Monday, April 7, 2008

CP is dead (again). Hooray!!!!!

The bad idea that won't die looks like it's might just go away after all. Congestion Pricing is a plan to make Manhattan a slightly nicer place to walk to work at the expense of the other 6.8 million of us city tax paying residents. I never drive to work in Manhattan and I moved to Forest Hills so I wouldn't have to rely on a car - but that doesn't mean my child's health should be compromised for a Manhattan child - and that's what this plan was all about.

This plan was full of empty promises and pie-in-the-sky projections, from an agency that couldn't build one subway station with $800 million. The only certainty in the plan was that there would be less cars in Manhattan - where they would go is our problem.

More buses - that's what we get for becoming park and rides. If buses are so great, why are we spending billions on a 2nd Avenue subway? I like the parking permits, but all that means is that the cars would park in our garages instead of Manhattan's.

All one has to do is look at the environmental studies (which were blown off by the congestion pricing panel) of the Jamaica rezone to know horseshit when they see it. Let's take a look (from NYC.gov).

What is the Jamaica rezone? It's a city-led effort to use eminent domain to jam as much pollutants into our borough as possible, with no say from the Jamaica residents. Let's take a look in this long, boring, but necessary post.

The congestion pricing panel promises 46 new subway cars on the E/F lines. Question - where are you going to put them? The Jamaica rezone EIS tells us: "There are a total of 30 E and F trains operating Manhattan bound during the AM peak hour, which is the capacity of the track. No addtional service can be provided under the existing infrastructure." (page 41).

Expect those 46 new trains in off-peak hours - if you even get that. Or that the tiny portion of the profit that CP generates that is allotted to our subway line pays for entirely new infrastructure. But be advised that it took the MTA $800 million to not renovate one subway station, so don't hold your breath for new rail infrastructure. By the way, even though there is no more room for subway cars, the massive Jamaica upzone is going forward.

Also from the Jamaica rezone EIS (which was blown off by the CP panel): "In the future with the proposed actions (the upzone), the total open space ration within the residential open space study area would decrease to .735 acres per 1000 residents, a decline of approximately 4.9 percent. This ratio is substantially below the CEQR guideline of 2.5 acres per 1000 residents." (page 25).

In other words, forget PlanNYC 2030, forget congestion pricing, forget the CEQR guideline.

By the way, the city does care about the green space in the Hudson Yards rezone. So much so that they made developers submit plans before it let the MTA sell the land. The winning bidder promised to create 13 acres of green space. Let's do the math:

Manhattan's Hudson Yards Rezone Green Space Allotment: 13 acres.
Queens' Jamaica Rezone Green Space Allotment: 0.39 acres.

Don't feel bad that congestion pricing failed - it should have. Had the city made it a truly city-wide initiative with definite transit plans that STARTED FIRST, it might have made it. But I'll repeat what I've been saying all along, and that I said in my first letter to all my representatives last year when the plan was first announced. Charging city residents to enter only one of the boroughs while charging them a personal income tax is asinine.

The Senate Assembly Democrats got it right. Thank you.

Read more about the environmental impact study regarding the Jamaica upzone here and find out how much the city really cares about Queens' enviornmental health. http://home2.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/env_review/jamaica/05_feis.pdf