Today’s Headlines

  • Tolls Could Be Replaced by Dynamic Pricing (NYT, Post, Daily News)
  • Bloomberg Says US Should Pay London Congestion Charges (Post)
  • Pricing Would Affect Small Percentage of CB10 Commuters (Brooklyn Eagle)
  • Clinton Foundation Plan Will Finance Green Buildings (AMNY)
  • Center Offers Training for Citizen Planners (AYR)
  • MTA Plans to Extend Brooklyn G Line (Across the Park via Brooklyn Record)
  • LIRR Sees Increase in Rider Injuries and Deaths (AMNY)
  • Road Casualties Downplayed as Global Health Crisis (Guardian)
  • Redesigning Cities for People (Celsias)
  • Steve

    Toll Replacement Technology: This initiative is just as much about security/surveillance as it is about anti-congestion. No one gets in or out of Manhattan in a private auto without being recorded:

    ““This would mark the end of the tollbooth as we know it, replacing these brick-and-mortar symbols of the 20th century with the digital imaging technology of the 21st century,” Mr. Shorris said in a speech to a civic group.”

    “The authority also uses cameras to take pictures of license plates on cars that drive through E-ZPass gates without paying. Under the proposal, all tollbooths would be removed, and more of those cameras would be installed to bill vehicles without E-ZPasses.”

    I’m not saying people should therefore oppose this measure (or congestion pricing, which has similar surveillance synergies), but it’s interesting that the press never picks up on this angle. The anti-terrorist angle may well be the secret glue (along with traditional back-room back-scratching) that brings dissenting legislators into the congestion pricing tent.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I’m concerned about this too, Steve. Unfortunately, it’s even harder for non-motorists to get around without being tracked. You have to show ID when buying an intercity bus or train ticket, and they record your name in a database. They probably already have cameras filming pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridges, and they can track you with your Metrocard if you buy it with a credit card.

    I’m not happy about the surveillance angle, but anyone who opposes toll replacement on these grounds should also oppose the tracking of bus and train passengers.

  • Steve

    I’m green on this issue primarily because I think the surveillance project is unstoppable so we might as well enjoy some benefits as long as we are sacrificing our civil liberties.

    In fairness, the PlaNYC documents explicitly disavow surveillance use of data collected for CP purposes and say that the data will be destroyed once payments are made. However I doubt that will be the whole story.

    As Angus points out, bicyclists are not exempt from surveillance (I have also heard rumors of NYPD undercover infiltration of bicycle rides and groups!). I will not forget a meeting of the CB 8 Transpo Committee I attended, where a CB member blithely mentioned the non sequitur that all bicycles should be licensed as if they were motor vehicles, during a discussion of pedestrian safety measures on Park Avenue. So at some point I expect the civil liberties agenda to be in more explicit tenstion with the green agenda.