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Merry Gridlock

It's the holiday season and of course that means time for the city's annual Gridlock Alert Days. What does that really mean?

Well, we went out on the traffic-choked streets of Brooklyn with Streetsblog's editor Aaron Naparstek to talk to drivers to find out and see how they feel about Congestion Pricing and a whole host of other transportation issues.

<br> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [00:02] Hi, Aaron Naparstek, New York City Streets Renaissance. It’s Thursday, December 20<sup>th</sup>. We’re here on 4<sup>th</sup> Avenue in Brooklyn near the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush, one of the busiest, most crowded, congested intersections in the city. Today is a Gridlock Alert Day, supposed to be one of the heaviest gridlock days of the year, and we’re here to talk to drivers, check it out, see what’s going on and try to feel their pain. Merry Gridlock. So if you look behind me here that’s… that’s South Brooklyn and you’ve just got all this traffic pouring down 4<sup>th</sup> Avenue, most likely a lot of it is on its way into Downtown Brooklyn, or on its way over the Manhattan Bridge, which is a free crossing into Manhattan. It’s just jam-packed. 50 blocks worth of traffic just heading straight back deep into South Brooklyn. Yeah, we’re doing a little film about traffic. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [00:53] It sucks.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [00:54] Say that again. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [00:55] It sucks big time. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [00:57] It’s horrible. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [00:58] Where are you coming from?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [00:59] From 41<sup>st</sup> Street.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:00] Okay, so in set park back there?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:02] Yes. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:03] And has it been just like gridlock all the way?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:05] It’s been a nightmare. I’ve had to go up and down avenues, try and get as far as I am now and I think I’m still running a little late. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:14] I love traffic. This is the best part of my day. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:16] Is it really?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:17] Yes. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek: </i> [01:17] Well this is a nice traffic in here. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:20] It’s not so bad, have a little Christmas music, a heated seat, it couldn’t be better. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:24] I almost don’t want to end this interview it’s so nice in here. It’s nice and toasty. So what do you think, is it… how’s the traffic today in general, is it okay? </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:31] It’s the same, you know, typical traffic in the morning. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:35] Did you know it was Gridlock Alert Day?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:37] That doesn’t really make a difference to me.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:39] Did you know it was… Mayor Bloomberg declared it a Gridlock Alert Day today?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:42] Yeah. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:44] Didn’t…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:45] No. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:46] Okay.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:47] It seems more congested than normal today.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [01:49] I’ve lived here for… I’ve lived right on this block for a little over five years and in the last, I would say, year, it’s exponentially just been doubling, doubling, doubling and it’s really bad now. And I know you’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk and I primarily don’t, but I’m forced to now because of all the trucks and double-parking and construction and the amount of traffic, there’s nowhere else to ride. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:15] Traffic used to be very light but now it’s like back to back. It remind me a lot of Manhattan. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:21] Would you guys consider the train or is it like it’s just too much a pain in the butt, or…?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:26] I like the convenience of the car. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:26] Well my wife’s pregnant. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:29] She’s pregnant, so I don’t want to…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:30] Yeah, yeah, of course. Great. Have you heard about Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan that he…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:35] Yes, I have</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:36] What do you think about this?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:37] You know we don’t have to pay for… to clear the congestion, it’s not </font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">good. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:41] Right. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:42] Yeah, I’m not agree with that. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:43] You know you got to pay for the subway. If you put a toll on the Manhattan Bridge…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:50] Oh it’s crazy. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:50] You think that’s crazy?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:51] That is crazy. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [02:52] But what if it took like 10,000 cars off the street or…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [02:54] It’s not going to happen because now you’ve got all the highways and everything, everybody’s going to Manhattan. You know what kind of traffic that’s going to be? That’s crazy. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:02] You don’t like it?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:04] It’s going to be ridiculous. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:05] $8, I think it’s too much. It’s too much. You can charge something but not $8, maybe $4.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:11] Do you think it would be effective in getting people to leave their cars at home?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:15] I think so. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:16] Would you be willing to pay say $4 over the Manhattan Bridge to be… for a faster ride?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:20] Yes, yes.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:21] You would?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:21] But not all the time. Not all the time, but if I really need to get there and it’s going to be faster, yeah. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:28] I think it’s just another scheme to make some money. It’s not going to prevent anyone from going to work in their cars. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:31] Alright. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:34] Leave it the way it is because if he’s going to put tolls on the bridges, it’s going to be ridiculous. People are still going to drive. It doesn’t make a difference. Look at the fuel prices right now, people are still driving. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:44] Right.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [03:44] So it doesn’t make a difference if you’re going to put in tolls. The only way he’s going to do it, he’s going to create more traffic. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [03:50] And pretty much everyone we’re talking to says that the traffic congestion today is, as you’d expect, atrocious. Congesting pricing doesn’t really seem to be on the radar out here at all, but the congestion is definitely, definitely here. So it seems kind of like this sense of resignation that this is… this traffic congestion is just sort of a natural order of things and nothing can be done about it. There are a lot of single occupancy vehicles in here. There’s a nice single occupancy GMC Yukon gone. There’s a twofer. Where do you park this thing? </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [04:27] On Canal Street. I get a park every single day. There are places in Manhattan…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [04:31] Are you a government employee?</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [04:31] I am not. I’m the wife of a police officer, but he told me where to park and I know exactly where to park. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [04:37] Okay.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Speaker:</i> [04:37] It’s not illegal or anything, so…</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [04:38] Gotcha. Right, thanks a lot. </font> <br> </p> http://transcriptdivas.ca/transcription-canada/
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  • http://web.me.com/christow saxman

    If you choose to drive alone in a car, you should pay for being the cause of congestion! I love the saying, "you aren't stuck in a traffic jam, you are the traffic jam!"

  • LD_Planner

    I'm an urban planner and I talk to people all the time about this... the responses from motorists are always the same: "we need more highways, we need to make parking free, etc." Basically, the exact opposite of what we now know to be true.

    I understand these kinds of responses. It's intuitive, after all. Induced demand is just not an intuitive concept. Of course, induced demand is quite real, and unfortunately the people calling for more highways, free parking, et al, are very wrong indeed.

    This is why I strongly we believe we need public awareness campaigns to inform people of how induced demand works, how congestion pricing actually saves us a ton of money, how externalities related to transportation operate, etc.