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The Times carries word today that an influential city business association is pushing the idea of charging vehicles to drive in midtown during the day as a way to cut down on traffic, help the environment, and speed trips for buses and other mass transit currently trying to fight their way through Rock Center gridlock.

The 840,000 cars that enter Manhattan south of 60th Street on an average weekday could be subject to a $7 charge during peak hours. Vehicles starting and ending their trips within that zone might pay a $4 charge. Several roadways would remain free, like the West Side Highway and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive on the East Side, according to people with knowledge of the study.

This scheme is already at work — successfully — in London, and, well, we think we like it. But we also think the city needs to think bigger. Imagine all the good this idea could do if expanded.

B&T girls in pointy-toed shoes who make it impossible to walk down Broadway in Soho because they stop to ooh and ah over every piece of chozzerai sold on a folding table? Fine 'em! Throngs of American Eagled Midwestern high schoolers milling in Times Square and making you late for an 8 o'clock curtain? Pay tolls! Oh, and the best part: The Sex & the City tour bus? Impound it.

Driving in Manhattan? You Pay, Under One Idea [NYT]