Thursday, January 10, 2008

New bridge fees a possibility

There would be no free rides into Manhattan - except on a bicycle - under a plan to be considered Thursday by the commission studying Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan.

Tolls eyed on all Manhattan bridges

The plan calls for putting $4 tolls on every free crossing into Manhattan, from the mighty Brooklyn Bridge to the tiny 145th St. Bridge over the Harlem River, raising $859 million a year for mass transit.

That's just one of five options facing the commission, which will conduct public hearings Wednesday and must agree on a recommendation by the end of the month.

It also is considering Bloomberg's plan to charge cars $8 to enter Manhattan south of 86th St. on weekdays, which would raise $420 million a year; a modified plan that moves the border to 60th St. and removes a $4 fee for travel within the zone, and a rationing scheme based on license plates that bars some cars from Manhattan on certain days.

A fifth option would hike parking fees and add an $8 surcharge on taxi trips, but it is not considered viable.

Why not? It's taxis and trucks making deliveries that cause the most congestion by obstructing traffic flow, not private vehicles.

Photo from Pictopia


We Light Up Queens said...

I think the most effective way to curb congestion would be either the removal of parking, or the price raise of which. However I don't think that any extra fees or tolls anywhere will cause a benefit. If any additional tolls were to be collected the city should invest it in better public transportation. I am aware that we already have extensions of the 7 train line in progress as well as other projects. (LIRR going to NJ,2nd Avenue)If thats the direction we are going in, so be it but there needs to be compensation for the tax payer. Taking a taxi into Manhattan already costs about $50 never mind if there was additional surcharges.

Anonymous said...

How about traffic backup from the tolls?? I take the Williamsburg bridge in to the city from Queens -- wouldn't the tolls backup traffic into the bqe??

westernqueensland said...

The tolls and lines would be a nightmare, but the city would be much nicer place to be and, ironically, drive if people paid their fair share.

Anonymous said...

What's next, a tax to taking a breath in Manhattan? We should charge Manhattanittes $8 for crossing into and through Queens on their way to the Hamptons.

kingofnycabbies said...

"A fifth option would hike parking fees and add an $8 surcharge on taxi trips, but it is not considered viable.

Why not? It's taxis and trucks making deliveries that cause the most congestion by obstructing traffic flow, not private vehicles."

You had to know I'd weigh in on this one, right?

I mean, you've got to be kidding with this, right? I haven't seen the entire proposal, but clearly an $8 surcharge on cab rides would destroy the industry. And cabs are public transportation (even if those of us who drive them are treated not as professionals, but like second-class citizens): one million people use them a day, taking 600,000 trips. And trucks are the only means for such niceties as food and clothes and heating oil and other items to reach us.

As to the private car not obstructing traffic--have you ever even been to Manhattan? Between the double parking, the people who have no idea how to drive, the people who have no idea where they're going, the person on their freakin' phone or PDA or video game or whatever, and especially the people looking for parking, free or otherwise--these are the impediments to the flow of traffic. Not the cabbies, who, despite our maligned reputations, are proven to be much safer than other drivers, nor the trucks which bring everything the city needs.

There are 13,000 yellow taxis in New York. ONE MILLION VEHICLES A DAY enter Manhattan. Do the math--it is the private vehicle that is the cause of the gridlock. Period.

Queens Crapper said...

King - I know that it would destroy the industry, it was a tongue in cheek kind of remark that really didn't come across that well in print. But I must disagree and say that cab drivers really are the cause of a lot of traffic. I have been a passenger in a car that regularly carpools to the city and also an observant pedestrian. They really don't care where they pull over or sometimes stop in the middle of the street to pick up a fare. I can't tell you how many times I have been stuck behind a cabbie (or a truck) who made a sudden stop to drop off or pick up. And when you are stuck, the people behind you are stuck.

The fact of the matter is, not matter which plan is adopted, a LOT of money will be put towards its implementation, which will end up making it an inefficient plan that just wastes our money.

kingofnycabbies said...

qc: Well, we could go tit for tat on this, and I'm certainly not going to unconditionally praise the skills of my cabbie brethren--I see a lot of bad stuff every night.

But if you're driving and you see a yellow cab, you have to know that picking people up and dropping them off is gonna happen, and you should adjust accordingly. You did not seem to address my central point, which is cabs being a small part of the massive amount of vehicles which attempt to cram into Manhattan daily, and that they are a public conveyance.

On a good night, I do 40 fares and average about 70 passengers. That's one car, carrying 70 people. What personal vehicle, for private use only, matches that for reasonable use on a gridlocked island?

Don't get me wrong--I have no more desire to see them screw us (again) in yet another thing which will destroy what's left of the middle class. And Bloomberg's silence on MTA inefficiency--all he cares about is their spending $2 billion on ONE subway stop to an Emerald City that doesn't even exist yet--is total b.s. People can't get on the freaking trains now; I live in LIC, and thank God I don't have to try to shove myself into an morning rush hour sardine can here. But taking it out on public necessities, like cabs and delivery trucks, instead of vehicles used for personal, even selfish, reasons, makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Take away all the placards (issue them daily on a "as needed" basis), and the problem will be solved. All the cars parking illegally and jamming up the streets will be GONE. Traffic will flow.

Try that first before you screw us Mr. Mayor.

Anonymous said...

We as Queens residents know truckers are the real problem that congestion pricing should be addressed at. Truckers must cross NYC borders to reach LI to deliver goods. Most goods are trucked from NJ. many of which pass through Manhattan - start tolling this segment first. If Manhattan is to decongest itself, do it in a free market way, remove all street parking for private vehicules in the proposed congestion zone to free up the streets, exception after 7pm and weekends. If you can want and can afford a pricy apartment a resident can afford a garage spot. Yes, I will need to pay up to drive into Manhattan for a dinner and a show. I am not sure what the solution is for a far flung Queens resident driving in could do, but we could convert municipal lots close in to be available only to NYC residents to eliminate LI car commuters from grabbing those. In fact street parking nearest Manhattan can be permit only for NYC residents. Ramp up public transportation with light electric rail trolleys (longish buses) in major corridors to outlying neighborhoods. Building the extended 7 line will take forever and cost a fortune - go with lighter rail systems - connect those systems with the Airport ones that are underutilised - beg the Feds to uncouple the strict usage to serve neighborhoods it's passes through.