Part III: Most Queens Residents Don’t Work in Manhattan — and Would Benefit from Move NY

Photo: NYC DOT | Flickr

In Part I of this series, we examined one New York City Councilmember’s opposition to the Move New York Fair Plan (Move NY) and how broad-based misconceptions have resulted in Queens elected officials coming out against the plan. Then, in Part II, we dug a little deeper to show how opposition to Move NY is rooted in basic misconceptions about the commuting patterns of Queens residents who work in Manhattan’s central business district.

What we haven’t talked about so far are the Queens residents who don’t work in Manhattan. As noted in Part II, there are 1,031,130 workers in Queens, about 26 percent of whom commute via transit, and less than 4 percent who drive to jobs in the Manhattan CBD. That means 70 percent of Queens’ working population doesn’t enter the Manhattan CBD at all. Here’s where they’re commuting to:


These and other workers will benefit from Move NY in the following ways:

Most workers will not see a toll increase. Eighty-four percent of non-Manhattan CBD bound workers either stay in Queens or travel to Brooklyn and Long Island, none of which requires payment of a toll now or in the future under Move NY.

Better, increased transit service and reduced congestion for everyone. These workers if they drive, as well as other drivers are expected to see less congestion as a result of Move NY because of increased transit service. And with that increased transit service, more workers and other residents will have more transit options than they have now.

Part II of the series also discussed transit deserts, an issue that keeps coming up around New York City in general, but especially in Queens. Elected officials, such as City Councilmember Daneek Miller of southeastern Queens, have rightly called for transit increases in these areas. With new revenues raised by tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queensboro bridges, imagine the increased fiscal capacity the MTA would have for adding new service in transit-starved neighborhoods, like what is happening between Flushing and Jamaica and on Woodhaven Boulevard.

Reduced tolls for workers commuting to areas in New York City other than the CBD. Although it is a small percentage of the total, workers who drive to jobs in the Bronx and Staten Island will see a 45 percent decrease in tolls.

Some workers driving into the Manhattan CBD will not experience a toll increase. Just under half of all workers entering the CBD from Queens currently use the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Under the Move NY plan, this toll would not be increased.

All of these reasons, as well as the benefits for the majority of Manhattan CBD-bound commuters noted in Parts I and II, are undoubtedly why Queens leaders like Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer and Donovan Richards have expressed their support for Move NY. Rather than being swayed by misconceptions, they’ve recognized that the overwhelming majority of Queens residents stand to benefit from this plan. We hope their colleagues will take the time to examine the data more closely — and perhaps reconsider their positions.

4 Comments on "Part III: Most Queens Residents Don’t Work in Manhattan — and Would Benefit from Move NY"

  1. These articles are disingenous conversations among advocates about the people of Queens. It is the worst kind of top-down approach to policy. Ask Queens residents what is good for them–that’s democracy isn’t it? Bike lanes on Qns. Blvd. do not benefit Queens residents and neither does Move NY. The bulk of NYC’s motorists are in Queens and they don’t want to be cut off any more than Staten Island does. Motorists already pay for everything from roads to subways to bike lanes–enough is enough!

  2. Clark Morris | November 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm |

    Actually if New York is like most states, Queens drivers pay for the upstate roads since most city streets are funded through the property tax. Thus the bicyclers and others who use the street/sidewalk network are paying directly or indirectly through the property tax. Isaac Martin may be right about the top down imposition but the probabilities of the majority of cyclists on Queens streets not living and not working in Queens are slim to none. The buses which are most efficient in peak period (highest occupancy) unlike cars which are least efficient in peak period (average of1.2 persons per car versus 1.6 persons per car off peak) also are a better use of street space. Light rail or properly designed streetcar systems are an even better use of street space.

  3. Isaac Martin | November 20, 2015 at 1:27 pm |

    This whole thing is offensive. There no lack of capacity on our roads–Vision Zero efforts to create congestion have underscored that fact. Move NY is about revenue, pure and simple. It’s about getting more and spreading the pain. The problem is that it is wrong-headed in that it asks users, in this case, motorists, to pay even more for public transportation and roads that are not being maintained. We have a transportation infrastructure funding problem in this country and gimmicks like this one are not the solution. The MTA budget is not viable long-term. Our roads are worse than they have ever been. Move NY is a cancer that will grow and perpetuate an unsustainable solution. Energy is better spent in Albany and Washington–these are national, not merely local issues. We’ve long depended on both to get us where we are (both with respect to roads and public transit) and back-pedaling from that place is a bad idea.

  4. So it’s 4% + 9% = 13% traffic(all kinds) go into Manhattan from Queens. Only 8% of Brooklyn traffic goes to Manhattan(NYMTC #’s). Of course, to keep up the revenues the volumes into Manhattan must be kept up to generate those revenues. Nothing will change except motorists will lose more weight from their wallets than bikers from their gut.

    Sorry Isaac. The other America, west of the Hudson(Albany & DC), doesn’t appreciate the richest city in the nation when it comes begging. Doesn’t the greater share of federal gas tax revenue that goes to public transportation end up with the MTA? Collected nationwide but spent locally. Sounds good to me.

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