• September 14, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Congestion pricing backers tout safety

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Posted: Monday, February 4, 2019 3:59 pm

Proponents of a congestion pricing plan for auto traffic in Manhattan and those calling for safety improvements along Northern Boulevard braved singe-digit temperatures on Thursday as they joined forces.

The idea behind congestion pricing is to charge a fee for drivers entering Manhattan from 60th Street and points south.

The dual aim is to reduce the volume orfautomobile traffic in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan while collecting money that at least in theory would be set aside for Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital projects.

Representatives of Transportation Alternatives, the Riders Alliance and other groups were joined on a Jackson Heights street corner by elected officials and others pushing for safety improvements on Northern Boulevard.

“Northern Boulevard has seen nine traffic deaths in the last two years,” said Blythe Austin, a member of both Transportation Alternatives and the Riders Alliance. She and other speakers said passing congestion pricing has the potential to reduce traffic leading up to and from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

The rationale is fewer cars, fewer accidents.

Other speakers included Jackson Heights resident Cristina Furlong, a co-founder of Queens Safe Streets; and Raul Ampuero, whose son, Giovanni, 9, was killed last April while he was crossing Northern Boulevard with his mother.

Also present were state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst), Assemblyman Michael Den Dekker (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights).

All spoke of the need to improve safety on Northern Boulevard — the usually low-key Den Dekker has been out front and vocal on the issue for years — and would welcome the additional transit funding if both could be accomplished in the same stroke.

But Den Dekker and Ramos also said they want to see more details on how the MTA would spend the extra money, and just how any new spending would help Queens.

“When we gave [the MTA] the mobility tax in 2009, we gave them $3.8 billion,” Den Dekker said prior to Thursday’s press conference. “And in 2010 they cut bus service in Queens. ... Not all of that service has been restored. The plans I’m hearing now have the money going to secure loans which would go toward capital projects, with nothing for more service. I want to know what we will get for all that money.”

Ramos, a member of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, said that while the MTA has been advocating for the additional revenue stream, “they had no details,” in testimony before the committee two days earlier.

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  • Buster57 posted at 11:59 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    AND the double length buses merely block intersections, cannot stay in the "designated" lanes & FUCK UP TRAFFIC MORE! My pet peeve - they stop so the back doors (which you MUST use to exit) are in line with the fu@%king ticket machines so you can't get out! And why must I buy a ticket for a specific bus when I could use whichever bus comes first? THERE IS SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS ENTIRE SYSTEM and that's why I prefer to drive! ARGHHHHHH

  • pvrjr posted at 9:10 am on Sat, Feb 9, 2019.

    pvrjr Posts: 315

    A hot buttoned and controversial issue that can't take this lightly, that's for sure.[rolleyes]

  • Stephen posted at 7:34 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2019.

    Stephen Posts: 10

    @Buster57 makes good points.
    Also, I don't trust the gov or any of the pols to NOT STEAL THE MONEY as the gov did when he took mta money and put it towards non-mta stuff. I wonder how tight the lockbox will be if the same pols are in charge of spending the money.
    And as for the mta, yeah, work rules need to change to improve the efficiency of your workers (and contractors, too).
    One more thing re the MTA, and yes, it's off-topic, but it's a big pet peeve of mine: TURN OFF THE BUS ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT SHOUT """TOUCH YELLOW TAPE TO OPEN DOORS" as well as 'DOORS OPENING', DOORS CLOSING, and a real buggaboo, STEP AWAY FROM THE DOORS!!!! (like where are we supposed to go when us sardines are in the can??) /end of rant thanks for reading

  • Buster57 posted at 5:14 pm on Mon, Feb 4, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    The reality is there will not be less traffic, just more congestion. Cars are not evil. We pay hefty registration fees, license fees, inspection fees. Stop making it impossible to drive - the alternatives SUCK! I cannot take my mother to her Dr app't by bus & subway , even if they were wheelchair accessible. I cannot do a weeks worth of food shopping then drag all my bags on the 2 buses. Pedestrians (& I am one, as I walk to work now) and bicycles MUST PAY ATTENTION and get off their phones too & OBEY TRAFFIC RULES! Stop blaming the cars.