Letters to the editor, Mar. 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Pricing won’t help with congestion

To the editor:

Apparently April Fool’s Day is Judgment Day for congestion fees here in New York City. It is the day, following Mr. de Blasio on WNYC, when wisdom will be brought to bear and traffic congestion will be made a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, while congestion fees may help the cash-strapped MTA, the practice will do nothing for congestion… and we all know it!

The reason: Traffic congestion was not caused by a cash shortage in the MTA. Congestion is an above-ground problem, and no amount of MTA money, and no amount of on-time public service will get at its causes. The first cause was the deliberate increase years ago in the number of yellow cabs. The second cause is the number and sizes of Uber and Lyft vehicles that found their way onto our streets — 100,000 if current figures are correct. And finally, though not causal, the introduction of bike lanes has squeezed cars, cabs, vans, trucks, limos and buses into an already crowded center-of-the-road.


Clearly, if our streets are over-crowded with vehicular traffic, the trick would be to lessen the traffic. No? Years ago, maybe 46, there existed, we were told at the time, a shortage of gas. So, that being so, we did the relevant and uncomfortable thing, we eased the demand for gas. We instituted odd/even days: if your license ended in an odd number you drove on odd days (and even number, on even days). Like it or not, the remedy actually had the cause as its target.

So… about congestion…We know the problem; we know its cause(s); like current and soon-to-be climate disasters, we know what flipped us from busy to congested.

Of course, having identified the problem, we come well-equipped in speech to deny the inconvenient truths as our political processes institutionalize our denials.

John M. Giannone, ST

If the driving regs ain’t broke…

This letter is a followup to the letter, “A royal screwup on 20th St.,” T&V, Jan. 10, about the changes in street design and traffic rules.

They took down the prohibition of turning left on 20th Street to the FDR North. Finally a bit of common sense (or maybe public pressure).

I was speaking to someone over the weekend who is trying to get on the ballot as a delegate.

He mentioned that he thought the changes to the left turns on 14th street were probably due to the construction on the L train.

But since they have amended the schedule don’t you think they should amend the changes?

Name withheld, ST

Smiling all the way from the bank

Thank you very much to the person who returned my wallet. It was a godsend.

I was getting money from the ATM on Friday at the Chase Bank on 23rd Street and First Avenue and I left my wallet with all my cards on the side. I panicked because I know I can’t replace it all. Then I got a call from the bank saying someone had returned it. I wanted to say thank you, but they left no name.

It was all intact; and I had just made a large withdrawal and it was all there, all my charge cards and hospitalization cards. It was a godsend because it’s almost impossible to replace those. So I’m hoping the right person will see this. Thank you.

Alexander Young, PCV

Thanks for supporting local Scouts

I want to thank Cathryn Duhigg of Cauz for Pawz and Carole Husiak of Ibiza Kidz for allowing me to sell Girl Scout cookies at their stores last weekend (March 16, 17). They are awesome!

Thank you also to the customers who came to support my cookie business.


Maddie Noveck, ST
Cadette Girl Scout Troop 3225

Editor’s note: Maddie is a veteran cookie-selling champ, having been the highest selling Girl Scout in Manhattan in 2015 at the age of eight. To support her entrepreneurial spirit, treat yourself to some Thin Mints online.

2 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Mar. 28

  1. Blaming bike lanes for congestion is an easily-debunked suggestion when:
    1) Most streets don’t have bike lanes & are still congested, even far from the lanes
    2) The streets had chronic rush-hour congestion issues before bike lanes were installed
    3) There is no mention made of construction sites, sprawling out over half a block, taking the whole parking lane and half a travel lane in so many places (and while they do come and go, some sites are cordoned off for up to 3 years during demolition/buildout & there are more sites all the time, some in sensitive places)

    There are other more-technical points, but these are the prominent ones.

    It’s really a minor point in the overall debate about congestion (Mr. Giannone didn’t seem to make a big point about this), but a lot of these claims are straight-up misinformation, if not propaganda. Local policymakers and advocates do not have the support that they need to make rational, logical decisions about transportation in the city because – and this is very widely noted/observed – drivers consider any conversion or adaptation of roadway space to be a needless revocation of precious street space that will throw the whole city into chaos. (I am not kidding. These are the exact points made at meetings, in editorials, in press releases, etc.) The congestion pricing debate has played out the same way – it’s a proposal with strong support in the area where it would be enacted, but with strong opposition from drivers who have used apocalyptic terms to describe what it would do to “the working class” commuting into the congestion zone (who, all surveys show, 90-95% are public transit users). A moderate amount of negotiation about congestion pricing terms/rules was expected (this is why the Move New York proposal was lauded – it included toll decreases for bridges in the outer boros) but the possibility for sober discussion is nil when you have powerful political figures dealing in temper-tantrums and self-victimization.

    We absolutely need to do better in thinking about neighborhood design and transportation solutions. There is so much complaining about bike lanes here, and not a peep about headways and traffic delays on the M14 and M23 lines that connect the neighborhood with the subways and the central parts of Midtown. The latter affects so many people, every day, and is a very solvable problem! Complaining about the bike lanes (most of which were installed 10 years ago? They’ve been fine!) seems to me to be more of a lame ornery personality trait than part of a realistic policy push.

  2. In addition to what John has said re the vast increase in the car service apps (# of vehicles) and Brian (who is always with his blinders on a pro bike agenda-BTW, I ride too) has said, the 800 pound gorilla is the placard corruption of almost 200,000 of these placards that are used by law enforcement, doctors, FDNY, the Court, clergy etc. who drive into the Manhattan to park anywhere, fee free, no standing, bike lanes, crosswalks, SPS bus lanes, etc. This has been shown by the Placard Corruption Twitter account, many of these placard users also alter their license plates (illegal) so that they will never be charged for congestion pricing. Until this corruption issue is addressed, congestion pricing will be a major failure. I have posted this before. Also, the ferry service is heavily subsidized, the money used for that would be far better used for improved bus service.


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