Transit Advocates To Queens Commuters: We Need Congestion Pricing To Fund Subway

By Jonathan Sperling

 The 36th Avenue Station on the N/W line. Photo courtesy of the MTA.

The 36th Avenue Station on the N/W line. Photo courtesy of the MTA.

A coalition made up of members of the Transportation Alternatives, Riders Alliance and other transit advocacy groups will take to the streets of Brooklyn and Queens today as part of citywide day of action aimed at funding a more reliable subway system.

The “Fix the Subway” coalition, which formed earlier this month, will call on Albany to fix the delay-stricken subway system by way of implementing congestion pricing. Starting with an announcement at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station at 11:30 a.m., the coalition urge straphangers to call Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state representatives to demand that congestion pricing be put in place

At the same time, transit advocates will launch a satellite phone bank outside of the 59th Street and Fourth Avenue subway station on the N and R lines in Sunset Park, as well as outside of the 111th Street and Roosevelt Avenue subway station on the No. 7 line in Corona.

Afterward, coalition members will journey across the subway system and the boroughs in order to engage riders, collect petition signatures and help straphangers to identify and contact their lawmakers directly.

“The subway is embarrassing right now. We’re going to activate riders by telling them ‘this is who can fix it, this is who you can call and this is how you can call them,” said Danny Pearlstein, Riders Alliance’s policy and communications director.”

According to Pearlstein, congestion pricing is the best option for funding subway improvements — such as more elevators and new signal installation — because it is “sustainable” and could generate $1 billion per year.

“Congestion pricing is a fair source of revenue. People who drive to work in Manhattan and pay for parking and tolls are wealthy enough to afford it [congestion pricing],” Pearlstein said. “Fixing the subway won’t come cheap but it also won’t come quickly,” he added.