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.