Diverse Civic Groups Support Fee for Driving in Manhattan

A year ago, officials from a prominent civic group floated a proposal to reduce traffic by levying a $7 fee on cars and trucks driving below 60th Street, but they found themselves treated not like visionary crusaders but like bird flu patients when policy makers at City Hall said very firmly that such a change was not on the mayor’s agenda for his second term.

Now a diverse array of civic and community groups — including such unlikely allies as conservative scholars and take-back-the-streets cycling advocates — are cautiously moving to raise the subject again in the hope of overcoming the resistance of New Yorkers and their political leaders.

. . .

The coalition wants more speed bumps on neighborhood streets and a crackdown on illegal parking, but it also asks that the city study congestion pricing.

”That is the gorilla in the room and, among all the measures we’re discussing, it has the most potential for reducing traffic,” said Paul Steely White, the director of Transportation Alternatives.

. . .

Advocates of congestion pricing are reluctant to make specific proposals on how it could be carried out in New York, but they often point to London as an example of a successful program.

Championed by an activist mayor, London’s program began in early 2003 and has significantly reduced traffic and sped up bus lines. London drivers must pay as much as $19 a day to enter the road pricing zone in the city center. They can pay in a variety of ways, including online, by phone, by mail or at designated shops or gas stations. Cameras around the congestion zone read vehicle license plates and feed the numbers to a computer that checks to see who paid their fees. Those who have not paid can be fined.

 

For the full story, see: 

WILLIAM NEUMAN. "Bigger Push for Charging Drivers Who Use the Busiest Streets." The New York Times  (Fri., November 24, 2006):  C9.

(Note:  ellipses added.)

 

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