Mayor Bloomberg laid out his plaNYC 2030 on Earth Day, which included a 16 step program to improving transportation in New York City. The steps range from new and improved commuter rail service to rapid bus transit to promoting bicycling. But the step that is making the most waves is the scheme to introduce congestion pricing to New York.
Bloomberg cites London and Singapore as examples of cities where they have been able to implement congestion pricing successfully, with significant improvements in air quality as a result. The cost would be $8 for cars and $21 for trucks, and would only be charged on local roads – if you drive on the highway through Manhattan and don’t get off, you won’t pay. Therefore, it will help keep drivers on the highways and off the local roads. Buses and taxis would be exempt, as would emergency and handicap licensed vehicles.
So far, this program has been working very well in London, despite huge opposition by the public at its start. However, since 2003 bus and bike ridership is up significantly and automobile traffic is down by 34%.
The mayor plans to use the revenue from congestion pricing to finance many of the city’s long term transit goals such as the 2nd Avenue Subway line that have large funding gaps in their future.
As a former commuter out of the city, I remember the hours I used to spend looking for a parking space. And I know I would have been happy to pay $8 every few days if it meant getting some of that time back.
On a related note, The New Yorker had a very interesting piece last week on the role of commuting in our daily lives. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Image from plaNYC 2030
Posted by Dahlia T