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August 24, 2022  

New York’s New Experiment in Fighting Gridlock

August 24, 2022

America’s first experiment with charging a toll to enter a congested urban area is going to begin in New York City next year.

All next week, a public hearing battle over the details will rage between advocates for and against congestion pricing, which might cost as much as $23 per trip for a passenger vehicle and more than $100 per trip for a commercial vehicle.

New Yorkers enjoy the most well-used transit system in America, but it’s in need of billions of dollars’ worth of maintenance. Congestion pricing might raise $1 billion per year to start paying for it, but the impacts will be profound to almost 2 million people driving into Manhattan daily. 

Congestion isn’t all bad. The average travel speed for a car in Manhattan has dropped into the single digits—about the same speed as a recreational runner, but these slower speeds reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries. 

Can New York drivers commuting in from the outer boroughs afford to pay to get below 60th Street? How can New York City afford to keep allowing so much space for automobiles? Geometry, after all, is a key to this question. 

Upzoned host Abby Kinney, an urban planner with Multistudio in Kansas City, takes on these questions (and more) raised in the Guardian article, “No Car for Me: Will a $23 Toll Finally Rid Manhattan of Gridlock?” Abby is joined by podcast guest Jay Stange, Content Manager for Strong Towns, who drove a car four (4!) times during a five-year Manhattan residence beginning in 2010.

Additional Show Notes