What Western Queens Stands to Lose Without Congestion Pricing

Queens residents crash Friday’s anti-pricing rally

We’ve received several reports that Friday’s anti-pricing rally on the Queens side of the 59th Street Bridge, spearheaded by City Council Member Tony Avella, was a bust.

According to our sources, of the council members slated to attend — Avella, Leroy Comrie, Melinda Katz, David Weprin "and other possible members of the Queens Delegation" — only Avella and Weprin showed up. Pro-pricing folks who came to either counter-protest or just express support for pricing, including those from Queens, were reportedly yelled at and accused of being "undemocratic" by Avella. Environmental Defense was on hand to measure air quality and found that "contaminants were sky high."

Notably absent from the proceedings was Councilman Eric Gioia, who represents the district where the rally took place. Here are a few possible reasons why, as enumerated in testimony to council members by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

  • Without congestion pricing, western Queens will not see a 39% reduction in its most severe traffic jams, and a 6.1% reduction in total traffic.
  • Without congestion pricing, western Queens will not receive new bus routes from Middle Village to South Ferry in Lower Manhattan, and from Jackson Heights to Penn Station.
  • Without congestion pricing, western Queens will not get improved service on the Q60 bus route.
  • Without congestion pricing, western Queens will lose 46 new subway cars that would increase service frequency on the E and F trains.
  • Without congestion pricing, western Queens may lose state-of-the-art train control on the #7 line, that would allow trains to operate at higher speeds and run closer together, for better, more frequent service.

This is what Avella, Weprin and other hard-working council members are trying to take away from Gioia’s constituents today. Will Gioia himself be among them?