This comes up, periodically, and it’s always annoying as hell that it’s reported as a “solution” to some problem.
Oh the problem is traffic? No kidding?
I’ve spent my share of time in NYC traffic, a significant percentage of which is town cars and limos. When I worked down on Wall St, as a consultant to NYSE, everyone went everywhere in a town car. After a bit of that I got sick of traffic and started taking the subway.
But, dominance is not the goal for some people – subjugation is. Not only do they want to sit in their comfortable town cars while someone drives them around, they want to get everyone else off the road so their town cars can have free rein. (Note: “rein” as in horses, not “reign” as in monarchy) This is promotes as a good thing because it’s going to reduce traffic and raise revenues. Of course, it means that the roads will just be filled with town cars occupied by people who don’t care about paying the extra fee. This is the same effect we should expect when we see special fuel taxes for luxury or sports cars: anyone who can afford a lamborghini can afford $15/gal for gas or they’ll have a servant go buy gas in 5gal jerry cans. Be careful not to dribble gas on the car or I shall have you flogged. Flogged, do you hear me!?
‘No more car for me’: will a $23 toll finally rid Manhattan of gridlock?
Nope. Gridlock is a special condition that occurs when a vehicle is trying to turn across traffic (let’s say a left turn) but can’t make the turn because the opposing traffic is bumper to bumper. So, they sit there. But behind them traffic builds up until it’s bumper to bumper, too. Now, if someone in opposing traffic is trying to turn across all that bumper to bumper blockage in the lane behind the first vehicle – everyone winds up sitting there, stuck. And the light changes and now cross-street traffic is blocked and the same thing repeats itself for blocks down the cross-street. New York more or less solved its gridlock problems by placing a very heavy fine on anyone “blocking the box” – i.e.: making it impossible for opposing traffic to turn – and New York’s finest went around fining people for a while until the problem went away. It’s probably back, now, under the cover of “freedom of navigation” or something absurd like that.
Could a moonshot policy finally rid the nation’s most congested city of its incessant, noisy, polluting traffic? Soon, over a million drivers a day could be forced to cough up as much as $23 to enter midtown and lower Manhattan – a toll that planners say will raise $15bn to fund New York public transit while cutting vehicles in the area by as much as one-fifth.
Yeah, but would that money actually be spent on public transit, or would it be spent on fixing potholes on Wall St.? Let me guess. It’s also hardly a “moonshot” policy, unless we want to consider the many European cities that have pedestrian zones to be engaging in lunar colonization.
The obvious answer is to make downtown New York a pedestrian zone, and allow cargo delivery vehicles only between 3:00am and 5:00am, but they have to be driven and unloaded by Wall St. execs. The point of getting rich, I suppose, is so that you don’t have to work up a sweat moving boxes.
I find it disappointing whenever I see these media-led trial balloons regarding fairly straightforward issues of public policy, reporting as though “gosh, this may be an … idea.” except failing to fully explore the problem and its run-on effects. This is complicated stuff. New York was designed with a lot of road-facing cargo elevators, in many stores (they come up through the sidewalk and block foot traffic, but usually before the tourists come out) Of course there are delivery parking spaces, where truck drivers can unload – except they’re usually occupied by town cars.
But but but… it’s leftie commie stuff! Shurely you approve !!1!
I refer to the example of London Congestion Charging, which I believe is environmentally and socially deemed ‘a good thing’, introduced by ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone (in the UK sense, where red means left) in 2003 (https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/case-study/demand-management-for-roads-in-london)
IANAL*, but I thought the concept had enhanced both social aspects (clean air) and commerce (better supported underground, light rail etc. , ‘cos business wants good transport)
And this in a country where we already have roundabouts…!
* I Am Not A Londoner
Marcus Ranum says
I refer to the example of London Congestion Charging, which I believe is environmentally and socially deemed ‘a good thing’, introduced by ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone (in the UK sense, where red means left) in 2003
The British have never hesitated at an opportunity to enforce class based on wealth.
Raging Bee says
You’d actually trust a Wall St. executive to handle a truck, or its freight, responsibly?
Reginald Selkirk says
Do away with the delivery trucks and vans. rebuild those cargo elevators to go down to the subway, and run cargo trains.
Tax per wheel times vehicle mass. If you can wheelie your dirt bike all the way there you pay half
I agree, ban cars in cities. More tram lines and bicycle lanes.