Opinion: Getting New York City’s Congestion Pricing Right

Improved transit service could make a major difference in how the program is received by New Yorkers.

1 minute read

March 24, 2024, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


New York City Subway

Kits Pix / Shutterstock

“Few good ideas have been resisted as loudly as New York’s plan to charge a toll to drivers entering Manhattan ($15 for most) and use the money to improve public transit,” writes Liza Featherstone in The New Republic.

Although New York’s policy does still have flaws that must be fixed—insufficient exemptions for low-income drivers, for instance—the populist argument against congestion pricing is mostly disingenuous. Only 4 percent of outer-borough New Yorkers drive to Manhattan to work; 57 percent take public transit. And only 2 percent of low-income outer-borough New Yorkers, specifically, would be asked to pay a congestion fee as part of their commute; 61 percent take public transit.

For the policy to gain and maintain public support, Featherstone writes that a large number of New Yorkers must experience its benefits quickly — meaning, better transit service and reduced congestion. “Public transit is one of the least abstract political issues for New Yorkers, affecting where we can work, whether we can get there in time, and whether we can pick up our kids on time at the end of the day.” This is why, Featherstone writes, the ‘Get Congestion Pricing Right’ proposal from Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani, which calls for making an additional 15 bus routes free and increasing bus frequency, could make the difference in how the program is received.

Monday, March 18, 2024 in The New Republic

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Close-up of row of slot machines in dark casino.

New York Casinos Gain Zoning Change Approval

The new process will let casino projects avoid undergoing a separate land use review in certain circumstances.

17 minutes ago - The Real Deal

High view of woman walking in parking lot with red and white cars visible at left.

Non-Roadway Traffic Deaths On the Rise

A growing number of traffic deaths occur in driveways, parking lots, and other non-roadway spaces.

1 hour ago - Streetsblog USA

Purple jacaranda trees in bloom in Los Angeles with tall white Art Deco buildings in background.

LA County Releases Draft Community Forest Management Plan

LA County's Chief Sustainability Office just released the discussion draft of Room to Grow, the first Community Forest Management Plan for the county.

April 21 - Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.