8 thoughts on “CityViews: Why City Cyclists Should Support Congestion Pricing

  1. As a native New Yorker I do not know how to drive. I rely on walking, buses, subway and occasionally, taxis.
    At this point have only negative opinion of cyclists in NYC. My experience is that most cyclists routinely run red lights, go the wrong way , block buses – and endanger pedestrians,and other cyclists. Actions such as running red lights also causes vehicles to swerve or stop short, endangering all. See near-misses daily. This is not about delivery people who, let’s face it, are hard-working and exploited – it is the “regular” cyclists who seem entitled to flout rules.
    BTW Manhattan congestion has been caused by myriad reasons including overdevelopment, construction vehicles, service vehicles, more tour buses, the explosion in ecommerce/delivery and as referenced, Uber. How about if we add a surcharge to Amazon Google Fresh Direct deliveries?
    And also worth noting that cycling largely benefits affluent and younger people who can afford to live closer to work. (Perhaps City Limits could report on low and moderate income people who live far from work and must rely on driving/car pools to work.)

    • Thanks for the suggestion. We have definitely reported on the race and class disparities in biking (some of which reflect access problems), although I have to say, from my perch in the north-central Bronx, the biking community is growing much more diverse, although the ridership is still pretty small. Statistics indicate that low-income people tend to use the subway rather that drive (or bike). So the majority of those outer-borough non-bikers would be helped, not harmed, by congestion pricing. In theory, at least.

      • It seems to me that there are a sizable number of non-affluent drivers coming in from outside the city. They can’t afford to live here. Oftentimes they live in places lacking direct public transportation. Or they are working night or off hours shifts.
        In my building, many of the janitorial staff live in Yonkers and carpool in.
        In the building in which I work, the night cleaning staff is comprised of women. For some it is a second job. A number of them are driven in by relatives or carpool in. Their work is finished late at night and safety is a concern getting home.
        Many hospital staff such as nurses live out of NYC and are driving in to shifts at NYU or NYP/Weill/Cornell etc.

        Apart from commuting issues, I would note that I have had the experience of assisting elderly relatives and neighbors to medical appointments etc. All of these have necessitated taxi or car service or Uber. (It seems to me that many who move to NYC have no such understanding because their older relatives are back in the suburbs)

        If congestion pricing is implemented in the way it has been described, it seems to me that the affluent will continue to be unaffected. Moreover I suspect some employers will reimburse their employees who take Uber, Via etc

    • Very myopic opinion.

      I’m also a native New Yorker, so let me chime in.

      For starts, drivers are the biggest danger on the roads without question. Looking at statistics, it’s not even a close comparison.

      There are bicyclists that do not follow road rules, but keep in mind that those rules were established for automobiles.

      Why do bicyclists often travel the wrong way? because so many of our city streets were converted to that format. This activity should be discouraged, but they alone are not the only violators. Drivers also happen to do the same quite regularly (both high speed reversals and drivers taking the wrong direction down streets)!

      Running traffic controls. It’s one thing to yield and then cross, it’s another to totally disregard them. The former should be authorized when the road is clear, and the latter discouraged.

      Rarely, if ever, do bicyclists block buses. Buses in this city spend their time stuck in general traffic.

      And what you may perceive as a near miss likely is not.

      Manhattan was heavily congested before the expansion of e-commerce, before the app based for-hire vehicles, before the now multi-decade long population growth, before the latest records in tourists activity.

      NYC is not very big geographically. Most automotive trips in NYC are less than 3 miles. A good chunk of people could easily use bikes to get around. Including the elderly and those with more limited income. Even some of those with more limited mobility.

  2. If I may add additional commentary…

    As referenced above, in my opinion of the expansion of the cycling infrastructure and the increase in cyclists is completely negative.

    I appreciate City Limits discussion of the deterioration of bus transportation and hope City Limits will continue covering.

    It is interesting to note that as bus service has diminished, the cycling infrastructure has expanded. Sorry to be so cynical but it feels like part of the Bloomberg plan for demographic cleansing of NYC – ensure that bus service (often used by elderly, handicapped lower income) is reduced while supporting bicycling infrastructure for the recent college grad/suburban transplants to NYC. And a great way to reduce those pesky ?union employees at the MTA….

    It is no accident that many ads for NYC luxury buildings feature 20-30 somethings on bicycles. No bus riders in any of those ads.

    Last but not least… pedicabs are forgotten as contributing to congestion in midtown Manhattan. It is incredible to see the proliferation of serf-economy pedicabs driving around tourists who can’t be bothered to take a bus or subway.
    As for causing congestion, stand on Sixth Avenue and watch pedicabs block buses turning and pulling into bus stops, weave in and out in front of vehicles and stand – unticketed – everywhere.

    • It’s clear your opinion won’t be changed, but as a low-middle income cyclist, who commutes to the city from Brooklyn daily, I disagree that buses are being reduced. When the weather doesn’t allow me to bike, I take a bus to the train station. I also constantly see buses on my commute. In part, the idea of congestion pricing is to make room for sustainable modes of transport – buses included.

      Cycling infrastructure is designed to literally save lives, not to impede your daily commute. In fact, pedestrians so often stand in bike lanes or run red lights, I spend a lot of my commute doing everything I can to avoid them, including stopping.

      I think you have an extremely biased opinion of bicycles, which is a shame. Do a little research on Amsterdam, and you’ll see that walking and cycling are a sustainable and harmonious way to live in a city that can’t truly support such a high number of vehicles.

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