Bloomberg’s Planners Hear Public on Traffic Woes, Would Rather Talk About Something Else

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Back in December, when civic groups proposed the idea of “congestion pricing” — charging cars to enter midtown during prime hours, as a way to control Manhattan’s ever-more-horrible traffic — Mayor Bloomberg quickly danced away from it. “The politics of a commuter tax in Albany are probably such that we would never get it passed,” he told the Times then. “And what I want to do is focus on those things that we can get passed to help our city.” He’s since launched PlaNYC, a canvass for opinions about how to help the city survive a million new residents and sharply higher sea levels by 2030, and it seems congestion pricing has wedged its way back into consideration.

At a working session this morning to discuss jobs-related goals for PlaNYC, Rohit Aggarwala, the mayor’s sustainability czar, displayed a PowerPoint slide showing that average citizens have suggested it as an idea worthy of consideration. A City Hall staffer says Aggarwala’s slide doesn’t imply endorsement of the idea, but Pratt Center for Community Development chief Brad Lander, who organized the session, sees it as a reward for input. “At the [PlaNYC] launch in Queens, the tensest thing was congestion pricing, which now looks like it’s in the discussion,” he told us. Otherwise, the session focused on less controversial issues — you know, jobs and environmental policy and rent control. Hey, compared to traffic, those are polite conversation. —Alec Appelbaum

Bloomberg’s Planners Hear Public on Traffic Woes, Would Rather Talk About Something Else