O’Donnell Supports PlaNYC, but Congestion Pricing?

Below is State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell’s response to a letter from Streetsblog contributor Glenn McAnanama urging O’Donnell to support congestion pricing. O’Donnell claims that no specific legislation has been introduced regarding PlaNYC so he cannot take a position.

O’Donnell represents the 69th Assembly District which includes Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Thank you for reaching out to my office. I find it valuable to gain awareness of the legislative issues my constituents are concerned with. I genuinely appreciate the effort you took to address your views on PlaNYC 2030.

I commend Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s comprehensive approach to making New York City more environmentally sustainable. New York City has always been a leader in sustainable urban policy for the rest of the world’s great cities and the proposed PlaNYC 2030 is a major example of that leadership. As of the moment, no detailed legislation has been presented to members of the New York State Legislature regarding the many programs under PlaNYC 2030. Until I can consider every detail of any proposed legislation and how it would affect the lives and families of my constituents, I cannot take a definite position.

Be assured of my commitment and longstanding support to improve environmental sustainability and public transportation in New York City. I am currently a sponsor of the "Bigger Better Bottle Bill", which expands the Returnable Container Act to non-carbonated beverages. I am also an advocate for developing a freight rail-tunnel in our city, which would go a long way in alleviating the traffic congestion that negatively affects our quality of life.

As the status of PlaNYC 2030 evolves in the State Assembly, please continue to contact my office with your concerns. I fully welcome any further comments you may have.

Very truly yours,

Daniel O’Donnell

Assembly Member

  • Congestion pricing is going to be won or lost on a Assembly district by Assembly district basis. Contact your Assemblymember to urge them to have PlaNYC voted on ASAP. http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/

    And for O’Donnell, he should start reading Streetsblog:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/06/07/congestion-pricing-legislation-introduced-download-it-here/

  • momos

    I spoke to one of O’Donnell’s aides last week and was told that he “supports congestion pricing in principle but has questions about some details.” I was given the impression he will support it.

    His main concern is that his district, which lies just north of the pricing zone, will experience an increase in parking congestion as drivers seek to avoid the charge.

    Every major research finding studying that particular fear has found that in fact nothing of the sort occurs; rather than driving, then circulating for 20 minutes looking for a parking space and then taking mass transit, drivers simply take mass transit from the start of their journeys.

  • momos

    Nevertheless, people should call O’Donnell’s office to ensure his support for congestion pricing.

    DISTRICT OFFICE
    212-866-3970

    ALBANY OFFICE
    518-455-5603

  • northern Manhattan point of view

    Washington Heights and Inwood bear the brunt of the traffic from the George Washington Bridge. The neighborhood around 181st Street is an asthma super-hot spot. Congestion pricing doesn’t raise the cost of coming into the city from New Jersey because the toll makes it a wash. So they want to know, what’s in it for them? Not better transit — theirs is already better than average. They need (and deserve) a better solution to their particular congestion problem. Maybe the Port Authority should end the perverse incentive it offers commuters with a monthly discount on the toll. In the same way that bulk discounts for energy discourage conservation, bulk discounts for tolls only encourage driving. The discounts were needed to induce drivers to adopt EZ-Pass when it was new. Now it is enough of a convenience that the discounts aren’t needed.

  • momos

    Northern Manhattan – Excellent points. Your suggestion of abolishing bulk EZ Pass discounts is a very sound one.

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