20 April 2007

Mayor Mike Takes On The Auto Lobby

After my admittedly somewhat flippant comments about global warming, I woke up to Thomas Friedman being interviewed about his proposals for a "more muscular, geostrategic environmentalism," and have to admit that he makes a lot more sense than I did. Also heard from Mayor Mike Bloomberg (no, not personally), who, to his credit, looks ready to propose congestion pricing for vehicles entering Manhattan during business hours.

The likelihood of Hizzoner being able to sell the idea to the state legislature (which needs to approve it), let alone the fractious hordes of motorists who seemingly would need to have their cold, dead fingers pried from their steering wheels before giving up their God-given right to clog the streets and foul the air, but given his track record, I wouldn't write off Bloomberg's chances.

This is a guy, after all, who only managed to make it into office because the opposition was so dire, started his first term largely unloved and quickly made himself even less popular by the smoking ban, yet now looks set to go into the books as New York's most successful mayor since LaGuardia. If third terms were allowed, he'd win so easily that it would barely be worth the expense of holding the election.

Congestion pricing hasn't been the complete success that some advocates claim in London, the only city comparable to New York where it's been tried, but that's largely because it hasn't gone far enough: if it were in force 24/7 instead of only during business hours, then it would begin to force real change to transport patterns. But it's a good start, and I think would be even more successful in New York, which is if anything even better served by public transit (though major improvements would still be necessary if we're serious about forcing that many people out of their cars).

But Bloomberg's success with the smoking ban might augur well for his chances with congestion pricing: widely derided at first, it's now almost completely accepted, even among many smokers, as far more sensible than the bad old days. A Manhattan free of traffic snarls and pollution might seem almost unimaginable today, but a few years from now we may be looking back and marveling at what we used to put up with.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The date and time stamped on this entry is 1:28AM on April 21, but right now it is 12:20PM on April 20 in NYC. Have you neglected to change the time zone of your blog since your move from Australia?

Larry Livermore said...

Apparently.

Little Blue PD said...

.
We all have to wonder what Bloomberg is really thinking of with this congestion pricing tax scheme. Maybe he mostly just wants a new tax. Just wrap it up in ‘concern for the environment’, and then people can just demonize those who oppose it.

If he cares so much about traffic jams, congestion and air pollution, why does he let Park Avenue be blocked off? Why doesn’t he do anything about that?

It's true, Pershing Square Restaurant blocks Park Avenue going South at 42nd St. for about 12 hours a day/5 months of the year! This Causes Massive Congestion and Air Pollution!

But apparently it does not bother NYC’s Nanny-in-Chief Mike “Congestion Pricing Tax” Bloomberg?

It certainly supports his claim that the city is hugely congested.

Check out the map!

http://whataplanet.blogspot.com
http://preview.tinyurl.com/38obfd

Check it out!

Thanks,

Little Blue PD

:)