Friday, July 20, 2007

Congestion pricing still looms as an AY issue

Both supporters and critics of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan have to be concerned about the choppy progress of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan in the state legislature; while legislators did not approve Bloomberg's initial proposal, a commission was established to hold hearings and submit a plan to the city and state by January 31, 2008.

Given the significant amount of traffic detouring through Downtown Brooklyn to use the free bridges, a congestion charge would both raise revenues for public transportation and impose a rational cost for access.

In a Brooklyn Daily Eagle commentary this week headlined Congestion Pricing: A Phoenix That Is Sure to Rise Again, Dennis Holt observes that the prominent placement of New Yorkers in Congress should help when a plan is resubmitted.

Developers know

Also, Holt takes note of a dirty little secret:
The development community in Brooklyn doesn’t go out of its way to admit that Downtown Brooklyn traffic is bad now, with still one heck of a lot more development to come. It’s better left unspoken, but anything like congestion pricing to make things better here would certainly be welcome locally. The whole business has just begun.

In other words, even though the Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement said that the traffic impacts wouldn't be so bad (despite evidence to the contrary), you'd better believe that congestion pricing is on the Forest City Ratner agenda.

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