2006_02_congestion2.jpgLast November, Gothamist fell in love with the idea of congestion pricing for the city. The Partnership for New York City has been investigating the opportunity to make the city less crowded with cars - or if it is crowded with cars, then drivers will have to pay. However, there is quite a bit of opposition to the plan, and with the Mayor saying that the city would investigate using congestion pricing to relieve city traffic, people freaked out. Mayor had to backtrack a little, by saying, "The real world is, not everybody is going to use mass transit. I think it's relatively impractical to take a whole bunch of city streets and say we're just not going to allow cars on them." But congestion pricing doesn't necessarily have to be about eliminating streets for drivers - it's about making people weigh whether or not they really want to use their cars (we suspect that people who can afford to pay for their SUV's gas will pay to drive around). The NY Times reported that the Queens Chamber of Commerce released a report that basically said congestion pricing would lead to a $1.9 billion drop in revenue daily, but pro-congestion pricing groups say the report (which was sponsored by - you guessed it - owners of parking garages) doesn't factor in the productivity lost to traffic. Gothamist doubts that Mayor Bloomberg will allow a full-up congestion pricing plan for the city, but given his somewhat iconoclastic ways (hello, noise ban; hello, smoking ban), he might be ready to do something dramatic with city traffic.

Last week's report from Transportation Alternatives that noted private cars cause the most traffic.