Tolls (from Vision Zero discussion)
  • This discussion was created from comments split from: Vision Zero picks up speed.
  • It isn't politically feasible, but what if we stopped tolling on all of the bridges we presently do (Whitestone, Throggs Neck, Verrazano , GW, etc) and started tolling the East River.

    This way we would not be punishing those who don't have access to good public transportation for not taking it, and would instead punish those who do have access to good public transportation for not taking it. 


    The correct answers are we don't do that because:
    -We could not use suburban tolls to subsidize urban density.

    -We would create urban and suburban sprawl, which modern urbanists hate.

    -We have a belief that the suburbs are wealthier than the cities, which is increasingly not true in NYC 
  • whynot_31 said:

    This way we would not be punishing those who don't have access to good public transportation for not taking it, and would instead punish those who do have access to good public transportation for not taking it.



    While many in the suburbs aren't rich, a large number is affluent enough to live in the city but has chosen not to in order to save money, have a bigger living space, hoard more stuff, etc.

    That's great and all, but NYC should be allowed to charge them for their ability to leech off the city without putting much into it. The bridge and tunnel tolls are way too low for these people already.
  • NYC had a commuter tax until 1999.   It isn't coming back anytime soon.

  • If you want to charge suburban commuters for their access to the city, then you should increase tolls on the George Washington Bridge, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges and the Outerbridge Crossing and Goethels Bridge.  Conversely, you should remove the toll from the Verrazano Bridge, and should refrain from tolling the East River Bridges (since those are internal within the city, and are used by city residents).  

    Of course, city residents should also be able to use the various bridges and tunnels for free or at half the toll charged to non-residents, since they already pay city income, commuter and property taxes.
  • The current tolling regime has the Port Authority tolling suburban commuters and the MTA (through the old Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority tolling NYC residents. This regime was supposed to guarantee that city drivers supported mass transit with their tolls and interstate transit users paid for interstate transit facilities. I think that it works okay as a regime. Sam Schwartz says otherwise.
  • Who is Sam Schwartz, and where does he say otherwise? Thx.
  • Sam Schwartz is also known as "Gridlock Sam", because he is believed to have invented the term "gridlock".    He writes a column about traffic that appears in a few places.  


  • Sam Schwartz says that there should be tolling on city bridges to discourage use of free bridges and city streets and to force traffic onto highways and parkways where it belongs. He advocates for every driver crossing a major bridge or entering a tunnel paying a toll. He proposed setting toll rates according to two criteria, charging more in those parts of the City where there is generally the heaviest congestion and plentiful transit alternatives, and less where there isn’t.

    A more equitable transportation formula
    1. Only apply pricing where there is:
    • Serious Congestion
    • Good Transit
    2. Make it performance driven:
    • Guarantee a 20 minute crosstown trip from 1st to 8th
    Avenues
    • Lower prices during poor economic times; higher prices
    during better times.
    3. Lower or eliminate tolls at poor transit locations

    He also advocates for the building of three new bridges in NYC
    1. Between Hoboken and Midtown
    2, Between Downtown Brooklyn, Governors Island and the Battery
    3. Between Greenpoint, LIC and the new Cornell NYC tech area on the East Side

    Those bridges would be for pedestrians and bikes only and would be tolled at 50 cents each way.

    See more details here: http://www.move-ny.org/
  • So...if we put tolls on the Brooklyn Bridge would pedestrians and bicyclists have to pay there too? I'd hate to see the uproar that would cause.
  • They don't say, but I don't think that their arguement about tolling works unless you toll EVERYTHING (after all have you seen the congestion on the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge?) including the walkways. Actually, under the logic here, the bridge from downtown (which actually would be Carol Gardens/Red Hook) should probably have a lower toll as is in a location with less transportation alternatives than the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges.
  • So...if we put tolls on the Brooklyn Bridge would pedestrians and bicyclists have to pay there too? I'd hate to see the uproar that would cause.



    One of the things I would like to come out of Vision Zero is for the city to end the risk that pedestrians and bike pose to each other on the Brooklyn Bridge.

    The walkway is simply too narrow for the two groups to coexist;   The tourists are here for too short of a period to ever "be effectively taught" to stay in their lane. 

    One of the first things I would do is banish all the the bikers to the Manhattan Bridge during prime hours of conflict (anytime the weather is above 40 degrees and it is daylight) weekends or give them access to a lane on the actual roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    ...the Brooklyn Bridge vehicular traffic travels at about 5 MPH during these "prime hours of conflict", so I don't see how them losing a lane to bikes would negatively affect them.
  • Losing a lane to bikes would slow them down even more... 1 mph or less... and that would be absolutely intolerable.

    Some may derive pleasure at the thought of car drivers fuming while bikes speed...  those of us who drive in (and especially into and out of) this city do not find anything amusing at the prospect.
  • I agree, but think it would make the Brooklyn Bridge a huge tourist attraction for internationals.

    Tourist $ may be more powerful than drivers
  • Okay, just so I understand, your argument is traffic is slow anyway, so lets get rid of a lane of traffic- creating longer traffic jams with cars idling- so that guys in spandex and a bunch of french tourists can ride across the Brooklyn Bridge during the time when the bridge is most used?
  • As a first choice, I'd actually send bikes to the Manhattan Bridge bikeway, and ban them from the Brklyn Br. "Path"

    This would allow the tourists to peacefully walk over the bridge. Along the bridge they could view advertisements for this website:
    http://explorebk.com/2014/05/08/walk-across-brooklyn-bridge-dumbo-brooklyn-bridge-park/
  • I would agree with that, but I'd then ban peds from the Manhattan bridge south lane and turn it into a dedicated eastbound cycle lane, with the north lane dedicated for westbound cyclists.
  • Correct.

    And, I suspect peds and bikers could (and would) enforce the use of their paths to the degree that rule breaking would be rare.

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