Wednesday’s Headlines: For Whom the Toll Tolls Edition

That was fast. Roughly one day after New York State made history by setting up a congestion pricing cordon around Manhattan’s central business district, the backlash began. We mentioned it in our story about the coming carveout crisis, but the Daily News’s Clayton Guse devoted a whole story to a new Quinnipiac poll showing New Yorkers don’t have much confidence that the tolls will work.

Meanwhile, the Post (and amNY and the WSJ) also covered the poll, but the Post also focused on how the politicians put off setting the actual toll tolls until after the 2020 election.

Reminder: Support for congestion pricing only improves after it’s in place and starts working. So stop watching the polls, pols.

  • Gothamist reported that Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to let cities decide on the legality of e-scooters for themselves was quietly removed from the budget that passed late on Sunday. That said, it might return as a bill, just like marijuana reform (not that the two go together!).
  • Lots of people (including our own David Meyer) are figuring out that the congestion pricing plan that passed late Sunday left out key details — and those details hold the key. (Bloomberg)
  • A couple of outlets covered the Regional Plan Association’s call for a narrower Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, including Streetsblog, amNY,
  • Speed kills in Brooklyn (NYDN, NY Post). And a crazy driver crashes cars in Bushwick (NY Post).
  • The Post editorial board predictably defends the crackdown on fare beating.
  • The Times channeled, yes, Gothamist with its headline about the secretive manner in which Pat Foye became MTA chairman.
  • Steady hand Vin Barone at amNY gives an early preview of the OMNY system that will replace the MetroCard.
  • Elizabeth F

    > Gothamist reported that Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to let cities decide on the legality of e-scooters for themselves

    It was a terrible proposal, and we can be glad it’s dead:

    * It applied to e-bikes as well as e-scooters. Allowing cities to decide for themselves means that e-bikes would become effectively useless outside of NYC. In order to get from point A to B, the chance that you have to travel through some municipality that’s decided to ban e-bikes is pretty high. That’s no way to build a transportation network.

    * The proposal required e-bikes to always yield right of way to cars; which basically means if you’re ever hit by a car, you have no legal recourse (because it’s your fault you didn’t yield right of way). It would have made simple maneuvers like a left turn dangerous. It would have made it impossible to e-bike along roads too narrow to bike and drive side-by-side, because taking the lane would have become illegal. In short, it goes against everything we know about bicycle safety, as well as reversing long-standing state law (for e-bikes and e-scooters).

    * The proposal had a ridiculous requirement to wear reflective clothing. Blazingly bright headlights and tail lights, which are good enough for cars, are apparently no longer good enough for e-bikes.

    * Finally, the proposal prohibited carrying children on e-bikes. Not even in approved child seats on bikes designed to carry children. Given that there are NO laws against carrying children on motorcycles, even on highways and interstates, this makes no sense. But it would have put the kibosh on e-bikes as a practical family transportation solution.

    I’m so, so, so glad this bill is dead. Hopefully a better bill will be introduced. Ideally a “clean” bill that: (a) defines 20mph pedal-assisted e-bikes as an “bicycle”, and (b) does essentially the same for 15mph throttle kick scooters.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, the law should be as you say for now. When we see the sky isn’t falling by legalizing 20 mph pedal assist e-bikes and 15 mph scooters we can consider legalizing 20 mph throttle e-bikes and 28 mph pedal-assist e-bikes as regular bikes also.