Transportation Committee Update
Staff Contact: Johnny Evers
February 27, 2018
New York City Congestion Pricing:
Mayor's Plan, Fix NY Plan, and 30-Day Amendments on Congestion Pricing
As part of the efforts to address both traffic congestion and mass transit infrastructure needs within New York City, both Mayor deBlasio and Governor Cuomo have put forth Congestion Pricing proposals, with the Mayor’s proposal announced on October 22, 2017 and the Governor’s Fix NY Advisory Panel report issued in mid-January 2018. The Governor has now included three of the Fix NY proposals in his 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget.
The Business Council is working with member companies to identify parts of the plans that may hinder transportation and shipping. Some of the proposals may limit times of delivery, increase fees on trucking, and/or create circumstances under which the transport of goods into Manhattan is made more costly. The Business Council is seeking input and feedback on the congestion pricing issue and how it impacts member companies. Please send any information to Johnny Evers or (518) 694-4461.
These initiatives are summarized below:
New York City Mayor's Plan
The mayor’s five initiatives to address traffic congestion in New York City were announced in October 2017 and scheduled to be put in place in early January 2018, however, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the Clear Lanes and Clear Curbs initiatives would be delayed. Those two initiatives have not been put in place to date. The Business Council has been informed by many of its members that these two initiatives (Clear Lane and Clear Curbs) are of paramount concern to transportation and shipping interests.
- Clear Lanes: Keeping Traffic Moving in Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD). The City will create continuous curb moving lanes during busy times on 11 key crosstown streets. Deliveries will generally be permitted on one side of the street, while the other curb will be signed for no standing from 6 am to 7 pm. The City will also expand its off-hour delivery program to assist businesses that are interested in shifting their deliveries to less busy times. Clear Lane streets will include:
- 60th and 59th Sts. (Fifth to Second Ave.)
- 58th St. (Lexington to Second Ave.)
- 54th St. (Eighth to Third Ave.)
- 53rd St. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
- 50th and 49th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
- 47th and 46th Sts. (Ninth to Third Ave.)
- 37th and 36th Sts. (Sixth to Second Ave.)
- Clear Curbs: Testing Curb Access Restrictions. The City will test curb access restriction on two major commercial corridors and in a zone within Manhattan. The City will then monitor the impact of the pilot program and, if successful, expand the approach to additional corridors. For six months beginning in January 2018, the City will ban curbside loading on both sides of the street on the pilot corridors and within the pilot zone during peak hours (7 am-10 am and 4 pm-7 pm). The areas impacted are:
- Manhattan (Midtown): the zone bounded by Sixth Ave. to the west, Madison Ave. to the East, 45th St. to the south and 50th St. to the north.
- Queens (Jackson Hgts and Corona): Roosevelt Ave., Broadway to 108th St.
- Brooklyn (Downtown, Park Slope, Prospect Hgts): Flatbush Ave, Grand Army Plaza to Tillary St.
- Clear Intersections: Expanding Block-the-Box Enforcement to Reduce Gridlock. Drivers who enter intersections without sufficient space on the other side “block-the box,” which can have cascading effects on traffic and create dangers to pedestrians who cannot cross streets safely. The City will reinvigorate its efforts against block-the-box with focus at 50 key intersections citywide.
- Clear Zones: Reducing Congestion in Commercial Districts outside Manhattan. The City will undertake a range of efforts to address congestion at hotspots outside Manhattan, including downtown Flushing, north shore of Staten Island, Hunts Point, downtown Jamaica, and other outer borough congestion hotspots. These studies include potential program of traffic management measures, including signal timing changes, street and intersection redesigns, new construction, and data analysis, amongst other programs.
- Clear Highways: Reducing Congestion on the Arterial Highway System. The City will engage state and local elected officials with the goal of convening task forces to focus on persistent congestion on highways outside the City’s jurisdiction, starting with the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Staten Island Expressway (SIE)/Verrazano–Narrows Bridge/Gowanus Expressway corridor. These task forces will seek to work with partner agencies, including the MTA, NYS DOT, and the Port Authority, to improve highway operations and address choke points.
Fix NYC Advisory Panel Report - January 2018
After its appointment by the Governor in October 2017, the 15-members Fix NYC advisory group met several times before issuing its report on January 22, 2018. Fix NYC was tasked with finding strategies to address severe traffic congestion and identify sources of revenue to help fix the subway system. The report recommended a three phase approach to addressing these issues. In Phase One the report recommended six (6) points of action:
- Identify public transportation improvements for the outer Boroughs and Suburbs in an effort to alleviate congestion through public transportation alternatives. As part of this proposal the report also supported the Governor’s budget proposal to authorize Tax Increment Financing for the MTA and the procurement modifications the Governor asked for in regards to the MTA,
- “Immediate stepped up enforcement by NYPD of existing traffic laws” within the CBD,
- An “Overhaul of the NYC Placard system” used for government issued parking permits,
- “Assess and address the impact of bus congestion” in the CBD,
- Reform of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) regulations to insure they reflect modern technology,
- And, begin early work on Zone Pricing and the infrastructure needed under this program including an Environmental Impact Statements (EIS).
Under Phase Two, the report suggested “a surcharge on taxi and for-hire vehicles (FHV) trips in the CBD” after the installation of appropriate GPS technology in all vehicles. This phase-in would require at least ten (10) months to complete.
Phase Three recommends a zone pricing program in two parts – “first for trucks, and then for all vehicles entering Manhattan’s CBD below 60th Street.” The report recommends “frequent review of the program and opportunities to make modifications when necessary” to ensure public support for the program. Twice a year the metrics on zone pricing should be checked and published in a report to assess “the efficacy of the surcharge and zone pricing programs.”
Governor's 30-Day Amendments
Within the 30 day amendments to the proposed executive budget, the Governor has put forth three (3) proposals contained with the Fix NY Report. These included:
- Authorizing the City of New York to create a pilot program to enforce "block the box". Amends vehicle and traffic law (VTL) to add new §1111-f to establish a demonstration program in Manhattan imposing fines on vehicles for blocking intersection traffic. Demonstration program shall empower such city to install and operate intersection-monitoring devices only at intersections south of 60th Street. Requires annual report to Governor and Legislature each June 1 after effect of law detailing violations, accidents, fines, revenue raised, and expenses of program,
- Adoption of a new §15 of the public officers law which would direct the Fix NYC advisory panel to review and make recommendations regarding:
- Study appropriate and uniform standards and equipment to be installed in all taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, including in-vehicle geolocation technology, for the purposes of collecting a surcharge on trips originating or terminating within an established geographic area within the Borough of Manhattan, which may be made in consultation with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission;
- Study the design, period of validity, criteria for issuance or reissuance, enforcement and accountability measures, number, use, and any other recommendations deemed necessary and proper regarding official vehicle parking placards issued by any agency or department of, and for use within, the city of New York, which may be made in consultation with any such issuing agency or department.”
- Adoption of a new Public Officers Law §18 directing the New York state department of transportation and the New York state department of motor vehicles to jointly perform a comprehensive review of the operation, regulation, oversight, licensing, and safety requirements pertaining to commuter, intercity, charter, and sightseeing buses that operate within the borough of Manhattan and their impact on congestion within such borough. Requires the participation of the NYC Department of Transportation and Port Authority NYNJ and “any other consulted agency or department of the city of New York.
|Strengthen the State’s Authority to Enforce Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations||Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner enabled to suspend registrations because of an out of service order issued by the United States department of transportation, hold suspension until federal notice, and fine incrementally, after a hearing, each successive violation.
TED Article VII bill, Part A
|Enhance Public Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) Enforcement Power in Compliance with Federal Requirements||Aligns NYS transportation law with federal law relating to federal rail fixed guideway public transportation systems.
TED Article VII bill, Part C
|Authorize DOT to Collect a $120 Fee for Semi-Annual Inspections of Certain For-Profit Vehicles.||DOT shall charge and collect $120 for the inspection or re-inspection of all motor vehicles transporting passengers subject to the department's inspection requirements; exempts municipalities.
TED Article VII bill, Part E
|Extends the Authorization of Autonomous Vehicle Testing in the State of New York.||Proscribes rules for the testing and driving of autonomous vehicles under supervision of commissioner of motor vehicles including security in amount of $5 million. Report on issue yearly, sunset in 2020.
TED Article VII bill, Part H