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London Is So Far Ahead Of New York--Even In Traffic.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 20, 2007

I moderated a panel on urban mobility at the last World Economic Forum in Davos and London Mayor Ken Livingstone was there and asked me “if Mayor Bloomberg can ban trans-fat, why can’t he do something about the congestion?” Livingstone, of course, had the political courage to put through congestion pricing in London. The program charges people driving cars and trucks about $16 a day to drive into the most congested parts of London between 7AM and 6PM.

Livingstone said that the plan is cutting back car emissions dramatically, thus helping to fight global warming. In fact, he suggested in January at Davos that Bloomberg package his congestion plan as a “green” program.

Which is what Mayor Bloomberg just did, wrapping a congestion pricing scheme into a 25-year plan for a cleaner New York City. One New York tale has it that tt takes the same amount of time to go cross-town in Manhattan during rush-hour today as it did during the horse and buggy days. I don’t know it that’s true. It sure feels like it.

Livingstone warns, however, to expect a big political push-back. He told me that one of the great surprises to him was that his own political constituency, the worker class Londoners, were the most vehement opponents of the congestion pricing scheme. “The rich can pay, of course, but the worker people really must sacrifice.”

So it will be for Mayor Bloomberg.

There is supposed to be a web site from the NYC office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability but I can’t find it at site. It discusess the congestion and other issues. Let me know if you can get to it.

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Reader Comments

Roger von Oech

April 20, 2007 04:25 PM

Since about 1993, I (and probably many other out-of-towners) have thought of NYC as a kind of "Disneyland-for-Adults."

When NYC was dirtier, broke, and more crime-ridden in the 1970s and 1980s, I think many fewer people thought of the Big Apple that way.

Anyway, just as visitors can't drive their vehicles into Disneyland, perhaps the same can be done for Manhattan. I think many would applaud this move. Of course, others might dub it the "new fascism." Of course, Disney has significantly greater control over its labor force and what they do than Mayor Bloomberg does.

Bill Porter

April 23, 2007 03:39 AM

The website is I believe.

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