Congestion pricing.

Words that will either excite you, or make you so angry you’ll punch any person who mentions the term.

What is it?

Charging a fee for driving into the busiest areas of the city at the busiest times.

It has been used to great success (or, so they say) in London.

And, now, some people think they should bring it to New York City.

Last week, however, (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg struck a more moderate tone at a news conference in Harlem, where he was asked about a report by Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for pedestrians and cyclists. That report argued that most people who drive private cars into Manhattan south of 60th Street do so for comfort or convenience, not for economic necessity, and could easily switch to mass transit.

“We are trying to make traffic flow more freely,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “There are places in the world that have tried congestion pricing. And it’s certainly something that we should be looking at.”

One study estimates that 40,000 less cars, per day, would drive into Manhattan, if congestion pricing was implemented.

Of course, 40,000 less cars might mean 40,000 less people buying things in the city, and that might cost businesses a lot of business.

So, inevitably, someone will say we should have it in Boston.

Could it work? Is it worth even thinking about?

Or, is it stupid to even bring up?

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Updated: January 2018

Report Gives Conflicting Views of Congestion Pricing in City – By Sewell Chan

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