Sam Schwartz, aka ‘Gridlock Sam’, has been working on a new plan to ease NYC’s traffic and congestion. This isn’t the Congestion Pricing Plan from 2008. This plan is designed to encourage public transportation where it’s available by charging vehicles at congested areas, and not charge where there isn’t good public transportation. Here are the highlights of the plan:
- Queensboro Bridge/59th St Bridge: No toll into Manhattan becomes $7 toll to reduce the congestion on the bridge.
- Queens Midtown Tunnel: Toll increases $.50.
- Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge: No toll into Manhattan becomes $7 toll.
- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel: Toll increases $.50.
- Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, Triborough/RFK Bridge: Toll decreases $2.50 to accommodate the lack of public transportation in these areas.
- Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel: No change
- George Washington Bridge: No change
Overall, the plan is to:
- Reduce tolls on non-Manhattan trips, such as the Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, and Triborough/RFK Bridge,
- Introduce tolls on the currently free East River bridges (Queensboro Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge) to match the tolls on the Queens-Midtown Tunnel & Brooklyn Battery Tunnel — this will reduce the congestion on the current ‘no toll’ bridges,
- Charge $5 (E-Z Pass users) – $7 (non E-Z Pass) to all vehicles crossing south of 60th St in Manhattan,
- Add a surcharge on all taxi and livery car trips south of 86th St in Manhattan,
- End the 8% parking garage sales tax exemption for NYC parking garages south of 86th St,
- Charge $.50 toll for bicycles crossing the East River bridges in either direction to fund new bike & pedestrian bridges, and
- Reduce bus fares in neighborhoods without subways by $1 and prohibit service reductions on buses for three years without community board approval.
According to Crains New York Business, Schwartz’s plan would net more than $1.2 billion a year, enabling the issuance of $12 billion in bonds.
The plan is being regarded by experts as an impressive way to balance out the current NYC traffic situation by adding tolls to even out the bridge and tunnel options, which will reduce the NYC congestion, and reduce tolls where there isn’t currently a lot of traffic.
What happens if you live below 60th Street?
- The upside could be less NYC traffic and reduced housing costs because of the surcharges for vehicles.
- The downside could be that the daily cost of living increases every time you drive or take a NYC taxi.