What Glick’s District Will Lose Without Congestion Pricing

glick_1.jpgWith the fate of congestion pricing likely to be decided over the weekend, we’re going to beat this drum some more this afternoon.

Yesterday we heard that Assembly Member Deborah Glick’s office told a constituent the congestion pricing bill could lead to worsening air quality. (Because, you know, building mass transit infrastructure will cancel out all the particulate pollution that pricing will keep out of the air.)

If Glick ends up basing her decision on that tortured logic, here’s a look at what she would deny her district [PDF], according to the Campaign for New York’s Future:

  • 46 new subway cars, primarily for the E and F lines
  • 3 additional buses for the M20/M104 Routes
  • 5 additional buses for the M101/102/103 Routes
  • 6 additional buses for the M15 Route
  • 9 additional buses for the M1/M2/M3/M4 Routes

Those are just the short-term enhancements that will be implemented before congestion pricing goes into effect. (And it’s worth repeating that the data comes from CFNY’s district fact sheets, an excellent tool to help bolster your argument when you call your reps.)

Glick’s district, which falls entirely within the congestion zone, also stands to benefit enormously from the most obvious result of congestion pricing: less traffic. Lower Manhattan will see a 33.2 percent reduction in extreme traffic jams and a 6.4 percent reduction in overall traffic, according to DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

And it goes without saying that a very small minority of Glick’s constituents would actually pay the fee. Only 3.2 percent drive alone outside the zone as part of their commute, according to 2000 Census data.

Brodskyite populist posturing would seem especially out of place in these parts. Only 22.4 percent of households own a car, a low figure even in New York City, and the average income of those households is more than $180,000.

  • Ian D

    Hi, I’m part of the 3.2% that in 2000 drove to work alone from Glick’s district to outside the zone (OK, I don’t drive often nowadays). And I’m spending my day today making calls and pushing FOR the plan…


  • da

    One of Glick’s objections was that pricing was not subject to SEQRA. But doesn’t the SEQRA vs. CEQR (state vs. city review) depend on which agency is doing the project? E.g. Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards went thru SEQRA because it was a project of the ESDC.

    Meanwhile, other commenters have directed our attention to the actual bill itself which clearly calls for environmental review (see sec. 1709, “Environmental Study and Mitigation”). The bill outlines the whole works: scoping, draft EIS, final EIS, public hearings. The language indicates “the city” will do the review, not “the state”. Does this imply that CP is subject to CEQR, not SEQRA review?

    At any rate the “not going thru SEQRA” charge seems spurious. CEQR vs. SEQRA is a function of which public agency is doing the project.

  • Clover

    Since I’m one of Glick’s constituents and an officer of one of her local democratic clubs, I gave the office in Albany a ring about 30 minutes ago. The woman who took my call didn’t really seem to know how to record a constituent call, and she didn’t give me much hope for getting Glick’s support for CP. In fact, she hurried me off the phone after 2 very short sentences.

  • Dave G.

    I called Glick’s Manhattan office on Monday and yesterday. Both times, after I voiced my support for congestion pricing, I was told to leave my email address so the that office could send me a statement on Glick’s position on congestion pricing. No word yet!

  • If Glick votes no on CP and Glick’s constituents lose all these things, I humbly suggest that the next thing they should lose is Glick . . . the elections are not far off.

    I called Silver’s Albany office today, and spoke to a contact in Sen. Connor’s office. I’ve already spoken to Millman ad nauseum, at this point I just hope she’ll do the right thing.

    Keep making the calls people.

  • A Nerd

    SEQRA is the state law that requires the State and all municipalities to do environmental review before approving a project. Municipalities have some limited latitude to make their own rules for how they implement the requirements of the State law, and CEQR is NYC’s process for doing so. (So CEQR *is* SEQRA when it comes to a NYC project.)

    The problem Glick/Brodsky have is that in this case, the legislature is being asked to approve a proposal, but no reivew (of either kind) has been done. Normally that isn’t allowed by SEQRA. The Mayor’s bill proposes to make an exception to SEQRA for this proposal, and let the environmental review occur after the bill is passed but before “final” implementation of the plan. It also requires that there be extensive followup on how any environmental impacts are mitigated (which is more than SEQRA normally requires).

  • da

    Thanks for the clarifications, Nerd. These acronyms are kinda headache inducing. Any idea why the bill was structured the way it was? Was it in the interests of getting something done under the deadlines, which would have been impossible under the usual SEQRA process?

  • Ray

    I’m a constituent too. I have voiced my opinion making it clear that I’ve become a one issue voter (at least for this election cycle).

    The fact that this uncertainly persists, given how the council voted, the governor strongly supports and the federal dollars are there for the taking… is for me simply… Unbelievable. Completely tone deaf.

    What is her alternative?

  • Downtown Girl

    Glick’s district is home to the worst diesel ultrafine particles concentrations(= asthma) in New York State, and that likely means New York State.

    According to the Environmental Defense Fund http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2007/06/17/2007-06-17_citys_worst_asthma_zones_sniffed_out.html , the worst ultrafine diesel particulate matter is not in the South Bronx, as many believe (345,000 pcc). Rather, it is actually on Varick and Canal (500,000 pcc) – in the heart of Glick’s district.

    IMHO, the reason Glick has not come out in support of CP is because her ‘Boss’, Sheldon Silver, has not decided.

    Rather than offend the Boss, Glick keeps quiet, like a dutiful little toady that she is, waits for Shelly to tell her how to vote, and lets her constituents be damned.

    She is rude to her constituents but is Shelly’s little sycophant. Why? She needs Silver’s budget line-items to dole out grants to those groups who collect the signatures needed to put her on the ballot every two years. Some would call that self-serving.

    If you think Speaker Quinn has problems with budget slush funds, it would wan in comparison to Glick. It indeed would be a revelation to see what Glick does with her discretionary funds.

    But, of course, that information is not readily available to the public.

  • Debra Glick is right in questioning the rationale for Congestion Pricing and about the deleterious air quality impact of subway construction. Consider the following Federal Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS 11-18):

    “Because of the large scale and extended duration of the construction required for the Second Avenue Subway, the construction could potentially increase regional concentrations of ozone precursors-NOx and VOCs-as well as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), all of which are pollutants of concern on a regional basis.” In addition, although construction of the Second Avenue Subway has just begun in the area from 91st to 97th Streets, the harmful impact on trees, birds and squirrels has been considerable.

    In this regard, the New York Bird Club recently commented: “Due to the construction of the 2nd Ave subway, there already have been removed at least 40 trees along 2nd Ave.  The next place to remove trees is by the park at 2nd Ave between 91-90th Streets.  There are magnificent very large and lush sycamore and other trees on this block, perhaps that have been there for 100 years or so.  They are marked to be removed sometime in the very near future.  These trees are homes to squirrels and birds who already do not have enough greenery to survive, and the trees also provide beauty, shade and clean-air for people.”

    In 1997, I ran against Debra Glick in the Democratic Primary for Manhattan Borough President. I found her a person of high integrity with considerable fiscal and technical knowledge, qualities lacking in many if not most elected officials. It would be great for New York City if Debra Glick were elected to higher offfice

  • JK

    Opposing pricing on the basis of SEQRA is contrived bullshit. The analyis already done for pricing far excedes most environmental impact statements — I’ve looked at dozens. Very predictable, but still bullshit. When it comes to cars and traffic, SEQRA and CEQRA have so totally abused and diluted by court decisions that and bogus mitigations that they don’t count for much. Let’s say you build a big new building and the environmental assessment says it will generate lots of new car trips. SEQRA/CEQRA suggests solving the problem by building more parking and retiming traffic signals to increase street traffic carrying capacity.

  • Downtown Girl

    Glick’s district is home to the worst diesel ultrafine particles concentrations in New York City, and that likely means New York State.

    According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the worst ultrafine diesel particulate matter is not in the South Bronx, as many believe (345,000 pcc), or on the BQE (440,000 pcc). Rather, it is actually on Varick and Canal (500,000 pcc) – in the heart of Glick’s district.

    Furthermore, the asthma rate along the Canal corridor is on par with Willets Point in the South Bronx.

    IMHO, the reason Glick has not come out in support of CP is because her ‘Boss’, Sheldon Silver, has not decided. She waits for him to decide.

  • JF

    I hate to sound heartless, but it’s not like the birds and squirrels are being killed. They’ll go to other trees and parks, and the trees will be replaced when the construction is finished.

    George, the fact that you and Glick are actually arguing against the completion of the half-finished Second Avenue Subway on the basis of a bunch of decorative trees and their non-endangered bird and squirrel inhabitants shows either a complete lack of perspective, or a willingness to lie and disseminate in order to protect drivers.

    The estimated improvements of air quality due to congestion pricing and the Second Avenue Subway are on a completely different scale than the possible pollution you’re talking about. I think you know that.

    Do you plan on running for anything else, George? Do you realize how many potential environmentalist votes you just lost by spreading that bullshit?

  • jmc

    With CP a lot of those trucks clogging up Canal street would just disappear completely, they’d use toll bridges to get around the city.

    Considering that the current plan doesn’t charge intrazone users and results in less outsiders coming into her district it’s completely bizarre that Glick doesn’t support it.

  • What Glick understands is that the new transit tax destroys city unity and that affects her district which has deep roots in Brooklyn and Queens. They do not want a police state demanding money and throwing fines at the family members in their district every time they drive over the bridge for family gathering or hospital visit. She also understands that the MTA is an inherently corrupt organization, and wasteful. There is no reason they can’t make the mass transit improvements without the transit tax. They just need a better way to fund it. Killing the LIRR extension into Grand Central Station is a great way to end the MTA deficit and to bring all these things on line.

    The equation that transit improvements and the travel tax on Brooklyn and Queens and necessarily attached to each other is an eseential lie.

    Drumbeat that into your thick skulls.


  • JF

    Ruben, what destroys city unity most of all is your implication that the people in Brooklyn and Queens who drive are the only ones that matter. Who has family gatherings between 6AM and 6PM on a weekday? The LIRR extension into Grand Central is a perfect way to get Long Islanders’ cars off the streets of Queens.

    You’re out of touch, “Mr. Brooklyn.” Most of the people who live in Brooklyn and Queens do not drive everywhere, least of all into Manhattan. Drumbeat that into your own thick skull.

  • Davis


    There are only three things I’ve seen create any semblance of “city unity” in New York in all my years here:

    1. Terrorist attacks.
    2. Championship sports teams.
    3. The transit system.

    When in their cars, New Yorkers are at their most individualistic, competitive, uncaring towards their fellow citizens and removed from their city. Nothing is less unifying than the automobile in the city. I mean, it’s called an AUTO, for chrissake.

  • Highwaty create unity- regionally.

    Perhaps that’s why they are so hated by the parochialists.

  • Doug, commuter rail does much more to create unity.

    How well do you think you’re getting your ideas across by calling people names in every post?

  • Stop being such a parochial elite, Cap’n Transit, and build me a highway!


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