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Why Downtown should back congestion pricing

Dodging traffic as usual in Soho amid the Verrazano Bridge one-way-toll-aggravated Downtown traffic disaster. BY CHARLES KOMANOFF | Early last fall, Governor Cuomo’s “Fix NYC” task force chose my intricate Balanced Transportation Analyzer, or BTA, spreadsheet model as its analytical tool to figure out which vehicle tolls and surcharges could best fulfill the governor’s pledge to implement congestion pricing in New York City. Congestion pricing — tolls to drive into the Manhattan Central Business District, or CBD, south of 60th St., and surcharges on for-hire vehicles (taxicabs, Ubers, etc.) operating within the Manhattan “taxi zone” — stands to benefit our city by thinning traffic in and near the CBD and generating revenues to improve subway service. No part of the city will benefit more than Lower Manhattan. Three East River bridges connect Brooklyn with Downtown Manhattan, and a fourth connects Queens with Midtown. For nearly a century, the failure to toll these bridges has led drivers to pour onto our streets to reach destinations served by multiple subway lines or to pass through to New Jersey. My BTA model forecasts that the robust congestion charges outlined in the Fix NYC report will cut traffic volumes on those bridges by 25 percent. The reduction will reach 35 percent as subway improvements paid for by the tolls draw even more trips out of automobiles. In plain numbers, the 25 percent reduction equates to 10,000 fewer trips in each direction each weekday on each East River bridge. Picture Canal, Broome, Delancey, Chambers, Walker and Varick Sts. and our other “traffic sewers” with thousands fewer cars and trucks. Imagine quieter neighborhoods, healthier air and safer streets for you and your children. Picture our buses not stuck in traffic and our subways not stuck between stations. Congestion pricing offers all this. To be sure, someone has to pay the car and truck tolls and the taxicab and Uber surcharges, and that includes us Downtown residents. My model predicts that under any effective congestion pricing plan, residents of Manhattan will pay much more, over all, than residents of, say, Brooklyn or Queens. While we won’t pay to drive our cars out of the toll area, we will pay when we return across 60th St. or on an East River bridge. More importantly — since relatively few Lower Manhattan residents own cars — we’ll also pay surcharges to use taxis and Ubers and Lyfts within the taxi... →

πŸ“Ž The VillagerFebruary 8, 2018

'Kid Tip' at New Jersey Diner Angers Parents

It's customary to leave a tip when eating out, but one particular gratuity added to an order for a milkshake and fries at a New Jersey diner is angering local parents. 'My daughter was coming to me,… →

πŸ“Ž NBC New YorkNovember 8, 2017