October/November 1999, p.13

Police Gridlock Patrol Expands - But Will It Reduce Gridlock?

Typical scene: drivers block not only the box but a good chunk of the crosswalk too.As traffic levels in NYC rise to all-time highs, police have launched several campaigns aimed at reducing traffic congestion, among them the 'Don't Block the Box' campaign begun in August to crack down on cars blocking intersections; and October's 'Operation Move Along,' which targets double-parking. While T.A. supports strong enforcement of traffic laws, the simple fact is that there are too many cars in the city. Drivers may be a little wary of entering the box or double parking because of these recent campaigns, but the number of cars in the city will not decrease. The Mayor and City need to look beyond one-dimensional traffic flow solutions and work to discourage driving in NYC.

Steps that make a real dent in traffic and traffic safety include:

  • Reduce cab-caused snarls by creating more cab stands in Midtown, designating curb space at corners as 'taxi stops' and requiring cabs to load and unload only at these stops.
  • Give buses greater street priority by expanding exclusive bus lanes and enforcing existing lanes.
  • Charge more for on-street parking in Manhattan, especially in the Central Business District.
  • Replace parking permits for municipal employees with a 'cash-out' parking program in which city employees receive a travel stipend that can be used for either transit or parking.
  • Institute tolls on all bridges and tunnels entering Manhattan that would vary depending on the time of day.

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