Rumor Mill: Sustainability Announcement Tomorrow

Word has it that the Bloomberg Administration’s new Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability will unveil its first work product this coming Wednesday, November 15. It looks like this initial public announcement will be oriented more around the problems that the new office is thinking about and working on rather than the solutions. The solutions, I am told, may start to emerge as a part of the Mayor’s State of the City speech in January.

There are high hopes that tomorrow’s public unveiling, whatever it may show, begins to lay the groundwork for a serious traffic reduction program in New York City, perhaps in the form of London-style congestion charging. With this year’s elections out of the way there is no longer any worry that the inevitably difficult public discussion of congestion charging might force a gubernatorial candidate into a corner. Governor Elect Spitzer’s vow to raise subway fares only as a last resort almost guarantees an MTA fiscal crisis in the coming months. Might a fiscal crisis also serve as the impetus for a congestion charging push? Among political insiders there is a feeling that the only possible way to sell congestion charging to New York is in response to a serious crisis. In other words, the Doctor needs to make it clear that the patient is sick and needs to make dificult, but ultimately fulfilling, lifestyle changes.

janette.jpgWe have heard that the Partnership for New York City’s secretive, years-long congestion charging study is far along in its analysis and modeling. The project is being masterminded by Janette Sadik-Khan at Parsons Brinckerhoff (pictured right). A serious candidate for DOT commissioner when Michael Bloomberg was first elected mayor, Sadik-Khan’s resume includes a stint as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation for New York City during the Dinkins Administration. Transportation consultant Bruce Schaller is also working on a congestion charging study for the conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute.

All of which leads us to a more pressing issue: Can anyone out there come up with a better name for it than "congestion charging?"

Traffic Relief Zone, anyone?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Mayor Bloomberg Sustainability Speech Tomorrow

|
At an event hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will deliver a major speech outlining sustainability challenges and goals for the City of New York through the year 2030. This will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw. When Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, […]

Breaking News: Frieden Tapped as DOT Commish

|
Please note: This was an April Fool’s Day post… Dr. Thomas Frieden accepting his new job as DOT commissioner this morning in Central Park. In a major restructuring of the Bloomberg Administration, outgoing Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall will be replaced by Public Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. Bloomberg’s surprise announcement came at a rare Sunday morning […]

Bloomberg Sustainability Announcement

|
As we reported this morning, Mayor Bloomberg is in California with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to make a major policy announcement on a major, long-term, environmental sustainability initiative. The key components of the Mayor’s plan include: The creation of the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability. The undertaking of a major greenhouse gas inventory for City […]

City Streets for Sale in Providence

|
Here’s a rather alarming update from Jef Nickerson at Greater City Providence, who alerts us to one of the not-so-imaginative responses to the current fiscal distress affecting many American cities. Providence is selling its streets: After Brown University and then RISD made agreements with the City to acquire parts of public streets for private parking in exchange for increased […]

Solve the Congestion Crisis And Win $50,000

|
Have you ever idled in traffic or waited for a late bus while thinking: "The city government should put me in charge of fixing this mess"? Good solutions to this could net you $50,000. (Photo: ITSA) Well, it’s time to make notes on that brilliant traffic-calming idea. The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) kicked […]