Congestion Pricing 2.0 - Brooklynian

Congestion Pricing 2.0

edited February 2015 in Brooklyn Politics
After their defeat during the Bloomberg Administration, advocates of congestion pricing have regrouped.

This time, it looks like their pitch will be made with the proponents of the MTA and Vision Zero:

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150210/BLOGS04/150209833/optimism-grows-for-new-improved-congestion-pricing-plan

...and I think they will make some progress.

«1

Comments

  • I don't drive in Manhattan much but if this would result in lower tolls at the VZ then I'm all for it but I doubt it will. There's already peak and off peak tolls on the bridges and fares on the LIRR so why not do the same for buses and trains in the city. Back in the 70s the MTA in the city had a half fare program for trains and buses on Sundays and still it wasn't a big hit. But the MTA knows that people in the city have nowhere else to turn so it's not offered anymore. And if they have to mail bills to everyone without EZ Pass they'll keep the post office in business because are they going to mail one bill showing all the times you traveled in a given time period or one for each day that you go over a bridge. I can see the actual revenue generated much less than what it's claimed it will be.
  • I'd be willing to pay for East River tolls if it meant less traffic.

    To what degree do we believe that the demand for car travel into Manhattan is price elastic?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_elasticity_of_demand
  • One of the major perks of living in NYC is the ability to access healthcare at some of the finest hospitals in the world. If you are a patient at one of these hospitals, chances are pretty decent that you will be going there by car (also including taxis) since you may not be in the best of shape to begin with. This is particularly the case for cancer patients, who may be undergoing radiation or chemo. Similarly for those with broken limbs, operations, etc, Should they also be taxed to getting there or back home in addition to their other woes? Their families for wanting to visit them? 

    In any case, I don't see how this would greatly reduce traffic since DeBlasio and Polly T. seem intent on narrowing streets and, aside from the eventual (and really long range!) opening of the 2nd Ave subway, the MTA has not added bus or subway capacity to the system. 
  • edited February 2015
    I wouldn't be so opposed to this if I actually thought it would lead to fewer traffic jams. But I don't believe it will. Even if fewer cars are using the ER bridges as a result of this plan, enough cars will still use them to cause traffic jams, which will be amplified by the wait of having to pay tolls. I think this could actually add to traffic jams. I'm not willing to support another cash cow for the City due to financial mismanagement by agencies like the MTA. 
  • edited February 2015
    In London and every other city there has been a noticeable decrease in private car and mass transit trips with congestion pricing. Sadly, this isn't real congestion pricing since the East River bridges are untolled. A well written Streetsblog article about congestion pricing and its possible effects in NYC. In this picture the red dots show a decrease in car trips and blue show an increase. image

    @morralkan The vast majority of car trips from NJ and upstate aren't going to hospitals. Most are probably going to park in private garages as their owners go to work or to shop or see shows. Which means their driving driving on top of mass transit. Also street narrowing isn't done to reduce traffic capacity. It's done to reduce speed and and reduce the danger posed by speeding cars to cyclists and pedestrians. Of course we are all very well aware of your extreme anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist views. 

    @pheighsresident Most of the MTA's financial troubles aren't due to their own negligence but to years of Albany raiding their coffers and underfunding them. Cars due significant damage to roads, tunnels and bridges through wear and tear and I have no trouble with the idea of them funding that upkeep and the city. Driving a car is a privilege and when done of comparatively good masstransit it becomes a luxury. As we all know luxuries intrinsically cost more. If people have trouble paying these costs or are unwilling to then they are more then welcome to help fund the MTA by using it.

    @whynot_31 If congestion pricing is fully instituted will see comparable results to 
    London if not larger reductions in car traffic.

    Change is coming people. You can cry and moan about it on the Brooklynian but it is coming nonetheless. You can no more fight against the changing transportation modes then you can fight against rising and falling of the tide.
  • I'm also very aware of your extremist anti-vehicular traffic views. It's unrealistic to think NYC will got back to the horse-and-buggy days. This is a major city and needs to accommodate vehicular traffic. Funny, though, that you should think this of me since I don't drive, use mass transit almost all the time, and ride my bike fairly extensively also. I'm just not a wimp; I've been riding a bike here in Brooklyn for the past 45 years without bike lanes and without an accident. I avoid bike lanes if at all possible. I do not, however, think that cyclists are some sort of saints.

    As to all that vehicular traffic, don't you think that all those drivers working in the city, using garages, going to shows, shopping, add something to the NYC economy that most cyclists do not? As to those people who DO go to hospitals, I'm sure they appreciate your cavalier attitude toward their special needs. 

    One thing you did not address is the lack of virtually any increase in the capacity/frequency of public transportation options. Maybe we will need "stuffers" like they have in Tokyo? As to London, I find it a hellhole of a city: extremely expensive, horrible food, and falling apart. 
  • edited February 2015
    "@whynot_31 If congestion pricing is fully instituted will see comparable results to London if not larger reductions in car traffic."

    @newguy88 -
    I can't imagine we would be able to fully institute congestion pricing here in the US unless we overcome political gridlock, and grant the government greater powers to use emminent domain to get the right-of-ways required to create better and more public transportation.

    ...instead, I suspect the current plan will merely toll the east river and allow MTA to provide its current levels of service in light of shrinking federal dollars.

  • edited February 2015
    newguy88: I don't know. London traffic is still terrible in and around the city center . . . that is unless you're on a bus using the designated bus lanes (I was just there last month for a little while and have family who live in the city who tell me the horror I experienced is not out of the norm). It seems to be that congestion pricing made an absolutely horrendous situation merely terrible, which isn't worth it to me. The thing about London is that it has generally narrower (much narrower) streets than cities like NY, which only adds to traffic problems there. 

    And the MTA has plenty of blame at its feet. Working on and lobbying for new projects that aren't absolutely necessary and that it can't afford is the very definition of financial mismanagement. Albany doesn't help, but MTA is far from innocent on its own. And motorists already pay their share from higher than average title fees and gasoline taxes. Not to mention the absurd bridge and tunnel fees that motorists already pay to get in and around the city (from the GBW to the Verrazano Bridge tolls). These fees/tolls are way more than is necessary to maintain and pay for those bridges (not to mention the Verrazano is already paid for . . . the GWB probably is as well). I'm not for another slush fund that, at best, is only going to marginally improve traffic and, at worst, is actually going to see traffic problems increase. 
  • edited February 2015
    @pheightsresident
    Where in London where you? Could you find some references to back your claims up? Because everything you just said flies in the face of ALL literally ALL of the research done on congestion pricing and its effects in London. I was there for three weeks a couple years ago and the buses and tubes were marvelous.

    Could you also find some links that support  your claims about the MTA as well? The tolls also help support mass transit here. Again driving in this city is a luxury and not a constitutional right. We pay more for luxuries. I'm looking forward to seeing your references. 


    @morralkan Ah here we go back to your thoroughly stupid and silly claims that I'm anti-car. Find me one quote where I ever siad I wanted to ban cars or drop it already. The horse and buggy thing is original. However, its just as ridiculous and reactionary as your anti-car thing. 

    I'm not "cavalier" towards medical needs not even a little bit. But they make up a minority a very small minority of all car trips.  Are you really prepared to claim otherwise? Nowhere do I say they will be forbidden from driving to the hospital again find me a freaking quote.

    Are you suggesting cyclists don't add money to the NYC economy? This is a very strange comment for a "cyclist" I'd wager that a cyclist living in NYC will spend more money annually than someone who drives in from out of town semi-regularly. If you were a cyclist you would know this.

    As for that claim... its a very suspect one to say the least. This is the first time you have ever mentioned this and I just went through many of your posts on the Vision Zero thread.  Not once do you ever make this claim. In fact you argue against EVERY single part of Vision Zero, SBS and other transit improvements. You have jumped at every opportunity to defend drivers and have engaged in extreme victim blaming. Any cyclists who rides regularly knows the dangers that cars can possess as well as how aggressively drivers frequently drive. In short they realize the importance of Vision Zero and traffic regulation. If you really have been riding for 45 years you must of known several fellow cyclists who have been hit and probably one who has been killed.  Which means you would not so readily defend aggressive driving. Your attacks on congestion pricing is yet more evidence that your claims of cycling are false. Since you have taken as such an anti-cyclist stance, a claim you have until now failed to refute, I'm calling bullshit on you being a cyclists of 45 years. But please provide me with some proof to the contrary.  You're right you don't think cyclists are saints. Far from it you think we deserve to be hit and killed otherwise you'd take part in the safe street movement. 

    "I find it a hellhole of a city: extremely expensive, horrible food, and falling apart." Well you're the first person I've ever heard that has said this. first person EVER!  When did you go last if ever? I last went three years ago and found the food good, the city very much cleaner than NYC, the mass transit much more efficient and yes it is very expensive.

    There is a documented correlation between an increase in ridership, an increase in funding and improvements in mass transit.  Congestion pricing always increases mass transit rides. Please re-read my Streetsblog link.


  • @whynot_31 The calls for better mass transit and traffic regulation are louder and only getting louder everyday. People like morralkan and pheightsresidents are now in the minority in NYC and their voices for regressive transportation policy are getting softer all the time. The safe streets and mass transit movements are about to get significant political force behind them. Albany if it wishes to keep NYC will have to enact transit reform in a meaningful way. Keep in mind the voices for secession from NYS are starting to pop up too these days. Does this mean meaningful change will come tomorrow? No but it will come and sooner than many would think.
  • edited February 2015
    I am certainly seeing more support for better public transportation as cities become the destinations of choice for greater numbers of young, affluent people.

    A big part of me thinks that the tolling of the east river bridges could create lots of traffic, which could then provide the support necessary to create busways (ie no private vehicles) along major roads such as Flatbush and the bridges.

    It should be interesting to watch.
  • It'll be fascinating to watch! I'm not sure it's entirely a youth driven process though. Plenty of older people are getting on board at least in NYC.

    I'm not sure tolling the east river would lead to more traffic within in the icty. In fact it would lead to less. However, you are quite correct it will lead to significant improvements in mass transit.  
  • edited February 2015
    In order to improve the present transportation system, we may have to break it.

    It is a risky bet.

    DeBlasio is looking like he may be a one term mayor, so he might be the ideal guy to make the bet. ...he has little to lose.
  • edited February 2015
    I'm just don't think he has the political capital upstate to make any reform happen. Otherwise he would be the ideal mayor to make changes happen. I'd argue our system in some ways is already broken.

    What needs to happen is we must wrestle control of NYC's subway and busses away from the state. I'm not sure how exactly but its something that must happen especially in light of the non-blizzard fiasco. DeBlasio had a chance then to come out swinging but he folded his arms and said "Meh."
  • edited February 2015
    @newguy88: the tube and buses in London are fine (I acknowledged as much about the buses). But, for the most part or at least where physically feasible, buses have their own dedicated lane, which, while making for smoother and less congested trips for those riding the buses, actually threaten to make regular vehicular traffic worse as private cars have one less lane to access. In a city like London where wide, multi-lane roads seem to be a rarity, this is even more crushing. At the end of the day, having fewer vehicles on the road, when you have taken away a lane to make way for buses, and when you have a large number of cars on narrow roads, doesn't mean no more terrible traffic; all it means is fewer cars. And from my experience, and from talking to my uncle and family, things are still terrible.

    Note, even after this congestion pricing scheme, the average Londoner loses more time per year (83 hours) than the average New Yorker loses (54 hours). Source: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jul/07/100-most-congested-cities-europe-north-america

    In fact, based on that list of 100 Most Congested Cities in Europe and North America, Londoners rank number one for most hours lost on the road per year. Again, from my experience in London and in talking with my family, I believe this. 

    Congestion pricing may have improved things in London, but, from my experience, things are still terrible. I'm not advocating paying for such an outcome here in NY. 

    And I stayed in Bermondsey (less than 10 minute's walk from London Bridge Tube). My uncle picked me up from the airport (Gatwick), and it took us 3 hours to drive to my hotel! 3 hours, most of which was spent in London proper! The trip should have taken an hour. And my family lives in Croydon.

    As for the Verrazano Bridge, according to Assemblywoman Malliotakis, the bridge makes a $250 million profit each year. That's profit, after expenses are upkeep at paid: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/552303-brooklyn-officials-call-for-verrazano-bridge-toll-discount-for-brooklynites/

    Here's a snapshot of the daily paying traffic (separated into EZ Pass and cash users): https://data.ny.gov/Transportation/Daily-Traffic-on-Verrazano-Narrows-Bridge-Time-Lin/y4au-yfbp

    The Verrazano cost about $2.43 billion (in present dollars). It's long been a highly trafficked and tolled bridge. If after over 50 years and many, many years of outrageous profits its not paid for, that's criminal! Note, I thought the articles (such as http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/nyregion/as-verrazano-bridge-turns-50-a-myth-about-its-tolls-persists.html) debunking the myths that the Verrazano would stop tolling once it was paid for suggested that the bridge was paid for (why else write the article?), but, upon further review, it doesn't suggest that its paid for or that its not paid for. In any event, my main point is that the MTA/State are cleaning up on tolls on this bridge. Again, a $250 million profit! Still, I assume the Verrazano is paid for as the only articles I've seen on expenses mention paying for maintenance and operation costs, not for paying down construction bonds, which, if they were still outstanding, would presumably account for a significant portion of expenses (see, for instance, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/staten-island-polititians-mta-toll-hike-plans-article-1.2020957). 

    And an increase in funding and improvements may very well increase mass transit ridership and profit, but, at the end of the day, this isn't something that the MTA naturally needs to make the system workable. MTA is spending many billions of dollars expanding subway access in an area that got along just fine without it (in addition to spending money to build the "new" Fulton Street station). This is money that the MTA doesn't have, and money that is now being used as an excuse to raise fares once again.  

    The same goes for congestion pricing. Congestion pricing may very well lead to greater public transportation usage (I'd believe that's the case), but its not necessarily going to make vehicular traffic a breeze (as I've shown for London, that's far from the case). 
  • edited February 2015
    I think we are off base if we are measuring how easy it is for vehicles to move.

    We should be measuring how quickly the various localities move people and goods.

    Similar, but different.

    BTW, the MTA is busy stating how NYC desperately needs it's capital plan: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150211/BLOGS04/150219964/failing-to-fund-mta-would-be-bad-for-biz-study
  • Really? You've never heard that London has bad food. That is absolutely hilarious. You must be devoid of taste buds.
    You have nothing to contribute but diatribes against anyone who doesn't share your point of view. I've successfully biked throughout Brooklyn and much of Queens with no incident. And no, I have not met anyone who has been injured by a car. Perhaps I just know smarter people and cyclists.

    As to congestion pricing leading to better transportation, I greatly doubt that will happen. Where is the increase in buses? in train frequency? Those drivers that you decry spend a LOT of money in the city, much more than the cyclists who certainly are not going to Broadway shows, out to concerts, to restaurants, and shopping in higher end stores. If you had read carefully, you would have noted that I did NOT say that patients would be denied auto access to the city, but that they would instead be TAXED for the privilege of such access. Who in the world says that a driver, by virtue of being a drive, must be aggressive. Don't be a douche.
  • edited February 2015
    @whynot_31: I see your point, but still believe that if one of the rationales for congestion pricing (albeit one of several rationales) is that its going to help improve traffic, we need to discuss what this actually entails. If congestion pricing is going to reduce vehicular traffic, but, whether due to a back jam of traffic on many streets because of tolls or other means, and due to the fact that there will still be a considerable number of cars on the road, there's still a very real possibility that traffic will still be bad, we need to b clear about that. I think politicians need to be straight with us on what congestion pricing will mean to the average person on the road in terms of time traveled as they make it seem, dubiously citing London as an example, that congestion pricing makes things great. Sure, there are going to be benefits in terms of increased ridership on public transportation, but, as long as the MTA continues to take on massive projects it can't afford, that's not really going to mean relief for riders as far as fares go. 
  • edited February 2015
    If I was going to cite an example of where Congestion Pricing has worked, I'd use Signapore as my example.

    In terms of NYC politicians lying to us, I think they know that the future is SBS/BRT but they can't presently find a way to implement it, and it doesn't have much popular support.

    [BTW, I think the only people who think London has good food are the Irish.]
  • @morralkan At this point it is obvious to all you are completely full of it. 

    I'm devoid of taste buds? Because you didn't like their food and I disagree... hmm a very troll like comment. OF course I've heard that stereotype and I found it to be yet another false stereotype. When I was in London I had some of the best Italian and Indian food of my life. 

    "You have nothing to contribute but diatribes against anyone who doesn't share your point of view. " I have again and again provided factual evidence supporting my arguments. You have yet to do the same. Have you read that article I posted yet? Or would this take away from attacking other posters?

    We tax privileges that cause damage please see cigarettes and alcohol. Thats how it works. Thats how we fund the roads they drive on. I'm sorry but its called reality. 

    "And no, I have not met anyone who has been injured by a car. " You are either lying or are just again full of it. No one can live in Brooklyn for 45 years -and cycle no less- and not know anyone who has been hit by a car. I've only been riding for three years and know 2 people plus myself who have been hit through no fault of our own. But yes please  continue your victim blaming. Do you blame mugging victims and rape victims? Or just traffic violence victims?

    "Perhaps I just know smarter people and cyclists." Could you possibly be any more of a troll? Perhaps you want to explain to my friend why that car hit him and its all his fault?

    Yet you have the gall to call me a douche. I never said all drivers were aggressive. Stop putting freaking words in my mouth.  

    Great ridership leads to more money for the MTA which leads to better service. Its a very very simple concept. 
  • edited February 2015
    Because riders only pay for a portion of the cost of their fare, increased riders do not cause better service.

    For the MTA to improve it needs more money, and more power.

    Stuffing the trains and buses won't accomplish better service unless it results in some kind of state and federal budget reallocations.

    I don't know that it will.
  • edited February 2015
    @pheighresident

    My friends picked me up at Heathrow and rove me to their home in Wimbledon the trip took a little less than an hour by her car. 

    That profit goes back to support the MTA's many other endeavours. Such as the LIRR, the buses and the subway. The MTA is actually designed to make a profit. Why is a bridge making a profit a bad thing? Keep in mind through years of deferred maintenance and funding costs the state forced the MTA to get those bonds. Things like ongoing funding raids and Sandy haven't helped matters. Has there been some mismanagement and does the union screw over the MTA? Of course but they don't deserve all the attacks you're throwing at them.  

    The numbers in The Guardian article only include car trips. Of course in a city like London congestion is going to be heavy. I also think you are misunderstanding the fundamental point of congestion pricing which isn't to decrease car travel times. Instead it is meant to incentivize people to use much more efficient modes of transportation. Also please refrain from using the Post and the Daily News as sources. Both publications have been found to publish widely inaccurate information regularly. 

    What areas do you define as the subway as working fine? I travel out of Fulton Street regularly and the 4/5, 2/3 and A/C are often messed up or crowded at night when my classes get out. he G, 7 and L are disasters. My friend who takes the NQ from Astoria says its the worst line he has ever lived off. Yes Fulton Street was a boondoggle. I concede that. While the subway needs improvement the MTA system is still one of the nations best and most efficient. 

    @whynot_31 Greater ridership will force the state to increase mass transit funding. You can only stuff so many people in before you need more trains. Congestion pricing will increase ridership which will increase pressure on legislators to increase funding. Politicians are nothing if not creatures of survival and they understand that pissing off the City of NYC as well as those voters who commute by mass transit won't get them reelected. If they don't get this political Darwinism will kick in and they will be replaced by who has grasped this reality. We're already seeing this occur on the community board level.
  • edited February 2015
    Newguy wrote: "The MTA is actually designed to make a profit."

    Um, no, it is not. Here are some MTA budget basics from the Tri State Transportation Campaign: http://www.tstc.org/101/mta.php
  • Huh, I stand corrected. I think I was confusing expected to pay for itself with profit. 
  • edited February 2015
    The MTA needs to replace the federal and state funding it continues to lose.

    We should not think that the tolling from the east river bridges will be enough to improve the MTA. ...It won't.

    It will merely prevent the system from getting worse, and it will likely cause more crowding because people who used to drive will take the MTA.

    That is the dire situation we are facing.

    ...two bad choices.


  • I disagree with your view. It will in fact be the catalyst that forces the state to improve the MTA less they paralyze the city. In which case the feds would be forced to intervene. 
  • edited February 2015
    NYC voters (the ones who presently take the MTA and take bridges) are only allowed so many representatives in Albany.

    With the exception of Staten Island, all the reps tend to be pro East River tolls and pro MTA growth. Does it make sense to torture the choir that elects them? ...they can't elect more of them.

    If we toll the east river, it should be only be to amount needed for the MTA to break even; it should not be so high that we attempt to "improve" the system. Tolling drivers has real consequences. ...we should only do it to the extent required.

    A catalyst would be great, but I'm not sure where we get one of those.
  • Actually, you seem to have proven my point that I know smarter cyclists. Thanks so much! It seems that, given your magnificent 3 years of bike riding experience here, you cannot fathom that someone who has biked here for 45 years and done his best to avoid high traffic routes could possibly have escaped an accident. Maybe I am simply bright enough to know that, in a contest with a 2 ton car or a multi-ton truck/bus, I am sure to be the loser.

    It appears from a comment above that I am not the only one to find English food objectionable. I will admit, though, that if one sticks to Indian food and fish and chips in London, one won't be poisoned. As to Italian food, I can only assume you've never been to Italy. 

    The more important point is that if one wants and expects better public transportation, then the MTA should be spending dollars trying to figure out, first and foremost, how it would be possible to increase the frequency of train service, particularly during rush hours, but even in the middle of the day. Countdown clocks are a convenience, but increased capacity is a necessity. Decreasing the capacity of city streets to carry traffic only adds increased pressure to the subway system which is overloaded as it stands. It is not feasible to create the broad platforms of the DC system here in NYC, except perhaps on some new lines in the hinterlands of the outer boroughs. 

    Building new subway lines in the areas which are already extremely crowded (think 2nd ave line) is really prohibitively expensive and severely disruptive to both residents and business owners along any proposed route. It is important, therefore, to find a way to increase train frequency using, I'm assuming, greater use of computer coordination. Other conveniences would be far far greater deployment of escalators and elevators in the subway system. In Germany, I'm most familiar with Hamburg's subway system, but also with that in Frankfurt. Even as far back as 1968, the Hamburg system had escalators all over the place and I rarely saw one out of service -- and they have really lousy winters there also.

    I've used public transport here nearly all of my life and I think it is quite good, certainly within the context of other US systems. Nonetheless, if our public transport system hopes to pull more people out of their cars and onto trains and buses, the improvements have to come before you make driving in the city even more of a misery. I hate to tell you, but even though more people are biking these days, NYC is never going to look like the newsreel film of Paris commuting in the 50's. 
  • edited February 2015
    @morralkan I'm so sorry that you have nothing better to do then hurl insults at others online. Keep in mind trolling doesn't equal intelligence.  At this point, I have simply nothing more to say to you.
  • Um, I hope you two make up.

    Today, more press came out re: the MTA. To me, it is clear that the goals are to let the public know how dire the situation is, so tolling the bridges looks like the best solution.

    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150211/BLOGS04/150219964/the-15b-reason-why-your-commute-could-get-worse

    Then, paint Albany as evil if they don't support it. It is a tried and true formula.
  • @whynot_31

     Its tried and true and actually fairly factual at least in terms as how Albany woefully exploits NYC. Will shaming Cuomo work however is the real question? My money is on a definite probably not.  
  • It should be interesting to see where the MTA cuts back if CP (congestion pricing) does not pass.

    They are already increasing the fare, so the misinformed are already going to think service should be getting better ...nope.
  • I'm so happy to hear that, newguy, since your opinions are of no value or consequence whatsoever.The only thing you've mastered is the technique of accusing others of exactly what you do.
  • Okay, You guys have had a long leash, but it's time to give it a rest. You can vigorously debate congestion pricing (and who wouldn't want to!) but let's keep the personal attacks out of it. No reason we can't agree to disagree without name calling.
  • I don't see how this would greatly reduce traffic since DeBlasio and Polly T. seem intent on narrowing streets
    Which doesn't increase commute times.
  • How can narrowing streets (as in reducing the number of usable lanes) not increase commute times for car drivers and passengers?
  • How can narrowing streets (as in reducing the number of usable lanes) not increase commute times for car drivers and passengers?
    Right. Its pretty basic. While reducing the number of usable lanes to make way for, say, designated bus lanes, may mean faster transportation times for those on buses, it doesn't mean that for people riding in private vehicles. Hence, London, which some continue to dubiously cite as a congestion pricing success story, continues to have terrible traffic. 

  • How can narrowing streets (as in reducing the number of usable lanes) not increase commute times for car drivers and passengers?
    http://www.autoblog.com/2014/09/05/bike-lanes-may-actually-reduce-commute-times/

    "A report from the New York City Department of Transportation found that travel times for traffic in places where protected bike lanes have been built either stayed steady or improved. Commutes on 8th Avenue, for example, now take 14 percent less time than before bike lanes were built.

    "Columbus Avenue has seen travel times dramatically improve as well. In 2010, Columbus Avenue between 96th and 77th streets originally had five lanes; three lanes for traffic, one for both parking and A.M traffic and one dedicated to parking. By narrowing each lane 1-2 inches, a buffer zone and a protected bike lane were built without sacrificing lanes for traffic. The same amount of cars traverse the narrower lanes daily, but travel times between the two streets dropped 35 percent from four and a half minutes to three minutes."
  • edited February 2015

    Right. Its pretty basic. While reducing the number of usable lanes to make way for, say, designated bus lanes, may mean faster transportation times for those on buses, it doesn't mean that for people riding in private vehicles. Hence, London, which some continue to dubiously cite as a congestion pricing success story, continues to have terrible traffic. 

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

    "A report by TfL in early 2007 indicated that there were 2.27 traffic delays per kilometre in the original charging zone. This compared with a figure of 2.3 before the introduction of the congestion charge. After the scheme was introduced they had measured an improvement in journey times of 0.7 minutes per km, or 30%."

    Even had traffic times not decreased, the cost of the infrastructure has more fairly shifted to the people using it least efficiently. That's a good thing.
  • edited February 2015

    Right. Its pretty basic. While reducing the number of usable lanes to make way for, say, designated bus lanes, may mean faster transportation times for those on buses, it doesn't mean that for people riding in private vehicles. Hence, London, which some continue to dubiously cite as a congestion pricing success story, continues to have terrible traffic. 

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_congestion_charge

    "A report by TfL in early 2007 indicated that there were 2.27 traffic delays per kilometre in the original charging zone. This compared with a figure of 2.3 before the introduction of the congestion charge. After the scheme was introduced they had measured an improvement in journey times of 0.7 minutes per km, or 30%."

    Even had traffic times not decreased, the cost of the infrastructure has more fairly shifted to the people using it least efficiently. That's a good thing.
    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/congestion-charge-has-cost-drivers-26bn-in-decade-but-failed-to-cut-traffic-jams-8496627.html

    "The congestion charge has “sucked” about £2.6 billion from drivers in its first decade while failing to cut congestion, the AA claimed today.

    It said 57 per cent of the cash paid by motorists had been eaten up in administration charges, but speeds had failed to rise above those of a “horse and cart”. Transport for London hit back, saying it had raised £1.2 billion to improve public transport, including £960 million on a better bus service."


    "Research by the AA found that despite traffic volumes falling within the zone, speeds became slower over the decade, as a result of road space being turned into bus lanes, cycle and pedestrian safety measures, and roadworks."

    "It said that roads were now so clogged, emissions of PM10 soot particles from car tyres and brakes were greater than from exhausts because of the amount of starting and stopping. AA president Edmund King said: “Drivers have paid a heavy price for slower journeys over the last decade. Some have argued that without charging, traffic speeds would have been even worse. But speeds in central London have remained fairly constant since the days of the horse and cart some 100 years ago.”


    Even with fewer cars on the road, traffic in London is still a disaster (and as I pointed out above, London remains the most congested city in North America/Europe). And it makes sense for the reasons I outlined above.

    And if I had to take a guess, drivers in London were already paying more than their fair share towards infrastructure upkeep via high gas taxes and automobile related fees. These aren't exactly freeloaders in what many would describe as an already overtaxed society. 

    More fundamentally, though, I and others will remain steadfastly opposed to paying a significant amount of money when we are already taxed enough (from income, including city, state and federal, to sales to property to gas taxes) and made to pay high tolls on several crossings, especially if traffic is still going to be a disaster/be only potentially minimally improved under the scheme. These fees and taxes affect real people, hardworking people. These are people who have options and NYC will come to learn that it cannot keep taxing its way out of trouble. 

    By the way, I assume that "C" on your hat means Cornell (it looks like a Cornell "C" to me). If that's the case, good to have another Cornellian in the forum!
  • "TfL established that the primary reason for the continued reductions to traffic speed, which would otherwise have been unexpected given falling traffic levels, was a substantial increase in interventions that reduced the effective capacity of the road network for general traffic. These interventions ranged widely, including policies to increase road safety, improve the urban realm, and prioritise public transport, pedestrian and cycle traffic, as well as a large-scale increase in road works by utilities and general development activity. (Travel in London, Report 5 [pdf], p. 77)"

    Basically, London used the headroom in increased traffic speeds to prioritize improving the city, instead of moving cars quickly, which made things better for the vast majority of people who don't drive there. Engineering is about choosing the best tradeoff given your constraints, and London's choice of tradeoffs sure sounds good to me.


    Lower Manhattan and London are such dense and popular places that traffic has been a 'disaster' since before the days of the automobile, such that a hatter built a bridge over Broadway to enable his customers to cross the street safely:
    It would take a truly enormous congestion charge to prevent traffic congestion in Lower Manhattan. What Sam Schwarz is proposing is, instead, lower tolls to less-congested areas where there are few transit alternatives, and raising tolls to congested areas where there are alternatives.
  • edited February 2015
    Given how "over capacity" the trains are, I have a hard time believing that tolling the East River Bridges stems from Sam's advice.

    ....I also have a hard time believing that tolls we be lowered on any of the presently tolled bridges;  The various transportation authorities do not share their revenue like that.
  • Sam Schwarz is a political actor running a political campaign, as he must to get this passed. Transportation authorities are creatures of the state, and they do what the state legislature tells them to do.
  • So far, it seems the state has told the authorities:  "We are not going to give you the amount of $ you lost from the feds, or allow you to issue more bonds.   Good luck.   Good bye."
  • edited February 2015
    The 21st version century of "Drop dead" New York.
  • edited February 2015
    So far, it seems that Sam and proponents of the MTA are the only vocal proponents of Congestion Pricing 2.0: A forum for transportation geeks: February 19th

    So far, the local politicians (including DeBlasio) have been absent from the press and forums (aka sales pitches).    

    ...were are just hearing from Sam and unelected advocate organizations that represent property owners in Brooklyn's very fortunate neighborhoods.     

    I assume the goal of these forums is to build popular support, which will then get the politicians to realize that supporting this tax/fee (east river bridge tolling) won't come back to bite them.
  • Why would property owners in Brooklyn neighborhoods want to tax themselves when they enter Manhattan?
  • edited February 2015
    Many of them do not.

    Others believe the tax will be substantial enough to reduce traffic, or "price out riff raff drivers". I think they believe CP will move their neighborhoods and commute toward being like Germany, where driving is expensive and very orderly.

    Vision Zero proponents are certainly among the proponents of CP. Some may believe that less private vehicle traffic equates to fewer deaths.

    It would also not surprise me if some held a neighborhood patriotism view, which allows them believe drivers from outside their neighborhood are worse than those from within it.

    Regardless of whether they share such beliefs, the proponents of the MTA need to tacitly allow said beliefs to florish to be successful; People are not going to support the MTA unless they believe there is something in this for them.

    Manhattan residents are reportedly "already" ok with CP because comparitively few of them cross into Brooklyn regularly.
  • Why would property owners in Brooklyn neighborhoods want to tax themselves when they enter Manhattan?
    Who actually drives to Lower Manhattan? Maybe on the FDR to dodge the Triboro toll, but that's about it, and that'd change with this plan anyway. Brooklyn property prices are very highly correlated to the length of a subway ride to Manhattan (hence ugly-ass Williamsburg becoming a luxury enclave), and Manhattan parking is obscenely expensive anyway.
  • You're kidding, right? Brooklynites drive the Manhattan Bridge to cross Canal Street on their way to the Holland Tunnel, when they head south to the Jersey Shore, Philly, Washington, D.C., etc. They drive the Brooklyn Bridge to the FDR when going anywhere from Midtown to Harlem to the GW Bridge to points north and west.

    Congestion pricing will make it very expensive for Brooklynites to leave Brooklyn via car. It disadvantages Brooklyn residents versus Manhattan residents.
  • edited February 2015
    It seems Manhattanites would also be tolled at 60th Street.

    Today's NYT states tolls would be allocated as follows:

    "A $5.54 E-ZPass toll would be introduced on the Ed Koch Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. The same toll would apply at each road that crosses 60th Street in Manhattan, including the West Side Highway and Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. E-ZPass tolls would be lowered to $3.04 in each direction on several bridges, including the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/nyregion/group-seeks-new-tolls-in-manhattan-to-pay-for-regions-transportation-needs.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

    BTW, the proponents of this plan would prefer that we call it "the MOVE NY Fair Plan", as opposed to Congestion Pricing.
  • The thing is, NYers have been living with toll free East River bridges since they were built. According to CBS radio this morning this plan would raise a billion for mass transit so it seems to have little to do with easing traffic and more to do with subsidizing buses and trains. This may even make mass transit more crowded and who knows if they'll restore what was taken away in service cuts. As for driving to lower Manhattan, there are times I'll drive there on a Sunday and park on the street because it's free and then the wife and I will walk up to midtown if it's a nice day. Last time we were in the city we clocked 11 miles.
  • If this was a sincere effort to "equalize tolls," I would support that. It would be much easier and faster for us to get to NJ and Westchester to visit our family via the RFK Bridge or the Verrazanno. However, we almost never do because the bridge tolls are SO high. If every bridge was $3-$6 to cross, I would support that. And my car would be one of many re-routed off the streets of Downtown Brooklyn or Lee Street in Williamsburg. 

  • edited February 2015
    Equalizing tolls implies that the total amount of money collected will be a wash. This won't be a wash.

    If passed, this will increase the subsidy to the MTA. The MTA is supporting this because it wants more more money.

    "Organizers say the new proposal would generate $1.5 billion in annual revenue."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/nyregion/group-seeks-new-tolls-in-manhattan-to-pay-for-regions-transportation-needs.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

  • You're kidding, right? Brooklynites drive the Manhattan Bridge to cross Canal Street on their way to the Holland Tunnel, when they head south to the Jersey Shore, Philly, Washington, D.C., etc. They drive the Brooklyn Bridge to the FDR when going anywhere from Midtown to Harlem to the GW Bridge to points north and west.

    Congestion pricing will make it very expensive for Brooklynites to leave Brooklyn via car. It disadvantages Brooklyn residents versus Manhattan residents.
    I mean driving to Lower Manhattan, not using it as a cut-through.

    Sam Schwarz' plan, which is the only one getting political play right now and the one we're talking about in this thread, would have the Verazzano toll cut significantly in exchange for the tolls on the East River Bridges, which would make the shorter, faster, all-highway route a preferable choice to driving through the one of the most congested areas in the United States.

    Likewise, it would cut the Triboro toll to the Bronx/Queens.

    In addition to generating money to keep the transit system running, the goal is to move traffic from surface streets to highways.
  • As a frequent user of the Verazzano, I can testify that it is not a particularly short or fast way to get to NJ.  It's usually only 5-10 minutes faster and slightly less annoying than battling your way across Canal street, but I'm concerned that reducing the tolls would increase traffic and effectively make it even less desirable.
  • ehgee, I am all for an "inexpensive" all-highway route to NJ and Bronx/Westchester. Would probably contribute to safer streets for pedestrians and bikers, as well, if all the drivers filled with road rage could get funnelled to highways or high-way like corridors. It would probably keep our streets in better condition, as well. 
  • There is nothing fast about the Staten Island route to New Jersey, except perhaps at 6:00 AM. It is like a giant parking lot on Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings.
  • edited February 2015
    There is also nothing fast about the BQE, to the Triboro, to the Major Degan, to the GWB.

    I find that it takes me a similar amount of time to take the Brooklyn Bridge to Chambers, to the Westside Highway, to the GWB.

    ...and I save several dollars.
  • edited February 2015
    Driving in NYC will never be easy or convenient, seeing as even the car-owning minority consists of several million people, and there are not very many lanes for them to share. They also need to share those few lanes with the millions more on Long Island that need to get through the NYC bottleneck.

    But it can be made more reasonable, so that if one wants a route that saves a few dollars, they take the BQE to the Triboro to the Deegan to the GWB, rather than clogging up neighborhood streets in Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

    I see Sam Schwarz' actual presentation is missing from this thread. It is here:
    http://www.samschwartz.com/Portals/0/PDF/MNY112613.pdf

    The crux is these two slides:
    image

    image
  • I look forward to the hardest part: After he sells it to the public, he has to sell it to the various NY and NJ Transportation Authorities.
  • edited February 2015
    Cleverly, he has not repriced the interstate crossings. And he doesn't actually need to sell the issue to the NY State transportation authorities, as they do what the legislature says. But he does, in fact, need to sell it to the legislature.

    The MTA would probably be enthused about a dedicated revenue source, as well.

  • edited February 2015
    The MTA would love a dedicated revenue source, but I suspect that it would not be one which involved cooperating with others or changing anything they presently do.

    This involves a lot more work than what they are used to: Getting a check from the feds and creating a ton of reports re: how they spent the money.

    The Port Authority is run by NY and NJ, so it strikes me as being the most resistent. ...tolling the east river will likely result in fewer cars using their tunnels, which will cost them revenue.
  • I notice in the plan that the parking tax exemption for Manhattan residents is eliminated. If I'm not mistaken that tax is 21%. I don't know if the people who live there are going to go for that so fast because it can easily amount to over $100 a month and if some of them who live above 60th St. are going to be tolled for driving south then it's adding insult to injury.
  • I wonder what portion of the $1.5B is expected from that tax, as opposed to the bridges.
  • The vast majority of Manhattanites don't own cars.
  • I believe that most residents of Brooklyn do not own cars either.
  • But those of us who do own cars are highly motivated to oppose these blatant attempts to force the few (car owners) to subsidize the many (mass transit users). Hear us ROAR!
  • edited February 2015
    The fun part really surrounds price elasticity.

    Those who believe that everyone has a moral obligation to take public transportation everywhere, seem to believe that car owners are taking discretionary trips, and that they will take less of them if they are taxed.  If they are correct, there will be less clogged roads, fewer accidents, less pollution, etc.    However, this same phenomena may result in them not raising the money required to give the MTA the $ it seeks.  

    The other team believes that very few discretionary trips are taken in NYC.  Driving and parking here is miserable and expensive.    They believe that they will not reduce the number of trips taken, no children will be saved, the earth will still be polluted, and they will just be paying more to sit in the same traffic.   They believe that riders should pay for a greater share of the cost of public transportation, or that something like an income tax on everyone would be more equitable.
  • Why shouldn't transit riders pay for the entire cost of mass transit?

    Alternatively, let's license bicyclists, and use the license fees to subsidize mass transit. Also, why should bicyclists not be affected by congestion pricing? Let's charge bicyclists $2 each time they cross the East River bridges (and all other bridges), and apply those fees to subsidize mass transit. Ditto pedestrians, especially those with strollers, baby carriages or babybjorns.
  • It is in drivers interests that someone subsidize public transit, otherwise they too will attempt to get around on four wheels.

    This all started because the Fed and the State have begun figure out it is not in their interests to subsidize mass transit....
  • Not true. Not everyone can afford four wheels, plus gas, insurance, tolls, tags, etc. Also, the difficulty of finding free parking, and the extreme expenses of paid parking, will dissuade many prospective drivers. I'll take that risk if it means I don't have to subsidize other people's rides on buses and subways. And I'll gladly pay the increased costs of my own subway and bus rides.
  • edited February 2015
    The fare covers about 50% of the actual cost of a subway ride in NYC.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farebox_recovery_ratio

    So, it there were no subsidies it would be about $5 per ride, whereas it is now about $2.50.    I think it reasonable that more of us will clog up the roads if the subsidy is removed.   

    You also have to take into account that there will be more drivers because there will presumably be cheaper tolls:   The tolls will be lower to reflect only the maintenance of the bridges and roads.  Those who presently have cars, will drive more as a result. 
  • edited February 2015
    Perhaps the tolls will stay the same, and maintenance of bridges and roads will increase to safer levels. Currently, our roadways resemble those of war torn impoverished nations... More potholes and bad joins than flat roadway... And drivers pay the price in suspension failures, blown tires and damaged alloy wheels.
  • edited February 2015
    I think it would be like the Peace Dividend we were all supposed to receive after the Berlin Wall fell.   ...the feds never got around to issuing those checks.

    ...in our case, the current tolls and maintenance levels would remain the same, and the "excess" funding would somehow be secured by DeBlasio to construct subsidized apartments that cost taxpayers $400k each but then are rented out at $1800 a month to people who won the housing lottery.   

    When you think about it, the subway and subsidized housing are funded a like the Venezuelan economy.    The former relied on the feds, the latter relied on oil.

    I hear it was great while it lasted.
  • We did see a peace dividend. Didn't happen right away but it surely contributed to the budget surplus we had under Clinton. Of course that all went into the crapper after 9/11 and we decided we better start spending more on defense.
  • edited February 2015
    I was not asked if I wanted to reinvest my dividend.

    If I had been asked, I am confident I would have stated "I'll take the check"
  • Of course you were asked....at the voting booth., Democracy in action. Although the 2000 Bush-Gore election might not have been the best example of that.
  • edited February 2015
    Under the guise of an economic stimulus, I remember getting some checks from the feds right around election time, but that was different.
  • edited February 2015
    But those of us who do own cars are highly motivated to oppose these blatant attempts to force the few (car owners) to subsidize the many (mass transit users). Hear us ROAR!
    First off, you won't need to pay a congestion change unless you for some confused reason decide to drive to Lower Manhattan instead of taking mass transit (and there will be cheaper alternative routes via the Verazzano/Triboro for travel to points North and South).

    Beyond that, we do sure give away a lot of Manhattan real estate (the most expensive land in America) to you driving types. But for some reason that doesn't register as a subsidy?

    And it's not like all these city streets maintain themselves, either. Your gas taxes go to Albany and the Feds to maintain highways, not city streets. Everybody's property and income taxes go to maintain the city streets. What's the farebox recovery ratio on a Lower Manhattan street?
  • edited February 2015
    @ehgee, I keep hearing this "we give Manhattan real estate to you driving types", but that really isn't true, is it? Doesn't every citizen who 1) has access to surface mass transit (buses), 2) relies on necessary municipal services (sanitation pickups, police and fire responses, EMT services, etc) 3) purchases freight that is transported via truck (food, fuel, clothing, furniture, building materials just to name a few), 4) rides in a cab or other vehicle for hire - benefit from the provision of roadways? How is any of that a subsidy to drivers of POV's only when non-drivers get just as many benefits from having Manhattan real estate dedicated to motorized vehicles?

    Isn't it unfair to say "you drivers should pay your full costs owning a car, plus subsidize mass transit, plus pay a premium for the right to drive from one part of the city to the other" while mass transit riders are subsidized at 50%, ferry riders are subsidized at 75-80% and bikers and pedestrians are subsidized at 100%?
  • Every citizen benefits from the provision of roadways, just as every citizen benefits from the provision of high-quality mass transit. But every citizen doesn't benefit from giving private drivers unlimited free access to every one of said roadways— in fact, private drivers congesting Lower Manhattan slow police, fire, and EMT responses as well as Sanitation services, which means degraded service and higher taxes for everyone. Likewise, many buses in Manhattan are nearly useless because congestion renders them slower than walking.

    And that isn't even mentioning how much of Lower Manhattan roadways are dedicated exclusively to parking for private vehicles for free or at highly discounted prices, which doesn't benefit anyone else at all (just compare the price of street space to what garage operators ask for on the private market).

    And transporting freight through the core of the most congested business district in the US is nuts, unless it's ending up there. But the current toll setup incentivizes hauling freight originating on Long Island via Canal Street and the avenues in Manhattan!

    Finally, it's not unfair to ask drivers to pay for their negative effects on others, especially their disproportionate use of scarce urban space and the dangers they cause to others around them. Likewise, it's fair to ask everyone to subsidize mass transit, since it's the engine that drives the enormous agglomeration economies that make Manhattan such a productive place to work. The specific mechanism of MTA funding via bridge tolls perhaps isn't ideal, but it's political reality. It would be fine by me if bridge tolls went into the general fund and mass transit were paid for out of it, but that's as much an aesthetic question as anything else.

    Ferries aren't a very productive form of transit, but that's a whole 'nother issue. And cyclists and pedestrians don't directly pay for the resources they use, but they use far fewer resources (in terms of land and maintenance required) but they pay sales, income, and property taxes in prodigious amounts.
  • edited February 2015
  • Most of Lower Manhattan (and I'm assuming you are using the CP definition of below 60th Street and not the traditional definition of below Canal Street) doesn't have parking for private vehicles for free or at a highly discounted price during the business day. If you look at this website:


    You'll see that most neighborhoods south of Midtown are classified as "very hard" or "hard" to park in on weekdays and that in four of them the best time to park is after the end of the business day because that is when the largest amount of "free" parking becomes available. Metered parking benefits non-drivers in that significant $s are generated from drivers through traffic enforcement. The IBO estimated that the city would generate over $500 million in revenue from ticketing:

    Much of the city’s fine revenues come from a single source: parking tickets. The Mayor expects the city will collect $518.2 million in revenue from parking tickets this year, about $34 million more than last year when Hurricane Sandy forced the city to suspend some parking regulations for a while and city workers who typically focused on issuing parking tickets were redeployed to direct traffic. Yet even with the increase in parking ticket revenue expected this year, the total is about $50 million less than the roughly $568 million generated in both 2011 and 2012. - See more at: http://ibo.nyc.ny.us/cgi-park/?p=733#sthash.4vnrHhHO.dpuf

    Without the presence of personal vehicles this revenue would simply disappear. It would not be "replaced" by transit fares since the state and not the city operates the MTA, and the transit system is not self-supporting. As for your freight assertion, I don't think that your assumption is correct. Most freight is hauled through the central business district because it's trying to get from west of the Hudson River (which is the location for almost 100% of the goods either imported or manufactured in the US) to those communities east of the Hudson. It's here because of the significant population that is in the region, and in fact, most of the cargo that ends up here is destined for delivery within 250 miles of NYC. The "last mile" of that cargo moves via truck, and as I've mentioned in the past, truck routes in this city are few and far between. As a result, goods come through the central district because alternatives such as moving them by rail or direct delivery by ocean are limited, costly and time intensive.

    Finally, drivers pay the same sales, income, and property taxes as cyclists and pedestrians so I'm not comfortable using those expenses as a proxy for contributions to transportation infrastructure. And while pedestrians and cyclists do put less wear and tear on streets (although I'd argue that at least some required maintenance occurs due to regional climate issues), the greatest impact on those streets are from trucks, buses, and heavy weight vehicles which those same cyclists and pedestrians utilize for delivery of goods and services.  Per the GAO- http://www.gao.gov/products/CED-79-94 :

    "Although a five-axle tractor-trailer loaded to the
    current 80,000-pound Federal weight limit weighs about the
    same as 20 automobiles, the impact of the tractor-trailer
    is dramatically higher. Based on Association data, and
    confirmed by its officials, such a tractor-trailer has the
    same impact on an interstate highway as at least 9,600
    automobiles...." 

    Bottom line is that unless pedestrians and cyclists want to start living off of only those goods that are produced in NYC, and are prepared to pay significantly more for other services including mass transit to make up for lost revenue derived from a zero car environment, bringing equity to local transportation through pricing personal vehicles out of existence isn't going to have the results that people think it will have.
  • Communities east of the Hudson can also get their freight via the Verazzano and GW and Triborough instead of Canal St. and Amsterdam Ave, as the current toll structure incents.

    And no one is proposing we ban personal vehicles from lower Manhattan, just that we realign the incentives so they use existing infrastructure more efficiently, and drive in/out of the region via expressways outside the CBD unless they have a $10 reason not to. Is that really so crazy?
  • I think a big part of the opposition to tolling the remaining bridges stems from people's failure to understand just how much money the MTA is no longer receiving lost from the feds.

    Riders of public transportation like to imagine that car owners never ride public transportation, when -in fact- most drivers are quite familiar with the subway.

    We are a moment when there is a widespread perception that public transportation is on the decline, and car drivers are among those that perceive that this new tax will only slow its decline.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/03/01/american_mass_transit_is_dying/

    I certainly don't perceive them as crazy for not wanting to be tied to a sinking ship.

    So far, I have yet to see NYC offer Albany anything of value inexchange for the priviledge of tolling the bridges.

    ...I have seen maps from Sam, and lots of people who want trucks to be somewhere else.
  • edited March 2015
    That Salon article is dumb. It's just a list of annoyances without any real pattern. Yes, American mass transit could be a lot better, but the fact that the MTA needs to adjust service patterns on nights and weekends to facilitate weekends is hardly a sign of failure— it's a fact of life with a 24-hour system. Most other rapid transit systems do maintenance when they're fully shut down overnight.

    If American mass transit were dying, why are people up and down the eastern seaboard (and in SF and Seattle and, increasingly, even Los Angeles) paying enormous amounts of money for modest homes near mass transit stations in neighborhoods that, until recently, they would have been afraid to set foot in?
  • Salon articles are usually dumb, and this one is no exception. The only real valid point in the article is the shrinking federal subsidies.

    I do not believe that they are going to be able to recoup these losses from the drivers, and expect that the fare box ratios are going to have to increase even further.
  • Many people don't realize that all mass transit fares are not created equal. For instance, those of you in the city can ride from the tip of Brooklyn to the end of the Bronx for $2.50 while I have to pay $16 each for the wife and myself round trip OFF-PEAK to travel the 15 or so miles into Manhattan on the LIRR, when I use it. For this reason, many times it's less expensive for me to drive into Manhattan if I'm going with the wife and park on the lower East Side for free and walk to mid-town (if it's a nice enough day) to do whatever we're going to do. We've done this quite a few times. The fact is, that all my fare money goes to the MTA and the people of Long Island end up paying much more of a piece of the fare than those in the city.
  • Pragmaticguy-
    Because LIRR has a zone based system, I understand why you might think that LIRR riders have a higher farebox ratio than NYC MTA subway riders do, but they both are around 50%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farebox_recovery_ratio

    I believe the MTA has some economies of scale in effect, as a result of how many trains it is running and how many people are cramming into them.
  • The facts about the zone based system are true but enough people objected to two fare zones in the city and they were done away with so it's not out of the realm of having one fare for all but the LIRR does have better cars with cushioned seats so at least there's that. But imagine if the people who lived by the stops in Queens for the LIRR had to pay the same fare as those from Hicksville. The uproar would be heard three states away but yet they are able to travel into the city by using the trains there whereas there aren't even express buses from Long Island into the city so there's no choice for a lot of people.
  • edited March 2015
    Well, it is a choice to live outside of the city as opposed to in it.

    In exchange, people on Long Island get high property taxes, high school sports teams, and at least 50 different St. Patrick's Day parades.

    Note, I am not saying these things are worth the tradeoff. I am just saying that some people seem to value them.
  • The LIRR runs extremely inefficiently because they run huge trains with highly-paid conductors that every hour, instead of moderately sized trains with just a driver every 15 minutes or so, like in Europe:
    image

    There are sensible arguments for a zone fare for the subway in NYC, but it wouldn't happen at the same time we're already forcing poor people to the ass ends of the city with the way rent prices are going.
  • Because the LIRR is classified as a railroad they're still subject to all the featherbedding union rules that came about in the 20s and 30s. And ehgee is wrong....even off peak they run about every 40 minutes so it's not even once an hour. But on weekends they're usually pretty well full. As for the people who live in the ass ends of the city....wouldn't it be a wonderful world if they could all get jobs at the companies that seem to relocate to those same ass ends because they're enterprise zones and they just love those tax breaks the city seems to throw around for the promise of more hiring.
  • edited March 2015
    Yes, while those tax breaks cause companies to locate there and hire people, they rarely end up hiring the least qualified for the positions. Instead, they fulfill their obligations by hiring the most qualified people who live in the zip code or community board who are looking for work at that moment.

    I don't see such tax breaks going away anytime soon.

    The 2nd Avenue Subway, however, is likely to be curtailed: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-chief-ave-subway-line-stopped-short-article-1.2134591

    The MTA's need for capital funding is real.
  • By the time this gets going again the $15 billion will be closer to $20 billion. This may not get finished in our lifetime. And well, you know, it's not THAT long of a walk from 125th St. down to 96th if you really want to ride down 2nd ave.
  • The MTA's inability to get its capital plan funded may be what finally slows NYC's growth.

    I am finding it increasingly hard to believe that Sam will get his MoveNYC plan enacted, and -even if he does- I am not certain that:

    a. It will generate the revenue predicted, and
    b. The MTA will be able to claim said revenue as theirs.
  • This writer seems to believe that we should implement a "vehicle miles traveled tax" to fund mass transit, and makes no mention of congestion pricing:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/carol-kellermann-fund-subways-charge-drivers-article-1.2171759

Sign In or Register to comment.