This report was jointly prepared by the Urban Design Lab and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, in collaboration with WE ACT For Environmental Justice. This report was produced with support of the Ford Foundation.
The City and State of New York are currently considering a comprehensive congestion pricing plan initially put forward by the Mayor. The plan, as refined by the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission, promises to improve the city’s overall environmental health by reducing traffic and congestion. The plan would also provide a revenue stream dedicated to transit improvements, eventually resulting in easier and faster commutes for all riders. Though residents throughout the five boroughs would experience these benefits, many neighborhoods are also concerned about the potential for negative local impacts. Northern Manhattan residents have in particular raised concerns that suburban commuters will opt to “park and ride” near transit stations in their community, adding to local traffic congestion and reducing the availability of parking. A second concern is that the plan may worsen conditions on an already crowded transit system. A final concern is the impact of the proposed expansion in bus service on communities of color. This report examines these concerns and identifies measures the City, State and Metropolitan Transportation Authority can take to prevent or mitigate these outcomes.