Archive for June 13th, 2024

Service of Initiatives That are Both Just and Unjust

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

A side street on the East side in midtown.

There are some programs, initiatives or fights that have both intensely just and unjust components complicating decisions about which is the right way to go. Pondering where you come out can turn your brain around like a ball on a spinning roulette wheel. Elements of both sides of the argument make good sense, so you agree and disagree in equal measure.

Congestion pricing for Manhattan is a perfect example. Passenger cars that drive below 60th Street would pay a $15 toll which would be more for larger vehicles and less late at night and for motorcycles. The toll was almost set to go when at the last-minute New York Governor Hochul pulled the plug for now.

Our streets are jammed with cars and trucks creating traffic and pollution nightmares. The Metropolitan Transit Authority needs money to install elevators at subway stations for strollers and handicapped passengers as well as to extend the Second Avenue Subway.

On the other hand, retail, restaurant and entertainment businesses that have barely recovered from the impact of work-from-home programs that sucked millions out of midtown during Covid shudder at the anticipated reduction of customer traffic. Most will need to increase prices to compensate for what shippers pass along to them to cover the cost of their tolls. Consequently, citizens in the impacted area will pay more for what they buy as well as for taxi and car services that swing in and out of 60th Street.

A long-term impact might be that companies that can will move their businesses out of NYC which would impact the Big Apple’s tax coffers.

If you never need a taxi that crosses the toll boundary, don’t require a vehicle to carry heavy tools for your job or a disabled friend, client or relative, don’t live and shop in the affected area, and never go to theater or concerts from a neighborhood with nonexistent or unreliable public transportation, the decision is much easier.

Can we trust that buses and subways, already jammed at times and too often delayed, will sufficiently compensate for anticipated additional passengers?

What other issues make you go round and round when you weigh the pros and cons to decide on which side you stand? Where do you fall on congestion pricing in Manhattan?

The cars in the bus lane on Second Avenue in the 50s do not belong there.
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