Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding PlaNYC. I am pleased to report that during the special legislative session held on July 26th we passed legislation to create a New York City Traffic Mitigation Plan. I am confident that the plan is a good first step in assisting the Mayor to achieve both the City’s long term sustainability goals and compete for a share of $1.2 billion in Federal grants available to make improvements to our transportation system. I firmly believe that this is the most thoughtful way to move forward on a policy that will affect so many New Yorkers. The commission is empowered to answer the many questions that I, and many others have regarding the Mayor’s plan and it is my hope that we will be able to institute congestion pricing in a fair and equitable manner.
Specifically, the plan will create a commission composed of 17 members appointed by the Assembly, Senate, Governor, Mayor, and the City Council to evaluate the Mayor’s congestion pricing plan and issue recommendations regarding the feasibility and implementation of that plan. In addition, the commission will review, study and hold public hearings on all plans submitted to it regarding traffic congestion. It is also important to note that any plan approved by the commission must provide for at least the same level of traffic mitigation as proposed in the Mayor’s plan.
I will work hard to see that the report generated by the commission addresses many of the concerns of my constituents. Once of my major concerns with the plan is that our mass transit system is severely inadequate to accommodate many New York City residents who currently commute to Manhattan by car. In fact, the MTA’s policy of removing token booth collectors and the excessive lag times for repairs to broken elevators and escalators in subway stations, are just two of the recent examples of the transit system’s failure to meet the needs of the elderly and the disabled. Furthermore, even Howard Roberts Jr., President of NYC Transit has stated that subway lines are often overcrowded and are not adequate for the City’s growth. And while the Mayor frequently mentions the construction of the Second Avenue subway, I would like to see additions and improvements to the subway system, including station upgrades, and bus routes in our own borough. Hopefully, the grant obtained from the Federal government and revenue generated from congestion pricing will go to transit improvements in all of the outer boroughs.
Another one of my concerns, which I spoke about on the floor of the Assembly, is the issue of permit parking. I do not want to see Downtown Brooklyn turned into the parking lot for drivers wishing to park their cars and ride public transportation into Manhattan. A system of residential permit parking, similar to the one instituted by the city of Boston could work in our brownstone communities. I will work hard to have this issue addressed by the commission.
Beyond congestion pricing, I also believe that it is the government’s role to create incentives to improve alternative and more energy efficient modes of transportation. Some of these measures include improving cyclist and pedestrian roadways, promoting the use of hybrid vehicles, and expanding the use of water taxis. These measures will help us make great strides in improving the quality of the air we breathe.
Please be assured that I will work hard to advance these goals. I thank you for contacting me to express your views.
Joan L. Millman