Dear Governor Murphy,

We the people of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan, implore you to take the appropriate steps to stem the humanitarian crisis New Jersey drivers befell our community everyday. From 3 to 8 pm, hordes of angry and aggressive drivers pack into Lincoln Tunnel accesses, located on miles of commercial and residential streets. They honk and idle for hours, block every intersection and every pedestrian crossing and prevent emergency vehicles from passing through.

As a result, restaurants struggle to recover from the pandemic because they cannot use their outside space; terrified residents keep their children home to avoid the mayhem; the district has the third worst air quality in New York City and emergency services are often delayed or honk desperately, to gain passage.

Since the COVID recovery, the situation is much worse. It has become untenable. This video was taken recently on 9th Avenue.

NYPD does not have the resources to man 30 or more intersections everyday. Shouldn’t New Jersey accept responsibility for the chaos sewn by its citizens on an adjoining state?

Which brings us to Congestion Pricing. You made pronouncements in opposition to New York ‘s Congestion Pricing scheme. Would you feel the same way if New Yorkers were imposing such level of chaos onto New Jersey residents? It is urgent that drivers give up their cars and return to mass transit. The current situation is not sustainable for New Jersey commuters either: the length of peak hour commute has increased by one hour. It is clear that the current tolls do not sufficiently dissuade driving. The congestion is real and must be abated.

On a regional level, congestion pricing is about reducing congestion and raising funds for public transit. Two New Jersey mass transit projects are underway that could benefit from funding : Port Authority Bus terminal replacement and the Penn Station expansion. The State of New Jersey itself could significantly increase river crossing tolls to achieve its mass transit goals and bring relief to our community? Only then would there be a legitimate reason to consider exemptions.

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Melodie Bryant
Melodie Bryant
2 years ago

The financial burden NJ drivers place on NYers is unfair and untenable. From asthma & health care costs, to lost business to exacerbating global warming – to lost lives. These drivers should contribute directly to Congestion Pricing as a way to to transform both their commute and the mayhem their vehicles cause in NYC. This is WAY overdue.

daniel f sciannameo
daniel f sciannameo
Reply to  Melodie Bryant
2 years ago

Many of those cars have ny plates.

Kathleen
Kathleen
Reply to  Melodie Bryant
2 years ago

Melanie – agree wholeheartedly. Excluding NY plates……the state of NJ has made it so EASY for commuters to take the bus into the City. It’s time for NJ to step up to the plate and get those drivers in bus seats. Congestion pricing is worth the effort, too. We in Hell’s Kitchen need relief!!!!

Tina
Tina
2 years ago

Certainly, NJ commuters — most with only drivers in the cars/SUVS — are much to blame. (Whatever happened to the emphasis of ride sharing, like we had in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s?)

But how the hell were Uber and Lyft, and now Revel, allowed to clog our streets to the tune of tens of thousands extra vehicles per day, making a bad situation much, much worse? It’s inane and must stop.

Member of CB4, Tina D

Last edited 2 years ago by Tina
Lisa Evers
Lisa Evers
Reply to  Tina
7 months ago

I’m totally with you on the loss of the concept of ride-sharing (or ‘carpooling’), particularly vis-a-vis family members who all live in the same home. I find it positively disgusting, and dumbfounding…this belief that more or less ‘every’ adult over the age of 18 should have their own 2-3 ton form of personal transport. Indeed, why can’t family members arrange to pick up and or drop off another family member? What is so hard about making ‘arrangements’? But nooo…. everyone wants ‘convenience’ in the form of having a car at their beck and call, 24/7.

But as for your other comment on Uber, Lyft, Revel etc, I think that issue is a bit less cut and dry. So like, are there indeed more Ubers, Lyft and Revel etc. vehicles out on our streets, than the total number of taxis (and local car services, that typically served Upper Manh and the outer boroughs) that used to be found in NYC, before these ride-share services came into the picture? Also, is it not possible that many pre-existing private-use cars and their owners simply ‘converted’ their vehicles from being for private-use only, to allowing them to be also used for gig work with Uber, Lyft and Revel (so in other words, the same number of vehicles, simply being reclassified from private-use only vehicles to shared-ride vehicles)?

I often hear complaints that Uber etc. drivers are creating more street congestion at any given point in time, because they are riding around simply waiting for fares to appear in their phone apps. But could not the same have been said regarding taxi drivers, as well…that they too are riding around looking for fares?

Either way, the concept of ride-sharing, and vehicles being used for this purpose, mean far fewer vehicles on our roads vs if every one of their ride-share customers on any given day were using their own private-use vehicles for those same car trips.

Lisa Evers
Lisa Evers
7 months ago

I HAVE often noticed that many of the worst drivers in NYC in fact have NJ plates. However, that’s not to say that many NY drivers aren’t often scofflaw, either. However, I want to comment on the notion that NYPD don’t have the ‘resources’ to manage 30+ intersections (I assume 30+ is just referring to parts of Chelsea and Hells Kitchen…) Regardless of how many resources that NYPD may or may not have, none of this changes the fact that even when NYPD (or DOT, for that matter) are in full view of scofflaw drivers, they often pretend not to see the scofflaw behavior. They simply Do Nothing. And if you ask me, that right there is the crux of the problem.

If scofflaw drivers in NYC started to receive tickets for blocking the box…for running reds…for not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk while they (the driver) are making a turn. If drivers started to receive tickets for idling in bus stops…in bus lanes…bike lanes…lanes of traffic…over entire crosswalks… If this began to happen, believe me you, other drivers would get the message loud and clear, that such behaviors will no longer be tolerated. Drivers talk to other drivers, and if/when some of them were to begin receiving tickets for behaviors that have been more recently ‘allowed’, they would begin telling their other driver friends to ‘beware’.

Most NYPD appear to be pro-driver and anti- everyone else. And in fact, NYPD are some of the biggest parking/idling scofflaws out there. Show me one NYPD who actually walks, cycles, or takes public transit to their precinct, and I’ll show you a bridge I have for sale. 😉