We can pretty much all agree; New York City traffic can be a huge pain in the butt.
In fact, the thought of getting stuck in a seemingly endless sea of cars, complete with angry honks coming at you left and right, almost makes the over-crowded, much-maligned subway system sound as breezy as a walk in Central Park.
But if the newest plan from Governor Andrew Cuomo and his FixNY committee works out, improvements to this dreary ritual just might be on the way.
Yet like so many good things, these improvements would come at a cost, and that cost would fall directly on New Yorkers.
What might be approaching is a high-tech tolling system called “congestion pricing," which would “charge fees to vehicles entering the most heavily trafficked parts of town during certain hours," theoretically deterring citizens from traveling during those hours.
Such plans have been proposed in the past, including by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but they were always bitterly rejected by defensive lawmakers.
Even today, many politicians remain wary of the innovation, suggesting that it could have a negative effect on innocent workers, small business-people, and seniors visiting the city for medical appointments.
However, according to several experts, the bleak state of transportation in our city these days means that something simply must be done, even something that would take a literal and figurative toll on the city’s commuters.
This “toll” would certainly not be without precedent since similar systems are already in use in other metropolises like Singapore, Stockholm, and London. While the USA has yet to follow the lead of these international examples, the adoption of congestion pricing here in NYC might serve as a welcome inspiration to other backed up American cities like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In the end, we travelers might have to part with a little change if congestion pricing really is on its way, but we’ll get to do it knowing we’re playing a part in making a bigger change that will benefit us all.
Let's see where it goes.
[via The Associated Press] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]