Can business groups and environmental groups convince the city to reduce the number of privates cars? The NY Times reports that some neighborhood business development and environmental groups submitted a reportto the Mayor's office that shows that 60% of the traffic is from passenger cars - and many of these people could be taking public transportation instead. You can read the report right here (it's a PDF) that Transportation Alternatives put together, and here are some findings:
1) The personal auto accounts for most of the traffic circulating in the Manhattan CBD [Commercial Business District] – more than trucks, buses, commercial vehicles and taxis combined.
2) Autos represent the least productive use of scarce public space.
3) For most people making CBD trips, the personal auto is more of a hindrance than a help to getting around.
4) For most commuters who work in the Manhattan CBD, driving is a matter of choice, not necessity.
5) Traffic congestion at the bridges, tunnels and avenues leading into the CBD is exacerbated by the large number of motorists who drive into and then out of the CBD to reach non-CBD destinations.
What Gothamist found interesting were points #4 and #5 - that people opt to take their cars out of comfort (isn't it too big a hassle?) and that people drive through busy areas just to get to other parts of town (we'd think drivers would try to avoid those areas). Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff is apparently reading the report, and given the previous interest in learning more about congestion pricing, Gothamist wonders if there would be City Hall favor for a Manhattan passenger car tax. Anyway, we can no longer blame delivery trucks or taxis for the traffic - it's the regular Joe or Jane in their car.
The big reason for business owners to decrease car traffic is to make sure pedestrians are able to walk around and buy buy buy. One caveat of the business groups' support is that the groups are not from the busy Manhattan districts, like Times Square or Bryant Park, but even those areas might have some interest in relieving traffic.