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Congestion Pricing - Are you for or against it?

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,333
    Quadruple the fines for being ticketed during the congestion periods. :(
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Just could be the next cause of flight from the cities. Maybe living in a State that epitomized urban flight I might be tainted. Because at one time traffic in the city made it too hard to find parking so all the business started moving to malls and industrial parks. It seemed as if there was some movement back to the cities in the last few years. But if people are going to have to pay higher fees just to enter the cities why bother? Years ago I passed up a promotion working for Xerox because I would have to transfer to Santa Monica. Parking would have been a pain and housing was higher than the rest of the surrounding area.

    Unless you have a reasonable public transportation like London you are punishing the working person.
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    As someone who lives in NYC, and lived in Manhattan for several years.... and owned/parked a car there!, this whole thing is multi-faceted. When I was paying $300 each month to park I kinda sucked it up... I could have done what friends did, and parked the car 30 minutes away, in a lot in Brooklyn or above 96th street and cut that in half, however convenience, my inability to manage a real schedule, and a demanding job made the lot in the basement of my apartment building "worth it."

    Now I live on Staten Island, and have no choice but a toll bridge if I want to drive off the island - was my choice to move to SI, got more room, diff QOL, etc, so it was "worth it."

    In theory, I understand cong pricing... in fairness, what I do for a living means I spend a ton of time in places other than midtown, and to be blunt, when I go in I have the option of billing it all as expenses. I see this costing the city: many of the folks who drive in are your middle/upper management driving in from LI, Westchester, and NJ. They are not going to stop driving in. They might stop buying lunch, they might choose to telecommute more often. They might choose to work from the satellite office. So they will be choosing not to spend time/money in the city.

    What I hope is that measures like this drive more companies to understand that a centralized workforce, built around the "9-5" schedule is obsolete and counterproductive. The infrastructure exists for remote access to networks, decentralized (and productive) workers, less congestion, AND cleaner air.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,595
    Mike Bloomberg's grand plan to get his billionaire hand into the pockets of hard working men and women went down in flames today as the NYS legislature refused to even vote on the measure. The plan is now considered DOA for the time being.

    Perhaps if the crooked pols who run New York State and NYC would stop stealing our money to pay for their hookers and to put their girl/boyfriends on the state payroll there would be money for improved mass transit. As it stands, every time there is a need for funding these bozos come up with a new fee (tax). Bloomberg can fly to work in his own helicopter so why should he care if we go broke getting to work.

    :cry:

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  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    And New York's loss is (possibly) Colorado's gain.

    Now that New York state won't be getting the $350 million from the federal government, the feds are now looking at alternative projects that could use the funding.

    One of these projects is the widening of the Boulder Turnpike (aka US 36) from Boulder to the Denver suburbs. Possible uses include adding lanes (only 2 each way at the moment) or a dedicated car pool / HOV lane.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    they recently floated the very interesting proposal to initiate a congestion charge on one approach to the City (the one leading from the Golden Gate Bridge) in order to pay for its repair. Since it is a state highway (highway 101) it seemed outrageous to introduce a special fee to repair it, and so far it is bogged down over this issue.

    To me, the more pertinent issue is how can it be a congestion charge if it doesn't penalize everyone entering a certain area? Under the proposal, entering SF from the east bay would not have incurred the charge, so the fee targeted the people in the bedroom communities north of the bridge.

    How does the NY proposal work? Is it similar to London, where a circle is drawn around downtown on the map and everyone inside it has to pay?

    In principle, I am FOR that type of charge in the few places mentioned previously that have (a) a huge downtown congestion problem; and (b) very effective public transit. From what I know of the U.S., I could count the cities that qualify on one hand: NY, Boston (I base this one on third-party info), Chicago, SF, and....???? Someone mentioned DC?

    Also, has anyone studied what traffic and parking are like just outside the boundary of the congestion zone? Do lots of people drive as far as they can drive and then hit the transit only once it would cost them to drive any further downtown? If so, that stinks for the residents and businesses around there, doesn't it?

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,364
    The New York idea struck me as nuts. It was kind of like the London plan except rather than a circle they just drew a line across and said if you're below this line it's $8. Funny thing - the crossings from New Jersey, with the exception of the George Washington Bridge, all are south of the line so that the moment you hit the city you've been nailed. This would effectively end any voluntary visits to the city for me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Yes, but at least they defined an area. The SF proposal only defines a road that will carry the charge.

    Even if they manage to get the idea to fly in its current form, which is highly unlikely, they won't succeed in their goal because people will just cross two bridges to reach the City, thereby bypassing the surcharge (and still saving money, even though they have to pay two bridge tolls). They need to delineate an area which represents the toll zone, regardless of which direction you enter it from.

    And they are chasing those same federal funds here with this cockamamey plan that it sounds like they are in NY.

    And of course, the folks that would be impacted by the fee in its current form are the only ones NOT living in a part of the bay with train access to downtown. Brilliant. There is ferry service, so maybe they see that as an acceptable substitute.

    And folks who actually live in SF will never have to pay the fee. I believe with the London plan even city residents that live outside the zone pay the fee if they enter the zone.

    One final note: in SF we have already made the parking so limited and so expensive that most workday commuters ALREADY use the trains and buses. That might be a better approach to reducing congestion than this charge, which makes things difficult for tourists and the like. Tourism is an important component of the economy in San Francisco.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,595
    "...And New York's loss is (possibly) Colorado's gain..."

    Wrong! If the whole congestion pricing scam was just chasing federal dollars we all lose. Where does federal funding come from? Our pockets! It's just a different pocket they are stealing it from. I am just amazed that people still think that there is free government money. :cry:

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    One final note: in SF we have already made the parking so limited and so expensive that most workday commuters ALREADY use the trains and buses. That might be a better approach to reducing congestion than this charge, which makes things difficult for tourists and the like.

    Agree. When there is enough congestion, the price of gas is high-enough, and the private sector prices parking based on congestion factors, you have sufficient factors to deter more people from entering an area in cars.

    Government and its added costs are not needed. I think congestion is just another issue that government thinks they need to intervene in, and a method to increase their revenues and find jobs for their cronies.

    Personally I already avoid going into Boston due to the traffic and expenses. Why would we want the government in our wallets again? That is masochistic.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,010
    “Any balanced analysis will surely prove that the taxpayer actually pays, for every person who chooses to drive to and from work in his own car, an indirect subsidy at least 10 times as great as the indirect subsidy now paid the mass-transit rider.”

    The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic (Wired)

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    That is *very* interesting but also a bit chilling in that we have all seen what sometimes happens when you take an Excel spreadsheet and apply it to real life.

    There is a kind of "emergent intelligence" to big city life that I don't think can be captured by statistical analysis. "it" works out its best solutions.

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    How many people does the NYC mass transit system move each day? How many people personally drive within or thru NYC? One more question - what would it could cost today to build and staff the NYC mass-transit system?

    OK take those numbers now and figure out how much it would cost to provide everyone in NYC public transportation. Would that number be $100B, to get mass transit up to the task in NYC? Plus $10B/year to run it?

    What happens to the NYC transit system when the 1st terrorist bomb goes off in it? It seems just a matter of time. The system is crippled, and the added security would make the screening of that many additional people impossible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    There is no sure defense against terrorism. That's why they call it "terrorism".

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Right. My point there is mass transit is a centralized system, and as such is susceptible to terrorist attack - all your eggs in 1-basket analogies ... Privately owned and controlled vehicles do not have that issue.

    I believe the government should separate the funding for roads, highways and bridges from mass transit, and allow each system to pay for itself. Then each system can pay its true costs to operate. I know here in NH we are paying quite a bit in gas-taxes, some of which goes for mass transit, and we may have a handful of buses operating in a few towns. So our gas tax money is going to support mass transit users in cities like Boston and NYC. But then again the state of Mass. should be reimbursing the fed. government for most of the cost overruns of the Big Dig.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Ah but then the oil companies should be made to pay for all the environmental costs associated with the selling of their product. That would probably drive up the price of gas to its true value in the USA, and by doing so, encourage mass transit development. This certainly seems to have happened in Europe, where mass transit is superb.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    Do European fuel prices really have to do with the "costs" of oil, or simply as a way to subsidize the fantastic public transit network?

    That thought being said, gas would have to cost 4x as much here as in Europe to get anything like the transit networks they have, as residential development has been so thoughtlessly distant from commerce for so many decades.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    edited May 2010
    I really don't know. That's a good question. All I know is that Europeans pay higher taxes and get a lot for them. I seem to pay quite a bit of tax and wonder where it all went. My mass transit STINKS and my libraries are closing up and we don't have nearly enough cops.

    I'd certainly pay extra for a really great public transit system. Right now, to travel 85 miles in California doesn't cost very much in public transit but it takes 3.5 hours to do it. 22 mph is not all that much faster than people traveled in Roman times or in the 1860s in America.

    And driving is getting pretty brutal...if it isn't traffic, you have to worry about being picked off by massive Highway Patrol efforts to increase revenues.

    Whenever I drive on Hwy 17 anymore, I feel like one of those bomber fleets going over Germany, trying to dodge the CHP. We all know that about 1 to 3% of us are going to get shot down every mission. :cry:

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    edited May 2010
    I don't think European gas prices have anything to do with the environmental or social impacts of fossil fuels. The taxes simply subsidize other programs. Nothing wrong with that. I too would pay for a system like they have - but it would cost a lot more here as in most places residential density is just so much less. I can't imagine having a transit network in my area like can be found in Munich or Zurich, or even Stuttgart or Luzern, where some vehicle is running within 5 mins walk no more than once every 10 mins, from 5am to midnight.

    We receive less for the taxes we pay than others as we have massive defense and foreign obligations and parasites sucking us dry - not to mention domestic issues like public sector perks and pensions. We pay a lot less, but we get so much less.

    Driving here is a nightmare too - most cities ardently refuse to synchronize lights and work on traffic controls, roads are second-world quality at best, traffic law enforcement is 90% a ridiculous money grab, and oblivious driving seems to be encouraged. My in-town afternoon commute can often average under 15mph per my car - and that's on 35-40mph roads...speeds go down when you hit every red light and get stuck in a line behind idiots going 28 in a 40. I wonder if anything would change if the money put into speedtrapping and cameras was put into improving traffic flow...and if public sector traffic "engineers" were held to any level of accountability. On that note, I have to be suspicious of this "congestion charge" proposal, given the lack of results provided by its supporters in other traffic-related areas. I also wonder about the impartiality when presented by a bicycle enthusiast/advocate. Remember the third type of lie.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    A major part of the problem is psychological. Our national mythology is not the same as Europe's. To us, when a person steps on a bus or train, they are a "loser" at worst, or a worker drone at best. This is simply not the social attitude of the European. The myth of "freedom" has been drilled into our heads since the 1840s, and while very romantic and kinda fun, it works against social cooperation when things get tight or tough. Only drastic situations like a war or disaster changes American attitudes, and then it goes right back to Davy Crockett as soon as the crisis passes.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    I've never understood how "freedom" can be considered owning a big mortgage on a tract mcmansion 30 miles from work. It's that development philosophy that makes workable mass transit impossible.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,010
    People don't realize that you don't own stuff ... it owns you.

    As far as terrorism, take out a couple of bridges or a tunnel (or a refinery or two) and you shut down car and traffic and hammer the economy in a flash.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,333
    I believe the government should separate the funding for roads, highways and bridges from mass transit, and allow each system to pay for itself. Then each system can pay its true costs to operate.

    Agree, as it is worse in WA where the road taxes paid in Spokane subsidize the Puget Sound Ferry System so a few can enjoy the pleasures of Island Living. So besides using gasoline taxes for MT the vote here is to float the boat as well. Dumb.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    Not to mention the compensation abuses of several ferry workers...have you watched the stories on KING5 lately? Appalling.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    You mean "freedom" isn't defined by a Mexican-built Escalade, and a questionably built 5000 sq ft mcmansion made of the finest Chinese drywall, plywood, and face brick located an eon from work?

    No infrastructure is immune from terrorism.

    I do have to wonder...London has embraced the congestion charge ideal for some time (I think hybrids and microcars are exempt), has it helped their woes at all?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,010
    edited May 2010
    Well, they've created a new industry for themselves at least:

    London Ready to Assist Jakarta Solve Traffic Problem (BeritaJakarta.com)

    Traf-O-Data is how Bill Gates got his start. :)

    The London mayor was stung last year with a fine for not paying his congestion fee. His response has been to shrink the congestion zone. Fees for the remaining zone are up $2 and a free pass if you drive a low emission vehicle. Mixed bag of responses.

    Boris Johnson unveils plans to scrap western extension of London congestion charge (Guardian UK)

    Big shake up of London Congestion Charge (What Car).

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  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I really enjoyed having 300 feet to my closest neighbor's house at my last place.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    the oil companies should be made to pay for all the environmental costs associated with the selling of their product.

    They already do pay for as much environmental impact as coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy do. All our main energy sources have environmental impact.

    That would probably drive up the price of gas to its true value in the USA, and by doing so, encourage mass transit development.

    And what would replace the $40B that Exxon-Mobil alone pays the feds in taxes each year/ And take away all the other income and dividend taxes that the owners of oil companies pay. Mass transit AFAIK is a money loser most everywhere.

    I'm all for mass transit, and natural-gas replacing heating oil to heta my house. But tell me how much it's going to cost to have the bus come up my dead-end road every 1/2 hour in case I want to go somewhere? Tell me why the gas company's gas-line doesn't run tio my city of 20,000, stopping 30 miles short?
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    As far as terrorism, take out a couple of bridges or a tunnel (or a refinery or two) and you shut down car and traffic and hammer the economy in a flash

    No you don't. That's been proven when earthquakes or bridge failures have occurred. Personal auto transportation is inconvenienced, but the next day everyone is getting where they are going. Set off a bomb in the NYC subway system 2 days in a row, and the millions that use it would need to be screened, and people would avoid it for months, just like what happened with airports after 9/11.

    Centralized systems are much more vulnerable, then decentralized.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,010
    There's only 12 bridges and tunnels serving Manhattan. I don't think the ferries could handle it if the George Washington was knocked out of service for a while - well, there's no car ferries there anyway, right? Big economic impact. Be more room for the buses and cabs on the surface streets though.

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