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.



  1. I know that for now this congestion tax is no t happening l, but I’d still like to know: I live on 24th st and 3rd Ave. I only use my car on weekends to visit family in Westchester area. My garage is on 24th and 2nd and I enter and exit the FDR at 23rd st to go north. Will I get charged every time I get out of the city?