The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Friday, July 22, 2005

Congestion Pricing Primer

The best first step in creating a greener NYC and weaning the local area of their dependence on cars is to implement some type of congestion pricing for the East River bridges or creating some type of Central Business District (CBD) zone that would require an entrance fee, in particular one that would vary in price depending on the time of day.

In NYC, the most logical zone would be Manhattan south of 60th Street, since this would cover all 4 free East River bridges as well as people coming from the north of Manhattan where there are free bridges from the Bronx.

The most comprehensive and compelling analysis I could find was put together by Jeffery Zupan of the Regional Plan Association. He reviews 4 different options for congestion pricing and the impact it would have on the number of cars, trucks and other vehicles entering Manhattan as well as the increased mass transit ridership.

However, this is politically unpopular for politicians in the outer boroughs. We need to convince them that this is the right thing to do for the whole city.

From a peak oil perspective, this type of policy would help transition our economy so that when gas prices start to run away, we already have changed commuting habits in such a way that the impact will be less chaotic.

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