There is a loud and influential anti-car and truck sentiment which regularly blames motor vehicles for the city’s congested streets, as if towering new developments and street redesigns have nothing to do with congestion. When politicians and transportation advocates (funded by the Real Estate industry) play the blame game they do nothing to help the situation on the contrary, they make it worse.
Take recent news. Politicians and advocates are selling the Move NY midtown tolling scheme as a means to reduce congestion. At the same time, the New York City Council just approved a new Midtown East zoning plan which will significantly increase the density of that district. Specifically, the plan adds 6.8 million square feet of new office space while modernizing 6.6 million square feet of existing office space. Doing this will create an estimated 28,000 new, permanent jobs according to Curbed.
It should be obvious: increased density leads to increased congestion. All these new offices and residences will lead to more people coming in and out from all over the metropolitan area. The only contributions to mass transit from the East Side plans are to expand and prettify the stations that currently serve them. We see nothing in the plan to subsidize mass transit. And what of the goods and services that must be delivered? Most of these come by truck. Any new structures must plan for loading zones and truck parking. There also must be necessary street space for the trucks to maneuver.
As we’ve discussed before, (Straight Talk on NYC Traffic Congestion) congestion is a choice that city officials make. The Midtown East rezone is a perfect example of that fact. While growth is great for the city, remember that trucks facilitate that growth and must be accommodated not vilified.