Congestion Pricing is a Step Forward for NYC

“Congestion pricing is just one of many tools that will help tame some of the city street chaos a generation of car-centric planning left us with. And one of the primary benefactors of congestion pricing will be automobile drivers themselves.”

42nd Street and 6th Avenues in Manhattan.

Adi Talwar

Friday evening traffic near Times Square.

Hundreds of supporters and critics of the city’s proposed congestion pricing tolling plan sounded off at a final public hearing with MTA officials on March 4 in lower Manhattan.

Among the critics was New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who phoned in a claim that congestion pricing was not about congestion or the environment, but instead a means to solve the MTA’s deficit. The toll would be “backbreaking” for New Jersey commuters and would displace pollution from Manhattan to parts of New Jersey, the governor said.

Displace pollution from Manhattan to New Jersey? Cry me a carbon-free river.

Three to four days each week, I commute from Brooklyn to my job in lower Manhattan by bicycle. The route to the Brooklyn bridge takes me north from where I live in Carroll Gardens along a narrow, unprotected bike lane on Clinton Street to downtown Brooklyn and the entrance onto the bridge’s two-way bike path, which by the way, is right next to the car lanes headed into Manhattan. Along the way, I pass what seems like hundreds of cars, most of them oversized SUVs, inching slowly along like a crowded herd of angry hippos.

More than 90 percent of the time, the number of individuals inside those cars, both big and small, is just one.  I’d wager the same is true for the scores of private cars heading in from New Jersey and beyond.

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