NEW YORK -- Street safety advocates rallied with elected officials Thursday morning on Canal Street in lower Manhattan to call attention to the safety benefits of congestion pricing. The rally was held near the corner of Forsyth Street, where last month a driver mounted the curb and struck several pedestrians with his minivan, killing one person and injuring six.
Charging drivers to enter Manhattan’s central business district (below 60th Street) would diminish the number of cars both in Manhattan and in surrounding areas. While congestion pricing has been framed as a way to raise revenue for the MTA, it would also pay enormous safety dividends. For example, after congestion pricing took effect in London, total traffic crashes fell by 40 percent and there was an 80 percent reduction in the bicycle crash rate.
“Congestion pricing clears our air and makes our streets undoubtedly safer. With our city's subways in peril, congestion pricing will give the MTA the revenue they need to get our transit systems up and running again. Thank you to Transportation Alternatives, and to the various advocates and elected officials who have worked to make congestion pricing a priority for the state legislature,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who joined advocates at the rally.
“More cars means more crashes,” said Erwin Figueroa, senior organizer at Transportation Alternatives. “Congestion pricing won’t just fund improvements for the subway, but it would also change the culture of New York City’s chaotic streets. This should be a no-brainer, and we expect our elected leaders in Albany to make better transit and safer streets a priority in the upcoming legislative session.”
“We must use every tool at our disposal to design an arterial system that reduces the probability of car crashes and protects pedestrians from drivers. One fatality due to a vehicular crash is one too many. In the months ahead, I plan to advance my bill for enhanced street design actions to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists, and call for the state to pass a pragmatic congestion pricing plan,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Committee on Transportation.
"Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives have utterly transformed the conversation about rights and responsibilities on New York's crowded streets. We are all much safer for their efforts. Riders are also pedestrians and cyclists. The Riders Alliance is proud to partner on congestion pricing, which promises to modernize our transit system and reduce the number of dangerous and deadly collisions that still take and devastate far too many lives. Together, we look to the governor and legislature to restore reliability to our transit system and safety to our streets in the next state budget,” said Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director at Riders Alliance.