Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Plan: A Modest Proposal After All

The elephant in the room at the Mayor’s big speech this Sunday–and one of his laugh lines–was not the 94-foot model of the blue whale hanging from the ceiling of the American Museum of Natural History, but congestion pricing.

The outlines of the plan are pretty well-known by now, but only those lucky enough to get the briefing book (they ran out of copies), were able to see just how modest the plan really is: At just $8 a car (compared to twice that in London), traffic will diminish by a mere 6.3 percent; speeds will accelerate by 7.2 percent. If the average speed is 15 m.p.h., that means an increase to 16.08 m.p.h.

(City Hall says these figures, though, are averages over 24 hours; the impact during the 6 a.m.-6 p.m. charging period will likely be greater.)

There are 126 other initiatives in the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030, though, but none of them have generated the type of e-mail rebuttals that this one has in the short time since it has been made public. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Democrat of Westchester, is emerging as a prime opponent, along with the expected City Council members from Brooklyn and Queens.