The following letter was published in response to the Crain’s New York Business article “Traffic Congestion Costs Metro Economy $20 Billion a Year: Study,” dated January 18, 2018. The letter has been edited by WestView News.
I enjoyed your article on congestion in New York City. What a crisis, but unfortunately, it is deliberately created. When you create bike lanes which cater to the lowest velocity, lowest capacity, and lowest density mode of transportation, you throttle traffic; you give up 25% of the roadway to an unproductive and slow method of transportation.
When you place stanchions, planters, and other obstructions in the roadway to destroy parking spots, you create more confusion as drivers try to find a place to stop or let off passengers. When you totally destroy the ability of roadways to carry out routine commercial business, as has been proposed by the so-called L Train ‘Mitigation Plan;’ when you devote almost all of the traffic police to enforcement (revenue gathering) rather than traffic direction and facilitation, you get exactly what you sowed—gridlock and confusion. What a surprise! There is gambling in the casino!
I have several concerns about congestion pricing and further traffic throttling. First, it is dishonest since the mayor will not clearly and honestly explain what he is doing. Secondly, fees for driving in Manhattan to fund the subway mask the great failure of Governor Cuomo in managing the finances of the state to make funds available for a robust subway capital budget.
Those tax cuts seem like a lot of fun, but their effect is to reduce monies available for public purposes. Cuomo’s waste of public monies is well known. Thirdly, as AstroTurf groups and the representatives of the real estate industry try to force congestion pricing on us, they must subvert and destroy the real enemy of this proposal which is representative democracy. While Bloomberg and the New York Times love this, the people who will be subject to it do not want it.
The democratic will of the people of the city must be ignored to put this in place. Perhaps it is time for the mayor to fire the transportation commissioner and her staff and take a new and better direction.