Today’s Headlines

  • Larry Littlefield

    Look to the financial system situation today for the future of the transportation system.

    It puts all those posturing pols promising ever greater quantities of something for nothing in perspective. While making all those promises for the future, they were sucking money for those who matter out, and its gone.

    My advice — learn to bike, live in a place where you can bike to everything you need, don’t count on your kids getting a public education, don’t count on Social Security, don’t expect to get health care when older and ill.

    Just as those who matter have their parking placards so the future of the transit system doesn’t matter, we will soon have education placards, retirement placards, social security placards et. The rich will pay for their own and hid their money to avoid sharing much with others. God help the rest of us.

  • gecko

    “Chicago Outlaws Dooring” is a good move and hopefully just the beginning.

  • ddartley

    Must say I have some doubts about the claim by the cops who hit the pedestrian that they were “not speeding.”

    Not being a smartass: I it that because I once had a cop tell me that cops, when on duty, are not subject to traffic laws–he even named some legal principle that applies. I’m not crazy about that, but I won’t criticize it. And I’m sure that it applied to these guys who were responding to the backup request. And that’s why I would bet that yes, they were “speeding,” or, to be more precise, “not adhering to the posted speed limit.”

    I mean, I’m not alone, am I, in finding it a little fishy that some cop actually said “they were not speeding?”

  • Ed

    Any comments on the NYT’s article regarding London’s congestion pricing? Loved by authorities, hated by the users. Hmmm. Interesting. Just like CP in NY: loved by Bloomy (and friends), hated by the regular folk. Tolling the bridges was called political suicide but if London is any indication, so is CP, if it is in fact that hated.

  • ddartley

    Ed, did you happen to see what NYT Section the story appeared in?

    It’s in “Automobiles,” a section targeted to car owners, who in London, like here in New York City, are not “the regular folk.”

  • drose

    Also Ed, London’s mayor Ken Livingstone was reelected in 2004 after putting congestion pricing in place. Anything but political suicide.

  • vnm

    Ed, what are you talking about?

    From the London article: “While motorists generally applaud the philosophy behind the system — less pollution and gridlock — they tend to complain bitterly about how it is administered. The charge is steep, the fees cumbersome to pay, and the penalties for late payment so punitive as to be extortionate, they say.”

    So there’s some quibbling about how it is administered but not about the philosophy behind it. Any measure that doesn’t cause grumbling among drivers wouldn’t decrease congestion. I was surprised how much the motorists in London supported the philosophy.

  • Hey Ed —

    QUinnipiac University polls consistently say that a majority of New Yorkers support Congestion Pricing if the money goes to transit (which is the plan).

    So how do you get “hated by regular folk”?

  • Ed

    The majority of the article is about the administrative problems with CP and all of the corresponding complaints.

    Who cares what section of the paper it is within? “All the news that fit to print”, right? I guess you only read what affects your interests. A bit myopic. Yikes.

    Regarding political suicide, when I suggested tolling the east river bridges (facts: less costly, quicker revenue stream, same congestion benefits as CP), someone else in a prior post quoted an article that tolling the bridges was seen as political suicide. What I am suggesting is that obviously CP was not liked over there but the guy was reelected. Thus, I am saying that tolling will not be liked but it is not political suicide just as CP was not. Tolling is and always was and always will be the better option. But Bloomberg and trendoids can’t then put their stamp on it and say “see how great I am and how I managed to make NY greener, gee, aren’t I progressive”.

    The money will go to transit, huh? Read a bit more about the current issues regarding the lack of any specifics on how the money is to be used. There is NO formula, nothing specific proposed such as a lockbox and many people are raising this red alert that a big pot of money will be created with little restrictions or at least with laws written so loosely that pols can dip into the money. THIS IS A REAL ISSUE that won’t go way because you want it to.

  • “Even if the plan is scuttled this time, New York will eventually adopt some form of congestion pricing, traffic experts say.”

    Best quote from the Times article – and that is from the Automotive section!

  • Ed: The complaints in London are about the method that people use to pay. New York will use a different and easier method. From the other Times article: “The New York plan would rely on the E-ZPass readers already in millions of cars; cars without the radio-frequency E-ZPass tags would be identified by video cameras for billing.” For cars with E-Z passes, there would be none of the problems they are complaining about in London.

    No lockbox proposed?? This is the big lie technique used by a few opponents of congestion pricing.

  • Ed

    You know what Charles, I came to this conclusion long before others raised this red flag because its true. The big lie is that there are a “few opponents”. I am all for reducing congestion, 100% behind it. But not as flash-in-the-pan CP that is to be approved in days and yet we are still hammering out deals to get it approved with parking permits, placard reductions (maybe, right?), etc. Its been around since the 1950’s as a proposal but minimally used and now the green trendoids have gotten their self-righteous little ignorant paws on it and want us all to bow down to the great, green, right way. There are not a few opponents, just rational ones, unlike the CP promoters who argue things like “who cares if all of the money doesn’t go to mass transit as long as some of it does” (a recent reply to the funding issue elsewhere on these pages). I care. I care about congestion too but not in a trendy way.

  • Curiously, I asked Ed where he’s getting the info that CP is hated by “regular folk” and his response was that the money won’t really go to transit.

    Yet another CP opponent talking in circles to fit his agenda.

    P.S. to Charles — sounds good, but what do “traffic experts” know about politics?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Remember, everyone pays to go to Manhattan as it is, because the current NYC “congestion pricing” policy is to limit off street parking, thereby raising its price.

    Everyone without a parking placard, that is.

  • “the green trendoids have gotten their self-righteous little ignorant paws on it and want us all to bow down to the great, green, right way. There are not a few opponents, just rational ones….”

    “Talking around in circles” is a very charitable way to describe Ed. Imagine that anyone can indulge in this sort of totally irrational and ugly name calling, and then turn around in the next sentence and claim that he is rational.

    He talks in circles because he is incapable of understanding and answering what we say. Eg, I said that a few opponents of congestion pricing claim there is no lock box, and he answers by saying that there are not just a few opponents of congestion pricing.

  • vnm

    “Even if the plan is scuttled this time, New York will eventually adopt some form of congestion pricing, traffic experts say.”

    Charles, you’re absolutely right. And they could have elaborated. As hybrids and electric vehicles become more common, as they will and must, the notion of paying for roads from a gas tax will fade away. To continue to fund road maintenance, we will be left with road pricing, or charging drivers for the amount of wear and tear they put on roads, not the amount of one type of fuel they burn. Road pricing is the same concept as congestion pricing, if not the same technology.

    It is going to happen. If NYC innovates and sets the trend, we will be a leader. If we don’t, we will lose out to other locations and our economy will suffer.

  • Ed


    The problem is that you are preaching to the choir in here. The lockbox issue is a real issue.

    I too have charitable ways that I am sure I could describe your polite way of trying to put me down.

    Don’t get hung up on the rhetoric, Charles, address the lockbox issue or the way the legislation is written without guaranteed percentages going to MTA, adminstrative costs of CP, and other related costs. Or address tolling the bridges and why that isn’t better. How about that Charles? Maybe you shouldn’t address the tone of my argument but the points it raises. Not so easy, is it?

  • Ed


    I didn’t respond to your original post because my original post and reponses quite adequately address your post. The poll says that most NYers support CP if (and what a big, fat, huge, gigantic IF that is) the money goes to mass transit.

    Here, here’s a quote from the pollsters, no emphasis added, a direct cut-and-paste:

    “Traffic is a horrendous problem, New Yorkers agree. But they reject all the ideas that are being talked about to ease it. Voters remain firm in their opposition to congestion pricing, but they would support it if – IF – the money is used to improve mass transit, ” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    See, big stress on the IF. Which is all I am trying to point out. Even the pollsters see that it is an issue. It has been addressed by the major media outlets in NY as well.

    I don’t talk in circles – it is the swirl of the echo chamber of pro-CPers that is causing that effect for you.

  • Davis


    I think you’ve picked the wrong people to fight with.

    The Mayor, the Commission, the advocates and everyone involved in crafting the pricing plan have made it 100% clear, repeatedly, that they all want the strongest possible transit lockbox language written in to the congestion pricing legislation. Now it’s up to the City Council and State Legislature to write the legislation.

    If this is a big issue for you, you should take it up with your state legislator.

  • If the “IF” is so important to you, state the conditions for satisfying it precisely. It seems to mean “all funds” when asking the speculative question, and “any funds” when invoked for the effective one. That’s no way to make a decision.

  • Mark

    Regarding Quinnipiac’s big “IF,” pollsters often express a viewpoint in the way they phrase questions. Here are two yet-unmentioned facts about Quinnipiac’s viewpoint:

    1) The university is located “90 minutes from New York City and two hours from Boston,” according to its website. In other words, in the suburbs.

    2) The Quinnipiac Polling Institute seems to have a symbiotic relationship with newspapers and TV news shows, both of which are heavily supported by automobile advertising. There’s a POV double-whammy — a suburban institution communicating through carmaker-funded media outlets.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Maybe you shouldn’t address the tone of my argument but the points it raises.

    You can’t have a rational discussion without respect, and you can’t have respect with name-calling. As soon as you started calling names, there was no longer any possibility of a real dialogue.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Apparently any group of people that share a common set of values is an “echo chamber”. Everyone in the echo chamber has to “drink the kool-aid”.

  • I’ve accused congestion pricing opponents of being in an echo chamber. I think it’s true: many of them seem to believe in a distorted view of reality repeated to them by their friends and colleagues. If they pay attention to the “pro” arguments and proponents, it seems to only be in the form of exaggerated straw men. Lew from Brooklyn is an exception, because he has taken the time to honestly engage us and listen to us.

    By contrast, Streetsblog regularly publishes links to, and long excerpts of, anti-CP writings, and represents their positions fairly. I don’t know of any straw men here.

    That said, Nico, if you’ve never drunk Kool-Aid in an echo chamber, you should try it.