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Congestion Pricing

Monday’s Headlines: Protest Season Begins Edition

There were two protests over the weekend and three more are coming. Hide in the diner, Congestion Kathy! Plus other news.

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

The group marched from Times Square to Union Square on Saturday.

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The editors

The story of the weekend was how many New Yorkers took to the streets to protest Gov. Hochul's last-minute decision last week to shelve congestion pricing (and the revenue it was set to generate for the MTA).

On Saturday, the head of the thousands-strong Reddit Micromobility subgroup led a march of about 200 people from Times Square to Union Square chanting such things as "Hochul is a coward!"

"Kathy Hochul said she did this for the working people, but the working people of New York City don't drive into Midtown Manhattan. They take transit," said the protest leader, who goes by the screen name Miser.

On Sunday, hundreds more protesters rallied with Riders Alliance at the Broadway Junction station in East New York. Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms was on that scene and filed this seminal report (amNY was also on hand):

But that past is prologue to what is expected to be a busy week for people who objected to Hochul's flip-flop on congestion pricing. There are at least two more scheduled protests — on Tuesday in Queens and on Wednesday at Hochul's Midtown office, as Transportation Alternatives pointed out:

But we're pretty sure a third one is developing: On Tuesday, Hochul will attend a $10,000 a plate fundraiser in College Point hosted by (wait for it!) the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, as The Transit Guy posted on Twitter:

We'll obviously be there (the Post got a story up before we did). But until then, here's a roundup of all the weekend congestion pricing news you might have missed:

  • The Daily News editorial board said that what Hochul is doing might just be illegal.
  • We explored the same topic in a news story, which added lots of details to the coming legal battle to save congestion pricing.
  • Everyone covered how the legislative session ended late on Friday night with no funding in place for transit in lieu of congestion pricing. (NYDN, NY Post, amNY, Streetsblog, Gothamist, Crain's)
  • Former Gov. David Paterson claimed that subway crime is why Hochul killed congestion pricing. (NY Post)
  • The Post did a post-mortem on the entire debacle, taking ample credit for itself.
  • Gothamist and Streetsblog pursued "the diner angle."
  • I know we're often critical of the New York Times for its frequent cheerleading of cars, but the Paper of Record has found its true Big Apple soul with its coverage that followed its initial report about Hochul's betrayal. Over the weekend, the Times:
    • did a solid political post-mortem that laid a lot of blame on top Democrats from the White House down to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
    • covered the end of the legislative session (twice!), with an emphasis on Albany pols' refusal to do Hochul's bidding.
    • pushed back on Hochul's "fragile economy" theory.
    • wrote a stinging editorial about Hochul's "grievous misjudgment." Words like this are seldom in the Times: "In one stroke, Ms. Hochul had endangered a vital public policy that would have had huge benefits for New York’s environment and quality of life; threatened to dig a huge hole in the desperately needed capital budget of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and set back the cause of reducing automobile use for cities across the country that have been hoping New York would create a landmark model."
    • Mara Gay was also killing it, with one piece about the "unwarranted retreat" and another blasting Hochul's voodoo economics to try to fund the MTA without congestion pricing. Brava!
  • Gothamist, Crain's and The City looked at how Hochul had left the MTA in shambles.
  • A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist called Hochul "America's worst governor" (take that to the diner!)
  • And, finally, friend of Streetsblog Rich Mintz asked ChatGPT to create a "Seinfeld" scene in which Estelle and Frank meet George's girlfriend, who is a reporter for Streetsblog:

In other mobility news:

  • The NYPD is continuing its crackdown against illegal mopeds and putting up some pretty high numbers (NY Post). We advocate for safe streets, so we certainly object to illegal mopeds, but Curbed did a story last week that revealed that even delivery workers who get their mopeds registered have a hard time getting them back from the NYPD, losing thousands in expenses and lost wages.
  • Several outlets covered the death of a Citi Bike rider, who was killed by a truck driver in Midtown (though only Streetsblog linked the death to congestion pricing). (NY Post)

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