Thursday, February 21, 2008

New York Press interviews Ted Kheel




...[NYC Mayor] Bloomberg told WABC radio’s John Gambling in March 2007 that “from a public policy point of view, you really should have all of your mass transit free. And then raise fines and parking fees and everything else.” During his weekly broadcast, the mayor has made the same point at least two more times, calling free mass transit “the ultimate system,” and most recently calling it “the perfect system,” on the February 1, 2008 broadcast....

...Kheel’s vision for a fare-free New York goes something like this: In a New York where subways, buses and even commuter trains are free to ride, and motorists pay for the system through congestion pricing, pedestrians would be able to get around much easier, breathe cleaner air and, as he puts it, “every working person who uses the subway would have $1,000 more a year to spend....”

...residents would be more productive because they’d spend less time inching along in traffic. Stores would do more business, since people would have more time and more money to shop with and because so many businesses are located around subway stations, there would be much more public space that would, in effect, turn New York into a walking city with wider sidewalks and public plazas. More working class and poor New Yorkers in the outer boroughs would be able to commute to work, which would increase productivity and offer them a chance to improve their financial situations and lifestyles, which would in turn improve the economy and society as a whole. And with fewer cars and trucks, and more bikers and walkers, there would be fewer auto accidents, which would lower insurance costs....

...Increased traffic congestion will soon cost the city as much as $13 billion a year. At an average of 7.9 miles per hour, New York City buses are slower than Chicago’s (9.7), Boston’s (10.5), Washington, DC’s (11.2) and Los Angeles’s (12.3). According to a study conducted by New York City Transit (part of the MTA), 133.50 million subway riders in October 2006 became 143.50 million riders in October 2007, that’s an increase of one million people per month in just a year’s time....

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