Fewer cars, less traffic and easier parking in Manhattan were some of the findings of transportation officials studying multiple plans for congestion pricing, a proposed fee for drivers entering Manhattan’s busiest streets in the most -the busy hours. Plans examined by the MTA consider fares ranging from $9 to $23.
The effects of different tolling plans in Manhattan were part of an environmental assessment by the MTA and state and city departments of transportation released Wednesday.
“It’s good for the environment, it’s good for public transit, and it’s good for New York and the region,” MTA Chairman Jano Lieber said in a statement.
The proposed congestion pricing zone covers all of Manhattan at and below 60th Street, with the exceptions of the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway/Route 9A.
The number of vehicles entering the congestion zone will decrease between 15% and 20%, using pre-pandemic 2019 data.
There will be thousands of commuters who will no longer drive to work in midtown Manhattan, from 12,571 to 27,471 fewer car trips each day – a reduction of 5% to 10%.
And daily truck traffic in midtown Manhattan will drop from 21% to 81%, meaning thousands of trucks will no longer be moving through Manhattan.
The MTA will experience a modest increase in ridership – up 2.1% for subways and 1.6% for buses.
But the proposal made detailed changes that could make driving more frustrating.
For example, there may be an increase in traffic on some freeways, such as the FDR Drive between East 10th Street and the Brooklyn Bridge at night.
And four intersections in Manhattan — Trinity Place and Edgar Street; East 36th Street and Second Avenue; East 37th Street and Third Avenue; and East 125th Street and Second Avenue – there will be increased traffic depending on the time of day.
And while demand for parking will decrease in the Manhattan congestion zone, the report says, “there will be increased demand for parking at subway and commuter rail stations and park-and-ride facilities outside” the zone, as well as an increase in demand for parking just north from the 60th Street section.
“The demand that’s coming in is spread across a lot of places,” said a senior MTA official. “They don’t all come to one place.”
Meanwhile, taxi and ride-hailing drivers — who already must charge customers a congestion charge for trips entering Manhattan south of 96th Street, then remit that tax to the state — were singled out in the analysis as a group that would took a heavy hit in congestion pricing.
Both surcharges will apply for now, and the report notes that congestion pricing “would lead to a reduction in revenue, which could lead to job losses.”
The study details seven different tolling scenarios, each with different exemptions and prices, to see how each meets the goals of congestion pricing: raising at least $1 billion for the MTA’s major capital projects and reducing traffic in Midtown and lower Manhattan .
The cheapest toll for verified drivers — $9 during peak hours — comes with the fewest exemptions.
A driver who pays $9 to enter Manhattan will be charged once a day, plus any other toll on the city’s bridges and tunnels, the report said. Drivers of taxis and rental vehicles will be charged as many times as they enter the congestion zone.
The high end explored by the MTA — $23 to enter the Manhattan rush-hour zone — comes with many exemptions, including charging taxi and ride-hailing drivers only once a day, exempting buses and deducting the cost of bridge tolls and congestion charge tunnels.
“The more you give in terms of credits or waivers, the higher the toll should be,” said a senior MTA official, but noted that “the higher the toll, the greater the reduction in traffic “.
The MTA plans to hold six virtual public hearings on the environmental assessment in late August. Members of the public can register to offer testimony at the hearings at mta.info/CBDTP, where the MTA will also broadcast the hearings on the following dates and times:
You can also send additional comments by email, mail, phone and fax.
mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004
fax: Text to (212) 504-3148 attn CBDTP Team.