In the News: The first hearings on congestion pricing

Lots of media listened in on the first seven-hour (!) MTA hearing on congestion pricing, and said that the reviews were… mixed. You can read it at Bloomberg or the Times or just about anywhere. More on that later, but in the meantime, I just love it when people from New Jersey like to chime in; of 500 speakers, the Times picked this guy: “No one wants to take mass transit. It’s not safe. Jumping turnstiles, shooting, looting, fighting, the list goes on,” Brendan Peo, a schoolteacher who lives in New Jersey, said during the hearing on Thursday. “The suggestion that more people will use mass transit instead of driving when conditions are like this in the subway is asinine.” You can see the hearing schedule here and you can weigh in by email as well.

Artnet says the cool art kids are hanging out in Fidi, and had a picture of high heeled combat boots at the Blarney Stone to prove it.

A bit of a stroll from Tribeca but still: Eater adds Mott Street Eatery, the new Tin Building and Urbanspace at 100 Pearl on the list of the city’s hottest lunch spots. Of Urbanspace, which is it says: “It’s a worthy pitstop for slow-roasted pork and tostones from Puerto Rican spot Que Chevere, stuffed baos and rice bowls from Urbanspace staple Bao by Kaya.”

The Times mentions that the chef at Marathi will host one of the DeGustibus cooking and dining sessions held for more than 40 years at Macy’s. The cooking of the Greek island of Crete, taught by Nick Poulmentis, will take place on Sept. 24 at 9:30a. The cost is $300.



  1. With respect to NJ, the easiest way to cure the toll “arbitrage” (or “toll-shopping” or “toll work-around”) and stop drivers traveling west-bound at no cost through Manhattan would be to change the tolls at the Hudson River crossings to $8 NY-bound / $8 NJ-bound versus the current $16 NY-bound / $ 0 NJ-bound. Now that all tolling is electronic and there are no toll-plazas to wait for or generate congestion, there is no reason for the asymmetric tolling. The Verrazzano tolls were changed from one-way tolling for basically this reason.

  2. Of course the NY Times quoted flakes from NJ who probably almost never use the MTA anyway. Consistent with the Times’ frequent journalistic approach a la “We Wanted to Know if the NY Subway is Safe, So We Asked Five People in A Diner in Piscataway” etc

  3. The current bridge and tunnel tolls are exorbitant. Some of the money from port authority tolls should be cut from the port authority revenue and applied as congestion tolling towards MTA. Not sure why PA needs the nine digit surpluses it gets off bridge and tunnel fare when it already makes a pretty penny on operating the shipping and air ports

    • @GA, you’re on to something. One could even say that the MTA bridge and tunnel tolls are as high as they are b/c the absence of congestion pricing has impelled the MTA to soak borough-to-borough drivers for toll revenue, much of which supports the subways, buses and commuter trains.

      For over a decade it was the dream of “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz to pair congestion tolling with a *lowering* of MTA bridge tolls. Sam called that plan “Move NY,” and for years I ran the numbers for him. Alas, then-Gov Cuomo nixed the MTA bridge toll discounts when he threw in with congestion pricing in 2017.

      In short, yours is a lovely idea that makes sense on many levels. Too bad it got pushed aside.

      PS: The Port Authority tolls (on Hudson R. crossings) are a separate matter. Perhaps another time …

  4. Kinda bummed that Tribeca really has a scarcity of lunch spots. Even Tribeca Citizen has to reach out to LES/Seaport/Soho/FIDI for good affordable food.

    • Just for the record on lunch: OneSeed, Lekka Burger and Nish Nush; the neighborhood’s delis: Benvenuto (24 hours!), Corner Gourmet on Murray and West Broadway, Tribeca Park Cafe on Walker, and of course Zucker’s, though their new offerings at the kiosk in Bogardus Plaza are even better. Add in the bakeries: Duane Park Patisserie, Frenchette Bakery, Grandaisy Bakery, and on Tuesdays, One White’s farmers market, which always has a sandwich or a quiche.

  5. 1.On Brian Lehrer show yesterday, point was made that removing Parking placards would achieve congestion goal ( but without raising the money).
    2. Will list of exceptions be expanded to include city workers? Currently it does not but I would expect mayor and Governor to spring this at the last minute, which I disagree with.
    3. No congestion toll for traveling on 9A. Can I avoid congestion till by continuing to park at Pier40, as I don’t bring car into city zone?
    4. Why not expand congestion toll to UWS and UES?
    5. When living on UWS a few years back, I saw lots of folk who parked on street move cars twice a week and lots had non NY plates (VT NH CT PA MA ME MA NJ FL for the most part). City misses out on revenue from cars registered out of state but who permanently reside in city and use free street parking. Maybe remove free street parking and install bike lanes with protection barriers to stop cars (Uber Lyft especially) from impinging on and bike lanes.
    6. As Manhattan resident, I already pay city taxes etc, so I do object to paying another tax to park my car near my home, a parking I already pay for (compared to UWS where I could have parked on street for free as they have so much more Street parking yet they are exempted from congestion toll ).

    • 1. Parking placards are non-cash (for employer), untaxed (for employee) compensation to City workers. City-as-employer colludes with City employees not to disturb this scheme. Never ever going to happen.
      2. Yes. See #1.
      3. Yes. You will pay a lesser toll to come in than to drive off the highway and make more congestion.
      4. People cannot even agree on congestion tolls into the CBD as proposed now. Expanding it further is less important at first and more contentious.
      5. How many of those non-NY plate cars is owned by a rent-stabilized tenant falsely claiming NYC as primary residence? Cannot price street parking fairly before the congestion toll is implemented.
      6. Boo hoo for you. Congestion pricing is a charge for anyone who drives a car on the roads in the CBD, not an income tax. As a Manhattan resident, you have greater access to mass transit than others who live in the outer boroughs, suburbs, etc.

  6. Duane Park Patisserie makes sandwiches and quiche every day +
    Rolitos on fri,sat,sun!