Shtum in Stockholm

For those of you interested in urban traffic policy, the pro-bike, anti-car website StreetsBlog has an account of DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall’s recent attendance at an international gathering of transportation officials in Stockholm.

To the apparent disappointment of the item’s author, officials from London, Stockholm and elsewhere talked enthusiastically about the effects of their “congestion pricing” programs in cutting traffic, while the New York contingent was mostly happy just to listen.

From the item:

Weinshall had no big traffic reduction strategies or plans to share with the assembled because unlike the other cities at the conference, New York City doesn’t have any.

While that’s not quite true — this is the administration, remember, responsible for the limited-turn “thru streets” that delighted transportation nerds at the time of their introduction — Weinshall’s reluctance to go within a mile of congestion pricing isn’t really a surprise.

Bloomberg, remember, offered a relatively innocuous statement on the subject back in February — “there are places in the world that have tried congestion pricing, and it’s certainly something that we should be looking at,” he said — only to have his press office immediately warn off any interpretation of the comments as a “loosening” of his opposition.

It seems that for the foreseeable future, the rights of New York drivers to sit in heavy traffic will remain free of charge.

– Josh Benson

UPDATE: One of the StreetBlog authors emailed to object to the use of the term “anti-car” in this item. “We’ve got nothing against cars,” he wrote. “Rather, we take issue with transpo policies that promote car use in the city to the detriment of other modes.”