Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Real Traffic Mess

In the argument over the congestion pricing plan, we've maintained that the focus on the city's CBD is both hypocritical and short-sighted. It's hypocritical because, in its use of asthma and other health maladies to, well, sell the product, it ignores the real traffic congestion that effects other areas of the city-many of which are real hotbeds of asthma and other respiratory ailments.It's shortsighted because it offers no remedy for traffic relief elsewhere.

And Staten Island is a case in point. As the Advance pointed out the other day, the island is approaching real gridlock conditions on a daily rush hour basis: "For every Staten Islander who has gotten "the look" from the boss when they arrive late to work in the morning; for every missed family dinner, doctor's appointment, or school play, for every extra hour spent standing on a packed express bus, there is hope on the way."

The hope in this case involves more express buses and an altered construction schedule for the Verrazano Bridge. It is precisely this traffic nightmare that spelled the death of Wal-Mart on the Island two years ago. The mayor's plan, by being so narrowly focused, is not the true city wide effort that is needed in order to really address the sustainability issue for our city.