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January 23, 2008

Comments

Steve:

I'd take chili mac over an automobile any day.

Thanks so much for this discussion, Ace and Steve. To continue:

Car ownership in Manhattan has always seemed insane to me. In the outer boroughs, where I live, car ownership still seems insane . . . except in circumstances when I'm very glad there's someone in the room who can give me a ride home.

I think walking-as-transportation is part of a cultural transformation of enormous breadth and significance, one that will be accomplished, if at all, within a generation or two. The models, all imperfect, are the obvious ones: legal rights and greater visibility and inclusion for many groups, all inspired, directly or otherwise, by the Civil Rights movement.

For a real-time example, consider the enormous leap in visibility of climate change and its implications for policy-makers worldwide. The fact that we are part of a global discussion of transportation and habitable-streets issues is to me the surest sign that the admittedly slow process of change is well underway.

Banishing drivers from Manhattan outright would, in my opinion, be seen as provocation. But I'll bet that making drivers pay for their use of a piece of Manhattan, especially if it results in a smoother, faster commute, would go down a lot more easily.

If there's an improvement in frequency of service at a comparatively low fare, many commuters might choose to hang up their car keys for good. The ideal, as Theodore Kheel and others are saying, is mass transit paid for through taxes, not the present anachronistic fare system. If we're serious about getting vehicles off the road, that's the way to do it. But first, we have to create a transit infrastructure that can handle the huge increase in ridership that would result.

I'm car-free in St. Louis --- nearly anyone in Manhattan should be car-free as well. Sure, living in the outer boroughs might require a car but not when entering Manhattan.

The exception might be for someone with disabilities that uses a vehicle to get to their destination and then a wheelchair or other mobility device from that point.

Dan:

I guess I just don't understand why there is even debate about congestion pricing. Private automobiles might be necessary sometimes in rural areas but I can't think of any good reason to own and operate one in NYC.

I made an evening walk over the Manhattan Bridge yesterday...Magnificent! The crystal clear winter air made viewing the lights of Downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn very very special. There were two of us and we only passed one other walker. Folks just don't know what they're missing.

(oh and three bicyclists on the WRONG SIDE of the bridge)

Hi, Ace,

Thanks for your comment. Like you, I guess, I see Congestion Pricing as a disincentive first and as a revenue-generator second.

But I also see how terrified people are as they contemplate a carless future. I think in order to get citizen buy-in, as they call it, for Congestion Pricing and other progressive transportation policies, people have to feel confident that the pain and the benefits are being shared equally.

As a non-automobile-owning resident of NYC, not living in Manhattan, the only aspects of congestion pricing that really interest me are lowering pollution and raising money for mass transit.

Or, am I missing something here?

Owning or driving a car anywhere in NYC should be expensive and inconvienent. Honestly, that is one of the main reasons for living here.

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