Basically, fuck Sheldon Silver
“Congestion pricing is dead.” I just have to regard this as a tremendous betrayal of everyone who lives here, and of what would have been a significant step toward making this a better city in which to live.
I’m sure municipalities in every corner of the globe face much the same set of challenges when it comes to embracing novel transportation plans: entrenched business elites, institutions and individuals who benefit (overtly or otherwise) from the status quo, fear of the unknown, and never least, simple inertia. And yet other big cities seem to have grasped that we’re on the cusp now of the second decade of the twenty-first century, and that the times and conditions we now face both deserve and demand fresh thinking about how best to get around. Whether it’s the RFID-based touchless payment systems I’ve written and thought so much about, traffic calming initiatives, regional transit planning, transit-oriented development, the Vélib bikes of Paris, Helsinki’s self-locating and self-reporting buses, or congestion pricing in the London mode, innovation is everywhere in urban circulation these days, demonstrably saving time and money, reducing resource consumption, and improving lives.
So what’s wrong with New York? It saddens and, frankly, in some real way, sickens me to think that this greatest of cities is getting left ever further behind, unwilling or unable to adapt to the changing realities so evident all around us. In this specific case, the city government itself seems to have done everything it could have, for which I’m grateful. But we remain dependent on a laggard state (to which, ironically, we provide a hugely disproportionate share of revenue) and, perversely, in this instance it’s the upstate legislators that disdain us so that have the veto power over our ambitions.
So I’d humbly submit that this is the very first settled arrangement that needs a fresh look – but far, far from the last one. I personally don’t much care if you-all upstaters want to retreat into some regressive fantasy of midcentury life, but leave us be to determine our own future. You don’t want to live here, fine, but we do. Who do you think should have the greater say over how that living plays out?