Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg Lobbies for Pricing, Warns of Transit Repercussions (NYT, News, Sun)
  • Pro and Con Groups Rally on the Steps of City Hall (NY1
  • Judgement Day for Congestion Pricing and Sheldon Silver (News)
  • Congestion Pricing Plan Won’t Die on Monday (News)
  • Valuing the Commons: Congestion Pricing’s Hidden Payoff (Komanoff
  • The Green Road Less Traveled (Friedman
  • Parking Permit Abuse by Gov’t Employees Must Stop (News
  • A New French Revolution: I’m Never Taking the Subway Again (NYT)
  • Bronx Assemblyman Wants Traffic in Your Neighborhood, Not His (NYP)
  • Zillion Dollar Road Tunnel System, That’s What NYC Needs (NYT)
  • Not Enough Parking at White Plains Airport (NYT)
  • brent

    RE: NYT ’Zillion Dollar Road Tunnel System, That’s What NYC Needs‘. I was hoping this would be in today’s headlines. Here’s the passage that pissed me off- “Over the next 20 years city forecasters expect automobile traffic to grow by 10 percent and freight traffic to increase by 64 percent. But of the mayor’s 16 major transportation recommendations in the city’s long-range plan, NOT ONE WOULD SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE ROAD SYSTEM’S CAPACITY.” The Times is missing the picture yet again- how hard do people need to be hammered over the head to understand that the fundamental purpose behind congestion charging is to reduce traffic by removing an over excess of automobiles from the streets. The money from the tolls goes towards expanding mass transit to increase overall urban mobility. THIS IS NOT SOME GIGANTIC MULTIBILLION DOLLAR ROAD UPGRADE LIKE THE BIG DIG.

  • Re the coming NYC Big Dig. It is hard to make someone “understand” when their salary depends on them not “understanding.” The people DO understand. All the polls say 60% want better public transit. Oil/auto/coal is locked into protecting their profits and they have a LOT money to buy influence. We need a mass movement demanding the end of autosprawl subsidy.

  • nobody

    brent – The authors were from Reason magazine, a libertarian outlet. For some reason so-called libertarians like to subsidize roads, but not transit.

  • Nona

    The 10% projection for greater traffic is likely wrong – at least in Manhattan where the Reason guy was looking. Look at peak volumes entering the Manhattan CBD over time and it hasn’t changed that much in 15-20 years. Same for filled-up roads like the Cross-Bronx Expwy. We reached capacity some time ago. Driving growth these days is off-peak and on borough streets.

  • Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz states concern about congestion pricing actually increasing congestion in Riverdale by giving people more of an incentive to use the tolled Henry Hudson Bridge instead of the free Broadway Bridge.

    That is likely to happen, but it is only fair. Riverdale is probably the wealthiest neighborhood in the Bronx. Why should they get away with leaving the Hudson Bridge unused and then drive through the working class neighborhoods of Kingsbridge & Marble Hill to use the free Broadway Bridge?

    Also, his argument that congestion pricing is a regressive tax seems a bit disingenuous considering the less wealthy neighborhoods he represents are currently bearing the worst of the traffic generating from the wealthier areas.

  • jmnyc

    The writers of the Zillion Dollar Road Tunnel system are a bunch of idiots who do not understand the traffic in Manhattan. It sounds like something Robert Moses would write not understanding that mass transit is the way the vast majority get around. I am sure they’d like to resurrect the Lower Manhattan freeway.

    How many vehicles actually purposely go onto the Manhattan street grid when there are plenty of ways to avoid it? Maybe their solution would help get some trucks that are in Manhattan and need to leave off the grid but this is not a real or workable transportation solution. We need money to build more subways and upgrade the bus system and charging drivers a user fee, which riders of public transportation already pay, seems fair to me.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    A bunch of others have already torn into the Reason Foundation op-ed, but I want to point out this part:

    Just take a look at how effective the Murray Hill Tunnel is at bypassing traffic. The tunnel, which carries two lanes of car traffic from East 33rd Street to East 41st Street, is a great way to avoid the congestion of Park Avenue. Now imagine more of these tunnels and some well-placed queue jumpers and soon you’re traveling across town, dodging red lights.

    … and think how much more effective it must have been at moving people around when it was a streetcar tunnel. Now imagine more of these streetcars and some well-placed tunnels, and soon you’ve got a transportation system that isn’t built for some elitists from L.A.

  • Anything from Reason Magazine should be dismissed out of hand. I read half of the article yesterday before throwing it down in disgust.

    Shocked that he didn’t propose private ownership (but public funding) for this series of tunnels as well.

  • lower Manhattan

    And yet.. I can’t help wishing we had let them extend the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel north and put a park on top. The residents of Battery Park City didn’t want construction (and hordes more people pouring into their parks) and Goldman Sachs didn’t want the entrance in front of its new building. So now West Street — which was supposed to be a landscaped “urban boulevard” is really being turned into a superhighway. Has anyone seen what they’re doing around Murray Street down there today? They’ve ripped out the medians and added turning lanes for blocks. It’s now about 12 lanes wide! Include the adjacent bike lane and you’ve got more ashphalt than anything I saw in LA. And I think it’s even worse that it’s on ground level. If it can happen here, I would think it can happen anywhere along this route. So much for the victory over Westway.

    Maybe it’s good. People should have to see traffic capacity with their bare eyes. At some point they will say enough.

  • Congestion Pricing? No, not yet

    Subject: Re: D News letter to Mayor – nix illegal placard abuse first!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/07/15/2007-07-15_park_those_permits_mayor.html

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/07/15/2007-07-15_curb_these_parking_perks.html

    The Mayor needs to account for $250-million lost in NYC parking meter revenue in the last 6-years due to illegal placard abuse going on during his “watch” [Bruce Schaller report 2006].

    How can we think of congestion pricing without first eliminating illegal parking placard abuse (an action which would cost the City virtually nothing)?

    Lifelong Manhattan Downtowner

  • One othe point about the Reason Foundation proposal: it would make the city much less pedestrian friendly.

    At the point where those tunnels come out of the ground, they block pedestrians from crossing or even looking across the street. That is why Goldman-Sachs did not want their office building where the proposed West Street Tunnel came out of the ground.

    You would think that the Reason Foundation would learn from Goldman Sachs.

  • lower Manhattan

    Obscuring the view of lanes of traffic is not a bad thing. Especially if the “obstruction” is a landscaped berm, median, tunnel entrance. This even buffers the noise. There is nothing worse than the view and sound of endless lanes of roaring traffic. We’re relatively lucky in NY that at least some of the highways are depressed and have the potential to be capped — hopefully with parks.

  • Jmc

    #12: In my opinion, it’s better to cap a highway with shops… it keeps people interested in walking across them, keeps the street lively, and helps heal the neighborhood. Plus, a little rumble won’t bother people in a supermarket but it can make sitting in a park rather miserable.

  • Jacob Lee

    The part that galled me the most about the Reason Magazine NYT article was the suggestion for elevated bypasses. Cities like Seattle are trying to tear down their viaducts, having discovered what giant elevated roads do to neighborhoods. Tunnels would be reasonable but for the expense (and of course the vicious cycle of congestion that comes with increasing road capacity); but the suggestion of elevated bypasses shows that the authors learned absolutely nothing from the urban renewal mistakes of 30+ years ago.

  • jmc

    I think the reason article advocated constructing another Lower Manhattan expressway!