On Saturday we received the following mysterious e-mail in the Streetsblog tips box:
Subject: Plan to be Revealed to go up against Mayor's Congestion Pricing
A major announcement will soon be made that will reveal a whole new plan for how NYC will handle traffic congestion, mass transit, air pollution and land re-development. A plan so bold that it would not only give Mayor Bloomberg a run for his money, but change the pecking order of NYC's "forgotten boroughs." This supposed nine-point plan is said to be making its debut as soon as next week and is already creating a buzz within City Hall.
Well, the "plan so bold" has arrived just in time for tonight's Traffic Mitigation Commission hearing in Brooklyn and Daily Politics reports that it belongs to Council member Lewis Fidler. He is calling it the 9 CARAT STONE Plan, an acronym for, Clean Our Air, Reduce All Traffic, and Support Transportation Operations in New York's Environs. Download it here.
Fidler's ambitious plan hinges on the construction of three, massive, decades-long, multi-billion dollar transportation tunnels, "forcing the issue" of hydrogen fuel-cell miracle cars, a politically poisonous regional payroll tax hike, and a series of small-bore improvements in enforcement and street management policy. He also wants to compel all city agency employees to drive to work at far-flung offices outside the central and outer borough business districts.
If nothing else, it's great to see everyone engaged in discussion and debate about transportation policy and traffic mitigation. And the "9 CARAT STONE Plan" goes down as one of the all-time great acronyms in New York City bureaucratic history. Now, pardon me, I need to get crackin' on the Trans-Narrow Tunnel. Here are Fidler's nine points:
Construct 3 Critical Tunnels: a. The Cross Harbor Tunnel. b. The Trans-Narrows Tunnel. c. The Gowanus Expressway Tunnel.
Force the Issue of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles
Paying for it: A .033% one-third of one percent Regional Payroll Tax
Increase the number of metered parking spaces in the central business district and the cost of parking.
Increase the number of taxi stands in the CBD.
Getting Unloading Trucks off the Street: More loading zones and more off-street loading docks.
Increase enforcement and fines for violators.
No one way tolls for trucks.
Move City agencies out of the CBD and not to downtown districts in the outer boroughs.
AARON NAPARSTEK is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Streetsblog. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Naparsteks journalism, advocacy and community organizing work has been instrumental in growing the bicycle network, removing motor vehicles from parks, and developing new public plazas, car-free streets and life-saving traffic-calming measures across all five boroughs. Naparstek is the author of "Honku: The Zen Antidote for Road Rage" (Villard, 2003), a book of humorous haiku poetry inspired by the endless motorist sociopathy observed from his apartment window. Prior to launching Streetsblog, Naparstek worked as an interactive media producer, pioneering some of the Web's first music web sites, online communities, live webcasts and social networking services. Naparstek is currently in Cambridge with his wife and two young sons where he is enjoying a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He has a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Naparstek is a co-founder of the Park Slope Neighbors community group and the Grand Army Plaza Coalition. You can find more of his work here: http://www.naparstek.com.