Transit Sam: Week of Aug. 31, 2017

Dates: Thursday, August 31 – Wednesday, September 6


Merge Ahead!  Get-away traffic plus Jets fans heading to MetLife will converge on Thursday evening. The Labor Day escape from New York City will begin in earnest on Thursday afternoon—which is, these days, the new Friday when it comes to get-away traffic. The Jets play the Eagles at 7 p.m. Though many vacationers will hit the road by noon, those who can’t get off work early will find themselves in a swirl of Jets fans at Holland Tunnel approaches starting at around 4 p.m.   Varick, Canal, and Broome streets will all be hard hit.

If you’re going to root for the home team, fuhgeddaboud driving to the game, and instead hop on NJ Transit heading to Secaucus, where you can transfer to the rail shuttle directly to the stadium.

The secret to escaping from New York with the least hassle is to leave after 9 p.m., either Thursday or Friday.

On Saturday, Fulton Street Follies will close Fulton between Gold and Water streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Good news for NJ Transit, LIRR, and Amtrak riders!  The “Summer of Hell” is scheduled to end on time, meaning that normal service schedules for each will return on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

From the mailbag:

Dear Transit Sam,

What is congestion pricing? Why do we need it and why is it the best option?

Jim F.

Dear Jim,

We have a crisis in the subways that everyone is talking about.  But, we also have a crisis in traffic flow — congestion is at its highest level ever and speeds have plummeted (app-based car services are the biggest reason for the recent plummet in speeds).  A third crisis is neglect of many of our roads and bridges.  For a half-century the state and the city relied heavily on federal funding.  That pot has dried up with no gas tax increase in a quarter-century and a federal government that has yet to come up with any type of infrastructure bill.  The one proposed by Trump wouldn’t come close to doing the trick.

The MoveNY plan, which I had a big hand in crafting, focuses on all these concerns and addresses fairness too.

The wrong people, largely those in other-than-Manhattan boroughs, are disproportionately subsidizing Manhattan-centric transit every time they pay a toll on the Verrazano, Throgs Neck, both Rockaway bridges and others.  So, we slash tolls on all seven tolled bridges wholly within NYC. Next, we restore electronic charging (no toll booths) to the East River bridges (they were tolled until 1911).  We also charge drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th St. where transit is plentiful and congestion is severe. The rates are set at $5.76 which is what those poor drivers are now paying across the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck and RFK.  It also matches the Battery Tunnel and Queens-Midtown Tunnel to end “bridge shopping.”  Ubers, Lyfts, yellow cabs and other for-hire-vehicles will have a congestion charge but just in Manhattan south of 96th Street.

The revenue raised will provide a steady stream of funds for the subways, roads and bridges.  Traffic congestion will decrease, as will air pollution, carbon footprint and traffic crashes — particularly those involving pedestrians.  There’s so much more so please go to iheartmoveny.org for more details.

Transit Sam