In the News: Reducing Traffic Downtown

••• Daytonian in Manhattan looks into the history of 54-56 Franklin, where, in 1889, “Herman Boker sold cutlery, guns and bicycles.”

••• Comedian Scott Rogowsky, host of HQ Trivia, recently moved to Tribeca; he tells the New York Times how he spends his Sundays.

••• “A new analysis of the highest property taxes in America finds that five buildings in Lower Manhattan are among the 100 highest levied in the nation, and contribute a combined total of more than $100 million in tax revenue.” —Broadsheet

••• “The Battery Park City Authority has hired a consultant team to design resiliency measures intended to protect the ball fields and the Asphalt Green community center against future extreme-weather events. In 2012, both facilities were wrecked by flood waters from Hurricane Sandy, which caused millions of dollars in damage.” —Broadsheet

••• More thefts in the Tribeca Trib police blotter.

••• “A new analysis of traffic patterns concludes that charging tolls in both directions on [the Verrazano Bridge]—instead of levying motorists only as they enter Staten Island, but not as they leave—would divert up to 130 cars per hour, during peak driving periods, away from Lower Manhattan.” —Broadsheet



  1. The tolls sound like a good idea.
    Actually ticketing drivers for horn-honking and blocking the intersections and cross-walks would also improve quality of life, safety, and traffic flow.

    • Agreed. Seems a common sense approach to enforce traffic rules would keep intersections from being blocked improving safety for pedestrians and traffic flow for vehicles. Come on NYC! It’s an unnecessary mess.

      • Unfortunately it’s not in NYC’s hands at all. The MTA runs the bridge, hence the Governor is in control of toll levels and the like, but the one-way (Staten Island bound only) toll is federal law. That’s why the Daily News article on the topic quotes Jerry Nadler and Dan Donovan (SI’s Representative).

        Lest any newcomers to the neighborhood think this is a new issue, here’s the beginning of a 2010 article in the Downtown Express (

        “In attempt to alleviate congestion, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler is working on federal legislation that would implement two-way tolling on the Verrazano Bridge: only this time, it would be cashless, thanks to a new system introduced by the M.T.A.”

        • Nadler was also ”working” on this problem in 1998. Keep “working” on it.

          ”’I am certainly going to make an attempt to repeal that law,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes parts of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. He said the toll should not be a Federal matter.

          quoted in “JAMMING; The Traffic Downtown Seems Worse Than Ever. Is the Verrazano the Villain? By BERNARD STAMLER Published: December 13, 1998, New York Times”

        • And in 2001 Nadler introduced a bill that obviously went nowhere:

          “107th CONGRESS
          1st Session
          H. R. 140

          ”To eliminate a limitation with respect to the collection of tolls for use of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, New York.


          January 3, 2001

          Mr. NADLER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

          A BILL

          To eliminate a limitation with respect to the collection of tolls for use of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, New York.”

        • And in 2003 (and probably at the start of every Congress, in order to be able to say he did all that he could).

          108TH CONGRESS
          1ST SESSION
          H. R. 146
          To eliminate a limitation with respect to the collection of tolls for use of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, New York.

          JANUARY 7, 2003

          Mr. NADLER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

          A BILL

          To eliminate a limitation with respect to the collection of tolls for use of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, New York.

        • And Nadler was still “working” on it in June 2012:

          “Congressmember Jerrold Nadler says the hated one-way Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll — the bane of traffic-inundated Downtown residents — could be eliminated in as soon as two years due to high-speed E-ZPass and similar measures.


          “Nadler attended Community Board 2’s meeting last month, giving an update on his doings in Congress. After he finished his report, the floor was opened to questions. Shirley Secunda, chairperson of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, asked Nadler for the latest on the troublesome Verrazano toll, if legislation would be introduced to rectify it.

          “‘That’s going to happen,’ Nadler assured of readjusting the toll. ‘It’s going to happen for a different reason in a couple of years.

          “‘I don’t like to talk about it,’ Nadler noted, ‘because every time I talk about it, it makes headlines in the Staten Island Advance. They don’t want it out there.’


          “After Nadler finished answering questions, he started to leave, but was cornered by Lora Tenenbaum in the hallway outside. The Soho activist laid into the politician over the long-festering bridge issue, telling him, that because of it, ‘I stopped voting for you.’

          “‘It’s not only Jerry,’ she said. ‘It’s also our U.S. senator, who made it a campaign promise — and he hasn’t done it. I just feel there’s been a lack of political will.’

          “Tenenbaum accused the two pols of being afraid to offend Staten Island residents, but Nadler protested that wasn’t true.

          “‘I don’t care about Staten Island. [Senator] Chuck [Schumer] may,’ he declared. ‘It’s not in my district.’


          “In a follow-up interview, Robert Gottheim, Nadler’s district director, fleshed out what he called the obstacles keeping the one-way toll from being addressed. He gave a chronology of events:

          “In 1998, the transportation bill was passed and the House at that time was under G.O.P. control.

          “‘Vito Fossella was in Congress — it was not going to happen,” Gottheim said, referring to the former Republican rep from Staten Island and any possible action on the one-way toll.

          “In 2005, the Democrats lost control of Congress.

          “The last long-term federal transportation bill expired in 2009. The Democrats had regained control of Congress by then, but, according to Gottheim, President Obama decided to put the transportation bill on the back burner.

          “‘It wasn’t the priority of the president,’ Gottheim said. ‘He said, ‘Let’s put it off for 18 months.’

          “In 2010, the Republicans regained the majority in the House.

          “Three years after the transportation bill’s expiration, it remains in limbo, with funding extended through so-called
          ‘continuing renewals.'”

  2. I don’t understand why this is “new” (unless they’ve fiddled with the numbers and that’s the new part). Downtown residents have been complaining about it since 1986 and I seem to remember studies that had been done long ago. I didn’t realize it had taken an act of Congress to get to this mess though. So the options are 1) another act of Congress, 2) remove the tolls completely, or 3) move the toll booths to the Brooklyn side? Crossing Canal Street is the worst part of a walk AboCa (Erik’s word).

    • What’s new is that traffic all over the city has gotten nearly unbearable due to these kinds of issues AND as of September 2017 the MTA had torn down toll booths all over the city and replaced them with EZ Pass and license plate cameras, taking away the toll plaza pollution and traffic reasons against 2 way tolls. (From the Broadsheet article: ”In the [sic] 1986, the United States Congress (responding to complaints from Staten Island residents, who complained about air pollution from Verrazano’s toll plaza) enacted a measure making it illegal for the bridge to charge motorists in both directions.”)

      “Toll booths will vanish from all MTA bridges and tunnels this weekend.

      “Cashless tolling will be in place at the last two New York City-area crossings that don’t have them — the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge — beginning at 3 a.m. Saturday, officials announced Wednesday.”

  3. Under whose authority is the south side of Canal between Hudson and Varick? That’s one of the most depressing/dirty blocks in Manhattan and could be dramatically improved to encourage foot traffic if it had some trees, planters, etc.

  4. So reassuring that voter Lori may actually stop voting for progressive Jerry N. because of Lower Manhattan traffic.

  5. Any reason to not vote for Nadler is a good one.