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Congestion Pricing

Lappin Describes Her Position as “Similar to Gov. Spitzer’s”

lappin.jpgA couple of weeks ago I nearly spit out my morning coffee over the front page of Metro NY when I read that my City Council member Jessica Lappin was opposed to Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan. Dismissing residential parking permits as "a hunting license" Lappin said she was afraid of a "crush of cars" at the at the 86th Street boundary.

In the past, my group, the Upper Greenside, has worked with Lappin to bring new greenmarkets to our neighborhood as well as other environmental issues. Based on our conversations about traffic, she seemed very positive about the idea of congestion pricing. She once wrote a letter to former DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall at our request about the dangerous traffic congestion around the Queensboro Bridge.

Last Friday, while Mayor Bloomberg was testifying in front of the State Assembly about congestion pricing, I accompanied Ann Seligman from Environmental Defense on a visit to Lappin's legislative office to advocate for the mayor's plan. Lappin jumped in immediately, saying, "I support congestion pricing, I just have some tough questions about the details." She described her position as close to Governor Spitzer's. She wants to see something happen but has some concerns over the plan's details.

Lappin says that she (like many other City Council members) has not been able to get answers to her questions from the Mayor's office (which, naturally, seems to be focused on the New York State Assembly right now). I suspect that if they give her some attention and get her some answers, she will go public with her position. She was optimistic that something would get done on congestion pricing this summer.

I was glad to hear that her position was generally pro-congestion pricing, but I'm still disappointed in her lack of leadership on this issue, especially when compared to Council Member Dan Garodnick who shares much of the Upper East Side with Lappin.

If you live in Lappin's district, consider calling her office at (212) 535-5554 to give her a push in the right direction. Better yet, she's hosting a town hall meeting this Thursday. I strongly encourage Livable Streets advocates to show up and and ask her and other elected officials about their positions on congestion pricing, bicycling and and other urban environmental issues.

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