Your Letters: From our March 1, 2018 Print Edition

City, State Should Consider Alternatives to Congestion Pricing

To The Editor:

Re: “Why Downtown Should Back Congestion Pricing” (Talking Point, Feb. 22):

Charles Komanoff refers to the need to thin out traffic on Manhattan roadways below 60th St. What he fails to emphasize is that this is really not a transportation issue, but a revenue issue. It is simply an attempt by the state and city to enhance revenue to help fund mass transit. I highly doubt that traffic congestion would be affected in any substantial way from this ill-designed plan.

Firstly, I would suggest to anyone who is interested to stand on any street corner below 60th St. and count the number of private vehicles on the road. Anyone doing this would be very much surprised to see that a very small percentage — maybe as low as 15 percent to 20 percent — of the vehicles are privately-owned vehicles. Most are either commercial vehicles, yellow cabs, or livery cabs, such as Uber or Lyft, with TLC license plates.

Secondly, many of those private cars on the road are out-of-state vehicles, such as New Jersey. Well, obviously, these New Jersey vehicles had to have just crossed the Hudson River either by tunnel or bridge, each of which required a toll to be paid. Where has all the revenue from these tolls gone?

Thirdly, I always find it interesting that politicians such as Governor Cuomo and Mayor di Blasio, who pride themselves as being on the side of poor and working New Yorkers, have no problem supporting regressive measures, such as congestion pricing, that will hit the poor and working people of this city the hardest. (Even in New Jersey, it was the Democratic-controlled legislature that pushed through a 23 center per gallon increase in the state’s gas tax that is now hitting the poor and working people the hardest.)

Finally, if a congestion pricing plan is implemented, will there be discounts for residents of Manhattan who live below 60th St.? After all, residents of Staten Island get discounts on the Verrazano Bridge and residents of the Rockaways get discounts on the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway Bridges. Why should someone who lives below 60th St. in Manhattan have to pay a special fee just to return home from doing a little shopping at Costco in New Jersey or returning home from a holiday dinner with their family in Queens?

I just returned from a trip to the Philippines. If you think we have traffic congestion in New York City, you haven’t seen anything. The traffic in Manila is beyond belief. Yet, the government there tries to deal with the problem without loading it on the backs of working people. For example, they have coding days where cars with certain license plate numbers cannot be on a Manila roadway on certain days.

I would urge our state and city administrative and legislative leaders to take a real hard look at any congestion pricing plan handed down and consider whether there are alternatives.

Howard Babich


Re: “Pier 57 Plans Promise Public Space, Food Hall, Plenty of Google” (news, Feb. 22):

Wouldn’t that 100,000 square feet of available space at Pier 57 make a nice home for the Flower Market, as it gets squeezed out of 28th Street and Tin Pan Alley?

Jamie Jensen

Re: “Frustrated Critics Cry Foul at L Train Open House” (news, Feb. 22):

The first thing people in NYC do is express upset and outrage. Then, they start to listen and apply some actual rational mind to what is proposed. Citizens can go to the general meetings and submit comment cards; I was told these ARE being considered. (Could be just lip-service, but we’ll see.)

‪The line must be shut down for these repairs, we DO need more bike lanes (PERIOD)… so everyone can speak out as to why we should not have this and that, why it’s all an outrage… but if we want anything fixed with this system? There will be “pain.” Sorry folks.

Kevin Andrew Davidson

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