Fall 2001, p.6

Carpools Rule

Within a day of the attack on the World Trade Center the police began searching all trucks entering Manhattan. Huge traffic jams started immediately as motorists backed up behind trucks. One jam at the Brooklyn Bridge extended for more than five miles onto residential streets. At the Queensboro Bridge, there were traffic delays of two to three hours (rarely noted in the press was that thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians moved along unhampered on bridge paths). In response to the jams, the mayor imposed an emergency rule requiring private cars entering Manhattan on the bridges south of 62nd street to have two or more passengers per vehicle (a similar rule was imposed during the 1980 transit strike, but three people per car were required). The rule worked extremely well and traffic delays plunged immediately as motorists carpooled and switched to public transit. 

The public reception to the carpool rule has been favorable and it has the backing of newspapers and business leaders. To assure the continuation of the carpool requirement, T.A. helped organize a press conference to release a statement of support from five former DOT Commissioners and leading transit and environmental groups including:

Elliot Sander NYC DOT Commissioner, Mayor Giuliani,
Lucius Riccio NYC DOT Commissioner, Mayor Dinkins
Ross Sandler NYC DOT Commissioner, Mayor Koch
Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff NYC DOT Commissioner, Mayor Lindsay
Sam Schwartz, NYC DOT Deputy Commissioner, Mayor Koch
Regional Plan Association
Straphangers Campaign
Transportation Alternatives
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Natural Resources Defense Council


Few Affected By Mandatory Carpooling

According to Konheim and Ketcham, NYMTC, NYC DOT study, 2000:

Small Number of Commuters Use Single Occupancy Vehicles 

  • Between 6 am and 11am, 3.3% of all commuters entering Manhattan (by trains, buses, cars, etc.) on bridges and tunnels south of 63rd St. were in single occupant vehicles.

Single Occupancy Vehicles Account For Most Traffic Congestion 

  • Between 6 am and 11am, 53% of all vehicles (commercial or private) entering Manhattan south of 63rd Street were single occupant vehicles.

Statement in Support of the Mayor's Plan to Require Carpooling South of 62nd Street

We strongly support Mayor Giuliani's plan to require non-commercial motorists to carpool if they want to travel into Manhattan south of 62nd Streets from 6am to noon on weekday mornings. 

We need to keep our city moving in this time of crisis. New York simply cannot afford the massive gridlock that has been plaguing our area. The city must free up street space for activities essential to our security and economy, including the efficient and safe movement of emergency vehicles, police, fire and other security officers, and deliveries. Fewer cars attempting to enter the city means less delays for everyone. 

Many thousands of metropolitan-area motorists have put flags on their cars to show their concern for the future of our city and nation. Now they must do their part by putting passengers in their cars as a way to reduce traffic, enhance our safety, and support our economic stability. 

We encourage New Yorkers to take public transportation, bicycle and walk where they can. We appreciate that a significant number of area residents need to drive, but where that's the case, it's fair to ask them to take other vehicles off the road by carpooling. 

We stand ready to work with the Mayor, the Port Authority, MTA and other transportation officials to consider and implement a range of other measures to keep New York moving.

Read the latest information on this subject.