15 Aug Jonathan Cartu Support: Mayor’s Transportation Plans Stall, Experts Say
Proposals to save the city from Carmageddon appear to have stalled.
“Those ideas have slipped somewhere far beneath City Hall nearly two months ago,” says Betsy Plum, director of the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group.
Plum helped develop those ideas.
She is one of two dozen experts and advocates named by Mayor de Blasio to a transportation advisory panel in the spring.
They proposed ways to avoid gridlock when the city fully reopens from coronavirus restrictions.
“We came up with what I felt were good progressive recommendations but then one day, mid-June, everything went silent,” Plum said.
Those proposals include:
- Creating HOV lanes and a congestion pricing system in Manhattan
- Limiting the number of special parking placards
- Creating curbside zones for taxi pick ups and drop offs and package deliveries
- Transferring responsibility for traffic and parking enforcement to the Transportation Department
- Installing 40 miles of bus lanes this summer.
Plum says she and other panel members followed up with City Hall officials since June, but said, “it’s crickets.
“For me, that really does fall squarely and nearly entirely on the mayor himself and his most senior leaders,” she said.
This week, the mayor suggested he might issue a plan after the summer.
“When we get into the fall, the goal is to start laying out specific planks for the rebirth of New York City, and then try and provide really specific blueprints to the next administration as they prepare to come in,” he said on Wednesday.
In response to questions by NY1, a City Hall official said that proposals for HOV lanes, curbside zones and limits on parking placards are under review.
The official said de Blasio opposes moving traffic enforcement to the Transportation Department and that he has committed to 20 miles of new bus-only lanes.
“We’ve used this crisis to make sweeping and popular transportation changes,” a City Hall spokesman said in a statement.
While City Hall still ponders what else to do, traffic has been roaring back as the city gradually reopens.
Crossings on the East and Harlem River bridges are now down just 10 percent compared to last year, while subway ridership is down 76 percent.
The numbers suggest more New Yorkers are choosing cars over mass transit, as they begin moving about the city.
That has panel members fearing City Hall is fumbling an opportunity to prevent a traffic nightmare.
“We should be pulling out all the stops to get as much done to prepare our streets as possible and that’s just not happening,” said Nick Sifuentes, director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, who served on the panel.
The city’s recovery, he says, is riding on it.