Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Community Board 3 adds a special meeting on congestion pricing to June's agenda

3rd Avenue photo by deberarr 

Community Board 3 has added a special meeting this month to address Gov. Hochul's decision to indefinitely pause congestion pricing, which was set to go into effect at the end of June. 

Here's more via an email from CB3 Chair Andrea Gordillo: 
Community Boards 1-6 have discussed signing on to a letter to all parties involved with the MTA's Congestion Pricing Plan, asking to reverse course on the Governor's decision. Given the unprecedented nature of the abrupt policy shift, its potential cost to the MTA, and public trust in government, Community Board 3 will convene this special meeting after the public session of its June Full Board meeting to discuss and vote on the contents of the letter which would ask the Governor to proceed with congestion pricing. 

We encourage members of the public to attend the meeting and sign up to give public comment, and we ask for your support in reaching out to our communities to inform them of the opportunity to comment on this important decision. 
The full CB3 meeting is Tuesday, June 25, at P.S. 20, 166 Essex St., between Houston and Stanton. 

The item was also added to tonight's (June 11) meeting of CB3's Transportation, Public Safety, Sanitation, and Environment Committee. 

Per Gordillo's email: "This decision to add this to the agenda after the agenda was posted, while also unprecedented, was made to ensure the broadest base of public comment, and exceptions like this are not to be granted again." 

Tonight's hybrid committee meeting starts at 6:30 at the CB3 office, 59 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. Limited seating is available to the first 15 people. Members of the public can also attend by Zoom here

In a statement last Wednesday, Hochul expressed concerns about the timing and state of the city's post-pandemic recovery. 

Under the congestion-pricing plan, most people driving passenger vehicles into Manhattan below 60th Street would need to pay a minimum of $15, with larger vehicles incurring higher charges. 

The MTA has already spent tens of millions of dollars to install cameras, sensors, license plate readers, and other equipment on city roadways in preparation for the plan's launch. The anticipated fee was projected to generate around $1 billion annually, benefiting subway and bus systems that serve approximately 4 million daily riders. 

The move also represents a dramatic reversal for public transit advocates, who had supported congestion pricing to raise money for NYC's struggling subway and commuter rail systems and reduce traffic on city streets.


noble neolani said...

Less private cars = more profits for UBER, Grubhub, Citi-bikes. The street sheds and the gift of our streets to the private sector is behind the congestive pricing. Our city's infrastructure is being used to profit tech companies and the hospitality industry.

Anonymous said...

This is the silliest comment I’ve seen in a long time. No more free car storage and endless toxic fumes for our streets. Cities are for people, not cars.

XTC said...

Cancelling of congestion pricing is purely a political decision. Hochul made it with an appearance with Biden last week. Same with BIden's "closing" of the Border. Rarely is anything done in the betterment of the Public Interest. Billions spent on our new" guests" all the while the infrastructure is Third World quality and getting worse. Fare beating and shoplifting are the new norm and now some businesses are going to put body cams on its employees. Rampant inflation, mental illness everywhere, no place to pee, long hot summer, Political systems, pick your poison ( Capitalist or Socialist) that were failures 100 years ago. Should be a Fun Time come November. Where is Gil Scott Heron when you need him?........

Carol from East 5th Street said...

Silly comment? I agree with noble neolani 100%. 84,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in NYC are the major cause of congestion. In addition add bus lanes, bike lanes and street dining kiosks which bring 4 lanes of traffic down to 2.
The Covid crisis is over. Stop giving restaurants free space to do business. And this world-class city with corporations and businesses is JUST for people not cars? Huh?

Anonymous said...

i guess UBER and LYFT cars don't have endless toxic fumes! why do you think the congestion fee is so much lower for UBER, LYFT etc?

Nathaniel said...

To Whom This May Concern,
When the Billionaire Mayor didn't get what he wanted, when people opposed congestion pricing, he along with the Department of Transportation did all he could to slow down traffic. The Federal Government only funds two Bills consistently: the Military Industrial Complex and Department of Transportation. That way every U.S. Senator and Representative can say they did something for their state in terms of roads and public safety.
Getting back to our local streets. All those paved over lanes on Broadway and Pedestrian Plazas where the current Mayor removes the public seating and tables so we don't see the dire effects on people's lives of this economy. Do you think that having Avenues turned into pedestrian malls created more "car" congestion. Broadway one lane moving slowly south Broad Way. Now let's talk about the demolition trucks that are gutting buildings, the delivery trucks, and yes the I am moving out of the city trucks, the trash trucks that block entire streets East West or West East on purpose, they have no place to be, you will wait.
There was a time when this straight grid the cars moved and one could get from here to there relatively cheaply.
Make a problem get a problem.
And they did. Except no one wants to ride the subways if they don't have to.
East Village Grieve readers are smart. Often understanding about all the new construction. Well all those new buildings often have one required amenity: parking garages as part of the design for cars and SUV's. So the City of Yes will bring you more buildings and more people and more cars.
And a local Community Board wants to have an emergency meeting to ask for higher taxes to get cleaner air and fewer cars ?
Must be so the ambulances can get to the non existent badly needed downtown Hospital to serve the residents emergency health life or death needs more efficiently.
If only people cared about what matters: peoples lives.
Not keeping the cement trucks and pavement companies and toxic red paint lane painters employed. How about spending some billions on a new downtown Hospital ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with XTC. Hakeem Jefferies himself is said to have a hand in killing congestion pricing, does anyone think that a signed letter from community boards is going to do anything at all? And while I agree that the explosion of for-hire vehicles has contributed to more congestion, not every - single - issue revolves around NYC selling out to the highest bidder. It's a myopic point of view that we've all heard again and again.

Anonymous said...

Agree with XTC. It's just depressing.

@Carol I rather give restaurants the space than cars. It will raise the overall quality of life in this neighborhood. The fewer cars we have in the EV the better. Other cities manage to accomplish this just fine, only New York is seemingly "special".

Anonymous said...

The fare doesn't need to be as high as proposed. They could have a small fee for the bridges to Manhattan, street parking passes for residents, ENFORCE THE MTA BUS & SUBWAY FEES and get rid of the sheds or increase the fees by tenfold. The restaurants are getting away with murder and still cry for more. All the woke politicians will hand the Presidency to Trump. Lee Zeldin got 46.8% of the vote. Any halfway normal Republican would win with the Dems recent policies.

Anonymous said...

You’re ill-informed ‘Anonymous’ or just a representative of the MTA. MTA needs better accountability (period).

John Riley said...

Disappointed by some of these pro-car, anti-restaurant NIMBYist comments. The loss of congestion pricing is the loss of a generational change towards the vibrancy, vitality and long term health of New York City.

Anonymous said...

Traffic has always been a problem, the city officials have done nothing to address the problem only added to it by changing three lanes of traffic into two causing more bottle necks. Now they want to charge a congestion tax for a situation they added too.

Anonymous said...

How about we license bicycles - with a fee of course. This has nothing to do with congestion or air quality. There are no requirements for air quality as part of congestion pricing but there is a monetary mandate. Before any talk about an exorbitant fee, the MTA needs to make sure all riders pay.

Anonymous said...

@John Riley. I didn’t see anyone write any comments that they’re anti-restaurant. However, giving away land essentially for free to for profit businesses is not right. It also creates a quality of life issue for many residents. Many restaurants pay workers under the table and less than minimum wage because of the tips. This does not bring in tax revenue for the state and does nothing for the workers. Simply put, they’re bad jobs. If you work in a restaurant, you can’t afford to live in this neighborhood. If we had other businesses that paid well, people could afford market rate rent, and we wouldn’t need to build skyscrapers to get a few floors of affordable housing.

Anonymous said...

The incoming outdoor program includes a fee

Anonymous said...

Congestion pricing is just another cost that's going to get passed down to end consumers.

The MTA needs to focus on problems it should be incentivized to fix: primarily fare evasion and management ineptitude. They lost $750M last year to fare evasion alone - go fix that instead of adding another tax that New Yorkers are going to end up paying.

Cars are a reality and it shouldn't be impossible to own one while being a regular New Yorker - and we also shouldn't be actively trying to crush the people that choose to have one as a part of their lifestyle.

As usual, so many people in these comments want everybody else to live in an idealized bubble that only exists in their mind anyway.

Anonymous said...

I guess raising the quality of life to you means more ....noise, blasting music, rats

Anonymous said...

@Nathaniel at 11:24AM: You are a MILLION PERCENT CORRECT, and thank you for laying it out so clearly!

Anonymous said...

@1:12pm: Did you just move here recently? NYC has had heavy traffic for more than a hundred years, b/c it is a major city - AND b/c Manhattan is an ISLAND, so things have to be brought in by VEHICLE.

You need a serious reality check, or else you should not be living in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Congestion pricing is a SCAM and it has been since the beginning. And it is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION across the board.

If cars don't deserve "free space" then neither do restaurant sheds. Restaurants have no right to ROADWAY space, period.

NYC is run by a mayor and an administration that is essentially dishonest and largely on the take.

And the MTA is a sink-hole of featherbedding & overspending; it's completely unaccountable to anyone, ever. And it's been proven to be keeping 2 sets of books. You could give the MTA $100 billion & it'd still "need" more money.

NYC has ALWAYS had cars, and before that it had horse-drawn trolleys, etc. It's a CITY, and it needs vehicles - but it doesn't need the (IMO) illegal Ubers & Lyfts which are a MAJOR source of congestion.

If you vaporized every single Uber & Lyft vehicle off the streets (and they are always HUGE SUV's, and they are ALL also PRIVATELY OWNED CARS), traffic flow would be immediately improved.

I was walking down a side street yesterday: there are 4 LANES in existence, but only ONE is usable. If NYC decides to squeeze existing traffic down to only 1/4 of the space that exists, no one should be surprised that there is congestion.

And for all the "clean air" people: I want to know when smoking/vaping (and esp. smoking SKUNK) is going to be outlawed, b/c that is a MAJOR source of air pollution. Somehow using stinky drugs is "better" than having car exhaust? NO WAY!

Anonymous said...

Bring back horses!

Anonymous said...

MTA loses some extra cash, government keeps massive new civilian surveillance system.

Anonymous said...

If we're going to have congestion pricing, then we need it in ALL of Manhattan, with absolutely NO exceptions at all.

And maybe we need it across all 5 boroughs, which would bring the whole thing to a head very quickly. If you have to pay a congestion surcharge to go from Staten Island to Brooklyn, or from Queens to the Bronx, hey, that's life!

Why are taxpaying citizens of NYC being discriminated against simply b/c of what street they happen to live on?

Why, if you live above a certain numbered street, do you get a freebie, but if you live literally one block below that street, you're screwed?

If congestion pricing is implemented, we'll very quickly see what the multitude of unanticipated effects are. Broadway takes a hit; Lincoln Center takes a hit, major medical centers take the hit in multiple ways. And just watch what happens to the cost of EVERYTHING in Manhattan.

And still, you'll see that the MTA will be crying poverty, and they won't get anything done any better or faster. The MTA is permanently in the hole, and to them, that's a feature, not a bug.

Exterminator said...

the biggest problem is that we are
overpopulated. not just in NYC but
throughout the entire planet. humans
need to calm down and stop breeding
so much. find a different hobby. put
on a Motörhead record and grab a
six pack of Guinness and relax

Concerned Citizen said...

Did someone really compare pot smoke to car exhaust fumes?!?
The fact that they let it get this far in an election year always stumped me. The damage has already been done and it will be a generation before there is another shot at it. NY can just add this to their incompetent roll outs

Anonymous said...

It is beyond obvious that bikes are the real issue, and all this is a tangential distraction from the problem. I saw on Nextdoor that an older gentleman is recovering from a hit and run bike last week and still can’t remember the incident.

That is the impact of unregulated motorized deliveries/bikers in a city not set up for that.

Anonymous said...

Pot smoke is way worse than car fumes.

Anonymous said...

It's 2024.

Why did Congestion Pricing have to be an antiquated case of a virtual wall starting at 60th Street using inefficient technology like license plate cameras and an arbitrary flat fee of $15? There's ample technological opportunity to charge vehicles dynamically based on geography and usage within the five boroughs wherever and whenever traffic congestion is seriously affecting health and quality of life. That would actually help the environment, mitigate pollution-related illness and still fuel the coffers of the MTA with a regular influx of cash.

But it's NYC, where the leadership has absolutely no interest in rational solutions. Where innovative problem solving comes in the form of a giant useless police robot in the subway. Where 20 years from now they'll still be complaining about the same issues our grandparents complained about 50 years ago.

Fun times!

Anonymous said...

@6:39pm: You must not have asthma. The exhaust fumes from a few cars going down my block at 20 mph are not nearly as bad as the pollution from someone smoking their skunk for 15-20 minutes while they sit on the stoop that's next to my apartment window.

Anonymous said...

>@1:12pm: Did you just move here recently? NYC has had heavy traffic for more than a hundred years, b/c it is a major city - AND b/c Manhattan is an ISLAND, so things have to be brought in by VEHICLE.

Just because things have been done in a crap way doesn't mean they need to continue. Lot's of other cities have shown that you can dramatically improve by getting rid of cars. I would recommend traveling to European cities at some point, you will see what you are missing here.

The reason things do not change in NYC is that it is famously inept and corrupt. But at least things are changing slowly for the better. The city is already markedly different compared to a decade ago. I hope to see a majorly car-free lower Manhattan in the next decades.

Anonymous said...

@Exterminator that’s how over population started, lol. Ever see the movie Idiocracy?

Flor Silvestre said...

Negroni and Jazz?

XTC said...

@8:39- "Things are slowly getting better" ??.......What things? Pedestrian plazas? You mean they're putting lipstick on a pig? Like that kind of better. The underground is still horrific. The technology exists but I don't see rush hour trains happening every 30 seconds. Fare beating has become normal. There are no funds to fix things and make them "nice." Last week one guy screaming at people to open the security gate so he could the station. BITCH ILL FUCKING RAPE YOU! Can't wait until the humidity kicks in this Friday. The uppity-ups at the MTA were in a near orgasmic state last year when they thought they were get another billion to squander.

"Traveling to Europe?" I've spent a great deal of time in Europe. Those cities were designed on a human scale to begin with. To replicate the "Euro" model would cost trillions and entire neighborhoods like the LES would have to be obliterated and rebuilt from scratch. As a matter of fact they're going to do just that. The Elliot Housing Projects in Chelsea are slated for demolition. That's the answer for lower Manhattan but it will never happen, certainly not in the way Haussmann got rid of the peasants and redesigned Paris with wide boulevards. But Paris is a fabulous place to riot. The Socialists were freaking out yesterday because of the rise of the right wing party, Le Pen, who's been the DT of France since the end of WW2. Right wing in Germany, Hungary, Holland, and Italy currently. It's pretty fucked up but at least it's awfully charming. And the trains run on time! Well not in Italy but that's another topic.......

Anonymous said...

@8:39PM: Who says that having cars in Manhattan is a "crap way"? I don't see that you have any useful answer. All the major cities in Europe (and I have been to many of them & I don't find them to be so enviable) have their OWN issues to deal with.

Shall we also go back to the MTA having 2-fare zones on the subways & buses, so if you live far enough out, you have to pay a double-fare?

Shall we re-install railroad tracks to bring goods into Manhattan? Remember that there WAS major rail service bringing freight into Manhattan for a very long time, but then THAT got ripped out (to "upgrade" the city) - thus proving that not every new idea is a good idea, nor does it deserve to be implemented. Now all that's left of that freight system is the "High Line".

PS: Why do you only want to see a "car free lower Manhattan" in the future? Why not an ENTIRELY car free ALL of Manhattan? If you hate cars, then we should have ZERO cars, ZERO taxis. We'll all be able-bodied and riding bikes, and the world will be filled with unicorns and butterflies.

D McKnight said...

Okay, 'Anonymous'.

Anonymous said...

Cars collectively are easily the most noisy things in the city

Anonymous said...

Congestion pricing is only novel in North America. London implemented it 20 years ago, and the sky hasn't fallen out there. Most people living in Manhattan are in favor because cars passing through make their days unpleasant (and the business association is in favor because most businesses profit more from increased customer thoroughput).

Anonymous said...

My guess is they use flat fees because it's easier to understand, implement, and maybe budget? London's still works that way, but others like Singapore have made the switch. Outside of budgeting, I don't see any logistical reason why a plate-camera system couldn't switch to something more elastic, though (which also seems superior to me)

Anonymous said...

@1:44am: First of all, things are not so rosy in London. London has an enormous number of people who are cheating their congestion system, which you would know about if you kept up with the news.

Secondly, you claim that "Most people living in Manhattan are in favor" of the congestion charge - but that's not true. Certainly MOST people living in Manhattan are NOT in favor of this shoddy, poorly-thought-out, half-baked plan that represents an illegal tax via surcharge on everyone in "the zone" who needs any kind of contractor, repair-person, or delivery.

If NYC decrees "5-borough, no exceptions, congestion surcharge," THEN we'd have something more fair. And every single politician who voted for it would get voted OUT in the next election - b/c the "popularity" of congestion pricing would be seen for the nonsense it is.

Anonymous said...

from exterminator - you have a good point. and no, I have not seen this movie but maybe I check it out. meanwhile, turn up the volume!

Longtimelesres said...

I live in the EV, have an old car that I park on the street. I move it for the sweeper like I'm supposed to. I'm not rich and don't have a second home, I rent my only home. It's nice to be able to jump in the car and go places locally or further away. So I'm a terrible person because of that I read on this blog. I'm against this because I don't want my money to go to the MTA to hire more security guards who do nothing. I watch people jump the turnstile all the time and the guards do nothing. If you told me the funds from this awful plan were going to build affordable, really affordable housing the I might get behind it,but to let the MTA Tax me and squander it is what I can't support.