A Brief History of New York City Congestion Charging

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Car-Free lunchtime on Madison Avenue, April 19, 1971. New York City policy-makers haven’t seriously considered traffic reduction since the Lindsay Administration. (Image courtesy of Jeff Zupan)

This week’s New York Magazine publishes a brief timeline of the history of congestion charging in New York City, adapted from a much lengthier article that I reported and wrote a few months ago. I’ll publish the longer piece later today here on Streetsblog. For now, here is New York Magazine’s Unlocking the Gridlock:

It’s traffic week! And not because of holiday shoppers. In the eye of the storm between election cycles, city politicians have exactly one year to tackle one of the most pressing yet sensitive issues there is: congestion. "The gridlock on our streets has become a brake on the city’s economy," asserts Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, an association of top city business leaders. This week, hers and a handful of other groups will roll out reports and hold conferences on the topic. Opponents have been prepping for an all-out spin war. A few weeks ago, Walter McCaffrey, a city councilman turned lobbyist, says he was hired by a nascent group calling itself the Committee to Keep New York City Congestion-Tax Free. Wylde says it’s really just "a front" for the Metropolitan Garage Owners Association. (McCaffrey says the New York State Restaurant Association is with him.) Wylde’s report will propose "anything from improved mass transit to road charges."

Read on…

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