As we ease out of the COVID-19 PAUSE in NYC, one thing is making a comeback that nobody wants: traffic congestion. While businesses continue to reopen and more workers returning to their job sites, most people are leery of using mass transit, which can mean only one thing: More driving…which is putting decades of air quality improvements in jeopardy.
“We avoid 17 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year because of the MTA,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “If we’re swapping that with cars, which are less efficient to begin with, we are going to have a problem.”
Traffic on bridges and tunnels is down only 18 percent on average from its pre-pandemic levels. The number of vehicles entering Manhattan’s central business district is only 15 percent below the volume seen ahead of the public health crisis, according to the city’s Department of Transportation. In early April, traffic was down roughly 60 percent from normal levels.
While subway ridership has rebounded from an all-time low, it’s still down roughly 78 percent from 2019 levels — with just more than one million riders using the system on weekdays. Buses have recovered more quickly, but ridership is still down 50 percent.
While environmental advocates have focused their efforts in recent years on targeting the largest source of emissions — city buildings — they acknowledge transit could become a greater concern in the Covid-19 era.
You can read more about this on Politico.com here.
Since the 1970s, off and on, NYC has considered a congestion pricing plan, where drivers would be charged a fee for driving in Manhattan south of 60th Street during certain hours of the day, for the purpose of relieving congestion on the streets and raising badly needed income for the public transportation system. Unlike previous plans, the current one under consideration does not include tolls on all the East River bridges. But opponents still believe the fees will be a drain on commuters.
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Got questions about the planned L train closures? Join the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the NYC Department of Transportation for a series of open houses to learn and ask questions about plans for the 15-month closure of the Canarsie Tunnel, beginning in April 2019. Please join us at one of these events, and feel free to arrive anytime during the timeframes listed.
East Williamsburg: Wednesday, January 24
Progress High School
850 Grand Street bet Bushwick Ave & Waterbury St, Brooklyn
Manhattan East Side: Wednesday, January 31
344 East 14th Street bet First & Second Aves, Manhattan
Williamsburg: Thursday, February 8
Williamsburg Community Center
195 Graham Avenue bet Scoles & Stagg Sts, Brooklyn
Manhattan West Side: Wednesday, February 14
Our Lady of Guadalupe
328 West 14th Street bet Eighth Ave & Hudson St, Manhattan
You can download the flyer here.
Did you know that NYC is projected to become one of the leaders in electric vehicle use? Well we are, and the city is preparing by offering an Invitation to Bid to Envision Solar’s EV ARC solar-powered EV charging stations.
While in some ways the design (pictured) seems a little clunkier than the more shed-like solar charging stations we’ve seen in the past, the fact that these stations can be moved around the site where they are located seems like a big plus.
So when will these stations be installed, and where?
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Even though it was first introduced to the world in the 1950s, it became a ubiquitous cultural icon during the counter-culture era of the 1960s. Hippies, free-spirited adventurers and cross-country travelers snapped up the Type 2 microbus at what is, by today’s standards, the unbelievably low price of around $2,100 (it also played a supporting role in Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant).
Volkswagen stopped microbus production in 2003, but now they’re trying to bring the design back- as a battery electric vehicle.
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Remember the congestion pricing plan that was floated by the Bloomberg administration back in 2008? It had its critics and it had its flaws, and it ultimately died a death in the State Assembly, in no small part thanks to Sheldon Silver’s opposition. But it is a new day, a new administration, and Move NY has proposed a new congestion pricing plan (read the full plan here).
Things have changed a lot in the past seven years, obviously. But have they changed enough to transform our transportation system?
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