By on April 8, 2008

al06072.jpgThe New York state legislature has shot down NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed $8 congestion charge on vehicles entering Manhattan. Wired News reports that the proposal which was to be a career-capper for Bloomberg was doomed by heavy-handed tactics by the Mayor's office. En route to telling state legislators that "You're either for this historic change in New York or you're against it," Bloomberg's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan was pulled over by state police for speeding and improperly using her lights and sirens. This obviously affected how representatives received the proposal. "When [she] was coming up here telling me I can't drive," said Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, "she was busy being driven in a city-owned car by a chauffeur, speeding, getting a ticket with her lights and sirens on." Bloomberg called the rejection "a special kind of cowardice," which, in an ironic twist, is almost exactly what opponents called the revenue-building measure when justified by global carbon emission levels.

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13 Comments on “NYC Congestion Charge Fails...”


  • avatar

    Ten reasons NYC’s congestion pricing plan went belly up

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/4/7/19499/55685

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    More on the story:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/nyregion/08congest.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/nyregion/08bloomberg.html

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Hah, that’s what you get for asking permission. If Bush was mayor he’d just do it and ignore your complaints later.

  • avatar
    brownie

    Donal: That’s a great summary of what went wrong. It leaves out the big reason behind the cited lukewarm support from Manhattan’s state legislators (namely: politically connected city workers make up a majority of car commuters and a significant fraction of total drivers), but otherwise it’s spot on. Sigh.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    The plan always struck me as overly complicated. Couldn’t you merely increase tolls on all Manhattan-bound bridges and tunnels gradually (with the funds marked for public transit) and accomplish almost the same result? Basically nobody drives from one point in Manhattan to another.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    This plan failed simply because it was a rather short-sighted plan that did not take into account the effect it would have had on the rest of the city.

    There was actually very limited or zero support for this plan in the outer boroughs of NYC because the politians know that with Congestion Pricing Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and upper Manhattan would become the parking lots for all of the drivers that would still drive into NYC but would switch to public transportation for the last mile or two of their commute. I grew up in Queens on the Queens/ Nassau boarder and now live in the Bronx onthe boarder with Westchester County and Yonkers. This situation has always existed and CP for Manhattan would only make it worse.

    Not for nothing but New Yorkers just aint that stupid. While Manhattan does have a population of over 1 million the majority of those residence live in the areas that would NOT benefit from this plan. NYC is a city of over 8 million and the vast majority live inthe outer boroughs that are now experiencing a new boom in growth and developement and dont need any of Lower Manhattan’s existing traffic problems. Trust me the outer boroughs already have their own.

    (namely: politically connected city workers make up a majority of car commuters and a significant fraction of total drivers)
    This statment is totally wrong! NYC administative offices and other building are spread out throughout NYC. The total of City workers that work in lower Manhattan is not large enough to make it a REAL issue. The truth of the matter is at least 95% (or more) of NYC employees that work in Manhattan (DURING BUSINESS HOURS) commute on public transportation. Those placards are NOT that easy to get and people do get find and lose jobs for mis-using them.

    The public transportation network in metro NYC is already at capacity. The commuter rails and subways are already crowded at a dangerous level.

    Not for nothing but there are many other very congested areas of NYC that would only get worse with this plan. Downtown Brooklyn (right across the river from lower Manhattan) is also a very busy business district with more traffic than necessary. Why no conjestion pricing there?

    In reality the failure of this plan was actually a victory for all other NYC interest outside of the Mayor favortie part of town. The key benifactors of this plan would have been the real-estate interest of Lower Manhahttan that would have seen their property value rise once again.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    The plan always struck me as overly complicated. Couldn’t you merely increase tolls on all Manhattan-bound bridges and tunnels gradually (with the funds marked for public transit) and accomplish almost the same result? Basically nobody drives from one point in Manhattan to another.

    There are no tolls for manhattan-bound bridges, except for the George Washington bridge from New Jersey and the Triboro bridge from Queens/Bronx. In the end, this congestion charge was seen for what it was: an effort to put tolls on east river crossings which there is a long-standing opposition to.

  • avatar
    brownie

    whatdoiknow1: Those placards are NOT that easy to get and people do get find and lose jobs for mis-using them

    I guess you missed that New York Times article about how there are 142,000 placards outstanding (not counting fraudulent ones). Considering there are approximately 260,000 people who commute to Manhattan by car regularly (also from the Times), I’d say city workers with placards are a substantial fraction of the driving population.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/06/nyregion/06parking.html?st=cse&sq=city+parking+placard&scp=2

  • avatar
    brownie

    whatdoiknow1: Downtown Brooklyn (right across the river from lower Manhattan) is also a very busy business district with more traffic than necessary. Why no conjestion pricing there?

    That’s a great idea. I’ll push for that on the next go-round.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    And then we can have it along Queens Boulevard too. And maybe turn the Van Wyck Expressway into a toll road since that’s always a virtual parking lot.

  • avatar
    postjosh

    whatdoiknow1: This plan failed simply because it was a rather short-sighted plan that did not take into account the effect it would have had on the rest of the city.

    there’s a lot of truth to what you wrote but for those of us who live in manhattan the defeat of the bill is definitely a bummer.

    it failed because bloomberg sucks at building a consensus for his ideas. it passed the city council where he can bully people but upstate they didn’t even bother bringing it to a vote. basically, albany flipped him the bird. still i applaud him for trying. something has to be done.

    (namely: politically connected city workers make up a majority of car commuters and a significant fraction of total drivers)
    This statment is totally wrong! NYC administative offices and other building are spread out throughout NYC. The total of City workers that work in lower Manhattan is not large enough to make it a REAL issue.

    it may not be a real issue but in my downtown neighborhood about 25% of all parking is taken by city workers using those annoying placards.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    The parking spots are hogged by the cops, and to a lesser extent, the fire department. The police park with impunity; leaving their equipment on the dash if they don’t have a pass. Traffic enforcement ignores them, while piling on the third ticket to the FedEx truck that was forced to double park. Again, if something seems illogical, just follow the money trail and it will all make sense.

  • avatar
    brownie

    And then we can have it along Queens Boulevard too. And maybe turn the Van Wyck Expressway into a toll road since that’s always a virtual parking lot.

    Another excellent idea. I would also add the Flushing Chinatown, Yankee Stadium, and make entire length of Canal Street subject to double-charges (if technically feasible, which it probably isn’t).

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