Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Getting Squeezed Coming and Going
Influential Planning Group Wants Two-Way Congestion Pricing
For Lower Manhattan residents who already feel aggrieved by the State’s pending congestion pricing plan (which will charge people who live here to drive to their homes), the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has a suggestion for how to make it worse: levy a toll upon drivers both as they enter and as they leave the zone south of 60th Street.
In a report released this week, titled “Congestion Pricing in NYC: Getting It Right,” the RPA (an independent, not-for-profit civic group that develops ideas to improve the economy, environment, and quality of life in the New York metropolitan area) proposes that, “to eliminate toll shopping and better manage congestion… is best accomplished by implementing the congestion fee as a two-way charge.” The report observes that, “by charging for both portions of a trip — entering and leaving the zone — the variable tolls will have more influence on driver behavior, incentivizing drivers to shift their trips out of the peak period whenever possible.”
The RPA proposal endorses a range of prices for entering or leaving the zone, ranging from a baseline of $6.12 (to be charged each way, 24 hours day) to as much as $9.18 (to be charged during morning and evening rush hours).
On the question of whether Lower Manhattan residents should receive a discount on such charges, the RPA analysis says that, “exemptions for specific classes of users should be as limited as possible.” (Oddly, the RPA specifically recommends that taxis and for-hire vehicles, such as car dispatched by Uber and Lyft, be exempted from congestion pricing, in spite of the fact that they appear to be significant contributors to local congestion.)
This position directly contradicts a resolution enacted by Community Board 1 in February, 2018, which noted that, “other major cities, such as London, Singapore and Stockholm, have successfully implemented a congestion pricing plan along with significant discounts to those living in the congestion zone. London’s plan, for example, offers a 90 percent discount, and substantial discounts are routinely offered even in New York such as [to] Staten Island residents using the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge.”
Indeed, the latest round of toll increases for bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority actually contains a further rollback to tolls for Staten Island residents using Verrazzano Bridge. When the toll for that span jumped to $19 earlier this year, the Governor Andrew Cuomo froze the resident rate at $5.50. This translates to a discount that has effectively increased from 68 percent to 72 percent. Mr. Cuomo justified this preferential treatment for Staten Island residents (who cannot drive onto or off of their island borough without paying a toll) by saying, “the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a critical link between Staten Island and the rest of New York, and residents don’t deserve to be nickel and dimed every time they cross it.” He added that the discount for residents, “is the right and fair thing to do and will ensure Staten Islanders keep more money in their pockets.”
No such accommodation is planned for residents of Lower Manhattan, who will (like Staten Island dwellers) be effectively trapped within the toll zone, unable to drive in or out without paying a fee that may be as high as $11.52, according to another version of the plan. An additional variant of the proposal would charge residents for driving their cars on any street within the toll zone, even if they do not cross its boundaries. (This would be the equivalent of charging Staten Island residents a toll for taking their cars out of the garage, without driving over any bridge.)
The conspicuous absence of any carve-out for people who live within the toll zone is a departure from prevailing practice in multiple other locations around the City and the State, in addition to Staten Island. In Queens, residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel pay $1.41 to traverse the Gil Hodges Memorial or Cross Bay Bridges, a discount of 67 percent from the full toll of $4.25. Further afield, residents of Grand Island (near the Canadian border) are given a 91 percent discount (relative to the $1.00 toll paid by non-residents) on the bridge that connects their community to the rest of New York State.
Congestion pricing has also been implemented internationally, where discounts for residents appear to be the norm. In London, for example, the program is widely regarded as a success, and people who live within the tolling zone are granted a discount of 90 percent from the full charge of approximately $15.23, at current exchange rates.
The lack of any local exemption could weigh heavily on Lower Manhattan communities where car ownership is higher than the norm for Manhattan as a whole. A 2015 study by the online real estate research site, AddressReport.com, found that Tribeca and Battery Park City are the two neighborhoods with the highest rates of car ownership anywhere in the borough, with 36 percent and 28 percent of households reporting that they keep at least one car. Conversely, the same report found that the Financial District has the second-lowest prevalence of car ownership in Manhattan, with only 14 percent of households reporting car ownership.
At a March CB1 meeting that discussed the plan, Marc Ameruso (who serves on the Board’s Quality of Life and Transportation Committees), said, “I was at one of the congestion pricing hearings. And an interesting thing happened — all the usual suspects, Transportation Alternatives, the lobbying groups, all were in favor. But what surprised me was that all the individual citizens, who generally don’t come out to these hearings, 99 percent of them were against it. And they all had good, valid reasons.”
“It hurts the middle class, it hurts the poor, and hurts small businesses,” Mr. Ameruso continued. “Some of the politicians say it will stop unnecessary drives into Manhattan. Who the hell are they to say that my or any else’s drive into the City is unnecessary? The arrogance of that statement — it disgusts me.”
“It’s really a vicious cycle of legal graft,” he added. “Money goes to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority [MTA], which pays it to the Transit Workers Union, which gives money to politicians, who then give contracts to the real estate industry.” This was a reference to the State agency that oversees the subways, bus lines, and commuter railroads, which is intended to be the primary beneficiary of funds raised by congestion pricing. Indeed, when the MTA released its new capital plan this week, nearly one-third of the $51 billion total it plans to spend in coming years is projected to come from congestion pricing levies.
“A vicious cycle of legal graft is all this is,” Mr. Ameruso reiterated. This point inspired a round of applause from the dozens of people attending the meeting. “We have been talking about this for years,” he continued. “We need to dismantle the MTA and every other authority and replace them with agencies that are more accountable to the people. CB1 needs to finally take that subject up.”
Mr. Ameruso was followed by Paul Kefer, president of the Southbridge Towers board of directors, who said, “congestion pricing is an abomination for Lower Manhattan. All they are trying to do is raise money. And it’s going to impact all of us — all prices are going to go up, because when trucks come in, they are going to pass the expense onto us. It sounds like a done deal, but there have to be exemptions for people who live in the area. You should not have to pay a toll to get home.”
The budget passed by the New York State legislature in April of this year allows the MTA to launch congestion pricing as soon as January 1, 2021.
Experience warm and meaningful high holidays at the Andaz Hotel.
Services will be in English (and Hebrew) blended with contemporary messages throughout the service and simultaneously
have an exciting children’s service.
* Fun Kids Program
* Lively, Meaningful and Enjoyable Services
* Warm and welcoming environment
* Rosh Hashanah Dinner at the Wall St Grill – FiDi’s newest Kosher Steakhouse
Location: Andaz Wall Street at 75 Wall Street in the Financial District
RSVP Required at theJLE.com/HighHolidays
Questions? Contacts us at Info@theJLE.com | 212-335 0613
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As a sales rep you will benefit from a generous commission and have access to many current clients that can become yours. Sales experience required.
Contact Barry Silverberg at 212-766-9670 or email@example.com
A Guardian of Local Children Falls
Esteemed Lower Manhattan School Safety Officer Victim of Murder-Suicide
A protector and defender of Lower Manhattan school children is gone. Naire McCormick, who has served as the uniformed School Safety Agent at Millennium High School in the Financial District for the past four years, died on Sunday evening, the victim of an apparent murder-suicide in Brooklyn.
Her 12-year-old son, Scott, was sleeping in an adjacent room when this transpired, police say. Hearing gunshots and confronted by carnage, he fled the apartment, and was a few minutes later met outside the building by police officers, responding to multiple 911 calls about gunfire.
Scott has now been placed with an aunt and uncle, his only remaining close relatives. Friends and admirers of Ms. McCormick (including many Millennium High School parents, who feel indebted to the officer who protected their children) have set up a GoFundMe page to help provide for the orphaned child. (For more information, or to make a donation, please browse: www.gofundme.com/f/scottiem)
Annual Fall Yard Sale at Southbridge Towers
The Annual Fall Yard Sale at Southbridge Towers
will take place on
Thursday-to-Saturday, September 19, 20 and 21
Great bargains on interesting bric-a-brak, one-of-a-kind finds and lots of jewelry.
Enter via Fulton St.-next to Key-Food or on Pearl/Beekman Sts.
Contact: Ms. Jill Zilker, G.M. – Southbridge Towers 212-267-6190
Study Predicts 300 Fewer Vehicles Per Day on Local Streets If Verrazzano Toll Changes
A new analysis commissioned by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority has quantified the possible impact on Lower Manhattan traffic of a proposal being spearheaded by Congressman Jerry Nadler and City Council member Margaret Chin to reform tolling policy on that span, which connects Brooklyn with Staten Island.
Although Verrazzano is eight miles away from Lower Manhattan, its toll regimen is a significant contributor to Downtown traffic patterns.
Death Came Calling at the Corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in Lower Manhattan’s First Major Terrorist Attack
As the noon hour approached on a fall Thursday morning in 1920, a horse-drawn wagon slowly made its way west down Wall Street toward “the Corner,” the high-powered intersection of Wall and Broad. Its driver came to a gentle stop in front of the Assay Office, where stockpiles of gold and silver were stored and tested for purity. But theft was not his motive.
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EYES TO THE SKY
September 16 – 29, 2019
Protect the night. It is good for you
As the Sun’s arc shortens in the skies of Earth’s northern hemisphere, we approach equal day and night. To read more…
Thursday September 19
Rise and shine to begin your morning with an outdoor yoga class that will help align your chakras and invigorate your day. Instructors focus on movements meant to enhance posture alignment and increase flexibility and balance. All levels welcome. Bringing your own mat is encouraged, as provided accessories are first come, first served. Battery Park City Authority
Pipes at One
St. Paul’s Chapel
CB1’s Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
Manhattan Borough President’s Office 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor – South
1) Presentation of New FDNY Intergovernmental Liaison to CB 1 – Presentation by Fabricio Caro, Director of Community Affairs, FDNY
Keiko Fujii Dance Company
Outdoor movie screening.
Tonight’s movie is Race
W.O. Decker Trip + Museum Admission
South Street Seaport Museum
Ages 10 and up (no more than three children under the age of 14 per adult) When booking this trip, please be aware that you are embarking on a working tugboat. Tugboat journeys can be bumpy and the only seating area is inside. There is a secure safety line around the perimeter of the boat, but it is not a hand grasp. You may get wet. Flat, closed-toe shoes with a back or back-strap are required. Check web site for times. $19-$35 Pier 16 (box office at 12 Fulton Street).
DAY IN HISTORY
335 – Flavius Dalmatius is raised to the rank of Caesar by his uncle, Constantine the Great.
1778 – The Continental Congress passes the first US federal budget.
1796 – George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.
1881 –President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. VP Chester A. Arthur becomes President upon Garfield’s death.
1952 – The United States bars Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.
1957 – Plumbbob Rainier becomes the first nuclear explosion to be entirely contained underground, producing no fallout.
1976 – Two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II jets fly out to investigate an unidentified flying object, when both independently lose instrumentation and communications as they approach, only to have them restored upon withdrawal.
1985 – A strong earthquake kills thousands and destroys about 400 buildings in Mexico City.
1991 – Цtzi the Iceman is discovered in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.
1995 – The Washington Post and The New York Times publish Ted Kaczynski’s
Theodore John Kaczynski was a math prodigy who become an American domestic terrorist. His homemade bombs killed three and injured 23 as he conducted a nationwide campaign of terror targeting people who were involved with advancing modern technology. The name UNABOMBER was given to him by the FBI, referring to this early targets that included airlines and universities.
Here are the first sentences:
“INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTURE
1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world.”
2010 – The leaking oil well in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is sealed.
866 – Leo VI the Wise, Byzantine emperor (d. 912)
931 – Mu Zong, emperor of the Liao Dynasty (d. 969)
1560 – Thomas Cavendish, English naval explorer, led the third expedition to circumnavigate the globe (d. 1592)
1905 – Leon Jaworski, American lawyer (d. 1982)
1909 – Ferdinand Porsche, Austrian engineer and businessman (d. 1998)
1941 – Cass Elliot, American singer (d. 1974)
1949 – Twiggy, English model, actress, and singer
1949 – Barry Scheck, American lawyer, co-founded the Innocence Project
1147 – Igor II of Kiev
1942 – Condé Montrose Nast, American publisher, founded Condé Nast Publications (b. 1873)
2015 – Jackie Collins, English novelist (b. 1937)
credits include wikipedia and other internet sources
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Thursday, September 19
Outbound 5 pm;
Transatlantic (Maine/Canadian Maritimes/Southampton, UK)
Friday, September 20
Mein Schiff 1
Outbound 10:00 pm (Bayonne);
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Bermuda
Saturday, September 21
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm; Bermuda
Inbound 12:15 pm; in port overnight
Inbound 5:30 am (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm; New England/Canadian Maritimes
Sunday, September 22
Inbound 7:15 am; in port overnight
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; New England/Canada
Inbound 7:30 am (Bayonne); 4:00 pm;
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Outbound 5:30 pm; Bermuda/Miami, FL
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Maine/Canadian Maritimes
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the Midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
If They Went Any Slower, They’d Slip Into Reverse
City Transportation Study Finds That Lower Manhattan Bus Service Is Among Most Sluggish in Five Boroughs
The annual New York City Mobility Report, produced by the City’s Department of Transportation, contains two data points that will come as no surprise residents of Lower Manhattan. The first of these is that the median speed for Downtown bus service ranks among the slowest of any community in the five boroughs. And the second is that this creeping pace is, if anything, getting creepier. To read more…
Remembrance of Things Aghast
Residents and Local Leaders Recall 18 Septembers Ago
A panel of residents and local leaders participated in a panel discussion at the South Street Seaport, hosted by the Howard Hughes Corporation and moderated by CNBC’s Contessa Brewer, who lives in Lower Manhattan.
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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