Are You Ready to Pay to Park on Your Street?
By Danny Hakim
New York City could start charging residents to park in their own neighborhoods under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan. The mayor's proposal, which was introduced in the State Senate this month, would charge most drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street on weekdays. To mollify people just outside the zone who feared their streets would turn into parking lots, the Senate bill would allow the city to issue permits so that most parking spots would be restricted to neighborhood residents.
But the bill says there would be unspecified fees that residents would have to pay to get those permits. The money would go to the city's general fund.
John Gallagher, a spokesman for the mayor, said "discussion of a fee structure for residential permit parking is very premature." Among other details of the plan, visitors coming into the city could deduct the cost of bridge and tunnel tolls from an $8 fee to enter Manhattan, but only if they use E-ZPass. And the state's environmental review process would be waived to speed up the plan.
We took a dive into the fine print of the mayor's proposal. As one might expect with such a voluminous piece of legislation, a number of notable items emerge from the fine print.
It's not spelled out how visitors driving into New York City would be made aware that they had to pay $8 within 48 hours or face a $115 fine. The mayor and his administration have said most people would likely have heard about the congestion fee, though some lawmakers say many might not. The mayor's staff says there would also be adequate signage. Lawmakers have wondered how this would actually work: The signs, presumably, would have to explain how and where to pay, requiring a lot more words than "toll ahead."
City Traffic Pricing Wins U.S. and Spitzer's Favor
By DANNY HAKIM and RAY RIVERA
ALBANY, June 7 - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to reduce traffic by charging people who drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan received significant support on Thursday as Gov. Eliot Spitzer endorsed the idea and the Bush administration indicated that New York stood to gain hundreds of millions of dollars if the plan were enacted.
If the measure is approved by the Legislature, New York will become the first city in the United States to impose a broad system of congestion pricing, which was introduced in London in 2003 and has been credited with reducing traffic there.
Governor Spitzer said he would work to ensure passage of the plan, which is a major part of the mayor's blueprint for improving air quality and traffic flow for the next several decades. The Bloomberg administration has estimated that it could put the program into effect within 18 months of legislative approval.
"This is a necessary investment for the future of New York City, which is to a great extent the economic engine of New York State," the governor said. "And so this is not really a question of whether, it's a question of how, it's a question of making sure that we do it properly."
Mr. Spitzer appeared alongside the United States transportation secretary, Mary E. Peters, who announced that New York City was one of nine finalists for a share of $1.1 billion in federal aid to fight urban traffic. Ms. Peters warned, however, that the city's potential share could be endangered if the mayor's plan did not have state approval by August.