Sunday, May 27, 2007

Editorial Decongestion

In today's NY Daily News the paper editorializes in favor of the mayor's traffic decongestion plan. It does so, however, without any good substantive discussion of the plans costs, or its putative benefits for that matter. Instead, it spends a good deal of the time fulsomely praising NYS Senate minority leader Malcolm Smith, one of the few Queens electeds to actually come out publicly in support of the concept.

Smith, in the view of the News, is demonstrating the kind of "gumption" that is "harder to find then parking in midtown." It's a little bemusing to see the News lionizing a politician, and it is especially so since we know just how strenuous the mayoral effort has been to court city elected officials to support PlaNYC's most controversial component. Perhaps the good senator is motivated purely by public policy concerns, but that is generally not the way to bet in this town.

On another front, Dave Seifman reports in the NY Post this morning that even some of those officials in Manhattan who support the pricing scheme are not in favor of the current 86th Street demarcation line. As Council member Gale Brewer told the paper, "I believe that 86th Street will not be the final cutoff" ( a sentiment that was echoed by newly elected assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal).

What we anticipate in the months ahead is that the current proposal will be subjected to a more strenuous evaluation, as political opposition is increased. We all agree that traffic congestion needs to be addressed. Now, and the Daily News is right that there is no other current proposal to do so, we need to devise a better plan to relieve our overburdened city streets and highways.