Thursday’s Headlines: The MTA Blows Its Congestion Pricing Analysis Edition

How did the MTA turn the flexible; visionary; time-, money-, and environment-saving, congestion-pricing plan into a “dog” that everyone is kicking — erroneously — as “a money grab that will cut traffic only in Manhattan”?

Streetsblog contributor Charles Komanoff laid out the many deficiencies of the authority’s environmental assessment that led to that outrage yesterday in a Gotham Gazette op-ed. Here are key takeaways:

  • Central Business District tolling “will result in 1,974,000 fewer daily miles traveled by automobiles outside of the Manhattan congestion zone.”
  • The EA underestimates these cuts in traffic outside of Manhattan an average of five-fold.
  • The MTA’s modeling makes such mistakes because, among other things, it totally omits the concept of “price elasticity.”

Here’s an added whopper: “I can’t find one transportation or environmental advocate actively pushing this congestion pricing plan who protested the invasion of 100,000 [for-hire] vehicles,” writes former MTA board member Lucius Ricco in an error-laden Daily News op-ed. Wrong.

In other news:

  • Ninth Avenue is getting an 11-foot-wider sidewalk on its east side from 50th to 59th streets, reclaiming a lane for walkers that was lost to the approach of the Lincoln Tunnel 85 years ago. (W42ndSt)
  • The NYPD will begin encrypting its radio transmissions in 2024, cutting off the press and the public for the first time since the 1940s. (amNY)
  • Taxi owners will get some medallion-loan relief. (amNY)
  • The NYC Economic Development Corporation booted a beloved playground from a pier in Red Hook. (The City)
  • The hit-and-run moped rider who killed actress Lisa Banes in Manhattan pleaded guilty. (NY Post, NYTimes)
  • An anarchist group opposing private property tried a stunt: selling multiple keys to a “mystery” car parked somewhere in Brooklyn. (Gothamist)
  • A New York Times tech reporter took a “Cruise” driverless taxi in San Francisco. (These are the kind of driverless cars for which Ford an GM want a safety exemption to turn loose thousands annually.) The “technology remains a work in progress” — to say the least.
  • Albany advanced legislation that would punish drivers from “non-cooperative” states (see: New Jersey) with a $50 fine if their DMVs wouldn’t share vehicle information with New York. New Jersey’s Senate unanimously passed such a measure in June. Gothamist covered the tit-for-tat legislation.
  • Heard about the latest sally against outdoor dining? Streetsblog had the story (and, later, so did amNY). One Twitter wag had a humorous solution. (Via Twitter)

  • Pity the office-building dinosaurs of Third Avenue? No, turn them into housing. (Bloomberg)
  • From the assignment desk: DOT Commissioner Rodriguez cuts the ribbon on a new bus priority lane in Queens this morning.
  • Long Island’s Hempstead Turnpike is the most dangerous road for cyclists in America. Believe it. (Bicycling)
  • Speaking of congestion pricing, Assembly Member Robert Carroll, who just penned a column on it for Streetsblog, welcomed a different kind of project on the 27th. (Via Twitter)

  • A Brooklyn judge awarded $4.5 million to a man who was beaten and blinded by a Williamsburg “safety patrol.” (NYDN)
  • Here’s a Sport Utility Vehicle owner who says the “quiet” part out loud: The “sport” is roadway killing. (Via Twitter)