who don’t live in the state.

          • cpamarv says:

            NYC residents pay both state and city tax on all their income

            NY state residents pay state tax on all their income but no city tax

            Out-of-staters who work anywhere in NY (does not matter in or out of the city) pay NY state tax on only the wages earned in the state and no city tax.

            The NYC non-resident tax that was repealed years was 45/100 of 1%……= $500 on 100,000 of wages

          • Bolwerk says:

            What cpamarv said. The state basically keeps for itself a right it denies to the city.

  2. AMH says:

    Well said. As much as I want MoveNY, and DeBlasio’s opposition to spur Cuomo to action, I’m really worried that Cuomo will F it up.

  3. SEAN says:

    Don’t hate on the female Ghost Busters! Besides who yah gonna call… it won’t be the mayor or the governor… right?

    Seriously – love the movie references as this gears to be another flick worthy of pop corn.

  4. Spendmor Wastemor says:

    If the people-who-are-better-than-us had not ‘fixed’ transit so as to make it a slow, physically abusive, unreliable and time-destroying waste for trips other than directly in/out of lower Manhattan, and at times not even that, then there would be a case. This is yet another case of the elitist ‘scru u’ class jamming their tax, take and control plans down under the guise of “It’s Good For You”.

    In theory, in a non-corrupt world, I would favor a congestion tax; it’s a market-oriented, logical solution. But such things only work up to a certain level of corruption and incompetence, and NYC is beyond that. Congestion pricing in Copenhagen, sure. For NYC’s keptocracy of princes, no.
    This is a realm of people flip off statements like “it’s would be cheap symbolism for The People’s Mayor to trouble himself by taking the horrible subway from his $100,000,000 mansion which he built a new wall around, when he can instead be ferried by a motorcade armored SUVs to visit a gym in another borough, because none of those on the East Side are up to his standards” (that is the Mayor’s meaning, not straight quote).

    • SEAN says:

      Cant tell if you are being sarcastic or you’re a bit pissed at the world at the moment. Either way reduce your coffee intake by half – it may calm you down a little.

      • Bolwerk says:

        People who aren’t discerning enough to tell Bill de Blasio is a right-wing twat tend to misinterpret other phenomena. I’ve seen them go on for several paragraphs longer than that.

        • SEAN says:

          People who aren’t discerning enough to tell Bill de Blasio is a right-wing twat tend to misinterpret other phenomena.

          That just made my day – thanks for that.

  5. marvin gruza says:

    “time-destroying waste for trips other than directly in/out of lower Manhattan, and at times not even that, then there would be a case”

    Your argument against congestion pricing is really the argument for it –
    ***the subway is good for those going to downtown or midtown – so those who drive to those places should subsidize those who do not
    ***mass transit is not good for those going between the other boroughs and therefore those who drive there should not have to subsidize the system via high tolls and or gas taxes.

    Congestion pricing does this.

    Additionally time of day tolls adjusted in 5-25 cent increments should be utilized. In an era of ez-pass/cashless tolling this is now very easy and would provide congestion benefits and toll fairness. (And yes, when non-rush hour construction causes 30 minutes delays, tolls should be waived as the paid for service has not been provided!)

    • SEAN says:

      I agree with you except for one detail – tolls shouldn’t be waved completely, they need to be $1 in that situation. If you cross a bridge or through a tunnel you need to pay something towards transit & or upkeep of the road network.

  6. LordDeucey says:

    I still don’t get why so many people are fixated to the point of obsession on East River tolls and congestion charges – a sin tax on a particular demographic – versus a Measure R (Los Angeles) style sales tax on retail, food and beverage purchases that affects everyone that comes into the boroughs and can generate more money for the MTA.

    Or maybe I do – everyone hates taxes on themselves but have no issue with taxing someone else.

    • SEAN says:

      Or maybe I do – everyone hates taxes on themselves but have no issue with taxing someone else.

      That perfectly sums it up right there – taxes for thee, but not for me.

      Remember Los Angeles county while huge, doesn’t have tolled bridges. It does have a series of toll lanes witch have been overwhelmed by the volume of vehicles using them. This invites more vehicles to fill the void left in the non-tolled lanes leeding to total gridlock. That is why there has been such focus on transit by the MTA there in the past few years & why mesure R is so importent.

      • Lady Feliz says:

        Don’t know which Los Angeles you’ve driven in, but the LA I moved to five years ago hasn’t seen the “total gridlock” you mention. Having driven in both NYC and LA, I can say without a doubt that traffic in NYC is exponentially worse than LA. Traffic in LA moves MUCH faster as there are much less chokepoints and way more alternate routes in/out of the CBD and surrounding suburbs.

        • SEAN says:

          Never lived there, but I’ve read my share of research on the issues regarding LA’s traffic. If you see something I’m missing, please post below – I really want to know more.

          No sarcasm.

          • LordDeucey says:

            I can tell horror stories about LA traffic – being stuck on Wilshire at La Cienega for two hours to get to the 405 was a particularly bad time, but doesn’t come close to the 40 minutes I spent driving Canal and Houston Streets trying to get to school (Empire State), or the three hours on the West Side Highway trying to get home in the Bronx; the four hour jam on the FDR between 34th St and the UN, being on the Shortline bus stuck for hours at the Lincoln Tunnel trying to get back to Port Authority so I could go home to Harlem, nor the countless train delays.

            LA has massive traffic but the bulk of the Metro area has alternate routes to allow people on buses or in cars to avoid chokepoints – stuck on Wilshire? Take Olympic; Crenshaw sucks, La Brea, Van Ness/Arlington or Western are right there.

            And there aren’t signals at every intersection, so vehicles have a chance of getting closer to fuel efficiency.

            NYC doesn’t have that, despite the grid in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s why I don’t think a congestion charge will do anything but raise money by robbing drivers since the subway can’t carry the folks on it now, and the charge won’t reduce congestion, but it’ll bring a goodly amount of money for government to misappropriate.

            • AG says:

              “And there aren’t signals at every intersection, so vehicles have a chance of getting closer to fuel efficiency.
              NYC doesn’t have that, despite the grid in Manhattan and Brooklyn.”

              Well yeah – NYC – like London or Boston developed before cars were king. LA wasn’t. Hence the modal share of driving versus transit in each city…

              • Lady Feliz says:

                Most of downtown LA and its nearer suburbs were developed long before the automobile came about. LA’s extensive trolley system (over 1200 miles, the largest rail system in the US in 1920) fostered the outward growth that was only replaced by cars after WWII. Except for parts of the San Fernando Valley, most of modern day LA predates the auto. That being said, LA created some very modern and extensive freeways that are much easier to navigate than NYC’s highways and bridges. And again, there are very few true chokepoints like the Brooklyn Bridge or any one of the tunnels that just stop traffic dead. Not saying it’s a drivers’ paradise, but as mentioned above, I’ve been stuck in NYC traffic at 1am, where it took me 90 mins to go 15 miles from Midtown to Bay Ridge. That’s NEVER happened to me in LA.

                • AG says:

                  “existing” and “developed” are two different things… IN any event – of course there are no choke points like the Brooklyn Bridge… LA is not a city of islands…
                  Again – the whole point is there is no reason to compare them. The only thing they have in common is that they are both cities.

                • mister says:

                  That’s interesting, because INRIX disagrees with you.

                  I lived in LA for a bit and can say that I found traffic there to be an absolute beast. When I got caught on a Sunday afternoon in traffic that stretched for miles on the 210, I realized that LA traffic can definitely be worse than NY traffic.

                  • LordDeucey says:

                    I remember being a kid and stuck on the 405 for 5 hours between the Crenshaw exit and Ortega Hwy (before the OC really was developed – Jamboree Rd didn’t exist then) and thinking how much LA traffic sucked.

                    Since then, the State built toll roads and the 105 opened; Harbor Transitway/Carpool lanes opened and the super busy highways got 24/7 carpools with some carpool entrance/exits avoiding regular traffic, so it got better.

                    Was really impressed when I took a MetroRapid – Line 740 – from DTLA to Downtown Inglewood in 25 minutes – the local takes 45 (Line 40). (Before 740 was truncated to Expo/Crenshaw Station.) With Rapids and the rail expansions, LA not only is doing transit access and reliability better than NYC in some regards, it’s not as much a burden to be without a car there now.

                  • Lady Feliz says:

                    Not to put too fine a point on all this, but all the comments (mine included) are anecdotal. You can find drivers in both cities who have never been in large traffic jams, and other who sit in them twice a week. All depends on where in the city you live and where you commute to (I live three miles from my job in LA, and that’s by design). Anyhow, my PERSONAL experience is that NYC traffic was ALWAYS bad, whereas in LA I get stuck in traffic much less often.

                    • mister says:

                      My link to INRIX’s study was not anecdotal. The numbers they present pegs LA traffic as worse than NYC’s.

                  • Guest says:

                    Pretty sure INRIX compares metropolitan areas, not city proper.

                    There’s nothing in LA like Manhattan and the similarly dense sections of the outer boroughs.

                    Keep in mind that NYC’s 5 boroughs account for a smaller land area than greater LA too. Los Angelenos are much more likely to travel much greater distances, and cover those distances faster on average than New Yorkers. LA is much more decentralized than NYC.

        • AG says:

          You must have access to research that no one who studies traffic does… LA – depending on how you measure is always at the top – along with DC and Atlanta for worst traffic in the nation. At least DC and NY you have a substantial enough transit network to avoid it.

          • cpamarv says:

            Who cares which city has the worst traffic.

            What matters:

            -The NY metro area needs to fund its mass transit – the greater metro areas city can not live without it or can we be competitive
            -The metro area needs to decide how much to expand its mass transit
            -The metro area needs to decide who is going to pay for it and through what mechanisms

            The goal is to find the right mix that will meet the long term goals of the city including quality of life, competitiveness with other areas, and solvency.

            • AG says:

              Who cares? Why should anyone tolerate false statements? In any event – congestion charges are much more sensible than a “Measure R” style tax in NY. People travelling between the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn and Staten Island should have their tolls reduced… People travelling across the East River – into the most congested and most expensive region in the nation should pay if we claim we are talking about “fair share”

              • LordDeucey says:

                Sensible to you since you likely wouldn’t pay it.

                Those of us who drive or plan to – with high ass auto registration and insurance to go along with this rent – don’t see it as sensible. Tolls are just a sin tax/tyranny of the majority. Why should we be the only ones paying into a system and you reap all the benefit?

                That’s why a Measure R is better – everyone pays whether tourist, resident or commuter/worker, and it’s a more stable and predictable income stream. People eat and buy things in the boroughs daily, so why not tap everyone’s pocket?

                Because YOU don’t wanna pay and you hate cars.

                • Adirondacker12800 says:

                  the alternative is to give you a ration card and you get so many trips a year into Manhattan, reserve your trips early. we aren’t building more street or more parking.

                • AG says:

                  I was trying to come up with a response – but I’m left scratching my head. Go read where MTA funding come. Btw – we own a car… That’s why assumptions are dangerous. But no – I don’t drive into Manhattan everyday…

          • Lady Feliz says:

            Parts of LA, yes, particularly the west side. Anecdotally, I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam exactly three times in five years, and I drive around LA every day. I got stuck in three traffic jams per month in NYC. Luckily, LA is also building some very modern and extensive light rail/subway lines to all parts of the city, making trips to downtown easier than driving.

            • AG says:

              “Three times in 5 years”??? Wow – no one I know who ever went to LA has ever said anything like that. But in any event maybe you can partake in one of their studies and show them they are wrong. Again – the point is mass transit not driving. NYC proper is 100 square miles SMALLER than LA proper. Yet it holds more than twice the population. That equals congestion (smaller space but many cars). That’s why the majority of residents use mass transit to go to work every day. That’s why other crowded world cities like London have congestion charges and places like Singapore put a huge surcharge on anyone who buys a vehicle. Others in Asia charge huge surcharges to get a license plate.

          • Guest says:

            Almost all those traffic studies like INRIX compare metropolitan areas, not city propers.

            I’ve been to LA multiple times and lived in DC for some years (worst traffic in DC is typically on the highways into, out of and ringing the city along with connecting arteries for example). Traffic in Manhattan and the similarly dense sections of the outer boroughs does not exist outside NYC in the USA. It takes much longer to travel long distances by automobile in NYC than in other American cities. In LA, yes you have to drive more miles, but you are moving much faster on average.

            • AG says:

              Either way you want to cut it – there is a reason the majority of persons who work in NYC get to work via mass transit. NY is by far the most crowded city in the nation… I’m not sure why this is even a debate.

    • TomS says:

      Remember that the MoveNY plan includes something for the outer boroughs that the original “Toll the east river bridges” plan did not: a cut in toll rates between the Bronx and queens, stimulating commerce and freeing people between those two places from a burden of paying tolls where there is no rapid transit. That makes it interesting, since bridge tolls where there is no transit alternative shouldn’t subsidize transit.

      Unless the plan is IRONCLAD, however, that in return for tolling the East River that the outer bridges will be held at 1/4 to 1/3rd of the CBD crossings, I’d recommend rejecting it.

  7. John-2 says:

    The closer you get to 2018, the less the idea of congestion pricing will hold any appeal to the governor, especially if he feels threatened in any way (dad made it through his second re-election OK in 1990, but couldn’t get past the third one in ’94).
    If he sees his support of congestion pricing causing problems in the outer areas of Queens, Long Island or Westchester among people used to driving to Manhattan, Cuomo will put the plan on the shelf at least until 2019.

    • SEAN says:

      I can speak with almost certainty that the number of people who drive to work every day from Westchester to Manhattan is quite small. For most of LI the same applies, but eastern Queens maybe a different story since the LIRR doesn’t really serve that area well enough to make it a viable option & busses to the subway 7, E or F takes quite a while for a trip that’s under a dozen miles give or take one.

      • marvin gruza says:

        yes – improvements in service need to accompany this new revenue streams. Tolls accompanied by mass transit improvements give drivers value for their new toll $ as some fellow drives are lured off the roads.

        This can include:

        -converting the Atlantic Ave LIRR to subway use from Atlantic Terminal through Jamaica to southeast Queens -minimal new infrastructure would be required

        -Running 2-4 standing only trains per hour from Little Neck into Manhattan on the Port Washington line (Think about the benefits to the #7 and all of northeast Queens)

        -Extending the LIE bus lane from the BQE east almost I-295 and having articulated express buses serve the outer (in terms of Queens) reaches of: Northern Blvd, Horace Harding Blvd, Union Tpke and Hillside Ave.

        • SEAN says:

          -converting the Atlantic Ave LIRR to subway use from Atlantic Terminal through Jamaica to southeast Queens -minimal new infrastructure would be required

          An interesting idea, but I started wondering about how that would be tied into the subway network. This line operates from a dead end at Atlantic Terminal to track 3 at Jamaica
          witch is in the middle of the station & away from the E, J & Z. How would you fix that.

          • Duke says:

            You don’t need to create a physical track connection for this. All you need to do is beef up service into Atlantic Terminal (there is spare capacity) and allow free transfers to/from the subway.

            Realistically, intra-city trips on LIRR and MNRR would already be more commonplace if not for the fact that they cost 3-4 times the price of a subway ride with no free transfers. This cockamamie fare structure results in the commuter rail infrastructure being underutilized.

            As for the Port Washington branch, Little Neck can’t be a terminal without construction since there are no switches. Your options to short turn trains are Bayside, and Great Neck. Which is a great idea, but the catch is Penn Station can’t handle any more terminating trains during peak hours than it already does. LIRR and NJ transit would have to work out some sort of cooperative through-running agreement, or the service enhancement would have to be off-peak only.

            • Adirondacker12800 says:

              there is that pesky origin and destination problem. most people don’t live next to an LIRR or Metro North station and most of them aren’t destined for Grand Central or Penn Station

              • marvin gruza says:

                In NYC there is easy frequent bus connections to the railroad and subway stations
                Grand Central and Penn Station have easy subway and bus connections to all parts of Manhattan to say nothing of cabs and uber

                Yes – Long Island and Westchester may need improvements in the first or last legs including more parking at stations.

                • SEAN says:

                  If there was a way to have frequent shuttle busses to suburban stations from neighborhoods, the need for large parking lots wouldn’t be required. But suburban sprawl makes that almost impossible to accomplish.

                  • marvin gruza says:

                    An issue to consider:

                    Transportation planning is usually 5-10 years+ from concept to fruition and the product is then good for 50 years?

                    In 10-15 years driverless cars will be on the roads
                    >While cars talking to each other will increase capacity/potential throughput of roads, population increases will offset this causing through roads/corridors to continue to be constrained. 3rd tracking of the LIRR and other similar projects hold long term importance.
                    >On the other hand, self driving cars combined with a transition from personal ownership will make the final leg (station to home) much easier and direct. Planning and projects should take this into account.

                    It is obviously hard to plan when we are not sure what technology will be.

                    Balancing the current and expected needs with what we think technology will be makes planning very interesting. Hopefully correct decisions that will be with are for years are being made.

                    • johndmuller says:

                      Self driving cars are certainly going to be a major game changer, but we don’t yet know exactly how that will all shake out.

                      For example, as far as facilitating suburban home-to-station trips, if one’s own car could drop off and pick up (going back home unsupervised in between), that could relieve station-side parking lot capacity issues; if not, they would essentially be only potentially additional Taxis/Ubers, which could exist today without them, if there were demand for them.

                      Similarly, if the auto-autos are to influence people to get rid of some of their cars, why haven’t those people already done so in favor of ZipCar or other car sharing services.

                      On the other hand, the prospects of auto-autos (being all things to all people) could serve as a disincentive to investing in transit upgrades due to fear that auto-autos would undercut the demand for new mass transit services. [In fact, it might do just that for certain kinds of trips where one could escape the tedium of driving, while still ending up with your car at the other end of the trip.

                    • Eric says:

                      Driverless cars will make it easy and cheap to get to a Metro North/LIRR station.

                      They won’t drive you into Midtown, because there isn’t space on the Midtown streets for them.

                    • johndmuller says:

                      Eric says:
                      Driverless cars will make it easy and cheap to get to a Metro North/LIRR station.

                      What I was saying above is that it only makes a difference if your own personal driverless car can drop you off and pick you up and is allowed to return home in between unsupervised (thus freeing up space in the commuter parking lot).

                      As to “cheap”, Really??? (Can I interest you in a fine old Bridge, possibly with new toll revenue on the way?)

                    • Guest says:

                      10-15 years. No way. The average American keeps a car about that long and you’ll still have a lot of people holding out. We will see incremental improvements but I highly doubt that timeframe is reasonable.

                      The USA doesn’t even require automotive manufactures to require collision avoidance (at least until 2020+). The only one to my knowledge that just made it standard this year is Toyota. That technology has existed for some time already and is still a very premium feature. I imagine that fully autonomous vehicles will be very premium for a much longer timeframe.

                  • SEAN says:

                    Do you mean “the Trumpan Zee?” You mentioned selling a bridge – so I needed to try that one to see if it would fly. LOL

                    • johndmuller says:

                      Of course I meant the Brooklyn Bridge, but maybe I could throw in the ‘Trumpire State Building’ for you.

                    • SEAN says:

                      And I’ll raise you Trumpsylvania Station. It has the best tracks, the best trains, the best platforms & transports the best people – believe me!

      • Adirondacker12800 says:

        It can take quite a while to get across the river by car too. They give away for free so lots of people try to use it.

      • Billy G says:

        The number of cars I see on the Hutch, north of cross county, or Sprain or Saw Mill, north of 287, each day belie your claim. There is quite a bit of auto peak demand from Westchester and points north.

        What would really screw up out-of-town car users would be NYC-only street parking permits and messing with the street sweeping timing drastically every couple of months.

        • AG says:

          And many of them who use the Throggs Neck and Whitestone bridges as well who comically pay large tolls while people going to the most crowded part of the country from East River bridges drive for free.

  8. Roger says:

    Congestion? What congestion? Go to Beijing or Shanghai for some real congestion.

  9. paulb says:

    I used to think this (congestion charge, MoveNY) was THE thing! Now, I have nothing but doubts. Probably it’s experience, and Ben and so many others showing the wastefulness and uncertain technical competence of the agencies. It’s fine to discourage driving but I wonder how many years until public transit capacity could climb to handle the extra volume, not to mention reliability. I am a lucky one: I live just 5 miles from my job, and I’m pretty fit, so for ten years I’ve been a bike commuter. Between snow days and using the subway to launch bike rides in Westchester or the odd ride here and there, the subway costs me $100 per year. There are times it works well–a lightning fast trip up the east side to 125th street, a quick ride from Dyckman Street home to Prospect Heights on the A train, even 70 minutes to Bedford Park Blvd or Norwood on the D train. But so often–you know what I mean.

    • Guest says:

      Congestion pricing is only one tool.

      The city is also expanding SBS and we are beginning to see more agressive implementations (see SBS BX6 near the Grand Concourse). More bike lines are going up and bike share is expanding. The city is encouraging car share and ride hire services.

      Not all of those drivers will be redirected to the subways.

      • Guest says:

        And I forgot to add, a decrease in automotive volume increases the opportunity for even more alternative types of transportation (more bus and bike lanes).

        • cpamarv says:

          I am one of those people who has had my behavior modified. I used to drive to downtown Flushing and Booth NY Hospital. I now use the fast Main Street SBS which runs every few minutes in mainly dedicated lanes. I save on parking and the time looking for a spot.

          I also take take the Main Street SBS to the airtrain to Kennedy airport – why fight the van wyck?

          There is no one size that fits all solution, but the more people than can be drawn out of their cars, the better for both bus traffic and the remaining drivers to say nothing of the air we breathe.

          Yes we have to use the most cost effective solutions

          Yes we have to offset (at least for a reasonable transition time – and the meaning of this can be debated) the increased costs that some will face as people bought houses and took jobs based on certain expectations of travel time and cost

          Yes some of the things that we will try will work well and some will fail – we need to try to minimize the failures but accept that they are a cost of trying to make progress.

  10. Peter L says:

    Did you give up on the blog, brother?

    • Abba says:

      I second this just a little update on how how are you? A 10’year old blog Dosent deserve a total hiatus after 10 months.At least post that there will be no further updates but don’t stop abruptly .

  11. Abba says:

    I meant after 2 months.Just a small update.Thats all.

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