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Congestion Charging: Manhattan Essay

1401 words - 6 pages

Almost anyone who has visited or been a resident of New York City would attest to the fact that traffic is unbearable. Many have said they think of New York traffic the same as they think of the weather, "It's too bad but you can't do much about it." Congestion has real costs for all travelers, including truckers (both long-haul and local delivery/pickup), household and business service providers (such as plumbers, computer technicians, police, and ambulance services), and personal travel (Traffic Congestion & Reliability, 2/20/06). This level of congestion results in significant loss of productivity and added delivery times and costs for businesses, as well as stress and frustration for residents. At this point, it is neither possible nor desired to expand road capacity, requiring consideration of other means to reduce traffic congestion or manage demand for motor vehicle use (Zupan and Perrotta, 5).How The Plan Would WorkCongestion Pricing has been the focus of a nine-month study during 2005 conducted by The Partnership for New York City. Under the "congestion pricing plan" several roadways would remain free of charge to travel on, like the West Side Highway and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive on the East Side, according to people with knowledge of the study (Chan, B1). The 840,000 cars that enter Manhattan south of 60th Street on an average weekday could be subject to a $7 charge during peak hours. Vehicles starting and ending their trips within that zone might pay a $4 charge (Zupan and Perrotta, 6).The Regional Plan Association (RPA) has constructed four pricing scenarios for the purpose of understanding how congestion pricing might work, how much traffic it might discourage, how much transit use it might encourage, and how much revenue it might raise. The four scenarios were organized around the fact that free entry for motor vehicles to the core occurs from two directions - from the east over the four free East River bridges, and from the north using eleven entry points. Each weekday, over 800,000 motor vehicles enter the core of the New York Region - the 8.5 square miles of the Man-hattan central business district (CBD) south of 60th Street. Since the 1920s these numbers have grown annually by an average of 8,000 vehicles per day. Today, only 22 % pay to enter - at the two tunnels under the Hudson operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the two tunnels under the East River operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. About 255,000 vehicles enter Manhattan via the four currently free East River Bridges owned and operated by New York City, and 390,000 enter via the eleven southbound highways and avenues crossing 60th Street (Zupan and Perrotta, 6).The four scenarios were tested using sensitivities of drivers who may choose one of five responses to an added charge - not making the trip at all, changing the destination of the trip to outside the CBD, shifting from driving to another mode, shifting the route...

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