New York has a congestion crisis. The traffic patterns of the City are simply mis-managed and quite frankly, a disaster. Is it because there are now over 30,000 UBER-affiliated cars on the road compared to roughly 10,000 two years ago? Is it the removal of multiple lanes to accommodate cyclists? Is it the high volume of construction throughout the City? Is it the number of vehicles occupied by a single person? Speak to any driver and they will say this is the worst its ever been.
Uber drivers actually have a passenger about 50% of the time while driving, a vast improvement. Over 25,000 new for-hire vehicle licenses have been issued since 2011, increasing by 63% including livery cabs and black cars. Uber has also significantly improved the quality of cars with drivers including yellow cabs that were beginning to transition into third-world status.
It is time for the City to recognize this problem and act on it without delay. So instead of just complaining, here are some of my suggestions:
1) Create loading zones so that UPS, FEDEX and other delivery trucks don’t double park.
2) Triple fines on double-parking and illegally parked vehicles that cause blocked traffic patterns.
3) Revise building codes to include specifics about how to take cars off the street: more internal parking, more internal loading docks, etc. Why not both commercial and residential loading spaces within buildings?
4) Evaluate bike lane usage: Spot-fine or confiscate bikes form those reckless cyclists who don’t use the lanes or create havoc by ignoring all road laws.
5) Wherever construction takes place, off-set the traffic flow by eliminating some parking.
6) Create programs/plans/laws to encourage shared riding.
7) Do all road work between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
8) Encourage the use of smaller trucks. Huge trucks should re-distribute their loads before entering the City.
9) Improve the quality of life on the subways and busses: they are filthy, smelly, corroding and need massive improvement. Spot-fine litter-bugs and anyone who diminishes their quality.
10) Synchronize traffic lights to encourage consistent traffic flow at a legal speed.
11) Clamp down hard on jay-walkers: they cause massive delays and congestion. Pedestrians are important but we ALL have to obey the law, not just cyclists and drivers.
12) Bring garbage collection into the 21st century with automated bins. Plastic bags on sidewalks in 2016, really? Garbage trucks should have collection zones that allow un-interrupted traffic flow.
13) Utilities such as Verizon and Con Edison should only perform mid-street repairs and maintenance during off-peak traffic hours unless in an emergency.
14) Individuals with private drivers that sit waiting in front of buildings for hours at a time should pay a fee to the city for taking up road space, causing extra pollution, etc. This is a luxury that everyone should be entitled to, but the cost to the city and the population at large should be paid for.
15) Make provisions for more electrical vehicle charging stations. Electrical cars, busses and trucks reduce pollution and noise.
Are driverless cars the answer? I don’t know. But I do know this City is begging for some leadership on the subject of congestion. Adding in some smart technology could be the solution. A comprehensive plan intelligently implemented is long overdue. A city the size of New York without discipline is a chaotic city. Slowed traffic movement is an impediment on commerce and productivity. it produces far too much pollution, not to mention frustration and stress for all.
Should I run for Mayor of New York?