Saturday, June 9, 2007

Opinions vary widely on commuter tax

"I think it’s just wrong," said Dina Livingston, 36, as she readied to leave her home in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, yesterday for her job on Wall Street. This neighborhood, like many in the farther reaches of what are impolitely known as “the outer boroughs,” is minimally served by subways, and therefore features a relatively high percentage of car owners and daily drivers.

Outside Manhattan, Many Oppose Congestion Plan

"Much of the problem with Manhattan traffic is created by midday travel by commercial vehicles — and by people using Manhattan as a corridor to travel from, say, New Jersey to Queens and Brooklyn." - Mayor's traffic expert

So why not tax them and leave the rest of us alone?

"The people who live far from mass transit today –- most of them do not necessarily drive. They often take their cars and park them, for free, in areas where mass transit is close by. In my neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, people park all day — and take the express subway lines from 71st Street-Continental Avenue. I don’t believe they’ll be greatly affected by congestion pricing."

Except when they'll have to circle for an hour to find a parking spot along with all the others who are now doing the same. I'm sure the people who live in that area appreciate not having a place to park and their streets being designated as a parking lot. Oh wait, they live in Queens, so who cares about their quality of life? As long as Manhattanites are happy.

Taking Questions: A Traffic Expert on Congestion Pricing

POLS RIDE MIKE HARD ON CONGESTION 'TAX'

In Legislators’ Scrutiny, Traffic Proposal Faces Hard Questioning

As Traffic Tax Gains Speed, Silver Taps Brakes

Road Congestion Cameras Assailed for Privacy Risk

Privacy Is an Issue for Critics of Cameras

Photo from NY Times

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are always buses, and you can carpool. People have to pay a toll to go to the Rockaways, to go from Staten Island to Brooklyn, so I don't see why paying a toll to go into Manhattan is such a big deal.

You've had it made since NJ people are tolled in the tunnels, and the East River Bridges have no tolls.

Gina said...

I love this answer. "I don't do it so that means no one should do it." Typical know-it-all response from someone who doesn't know what it's like to live in an area with shitty public transportation. And carpooling is only as reliable as the others who carpool with you.

FH Guy said...

As with your opposition to development, looks like you will be on the losing side of this one, QC. Spitzer just announced his support for congestion pricing and the momentum is building in support of the plan. And the city will most likely receive all the money needed to pay for the program from the feds (up to $500 million).

And this is at it should be. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming (not to mention massive traffic jams) is much more important than the needs of a few Queens residents who refuse to give up their cars.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks.....look at the statistics.
Most people who use cars to enter Manhattan are those Jersey Jerks who should be paying a commuter NYC income tax for the privilege of working here so they can afford their high suburban mortgages!

Julie said...

FH Guy - it's nice that Spitzer supports it. Fortunately, he is not the one to decide whether or not it moves forward. It's the state legislature, and they don't seem too enthused about the plan right now.

Phil said...

The people of Queens will have to put up with MORE traffic jams in their own backyard if this plan goes through. Not only that, but the $500 million is not guaranteed. This is nothing more than a tweeding waiting to happen.

mazeartist said...

I also live in FH, and i support congesiton pricing. Any Queens resident who wrives a taxi, ambulance, police car, or bus would support this proposal. Less traffic means more productivity and business for us.

By the way, I work abroad a double-decker tour bus. My torists and i are tired of being stuck in traffic, inhaling car exhaust, and being late to our Broadway shows.

For am ore livable and productive city, I support the mayor on this plan.

grvsmth said...

Phil, you're wrong about "more traffic jams." Some people will take the train, which means less cars driving through our neighborhoods. Plus we get bus lanes.

Phil said...

Yes, grvsmth, more people will take the train, which means more people will have to get to these stations -like the one in your neighborhood. I have a feeling you won't be too thrilled when that happens.

I think most people who can take the train into manhattan for work probably do.

hooper said...

More bus lanes = more traffic concentrated into remaining lanes.

Anonymous said...

mazeartist said...

By the way, I work abroad a double-decker tour bus. My torists and i are tired of being stuck in traffic, inhaling car exhaust, and being late to our Broadway shows.

Yes, now we have a new ruling class that ranks aboive the working stiff from Queens, the almighty tourist. We need more space so we can have even more double decker tour buses, maybe have limo and towncar only lanes as well for the fatcats and politicos. Heck, as it is the tourists get better and more regular bus service than the Q40, 41, 9, and 7 combined. Those people on those buses? Oh just taxpayers trying to get to friggin work.

Spitzer supports it? When was the last time Spitzer was on the QB subway during rush hour other than for a photo op or campaiging? Did I hear NEVER???

The pinhead traffic expert mentions more subway and rail additions to Manhattan as some sort of a couterbalance to congestion pricing??? WTF??? It has nothing to do with the neighborhoods that have no subway service and barely any bus service. Maybe they need to send some of those double decker tour buses out to south jamaica and let the residents use them for commuting.

One other thing, you have to know that there will not be any more subways built, buses bought, drivers hired or even park and rides developed for anyone in the outer boroughs. Before or after they implement congestion pricing.

In short, this demands a grass roots organization to fight it. We need to let legislators know, republican or democrat, that they vote for this, they get voted out and then they'll wind up taking the bus to the train along with all the rest of us, or paying the extra eight bucks a day.

Tony C said...

The folks that sell what is in those vehicles coming into Manhattan will gladly pass the toll on to you by raising prices. In the end we all pay.

lila - sunnyside said...

I for one take the train. Daily. It is so crowded in the am I have to wait for a third one sometimes. This will cause trains to be even more crowded. the 7 train runs crappy as is....

West said...

"...few Queens residents who refuse to give up their cars."

Sounds like in your Utopia, we should all just get rid of our cars and prance around picking dandelions.

Well, I will keep my car, and I support the notion of congestion pricing. Just not in the current form. I believe it should work both ways, and the price cut in half ($4 each way). Make them pay going into the other boros too.

If over $3 gas, traffic jams, and expensive parking doesn't discourage drivers, I'm not sure the tax would. Those that I know who drive in (Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland, Connecticut.) will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

You keep on talking about forcing people out of their cars. How about the onese with a choice between a 20 min drive and an hour and a half commute from hell on a bus and a subway? Should they just walk instead? Or skateboard? How about luring them out of their cars with a nice convenient subway stop or much cheaper express bus? Nah, not for people who work for a living. Not for the people in queens.

West said...

What is good for that fh guy must be good for everyone else.

Every single car owner must be inconsiderate for contributing to global warming and congestion. Ask this fh guy if he will give up his air conditioner. It also contributes to global warming through excessive energy use, and is an amenity. I don't think he has an unalienable right to draw electricity from the grid just to enjoy cooler air.

The commuter plan by itself provides no real incentive to avoid driving. I think those who commute by car will find a way to justify the cost.

The MTA needs to improve subway service (imagine that!). As an interim solution, add more express bus lines to other parts of the boros. Keep the fares reasonable, and I think it may be a good start. The other option is to allow private shuttles to take up the slack.

Unless it is amended, I oppose the current plan.

Now the MTA wants a $3 fare by 2010. I'm no mathematical genius, but.....

FH Guy said...

"Every single car owner must be inconsiderate for contributing to global warming and congestion."

Yes, you're right. Every single car owner in NYC drives to work in Manhattan during rush hour.

Congestion pricing is not about "every single car owner". It is about those car owners who drive to and from Manhattan from 6am to 6pm. And nobody is telling anyone they can't continue to do this. They will just have to pay more to compensate the overwhelming majority of city residents who take public transportation and are suffering the negative consequences of pollution, global warming and traffic jams.

June said...

"Yes, you're right. Every single car owner in NYC drives to work in Manhattan during rush hour."

10am-4pm is not considered "rush hour" so please explain why people driving to Manhattan during these times should be subject to a "commuter tax."