Critical Transportation Reforms Sink With Pricing

An enforcement camera in London captures a motorist in the bus lane.

Mayor Bloomberg’s strategy was to bundle all of the PlanNYC transportation reforms requiring legislative approval into one bill. The sinking of the congestion pricing ship took other victims with it. Lost with congestion pricing was legislation approving bus lane enforcement cameras, residential parking permits, and reclassifying "block the box" as an easier to enforce parking violation.

The mayor’s legislation can be found here by searching the text of Senate bill S6068A.

Despite the setback, nothing prevents Bloomberg from seeking approval for these initiatives in the next legislative session, through negotiation or in some sort of commission like the one proposed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Bus lane enforcement cameras are particularly important and well worth the mayor’s efforts. New York City has enormous trouble enforcing bus lanes, and the cameras are a critical part of making future Bus Rapid Transit work.

Supporters of parking reform may want to take the time Sheldon Silver has given them to think about residential parking permit legislation. Permits might make sense as a mitigation for reducing the "edge effect" of a congestion pricing zone and to prevent driving to major trip-generators like the proposed Atlantic Yards arena in Brooklyn. But as a stand alone proposition, residential permits, especially the free permits proposed in the State Senate bill, will do little to address parking problems or open up scarce curb space for deliveries and service vehicles that now double park and delay traffic.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Definitely a lot to be done.

    The Senate bill would have allowed bus lane enforcement cameras only as part of the five “BRT” pilot projects. The next bill should allow them statewide.

  • SPer

    I want to encourage everybody who bothers to post on this blog to write a letter to the New York Times about your disappointment that congestion pricing was killed in Albany. This morning’s paper had three letters on CP: two against and one in favor, and the favorable letter was written by someone living in Washington DC! I assume that the Times publishes pro and con letters in numbers roughly representative of what’s in the mail bag. So — lets get our words out where more people can read them.

  • momos

    SPer – I second the letter writing campaign. Also, Streetsbloggers: CALL SHELDON SILVER. Yesterday his office had heard more anti- than pro- calls.

    Sheldon Silver: 518-455-3791

    As of 12:15pm today, Elizabeth Benjamin over at The Daily Politics has very encouraging news to report:

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office is contacting members of the Democratic majority and asking them whether they are available to return to Albany tomorrow, one downstate lawmaker reports…Gov. Eliot Spitzer called off his plans to travel to Buffalo today so he could stick around and keep negotiating.

    More Here:

  • jmnyc

    I love that picture of the car in the bus lane. Boy do we need these cameras.

    Did you know that NYC is limited by Albany to 100 traffic enforcement cameras in the entire city depsite having more than 5,000 intersections. And that restriction was just lifted last year from 50. Unbelievable.

    I watched Richard Brodsky on NY 1 last week and he said the reason he opposed more traffic cameras was that a political opponent could use them to determine when he was in the city and where. How out of touch are Richard? NYC pedestrians and public transit riders can’t get red light, bus lane or block the box cameras b/c of your concerns about a political opponent tracking your whereabouts in NYC. What exactly are you doing in the city that makes you so afraid of other people find out about your whereabouts?

  • ddartley

    I must weigh in saying that this “edge effect” seems like a figment of a nutty imagination.

    “Yeah, now that CP makes it more expensive for me to drive from my outlying neighborhood or town into Midtown and park there, instead, on a workday morning, I’ll drive to a trasit hub in some neighborhood I don’t know in the Bronx or Brooklyn, and drive around the unfamiliar streets looking for parking.”

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t imagine more than a few dozen people trying that in a CP world. And those few dozen would have been offset by the far greater number no loger driving at all!

  • Jmc

    There was once a time when New York looked to London for solutions to its transit problem. New technology and ideas that ran counter to the status quo were helping London grow and prosper, but when these ideas were proposed in New York they were shot down by established interests, corrupt politicians, and NIMBYs. The time? 1866. The innovation? Underground railroads (subways)

    It wasn’t until 1904 that construction started on the IRT!

    Let’s hope we can start congestion pricing in less than 40 years.

  • Eric

    We could use some BIKE-lane enforcement cameras, too, in places like the Plaza Street East bike lane at Grand Army Plaza. Since the bike lane there is used more often than not as a passing lane for impatient motorists, I imagine it could rack up thousands and thousands of dollars in fines each day – money which could fund transportation improvements elsewhere.


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