Clarity — finally — on one angle of congestion pricing for Downtown residents

Back in early July, when I did this post on congestion pricing, I went back and forth with the MTA press office to gain some clarity on how local residents would be charged when driving around local streets south of 60th Street. I provided several scenarios that they did not answer but instead referenced a couple of different documents (which I read) and made it clear to me then that cars would be tolled when driving through “detection zones” that existed south of 60th, as well as when exiting the highways.

“We want to provide that clarity right now,” the MTA wrote recently. In the scenarios that I had included, they wrote, trips that begin and end south of 60th Street, “those trips would not be charged.” Here is more detail:

Question: Will Central Business District (south of 60th Street) residents who begin and end their trips in the CBD be tolled?

Answer: If a vehicle driven by a resident or other person does not enter or exit the CBD Toll Zone during the trip, it would not be charged. A vehicle would also not be charged a toll if it uses one of the excluded roadways (the West Side Highway/Route 9A, the Battery Park Underpass, or the FDR Drive) for a trip that begins and ends within the CBD. Vehicles that cross 60th Street (and vehicles that leave through any of the bridges or tunnels) for a trip that begins and ends within the CBD would be charged.

Some examples:

  • A vehicle leaves the Hudson Tower parking garage at the end of Albany Street in Battery Park City and goes to Rockefeller Center via the West Side Highway, FDR Drive, or local streets. The vehicle would not be charged.
  • A vehicle leaves East 10th Street and Broadway and travels south on Broadway to Broadway and Chambers Street. This vehicle would not be charged.
  • A vehicle leaves the Empire State Building and goes to the Waterside Plaza garage on local streets, crossing under the FDR Drive from East 23rd St to Waterside Plaza. This vehicle would not be charged.
  • A passenger vehicle is moved from West 58th Street between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue in compliance with NYC DOT Alternate Side Parking regulations. The driver chooses to turn north on 10th Avenue and cross West 60th Street before circling, turning south on West End Avenue, crossing West 60th Street again, and parking again on West 56th Street between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue. This vehicle would be charged.

In addition, tolling equipment that is to be set up around the Holland Tunnel — what we discussed as “detection zones” in the map below — will be for tunnel traffic only. So if you cross through those boxes, but do not enter a tunnel or cross a bridge, you will not be tolled.

It is also my understanding that if you drive from WITHIN the CBD — us in Tribeca — and use the highways to stay WITHIN the CBD, you will NOT get tolled. The detection points will scan you, but unless you leave — by going through a tunnel or bridge or across 60th Street, you will not get tolled.

This makes a lot more sense and I am glad we finally got here.

 

84 Comments

  1. Thus:
    Affluent person in TriBeCa can take SUV to drive kids to school at Friends Seminary – no charge at all?

    Middle-income teacher in Penn South who drives to school in far corner of the Bronx – will be charged upon return home?

    Non-rich person in Brooklyn who drives to lower Manhattan at 11pm pick up his aunt and others who clean offices at night – will charged?

    • You guys voted democrat.

    • I recommend those without a better solution stop whining and pointing out ’unfair’ exceptions that make them feel good for sticking up for the poor and downtrodden.

      We have a highly functional subway system, for which every point south of 60th street is perfectly accessible. Unless and until you have an argument that incorporates that point head on, your opinion is worthless.

      I’m talking to you, or Josh Gottheimer, or Staten Island writ large. The point of this is not to find a way to keep driving without paying: it’s to get you out of your cars. Stop being so self-centered.

      • ^^^what he said^^^

        • yes, but if you take Uber, Lyfts, car service because you need to take an elderly person to appointments, you will see your fee vastly increased. So no self righteousness because now the train system is not safe for elderly or anyone at anytime now. You don’t know if you will be the next target.

      • The suburban transplants to NYC are fortunate as someone else is taking care of the elderly relatives in the suburbs and driving those relatives.

        In the meantime, no worries for the suburban transplants here in NYC with no such responsibilities for anyone with a health or medical issue and/or lots of money so no worries about higher taxi or Uber costs….

      • Why in the world should someone living within the zone be charged to go home? To say they are all wealthy is absolutely crazy. In London people within the zone get 90% discounts. MTA then goes further to make up some “law” that the project must collect 1 billion dollars, can someone explain why? If they collected 500mil isn’t that more than what they have today? Residents should get exemptions, as well as many others. Another ill-conceived plan done for one purpose grabbing more money from residents.

    • I’m that last example they only pay off peak rates.

      How do all these poor people afford cars and car insurance in your example? I’m not poor but don’t have a car. Poor me.

    • We need a lower manhattan hyperloop as soon as possible

      Cut from essential services budget to build it

      The future

      TronBeCa

  2. What happens when the fdr is stopped for an accident? Can cars exit without charge or left stuck like suckers?

    • I think you know the answer to that. The fact that you won’t be able to exit Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island without being tolled seems, or at the very least, should be illegal. There should be a non tolled route. Owning a car and living east of NYC is basically equivalent to a fine every time you want to leave the city. I don’t know how this can be legal.

      • I understand people do not want to pay, but suggesting this is illegal is silly. I think if you drive a car, you understand about toll roads.

      • Staten Island already has to pay to leave and is one of the five boroughs ( LI is not ). Ferry or Express bus are the options outside of driving.

  3. We live in the zone below 60th. This helps, but does not change our outlook which is another $5,000 in after tax expenses which is about $7,500 of pretax income pushes to leave and move to a lower tax situation.

  4. It’s hard to sympathize with someone who lives in Tribeca driving within the cbd. I mean if you own a 100,000 car and you want to drive perhaps you should be charged.

    • But that’s the trouble. The person that lives in Tribeca and drives the $100k car can drive within he Central Business District all day long without having to pay anything. These are the people that should be paying if congestion pricing must occur.

  5. So if a downtown resident uses the FDR or Westside Highway to take the GW Bridge/ Holland Tunnel/ Lincoln Tunnel/ Triborough bridge to visit family in New Jersey, Long Island, Rockland County then the resident will be charged the congestion toll to leave and come home within the CBD?

  6. It should not matter how much money a person makes, they should not be charged to drive to and from their neighborhood for whatever reason. They are already paying the highest tax rate in the country and if they make more money they pay a higher amount in taxes. They probably own their apartment so they pay high property taxes. They are paying parking taxes, registration fees, etc. Why are they now charged to drive their car to and from their home. Stop making this about class. This is to stop people from driving into the CBD, not punish the people who live here with higher fees.

    • No, this is about raising more money for the MTA to squander. This sort of detail is just about making sure that no organized push-back by a new politically powerful faction gets going.

    • This is all about collecting more money for a highly corrupt, inefficient and overstaffed MTA. Politicians keep pandering to the MTA unions to collect votes from them.

    • I completely agree with you, Aaron. Given the top 5% of people in nyc pay ~ 50% of the taxes, when they leave because they are tired of paying nearly 65% in taxes (39% federal, 11% state income tax, 4% investment tax, property taxes for their $5m home, etc), then the remaining people left in town have to pick up the tax burden. Don’t shame the rich, keep them here. Or the suckers left in town will pay more in taxes to close the gap because the top 5% went to Texas…where they can save $250k a year (!!!) in state income taxes.

    • Totally agree.

      I am originally from London -15 years here in the US and in Tribeca and extremely grateful to the warm welcome extended to me by the country, city and neighborhood. In London the congestion charge seems much more clearly aimed at stopping people driving into the city centre at peak times and encouraging them onto public transport or off peak. The roads in NYC are not packed because of locals – of all demographics – driving around. Local residents driving locally is not the issue, the issue is the huge increase of people driving into the city instead of using public transport. This includes affluent people for sure but based on all the vehicles rammed into my block it is also NYPD, NYFD, city officials and other random groups given free parking.

      NYC has a terrific public transport system, hopefully this will help move people off the roads and back onto the trains, subways and buses. And then drive investment in public transport. That would be a good outcome.

      If it’s just a tax then it will fail and just add further challenges to everyone living here.

  7. One scenario is stil unclear to me:

    Exit garage on Warren St and head north on 9D/Westside Hwy all the way to the GWB. Would this, and reverse trip, be tolled?

    Thanks

  8. if I am coming from the northern suburbs heading to LIC, I usually come down the FDR and go over the 59th street bridge. I’ll be charged as i will be going lower than 60th street.. Strangely, going home, since the upper level of the bridge has its exit above 60th street, I won’t be charged??

  9. The exceptions for driving within the zone make sense. Otherwise you would have to have cameras on every block in the congestion zone. Not practical.

  10. I made more money than I need. I own a nice EV car – luxury in my head. That said, I am paying taxes. No issues on what that number turns out to be. What’s next? Am I breathing or far*ing extra that I should pay more? Every penny I earned is hard earned – I did clean toilets in my battle days. Can we get a perspective here? Please – be reasonable. Like I said, I can afford – but doesn’t mean I can be milked.

    • That’s exactly what I want tk say. My money is my money regurdless of the amount. The gov is already taking their portion off of my check even before it reaches to me. What else they want??

  11. So if I come from Brooklyn to city using Brooklyn bridge or Battery tunnel and go to Jersey using Lincoln Tunnel, how that would work?

    • You will get tolled when you enter the grid south of 60th. The highways — West Side and FDR — are exempt, so the other option is to stay on those when you enter the city from a bridge.

  12. Please everyone the opposes congestion pricing should leave new york and move the new jersey. And then just take the path train into lover Manhattan and screw nyc and the mta. No one should have to pay to drive their car on nyc pot holed roads and pay hard earned money to the mta. Just do some research and leave. That is what I am going to do.

  13. I live in Tribeca and take my wife to work everyday to East 64 street does that mean I get charged once a day? MTA at 6am is not the safest of things let’s be honest… so now we get penalized for staying safe and protecting my wife?

  14. As someone who grew up on 65th and West End, I will now be charged if I drive 6 blocks south of my apartment???? We pay city taxes and being taxed to drive to other neighborhoods (not countys, like Queens or BK etc) is completely ridiculous. At the minimum, all Manhattan residents shouldn’t have to pay this toll.

  15. Congestion pricing should only be in effect during rush hour times only. It is not “congestion” pricing if it operates 24/7. Also makes no sense that a resident leaving the city would be charged for “congestion” and residents that decide to drive uptown during rush hours (which is congestion time) would not be charged.

    • Completely agree. This is Tax on the highW2 earners to pay the business owners via the MTA and low wage earners .

    • Agree . It’s a congestion charge not a tax and should not operate 24hours a day. Again in London it runs 7am – 6pm Monday-Friday and 12 noon to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. So you can go into the city in the evenings and weekend mornings which restaurants and local businesses want and need AND helps local residents. It should be the same in NY and if not don’t call it a congestion charge call it a car tax.

  16. I say everybody who owns a vehicle don’t drive pass 60th street if you take a cab out that’s okay but in you return take cab or Uber to 60th street get out walk one block over then take another Uber or cab to save money. Local deliveries can do the same thing walk over with your hand truck’s to avoid paying the toll. Their’s a will there’s a way. I live in Manhattan on the lower east side I have a scooter so I will ride to work to the Bronx via 1st avenue then when come home FDR drive or exit below 60th street to ride home to avoid paying tolls. Oh by the way my plates are not covered or bent to avoid tolls. I will pay my fair share when needed I have EZ pass as well. I’ll bet money the MTA board will get a large wage increase then tell the public this was already on the planning stage.

  17. Live on West 60th. Car parked in garage on West 56th/9th. Work in Jersey. Drive few blocks in zone to West Side Hwy to GWB. Seems like I’ll be slammed every morning. At least I have a remedy and will look for garage space north of 60th. Pity others who are not as fortunate.

  18. The MTA states they lose 400 million dollars a year from fare beaters. Rather than dealing with the actual issue, Whether it be the MTA or the city, it is just easier to add a tax. The concept of charging people to go in and out of the neighborhood is just outrageous. Being that the neighborhood of Manhattan is an island, New Yorkers are already charged if they cross the boundary of the river. Now going to the boundary is is another charge. So if you want to come back home, you get charged a fee to enter the bridge or tunnel, and another fee to exit the same bridge or tunnel. If all the so called rich people who live south of s60th street are so upset, they should Contact the city council person and let them know how upset they are. And that
    that the so-called rich people, who the city is so ready to sdd taxes, will be supporting their opposition in the next election.

  19. If the purpose of the new driving tax is to reduce “congestion” (“congestion pricing”), then why not make the cost be zero after say 8 PM, when the roads are not congested.
    Yet another reason why people want to move out of the NY metro area.
    Some people say I have a choice to take public transportation instead of driving. Yes, that’s technically true, however, it takes me 30 minutes to drive into Manhattan by car and about 1.5 hours through various public transportation connections. Each way. That’s not a choice.

  20. Thank you for this- has there been any clarity as to how this will impact those of us that live in North Battery Park? For instance if I exit battery park via warren street and cross the WSH and continue into tribeca? Same question but what if I turn left onto WSH and take WSH up to 14th or 24rd street and head east?

    Thank you!

  21. I agree with the idea but not the execution. Someone who drives roundtrip from their garage in Tribeca to their garage in midtown, five days a week, during peak traffic hours, is not charged. Someone who comes from Williamsburg and shoots through Manhattan to the tunnel at 3AM is charged. I think that everyone should be in agreement that IF congestion pricing is in effect (whether you agree with it or not) that logically the first person, who is actually contributing to congestion, should be the one paying. Unfortunately I can’t see any possible way for that to happen. If you can’t charge them, at least suspend the congestion pricing overnight, maybe have a way to not charge if someone is in and out of the district in less than 15 minutes.

  22. Parking in Albany st (BPC) & leaving by battery tunnel to Brooklyn by 6:30 am and come back by 7 pm . I should be paid to reduce congestion. Is the MTA listening?
    Is there going to cameras that would pick me ?

  23. Question for the tribeca citizen. If I were to exit the holland tunnel, go to the west side highway, come back to an apartment at fifty fifth street, Return to the westside highway and then leave to the Holland tunnel. With that, be 4 charges in 1 day.?

  24. World’s tiniest violin. I am so sick of reading this comment section and people randomly bringing up those less fortunate and how they will able to afford this. First: when have you all ever cared? Every time an article about the unhomed is posted here, the comments are gross. Stop using people you don’t care about. Second: the less fortunate will get discounts. Get over it, people, and pay your share.

  25. Anyone else experiencing comments not showing on this page? I keep getting notifications of new comments on this page from the front page of the site, but when I come to this page, I only see 2 comments….

  26. Why are they charging during weekends and off hours when there is limited congestion. If I want to drive to visit family on a Sunday morning with no traffic why should I get charged? They call it congestion pricing but it’s just another tax.

  27. I don’t think dumbing the issue down to only rich or poor is helpful at all. The tax ,as it is just that, is a bs way for the MTA to make back the hundreds of millions it lost during the pandemic and its own gross mismanagement of funds. Many people do rely on cars for multiple reasons. When the subway system is not safe or reliable, it’s not an ideal choice.

  28. Congestion pricing is a completely misguided policy that penalizes the citizens of New York City for owning and using a car the way everyone else in America does. New York City residents should be exempt. And investing in electric charging stations and incentives to use electric vehicles will do a lot more to improve health and air quality of everyone. This is not the way to fund it as a penalizes, those same electric vehicles for operating. I New Yorkers already pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. This is not a toll, it’s a tax on every single person in New York City. It will affect the cost of goods sold, your ability to use the roads that you’ve already paid for to be maintained, and in general hurt all businesses in the central district. Conversely, it’ll be a boom for restaurants and entertainment businesses outside of Manhattan as people will decide it a little too expensive to head into town for an evening. I question why it would be necessary to charge anyone to leave the central business district only. If you live within it, they’re taxing your ability to simply return home.

  29. As a 60 year resident of New York City (the past 15 years in Tribeca) this is just another straw for the camel’s back.

    My local garage just raised my monthly fee by 123%! Crime is out of control (thanks Alvin!), and we should expect more lawlessness and flash mobs like we saw last week. Property taxes have never been higher (and climbing) and income taxes are already at their highs. Now we are dealing with these “faux taxes” like congestion pricing, parking tax etc.

    And let’s not make this about class, I am an immigrant that came to New York as an infant where my family of four was living in a one bedroom apartment in Lefrak City. I have worked my ass off to achieve whatever I have. I believe it is possible to do well and to do good at the same tome. As mentioned previously, I am happy to pay my fair share but don’t like being milked!

    I never though I’d say these words, but Florida here we come.

  30. Us that park on Pier 40 WILL be charged then, right?

  31. I agree with many above. I think what is most frustrating is that this is just another tax on those who live in the district if you own the car. You will be charged to get in your car and drive anywhere outside the congestion zone.

    The only saving grace will be that maybe it will cut down on the placard abusers though I bet there will be an exemption issued to most government employees who work in the congestion zone.

  32. Apologize for asking another “what about if” question, but what about if I travel down the West Side Hwy. (an excluded roadway) and exit into Pier 40 to use the parking garage. Once I get off the West Side Hwy. (an excluded roadway) and enter the Pier 40 property, will I be charged? Technically I am no longer on an excluded roadway.

    Also, I understand the perception that comes along with zip code 10013, but there are many of us “older residents” who have been down here since the 70’s and 80’s who are not wealthy. Maybe we’re retired. Maybe we decided to stay after 9/11, when we were actually incentivized to stay. Maybe we didn’t jump to the Hudson Valley during the pandemic, like so many others did. Maybe we’ve figured out how to live (comfortably) here on a set income. The new “hit” we’ll take from Congestion Pricing will certainly make the challenge of staying much greater.

    • Yes, you will be tolled when you leave the highway and entire properties west of the West Side Highway or east of the FDR, such as Waterside.

  33. What is the final outcome for the disability exemption?

    The exemption is for people with disabilities, but only applies to vehicles with disability license plates?

    This definition leaves out many people with permanent or temporary disabilities who rely on cars to get around.

    The federal definition in the Americans with Disabilities Act is “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

    What about tag holders?

  34. I live on E58 St and park my car in a garage between E58 and E57. I do not use my car to drive in lower Manhattan BUT I use my car to drive to my weekend house. Will I be charged congestion pricing when I return after the weekend? If so maybe it’s time to move my car to a garage north of 60th Street!!,

  35. I don’t think I’ve ever see 74 comments on a topic in Tribeca Citizen!

    I’m a driver who’ll likely soon be charged a few times a month–no problem. I also take subways 6-12 times a week and would like to see mass-transit become the ubiquitous travel method for everyone. The 700 lb gorilla is that the congestion we’re supposedly reducing is in large part caused by Ubers, which are also responsible for taking people off of mass transit. Why no outcry against this burden on our streets? And who wants to bet NJ Transit, LIRR, Metro North tickets will skyrocket once congestion pricing is in effect?

  36. And for those of us with families of 4 or more living in the CBD downtown driving a 16 yo car because that’s all we can afford…don’t want to pay more because we live here and have for decades. Not everyone is rich and takes a for hire vehicle. Enforce the parking rules and traffic laws and reduce the placards. There was a study that said 40% improvement from illegal parking alone.

  37. Well, I still only see 2 comments on this discussion. The others don’t appear. Not even my own.

    • I have this issue if I click on a new comment in the gray part of the main page. If I scroll to the actual article and click on the comments that way, I can see all of them. Hope that helps. Must be a glitch.

  38. Get ready for 10x increase in 70mph+ illegal electric scooters on the pedestrian and bike paths on the bklyn bridge, mn bridge and Williamsburg br. Hope congestion pricing fares will be used to offset cost of extra policing.

  39. To clarify, if you leave lower Manhattan on a Friday night and return Sunday night, you are only charge for entering the CBD but not for leaving the CBD right? Or charge both ways?

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