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Archive for January, 2008

I don’t usually just link to other blogs, but this is a very interesting post in the NY Times regarding the various considerations for approving / disapproving of the current congestion pricing plan the Manhattan. In addition to the general congestion, economy, air quality, etc. issues, including this one,which is primarily economic:

. . . Second, a new coalition of pro-congestion pricing groups, calling itself Communities United for Transportation Equity, presented research suggesting that black and Hispanic riders and low-income riders have the longest commutes of any residents of the New York region. Of the 750,000 New Yorkers who travel more than an hour each way, two-thirds make less than $35,000 a year and only 6 percent make more than $75,000 a year, the group noted, citing an analysis by the Pratt Center for Community Development of Census data.

So, there’s more to it than just what we, as the relatively wealthy (I guess, I don’t feel like it) fixate on, which is oil prices and carbon monoxide. And, of course, the general enjoyment of riding a motorcycle to work. But if the kind of economic analysis that this argument represents actually carries some weight, it bodes well for downtown-restricting regulation in other cities as well. We are, after all, never short of the economically-disadvantaged.

The larger operative question is, I think, would traffic restrictions in a downtown are actually render it a better place, increase commerce, encourage pedestrian traffic, and so on. It would certainly have a beneficial effect on air quality and fuel consumption, but would it have other benefits? That remains to be seen. But if we mean to make our cities more livable, this is something worth trying. Maybe it works, maybe not, but trying something is better than doing nothing.

Here‘s my first post dealing specifically with the congestion pricing proposal. For the rest of the posts on bikes, click on the “motorcycles” category in the blogroll.

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