Friday, July 20, 2007

New York Congestion Pricing Plan: Resurrection!

Take down the black bunting, push back the gloom and doom, maybe we can get a refund on the casket: New York's congestion pricing plan is back on the table and the city is still in line to capture about $500 million in federal Urban Partnership Program funds. A commission will study the issue, make recommendations to the New York legislature early next year and we will see what happens then. Here's a summary:

The 17-member New York City Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission is charged with submitting its preferred plan to Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Legislature by Jan. 31. Bloomberg's plan calls for charging motorists $8 to $21 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Lawmakers will have two months to vote on the commission's recommendations. Spitzer, legislative leaders, the mayor and the City Council will appoint commission members, who will study how to fight congestion and whether Bloomberg's tolls are appropriate.

If the commission chooses a plan different from the mayor's, it must reduce traffic by the same amount he has proposed: 6.3 percent of vehicle miles traveled, or 120,000 cars daily.

If Bloomberg's plan passes the Legislature as is, the city could start collecting tolls as early as March 31. But officials said the city could move forward immediately with the first stages of the plan, minus the fees.

Talk about snatching at least a partial victory from the jaws of defeat. Maybe the congestion pricing idea has legs after all, in New York and perhaps even in this region.

More to come.


Anonymous said...

A couple of news items for those of you in favor of congestion pricing and transit oriented development:

No parking break here: ""The garages I'm involved in have never done better," [the president of a parking development firm] said, since the CTA closed one of three tracks shared by the Red, Brown and Purple lines in April."

Bus stop blues: "Chicago State closed the [bus] terminal, because it plans to build a new transit center on the east side of campus. But the new center won't be open for another three years. ... University spokeswoman Robyn Wheeler said CTA buses will return to campus once a new transit center opens near 95th and Cottage Grove in 2010. ... Asked why the terminal at St. Lawrence couldn't stay open until the new transit center is closer to completion, Wheeler said: 'That may be one of the end results of us meeting with [the CTA]. We are continuing negotiations.'
For now, the plan is to put a sculpture where the on-campus bus stops used to be." In the meantime: "'I'm probably going to have to drive to school, because I don't think I want to be out here at night,' [a student] said. 'Moving the bus stop out here was a disservice to the students and the community.' "

Seems like the cause is being advanced {sarcasm}.

Anonymous said...

Add one from the Tribune:
"Q. As someone who works part time in the Loop, including Saturdays, I am upset by the new parking rates at downtown garages....

A. Not sure what you expected Getting Around could do, call for a boycott of downtown parking facilities and encourage drivers to switch to mass transit?"