Provocateur: Mayor Breaks the Ice with Carpool Rule
Obviously, these aren't ordinary times in New York City. Among the highest profile issues in post-disaster media coverage is the City's requirement that private cars must have two or more passengers while entering Manhattan on the bridges and tunnels south of 63rd street between 6am and 11am. The "Carpool Rule" stemmed from the need to reduce traffic jams caused by police searches. For all of the hoopla, the rule only directly effected 3% of the morning commuters. That it took a wildly popular mayor in the midst of the city's worst disaster to proclaim the rule is a good reminder that car culture is still very strong in New York City. But maybe things are starting to change.
Daily News, Excerpted from Transit Will Keep the Masses Moving, September 20, 2001
Past proposals to curtail automobile traffic in Manhattan - from restricting cars in midtown to instituting tolls on East River bridges - have been unpopular. But we dare to speak the unspeakable: These ideas may have to be revisited as downtown is rebuilt and time-consuming security checkpoints become the norm. Improved transit will keep workers here and attract visitors. Commuters have a new mindset. More than ever, more of them are willing to consider alternatives to their cars. Attractive alternatives must be offered. This is mass transit's moment. Seize it...
...Manhattan was in lockdown from massive traffic jams. The lesson: We've got to change the way we travel. Now and forever. Keeping New York moving - and, by extension, working, functioning and surviving - will require strong immediate action, as well as long-term, comprehensive planning. The idea is to get more people to use mass transit on a daily basis. Expansion of train, bus and ferry service is a must. o Commuter trains must run more frequently after rush hour. This has not been a 9-to-5 society for years. o Bus service must be expanded - on both private suburban and city express routes. o NY Waterway should continue to expand its routes. Other ferry operators should test the waters. o More New York companies must offer employees TransitChek and consider staggered work hours. o The NJTransit's Montclair Connection must remain on track, and the linking of the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal expedited. Large-scale infrastructure projects - the Second Ave. subway, a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson, a New Jersey-to-Brooklyn freight tunnel - must be funded and work commenced in earnest.
Daily News, Don't Drive Alone-Tough times demand tough measures, September 27, 2001
Carpooling is an alien concept for many New Yorkers. But for the time being, there is little alternative. No public official will win a popularity contest for proposing what was considered political poison in years past. But the world has changed. And we must all change with it. For anyone who can train, bus or ferry their way into town, consider it your civic duty to do so. For those who believe they have no choice but to drive, get accustomed to more inconvenience and more expense. That's because now that the ice has been broken on restricting car traffic in Manhattan, other ideas previously off the table are back on - most notably the possibility of tolling the four East River bridges. This would reduce city traffic and generate some of the funding for the improved transportation infrastructure that New York needs. As the mayor says, it's time for out-of-the-box thinking.
Bergen Record, Think long term on transit, October 2, 2001
The new (police) inspections won't end anytime soon, and lifting the ban on single-occupancy cars would make matters worse. The best immediate hope lies with the ferries. The largest ferry service has increased to 50,000 passenger trips a day, up from 34,000. NJ Transit, to its credit, has already begun adjusting bus routes to deliver commuters to a ferry stations. Medium-range steps include: building a temporary station near the World Trade Center, improving the signal system to squeeze more trains through the tunnel and accelerating acquisition of double-decker trains. But this is a time to think about the long term. The links between New Jersey and Manhattan were overloaded before the attack, and that makes doing business here expensive and inconvenient. It is past time to begin building a new commuter tunnel under the Hudson River. The need is clearer than ever. And because federal taxes paid by New Jersey and New York far outweigh money received, our claim to aid from Washington is strong.