BY CODY LYON
The sun was bright, the air was warm and pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and pets galore were walking
If implemented, the market based theory would impose a system whereby motorists pay an $8 fee to enter streets south of
The advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives says only 5 percent of daily commuters from
According to most reports,
As Alan Shurmer of Transport for
Apparently, most New Yorkers do believe if automobile traffic were reduced, their overall quality of life would be better.
In fact, according to a 2004 survey conducted by the nonprofit group Citizens for NYC in cooperation with
With a reduction of traffic and a new revenue stream, the hope is that among other changes, sidewalks might be expanded, more buses and express bus lanes added, bike lanes that are kept clear of parked cars and trucks would become the norm all across town. Perhaps too,
All of this and more, but, one should keep in mind that this proposal is not just an environmentalist’s dream but a potential solution to a very serious threat. Traffic in
In 2006, 170 pedestrians were killed and thousands more injured in
In the same 2006 “West Side Spirit” article about Congestion Pricing, Transportation Alternative’s Kit Hodge said she didn’t think most New Yorkers were connecting the dots with the “real” human problems that traffic congestion poses to city residents. She believes in the end, if New Yorkers understood the impact traffic has on our health and lives and even the city’s economy, more people would be on board for a congestion pricing system.
In the end, the city must do something to address its traffic problem. A fee on automobile drivers is a minor inconvenience compared to the serious health, economic and quality of life tolls that traffic congestion imposes on city residents. Ultimately, it is time for city residents to educate themselves on this issue, and understand what this tremendous undertaking could mean for its future. And, the city should make and keep a promise, that any revenues provided by such a scheme will be channeled into more efficient mass transit for residents, especially those in the outer boroughs who may feel cheated by such a plan.
Hopefully, if city leaders do arrive at a working consensus that reduces automobile traffic in crowded Manhattan streets, more people will enjoy the renewal and beauty of Spring, not just on the waterfront, but out among the architectural wonders of Manhattan, in its streets, crossing at intersections that are less chaotic, or riding a bicycle on a safe wide bike lane, and in the end, living in a healthier body within an even healthier city .