Sadik-Khan: NYC Congestion Pricing Program Potentially ‘Transformative’—If Done Right

The former transportation commissioner says the city must ensure the program isn’t “all stick and no carrot to succeed.

1 minute read

September 18, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of traffic in New York City entering Queens Midtown tunnel

Traffic entering the Queens-MIdtown Tunnel in Manhattan. | Mirror-images / Adobe Stock

As New York City prepares to implement its congestion pricing program, former NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan expressed concern about the potentially “transformative” program in an interview with Curbed’s Justin Davidson.

Despite the program’s promises, Sadik-Khan knows the stakes are high, saying, “You don’t want to launch a program that’s all stick and no carrot. If congestion pricing does in fact remove 20 percent of the traffic and you just wind up with underused car lanes, it’s an invitation for motorists to fill them up again. It will harm the program’s credibility irreparably.”

Sadik-Khan offers a wealth of solutions and suggestions for making the program work for New Yorkers, such as discounts for drivers with disabilities and more dedicated infrastructure for pedestrians, bikes, and other new modes like e-bikes and mopeds. “By thinking bigger and greener for people on foot, who make up the overwhelming majority of people on the street,” Sadik-Khan said.

However, Sadik-Khan offers a warning: “if congestion pricing isn’t accompanied by new amenities, it will betray the promise that was made. And if we’re not ready for it, we’ll be looking at a historic unforced error.”

Thursday, September 7, 2023 in Curbed

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