Wednesday’s Headlines: Speaker Adams’s Ongoing Assault on Congestion Pricing Edition

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams ... thinking about congestion. Main photo: Kevin Duggan
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams ... thinking about congestion. Main photo: Kevin Duggan

She has no power (except her pulpit and sway with outer borough state pols), but New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams can’t stop trashing congestion pricing as bad for her constituents … when it in fact, it will be good for them.

First, here’s what she said at Tuesday’s Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce breakfast, where our own Kevin Duggan fueled his belly and his mind:

“My opinion is that we’re going to have a lot of folks that will be encountering some issues because of congestion pricing,” she said when asked about the legally required tolling plan that she has no power to alter.

Reiterating what she said back in September 2022, she claimed the still-not-set tolls would be a “financial burden” on “people who are already pushed to the limit.”

“Congestion pricing,” she concluded to applause, “I feel — and a lot of my constituents and folks in Queens feel — it’s just not going to do the right thing by a whole lotta folks in the outer boroughs.”

Some of what Adams said is simply not true: Only a tiny number of people in the “outer” boroughs drive into or through the congestion tolling zone — Manhattan below 60th Street — but far more people take transit to get to the area. So any toll on the few that helps the larger transit-using group seems like the definition of equity.

Also, data across all neighborhoods show that car owners are wealthier than their transit-using neighbors, meaning that a toll on those drivers that benefits transit is, again, equitable.

Not to mention that the latest evidence from London suggests the toll will boost transit and discourage driving — and reduce the pollution Adams inexplicably claimed would result from congestion pricing — which is another win for people already pushed to the limit.

We don’t profess to know the political machinations behind Adams’s continued assault on congestion pricing, but we know it will be better for her constituents and her city.

In other news:

  • There are three new subway customer service centers. (NYDN, amNY)
  • But Janno Lieber is still obsessed with people who can’t afford his high fares yet still need to get around. (NY Post)
  • New York City sucks — says a celebrity blowhard who hasn’t lived here in decades. (NY Post)
  • The DOT’s carshare pilot proved that many members opted against buying a car, and many who had one didn’t replace it when it got old. That’s a success. But of course, the pro-car Christian Murray, writing in amNY, spun the expansion of carshare as “gobbling up” parking. If one carshare vehicle replaces several privately owned cars, it’s actually creating more parking for the remaining drivers, dipstick. Streetsblog and Gothamist had the right take.
  • As promised, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was in Albany pushing for lowering the threshold for drunk driving. (Gothamist)
  • This story in Upper East Site says it all: “Whether or not you see it, NYC sidewalks are disgusting and we’re all tracking dog shit into buildings and our apartments with our shoes.”
  • Mayor Adams still doesn’t like the idea of contributing more for the subway. (Crain’s)
  • Remember that protected bike lane project on the northern part of the Grand Concourse that we wrote about in 2018? Well, the DOT is about to start another leg of it [DOT PDF]. But the long-delayed end of the dangerous roadway below E. 161st Street remains a hellscape.
  • If there is a better piece about Warren Zevon than this one by David Corn, we haven’t read it — as if you needed another reason to vote for him to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • And, finally, you gotta love the Willis Avenue Bridge:


Congestion Pricing Can Help Save Working NYC Families $2,300 Per Year

Without congestion pricing, fare hikes will hit New York’s many transit-using families hard. Image: Ed Yourdon via Flickr. Without bold action from legislators to fund transit, middle-class New York families will have to spend $2,300 more per year to get around the city even as the quality of the service they’re paying for declines, according […]

Don’t Underestimate the Street Safety Benefits of Congestion Pricing

The primary benefits of the Move NY toll reform plan are reducing congestion and funding transit — but don’t overlook the huge potential to improve street safety. Recent research at Lancaster University in the UK suggests that since the introduction of the London congestion charge in 2003, lethal crashes have fallen faster than traffic congestion. The safety gains have even […]

Congestion Charging on the Horizon for China’s Cities

Which Chinese city will be the first to try congestion pricing? Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai — megacities whose populations are on the scale of New York’s? Or second-tier but still mighty cities (think Chicago) like Hangzhou, Nanjing, or Xi’an? Road tolling à la American turnpikes and thruways is already extensive in China, as a means to […]