The Move NY Regional Transportation Plan (aka “Sam’s Plan”)
At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, July 11, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:
WHEREAS, Move NY is a region-wide grassroots campaign to raise awareness of, and build support for, “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz’s regional transportation plan. Move NY is seeking input and endorsements from a wide array of stakeholders representing the region’s leading businesses and business groups, labor, clergy, civic leaders, transportation and environmental advocates, good governance organizations, and elected officials – all of whom recognize the imperative to maintain and enhance the our shared transportation system;
WHEREAS, Move NY formed in 2010 in response to the growing crisis facing our city’s transportation network, particularly its service cuts, escalating fares and tolls, and dwindling funding base. In 2012, Move NY teamed up with traffic engineer, Sam Schwartz, to promote a plan that he developed after traveling around the region seeking input from dozens of stakeholders, particularly those who opposed past traffic pricing plans;
WHEREAS, Move NY’s goal is to continue building public and political support for the Plan in order to demonstrate to Governor Cuomo and other decision makers that the Move NY Plan represents a very viable option for generating the revenue needed to reinvest in NYC’s vital transportation infrastructure;
WHEREAS, The Move NY Plan seeks to reduce traffic in the Central Business District (Manhattan South of 60th Street) by 20%, offer toll relief for tens of thousands of outer borough drivers, and fund critically needed investments in New York’s transportation infrastructure;
WHEREAS, While the Move NY Plan would, like the Bloomberg plan, create a London style toll around the Central Business District (CBD), it differs from that plan in a number of significant ways. The Move NY Plan would:
- Raise a net $1.5 billion in annual revenue for regional transportation improvements
- Would actually lower tolls by $5.00 roundtrip for the major Moses bridges in the outer boroughs, and by $2 roundtrip on the Rockaway bridges
- Would invest approximately one-quarter of the $1.55 billion raised in regional road and highway improvements, based on the belief that toll-paying drivers must benefit, too
- Unlike past plans, the Move NY Plan would only charge commercial vehicles once per day, even if they made repeated trips in and out of the CBD
WHEREAS, The Move NY Plan would seek to equitably distribute the toll burden for New Yorkers. Drivers traveling between the outer boroughs would see major reductions in tolls on bridges such as the Verrazano, Triborough, Whitestone and Throg’s Neck, while crossings into the Manhattan CBD on the four East River bridges and at 60th Street would be charged the same as is charged in the two East River tunnels: $5.33 EZ Pass. Drivers would pay more for taking their cars into the downtown core; drivers traveling to and from parts of the city that have less congestion and fewer transit options would bear much less responsibility for subsidizing the mass transit system than they do now. Move NY has calculated that the net effect would be an extra $1.5 billion in net revenue for the MTA Capital Program. The revenue could be safeguarded through a combination of bonding and one or more lockbox mechanisms written into the enabling legislation;
WHEREAS, The additional revenue would be used for a range of projects that would benefit commuters across the region, using every mode of transport. These specific projects would be subject to significant additional discussion and consultation but the projects below begin to describe some of the kinds of benefits:
- Drivers (both commuters and commercial and freight vehicles)
- Faster commutes into and around the CBD
- Significantly lower tolls on the outer borough bridges
- Roughly $375 million a year invested in improving area roads and highways (e.g., improved capacity and speeds on the Belt Pkwy, opening up the Belt to trucks, completed service road along the SIE, improved grading to remove bottlenecks on the Van Wyck)
- Straphangers and Commuter Rail Riders
- State of Good Repair: rehabilitating stations, modernizing the signaling system (i.e. faster trips), and installing a more efficient and faster fare collection system (e.g. touchless swipe like London’s Oyster card)
- Triboro Rx: a new subway line on existing rights of way in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx running from Bay Ridge to Hunt’s Point and connecting to 18 different radial lines along the way.
- G-train improvements: Extension to Queensboro Plaza, Free transfer to JMZ at Broadway, New Fulton Mall entrance
- Expediting construction of Harlem/Bronx section of the Second Avenue subway
- New express subway service from Southeast Queens to Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
- More frequent and affordable intra-city commuter rail service in Queens and the Bronx
- Bringing Metro North to Penn Station
- Adding a second track to the LIRR Line between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma
- Discounts for LIRR and MNR intra-city riders (i.e., to help fill transit gaps)
- Less pressure on size and frequency of future fare (and toll) hikes
- Bus Riders
- New select bus service along Utica Ave (Brooklyn); Woodhaven Blvd (Queens); UES/UWS Crosstown (Manhattan); and North Shore/West Shore (Staten Island)
- Extending the Staten Island Expressway bus lanes to West Shore Expressway
- New bus service in the Tappan Zee Bridge corridor
- $1 discounts on all local buses (i.e., those without stops at subway stations)
- Pedestrians and Cyclists
- 3 new Ped-Bike “Ribbon Bridges”: Red Hook-Governors Island-Financial District;
- Greenpoint-Long Island City-Roosevelt Island/Cornell-Midtown; and Hoboken-Midtown
- Ferry Users
- Capital grants to ferry operators to expand capacity at piers and add new lines
WHEREAS, Community Boards Five has worked diligently over the course of the last year to highlight the inadequate transit approaches in both East Midtown and Penn Station and is eager to work collaboratively to find funding solutions for essential transit investments;
WHEREAS, Many of the details of this proposal will require far more discussion and study in order to assess their impacts on Community Board Five, and the City and region as a whole;
WHEREAS, Despite the work that needs to continue, the Board strongly believes that the potential benefits of such a plan are incredibly worthy and include:
- Faster commutes – for driving and transit riding employees alike, meaning higher on-time and productivity rates for NYC businesses
- Faster delivery times – for businesses that rely on moving goods and services into and around the CBD; note commercial vehicles only pay the cordon toll once per day (each way)
- Better quality of life – for all NYC commuters
- Easier parking -- in addition to fewer cars in the CBD, Move NY is exploring a package of parking reforms, which should include an investigation of residential parking permits.
- A reduction in congestion in the CBD
- Drivers in the outer boroughs would enjoy better roads and highways, faster travel and lower tolls
- Neighborhoods close to the East River bridges – e.g., Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Williamsburg – would see less traffic, especially from heavy trucks that threaten safety, and would benefit from reduced asthma rates and exhaust-related health conditions.
- Trucks would be incentivized to use highways instead of city streets, wherever possible, making neighborhoods safer their residents, particularly children and the elderly.
- 2-3 beautiful ribbon bridges for pedestrian and bicycle use
- $1.5 billion in additional net revenue for transit and road capital projects: $60 billion over 40 years.
- 35,000 annual recurring construction jobs.
Principles Upon Which the Move NY Plan is Based
- Efficient – both riders and drivers must be able to get to their destinations faster
- Safe – transit and car related accidents must decrease as well as smog-related health problems
- Fair – the costs and benefits must be spread equitably across the NYC region, both among NYC’s five boroughs, between NYC and suburban counties, and between transit riders and drivers.
- Smart – the transportation system must incorporate state-of-the-art technology
- Business Friendly – the plan must make it easier to conduct business and deliver goods in the city
- Safeguarded – all transportation revenues must be “lockboxed” and kept from diversion to other areas
- Concrete – all commuters paying into the system should know that their money will be spent on specific projects that will benefit them tangibly.
WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that these benefits will come with an additional cost for driving into the CBD and taking a taxi in the CBD;
WHEREAS, the health of our transit system is critical to the long term health of New York City and we’re failing to make the kinds of investments we need;
WHEREAS, Community Board Five is supportive of the work of Move NY and is eager to continue to be involved in future discussions and conversations as this plan is fleshed out; therefore be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly support the goals and principles of the Move NY plan and commends Move NY and Sam Schwartz for putting forward this proposal and working with the many stakeholders involved to ensure an open and transparent conversation.
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