Fall 2001, p.4

T.A. Develops Plan for New York's Transportation Future

1. Increase Security, Create New Public Places and Encourage Walking and Cycling

  • Increase security and create impressive plazas and public spaces. London's financial district permanently restricted vehicle access after a costly car-bombing a decade ago. There and in hundreds of Western European cities, essential motor vehicles have electronic passes which briefly lower barriers. NYC should follow London's lead and restrict vehicles in the Wall St. area, near Grand Central and create new pedestrian areas at Times, Herald and Union Squares.
  • Improve foot and bicycle access to transit. Widen crowded sidewalks near Penn Station and Port Authority and create secure bike parking and lanes near subway and train stations.

2. Expand Transit Quickly and Cheaply

  • Immediately increase service on existing subway and bus routes, sustain the increase with commuter and gas taxes. Immediately, and permanently, convert all HOV lanes at area bridges, tunnels and highways into bus only lanes. Launch regional high speed bus network. This has halved trip times for buses using the The Goethals, SIE, Verrazano, Gowanus, Battery, FDR route, LIE to Midtown Tunnel and Queensboro Bridge.
  • Create "Super Bus Transit" network within the City - Install physically separated, bus only lanes and loading stations to move very large numbers of passengers quickly. Install in Manhattan: First and Second Avenues, West Side Highway; and critical cross town connectors on 57th, 42nd,34th 23rd, 14th, Houston and Canal.
  • Clear transitways, bike lanes and emergency routes. Equip buses and bus stops with enforcement cameras that can issue tickets for blocking bus stops and lanes. (London just installed 800.) Double the fine for bus and bike lanes and fire zones. Provide fire engines and express buses with traffic signal overrides as is done in many other cities.
  • Start Building the Second Avenue subway and push for completion of LIRR connection to Grand Central.

3. Raise Money and Reduce Congestion

  • Toll East River Bridges. Yes, this means approval from City Council, the State Legislature and Congress, but it is essential. EZ Pass and non-stop tolling technology means no toll plaza and no jams. Flexible tolls, reduce rush hour traffic and are already used by the MTA and Port Authority. At $3.50 a trip, tolling the bridges would generate $550 million a year. Of this, $100 million would go straight to maintaining and rebuilding crumbling streets and bridges around the city.
  • Raise the NYC gas tax by 20 cents a gallon. Devote funds to street and bridge repair to increased transit service.
  • Restore the commuter tax and devote it to increasing subway and bus service.
  • Use scarce curb space smartly: Charge variable fees for all on-street parking south of 60th street in Manhattan and all commercial parking in NYC. This will sharply reduce double parking and ensure critical vehicles access to the curb.
  • Reserve corner parking spots in Midtown for taxi pick-up drop-off.

4. Freight

  • Accelerate the Trans-Hudson Freight Tunnel for completion in 2007.
  • Substantially Increase funding for Cross-Harbor "Float Bridge" container barges.

5. Roads and Bridges

  • Replace the Gowanus Expressway with a tunnel.
  • Fix it First: Spend $300 million in commuter and gas tax revenue every year to maintain and repair bridges and streets. Also, increase the repaving schedule and the use of new methods and incentive contracts for paving.

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