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Even though it's been a year since the idea of congestion pricing in the city was first floated, the idea does seem to have legs. Last week, a NY Times article noted that about a number of groups were rallying behind congestion pricing, in hopes of getting politicians on board and influencing the Mayor's plan for the city's growth. And today, the Daily News reports that a survey finds almost 45% of respondents thinking " it would be a good idea to charge drivers to enter Manhattan below 60th St. because it would get them into trains and buses." Then again, 45% were opposed to the idea, since there are already hefty tolls at the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign questioned 800 city residents and also found:

- Only 18% were familiar with the concept of congestion pricing, which also entails charging drivers more for peak-hour travel.

- Nearly 80% believe traffic jams are a problem, and 53% say congestion is a major problem.

- Strong dissatisfaction with Mayor Bloomberg's efforts in addressing traffic: 59% give him a negative rating.

- 77% agree that congestion pricing will reduce noise and air pollution in the city. Almost all of those believe it will speed emergency response.

- 65% of workers take mass transit, while 24% drive their own cars.

Which is all very interesting, because the Times article mentioned that environmental group Environmental Defense will be developing a campaign to "spread the congestion pricing message." If more residents know what congestion pricing is, they may be more comfortable with it, as there are many quality of life issues attached.

On the opposing side, what about residents who can't get to mass transit easily and rely on their cars? There will probably need to be differing models of who pays what to drive below 60th Street (for instance, it would be complicated, but worthwhile to consider various incentives to employers or employees who commute by mass transit for at least part of the trip). We look forward to the Partnership for New York City's "revamped study" about the city's congestion, due out next month.

And two weeks ago, Transportation Alternatives had suggestions for the Mayor (PDF) on reducing the number of trucks and cars by 15% by 2009. Points included more bicycle-only and bus-only lanes; more crossing time for pedestrians; lowering the speed limits; enforcing truck routes; and increasing parking meter costs to encourage turnover.