An article in today’s Times about who drives into Manhattan reveals some surprising facts: contrary to popular myth that most people are coming from the suburbs, in fact more than half of all commuters are coming from the boroughs. Once this little myth was busted, it suddenly seems rather obvious. People from Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island have a plethora of relatively comfortable commuter options, while people in Bayside Queens don’t.
Meanwhile almost all the major transportation projects currently under consideration would further improve the suburban commute and do virtually nothing for people who actually live in New York City. To wit: Moynihan Station would be built mostly for New Jersey Transit. The new Calatrava Station at Ground Zero is for PATH commuters (New Jersey again). Long Island Railroad is supposed to finally have a connection at Grand Central, etc. We’re talking billions of dollars of investment.
Just to play the contrarian for a moment, this new traffic info sheds a rather unflattering light on the idea of congestion pricing, a hotly debated topic of late. If half of all commuters are concentrated in areas of New York City where there are few public transit options, none of them very good, does congestion pricing hit middle class and working class people disproportionately?