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Congestion Pricing

Wednesday’s Headlines: Congestion Pricing Edition

12:10 AM EDT on March 31, 2021

The Biden Administration's decision to break the Trump-erected logjam and allow the MTA to proceed with its environmental review of congestion pricing was the big story yesterday.

Everyone covered:

    • Streetsblog, Politico and the Post played it more or less straight.
    • Gothamist highlighted a number of problems that could delay the process further.
    • Second Avenue Sagas covered it with a very accurate tweet, that proved that no one thinks congestion pricing will happen before legendary car guy Gov. Cuomo is gone.
    • Nothing from the Times.
    • And amNY hinted at the coming battle with suburban lawmakers, who will likely be given some say in the review process.

Indeed, car-loving yahoos were already trotting out their most hyperbolic (and hypocritical and blame-deflecting) rhetoric to slam the US DOT's decision to simply allow New York State to conduct a light environmental review rather than a multi-year one.

Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis went with hypocrisy: The city's lone GOP member, who has spent most of her career railing against environmental concerns, tweeted that it was "irresponsble" for the feds to Greenlight the less rigorous review (fun fact: Instead of tweeting at the Federal Highway Administration, Malliotakis tweeted her concerns to the Federal Housing Administration):

And upstate Assembly Member Mike Lawler cried that a central business district toll is unfair to suburbanites who, if you follow Lawler's logic, should not be charged for the societal cost we all must bear because of their decision to live very far from their place of work yet not take the bus or train.

In other news:

    • New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg called for more cops in the subway than there are troops in Afghanistan, as Guse of the Newsuh handily tallied. Feinberg's call for more cops seems to have already been answered; we took two train rides yesterday and saw cops where we got on (at 110th and Amsterdam) and where we got off (Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn), which we promptly reported to @unfarenyc.
    • That said, here's an example of good police work — the collar of a serial anti-bike criminal who preys on little kids. (NY Post)
    • Thanks go out to the Tribeca Citizen, which covered our March (Parking) Madness tournament, even though the First Precinct lost to the Fifth Precinct in a first-round matchup. We invite more members of the mainstream media to cover our ongoing series about how terrible it is to live near an NYPD precinct frat station house.
    • Streetsblog contributor Aaron Short had a nice roundup of the mayoral candidates' transportation positions for the Commercial Observer. The main takeaway — what a difference eight years make. During the last mayoral free-for-all, candidates were falling over themselves to defend car interests. Now, they try to one-up each other with bike lane mileage promises.
    • Mayor de Blasio said he would restore the funding for street litter basket pickups that he cut at the start of the pandemic. (NY Post, WSJ, amNY, Gothamist)
    • There's a groundswell of opposition growing to Gov. Cuomo's Empire Station complex plan. (amNY)
    • Is the Parks Department fixing to remove all animal sculptures from city parks? It's unclear from this Brooklyn Paper story, but something is afoot. Gothamist tried to clarify.
    • Speed kills. (NYDN)
    • And, finally, does Arthur Schwartz see the irony in this? First, the self-styled progressive lawyer fought the 14th Street busway saying that it would cause traffic on residential side streets. Now, as a candidate for a council seat in the Village and Chelsea, Schwartz fielding calls for speed bumps on those very same streets because cars are moving too fast! (Village Sun)

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