Tonight: Tell Brooklyn Democrats Why NYC Needs Congestion Pricing

Supporters and opponents of congestion pricing will face off, followed by a question-and-answer session with the public.

Tonight's congestion pricing forum  is two miles from the nearest subway stop. You can also get there on the B41, if you don't mind the traffic on Flatbush.
Tonight's congestion pricing forum is two miles from the nearest subway stop. You can also get there on the B41, if you don't mind the traffic on Flatbush.

Heads up for Brooklynites who support congestion pricing: the Kings County Democratic County Committee, the official organizing body of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, is hosting a forum on congestion pricing tonight at 8 p.m.

The event is at American Legion Post 1060, located at 5601 Avenue N in southeast Brooklyn, two miles from the closest subway stop and far away from Brooklyn’s most traffic-choked streets.

The program pits two congestion pricing supporters against two opponents. On the pro side are Move NY Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen and Community Service Society Policy Analyst Irene Lew, who will face Queens Council Member I. Daneek Miller and longtime anti-congestion pricing activist Corey Bearak. Each panelist will give a short presentation before taking questions from the audience.

Tonight's Brooklyn Democratic Party congestion pricing forum is being held in the southeast -- as far away from the borough's most congested streets as possible. Image: DOT
Traffic congestion on Brooklyn streets as measured by weekday afternoon bus speeds. Tonight’s Brooklyn Democratic Party congestion pricing forum is being held in the southeast — as far away from the borough’s most congested streets as possible. Image: DOT

While the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s influence has waned in recent years, particularly in the transit-oriented neighborhoods of western and northern Brooklyn, the influence of party regulars should not be discounted, especially in the borough’s more car-centric districts.

While the 62 percent of Brooklyn workers who commute by transit far outnumber the 4 percent who car commute to the CBD, politicians from southeast Brooklyn have traditionally joined with Eastern Queens and Staten Island in an anti-congestion pricing bloc.

“Congestion pricing is a tax that will take advantage of my constituents who use their cars to get to the city,” Council Member Alan Maisel told Kings County Politics. “I’ve never been in favor of congestion pricing and I’m still opposed to it.”

Given that context, it’s all the more important that county leaders hear from their constituents, the vast majority of whom would stand to benefit from a pricing system that reduces traffic and funds transit.

Tonight’s event will start at 8 p.m. and should wrap up by 9:45. More information is available on the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s website.

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