New York Post editorial writer Nicole Gelinas has soon-to-be-released statistics from the city Department of Transportation showing that the average speed of a CitiBiker in Midtown—between 6.7 and 7.8 miles per hour—is significantly higher than that of a person traveling by car. The fact that this news is appearing in the Post in particular is itself notable, considering the fevered disdain with which the paper usually treats cyclists. Maybe the Post is starting to realize everything that’s great about riding: Bikes are free to use if you have your own, they produce exactly no greenhouse emissions, and unlike cars, they hardly ever kill anyone.
The editorial also contains a tacit endorsement of congestion pricing, the long-debated policy that would place a toll on every automobile that enters the bustling center of Manhattan, with the aims of reducing traffic and emissions and generating revenue that could be funneled into public transportation. “I think without some sort of pricing, our tools to manage traffic speeds are not infinite,” city transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg is quoted as saying in the piece, which as far as I know is the closest she’s come to openly supporting congestion pricing.
Move NY Fair, the latest iteration of the congestion pricing plan—the Bloomberg administration tried a similar proposal a few years ago, which failed—calls for new tolls on the East River bridges and on cars that pass 60th Street from Uptown Manhattan, and reduced tolls on outer borough bridges like the Verrazano. The money would go to much-needed repairs on existing subway lines, and toward ambitious new public transportation projects.
If state legislators want to help subway commuters who currently face delays and insane crowds nearly every time they go to work; to reduce the death toll from automobile crashes, which killed 242 New Yorkers last year; and hey, even to give taxis a fighting chance against the cyclists who are currently flying by them at every turn; they should support it.