Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and consultant Brian Ketcham floated yet another set of traffic mitigation alternatives to Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal. The Ketcham plan would move the boundaries of the pricing zone to 60th Street and the East River bridges in an effort to simplify and reduce costs. The Weiner plan calls for a Cross-Harbor Freight Tunnel, new ferry and transit services, and beefed up traffic enforcement in an effort to, well, kill congestion pricing. Weiner's plan wouldn't qualify for for the $354 million the feds have pledged for transit upgrades, so he would pay for it with increases in tolls, parking fees and the federal gas tax. Getting Congress to jack up U.S. gas taxes for new outer borough bus routes in New York City should be no problem.
Say, won't all those drivers forced out of their cars by Weiner's taxes, fees and tolls need transit as well? And won't they need it before the increases go into effect, just like the poor schlumps who would be affected by congestion pricing? Just wondering...
Speaking of happiness, or lack thereof, Streetsblog commenters joined free-parking advocates in complaining about the green crosstown bike route going down on Prince Street. Wrote ln: "I think the DOT got that ugly colored slippery paint on sale. Now theycan say they 'greened' a former street area without actually plantingany plants." Ouch.
Planned bike shelters received a somewhat more positive reaction, though several wondered why the structures shouldn't be installed in place of on-street car parking rather than on already cluttered sidewalks, where they could end up serving as another advertising-clad sight-line obstacle.
On the other hand, new bike lanes in Fort Greene, where the DOT isputting down roots, got high marks -- as did Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, when a suggestion that former commish Iris Weinshall should be credited for the Carlton Avenue transformation brought a flurry of protest. Wrote Gary: "Come on: have you EVER seen a department do a 180 (for the better) likethe transition from Iris to Janette? It's like someone waved a magicwand over the DOT and turned lead into gold." Sounds like a comment of the week to us.
Photo: Winner of the Municipal Art Society's "Nasty Newsrack" photo contest, by Laura Dodd. Writes the MAS: "The judges selected it not just because it depicts ugly and poorly maintained newsracks, but also because of the series of serious code violations shown. The newsracks are located in a bus-stop and less than fifteen feet from a fire hydrant - forcing the bus to discharge passengers by the hydrant, all of which is illegal."
Brad Aaron began writing for Streetsblog in 2007, after years as a reporter, editor, and publisher in the alternative weekly business. Brad adopted New York's dysfunctional traffic justice system as his primary beat for Streetsblog. He lives in Manhattan.