Tuesday’s Headlines: That Was Not a Demolition Derby Edition

Our favorite story yesterday was the video of that cop using his squad car as a battering ram in Flushing. The Daily News also covered the story, adding nice details, including one person whose truck ended up bashed in what New York’s Hometown Paper definitively declared road rage (the NYPD said the cop become “disoriented.” Sure, whatever).

Meanwhile, the Post and Gothamist wrongly described the cop’s violent action as a “demolition derby,” when, in fact, everyone knows that drivers in that great state fair pastime always bash other cars in reverse to avoid damaging their own engines. (Someone at those two great outlets needs to watch more demolition derby, that’s for sure.)

And now, the rest of the news:

  • Now the West Side Highway’s congestion pricing exemption has everyone talking. But, really, it’s no surprise given that the FDR Drive is also excluded from tolls (as long as drivers stay on the highway, that is) (NYDN). Vin Barone at amNY looked at how the MTA is seeking high-tech solutions for the actual logistics of tolling all those cars.
  • Meanwhile, it took 50 years to get congestion pricing passed in New York — but only one day for the Times to declare the birth of a new era of congestion pricing around the country.
  • A day late, but definitely not a dollar short, Gothamist ran Ross Barkan’s piece from Sunday’s Queens Boulevard rally.
  • Gothamist also did a nice write up on the documentary work of Jing Wang, whose interview and video of delivery worker Deqing Lian appeared last year in these pages to great acclaim.
  • No fooling: The Daily News editorial board is all in on congestion pricing. Meanwhile, the Post focused on how little the MTA will change.
  • And finally, our April Fool’s Day story about Mayor de Blasio banning cars from all of Lower Manhattan fooled more than a few people.
  • Larry Littlefield

    The West Side and FDR exemptions are the right thing to do. Otherwise, people traveling between Brooklyn/Queens and New Jersey/Upstate would leave those roads empty in the mid-days and the weekend, while packing on the BQE.

    Among the things we’ve lost, now that Generation Greed has arranged the MTA (and everything else) to be so deep in the hole that there is a desperate grab for short term revenue (and more cashing in even of the intermediate term) is the “toll swap” idea.

    If the Brooklyn Bridge and Queensboro bridges are to be free for those not entering the congestion zone, and the Huge Carey Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnel will carry a high toll, people will still be driving out of their way to the free ones.

    So I hope they decide to impose a smaller toll on the “free” bridges for those not entering the congestion zone, and use it to cut the mid-day and weekend toll on the TBTA crossings.

    Something else we have lost — none of those toll revenues will go to actually maintain the East River Bridges. Those of us who were around a few decades ago know what that could lead to.

    Also gone — any sense the revenues would be used for “improvements.” The revenues are only intended to postpone the downward spiral a few more years, until Generation Greed is gone.

  • Elizabeth F

    I don’t know about the exemption on the FDR… but for the West Side Highway, I think it’s probably a bad idea. The Lincoln and Holland tunnels are ALREADY highly congested, and I don’t think we should encourage further use of these facilities in our congestion pricing scheme. In contrast the GWB, with its 14 lanes, can carry more traffic than the Lincoln and Holland combined. Better to encourage drivers north of 60th St. to use the GWB. This is already already common practice because it’s faster, just ask Google Maps.

    Another question…. do we want to levy the congestion charge to people coming south on the West Side Highway, swinging around the tip of Manhattan, and then heading over and East River bridge? Will it apply to people driving from uptown to the Queensboro Bridge?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Better to encourage drivers north of 60th St. to use the GWB.”

    Lots of folks from Brooklyn — and from JFK airport via the Belt Parkway — are coming in from the south. That’s my perspective.

    And for non-rush hours, the extent of congestion on the three NJ crossings can vary. The Holland has been worse due to construction the covered roadway, but it is actually slightly quicker for those heading north from Brooklyn that the other two. And what about someone heading out I-78?

    The real question is for everyone coming in from south of 9th Street in Brooklyn is heading out of town on Saturday morning at 7 am, do you take the tolled Huge Carey Tunnel or go out of your way to the free Brooklyn Bridge? Same thing for the way home on a Sunday evening.

  • Elizabeth F

    Sorry, none of this makes sense to me, I don’t have much experience with Brooklyn. What I do know is that drivers originating north of 60th St. wanting to get to Jersey should be encouraged to use the GWB, not the Holland/Lincoln. Many/most already do anyway.

  • We want to toll EVERYONE who is using the roads for free. Roads are not an entitlement…

  • Larry Littlefield

    If we are tolling federal and state highways, which unlike local streets are (or were) funded by gas taxes, we might want to tell drivers where all those gas taxes are going…

    Debt service.

    Just like the MTA payroll tax, 1/8 cent sales tax increase, original sales tax, telephone tax, real estate transfer tax, etc. All gone. And in five years, all the future congestion pricing revenues too.

    https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2014/02/05/ny-raids-highway-tax-and-fee-fund/5227871/

    NJ is worse. The legacy of a generation.

  • Sanjeev Ramchandra

    “So I hope they decide to impose a smaller toll on the “free” bridges for those not entering the congestion zone, and use it to cut the mid-day and weekend toll on the TBTA crossings.”

    I recommend that a small, flat fee of $3 be imposed in each direction on the four East River bridges. With 450,000 crossings each day, the revenue generated will be about $500 million. Since this toll is very affordable there is no need for exemptions, credits, or discounts.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Got to subtract the lost revenue from the existing TBTA crossings, but yeah, something like that. At all times.

    Plus the fee to enter the congestion zone, with more at congested times.