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Poll: Residents May Face Hefty Toll to Use Queensboro Bridge, Along with Others

Queensboro Bridge (Photo: nyc.gov)

Feb. 23, 2015 By Michael Florio

A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges–was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner.

MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA.

Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week.

The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers.

There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY.

The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone– would be lowered $2.50 each way.

However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said.

For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge.

“There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.”

“There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge.

“They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said.

Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion.

In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads.

“I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said.

State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.

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61 Comments

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ferdia

Oh, and as far as it being effective, how about we just bugger with a tobasco dipped egg beater anyone who drives into the city. That’d be effective too.

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ferdia

Never survive the lawsuits.
The proposal effectively removes free travel to Manhattan or, you know, America.

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rikki

I used to drive my GF to her job at the Met on weekends 10am not much traffic ….so to put tolls on off peak hours is just giving the middle finger to drivers.

I would be OK with 6am-6pm M-F having tolls….since it would very very rarely affect me..

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Celtic George

I think this is partly for raising monies for the WTC site, which is severely over budget. This is why tolls and public transport fees are slated to be raised again this year. Why not add a toll to the East River bridges as well? I also don’t believe traffic will be reduced by much. There is plenty of it originating in Queens and not coming from the Grand Central or LIE, especially during peak hours.

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Skillman Ave Resident

Personally, I gave up on driving to Manhattan. It takes too much time to cross the bridge and once you are there it is almost impossible to find the parking space . I would welcome toll on the bridge.

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OldenDays

we are always complaining about traffic and congestion in our neighborhood. well think how many of those people driving down QB are headed to or from the bridge because it is free, rather than the midtown tunnel which is on a highway which is designed for that type of traffic. i don’t like the idea of cutting off the boroughs with paid crossings, but something has to be done about the traffic. congestion pricing really does work, look at london which implemented it years ago. if they require ez-pass there wouldn’t be any backups at a toll plaza either.

i would hope that any plan includes a subsidy for commercial vehicles so they either don’t have to pay, or at least pay a MUCH lower rate. this would ease the effect on businesses. in fact businesses might even do better because their drivers are not wasting 20-30 minutes sitting in traffic on the bridge, they are cruising through. of course…they also need to fix the infernal 7 train or this area is doomed no matter what we do.

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SuperWittySmitty

This toll is long overdue. The fact that it is free is the reason there is so much traffic going through our neighborhood, whose streets were designed for local traffic yet are packed with cheapskates “just passing through.” They should be using the tunnel and the LIE.

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SuperWittySmitty

This is congestion pricing; very effective in other cities that are trying to reduce traffic and congestion.

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Melissa

MTA has alot of nerve doing this off the backs of the working poor and small businesses. go pick on the 1% plenty of money there

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Leo

I spend around $800 per month with EZPass because I need to use the NJ tunnels and MTA Tunnels and bridges every day. I noticed that even paying all this money to access NYC, I have to drive in a very bad pavement which forces me to spend around $600 every year to repair my suspensions because the condition of the roads in NYC.

Besides that, one person cruising the hudson river from NJ will have to spend $22 to go to Queens in a round trip journey.
It is absolutely ridiculous. Where all these billions of Dollars from all the PA and MTA tolls are going to??? I honestly do not see any benefit for me since I pay yearly almost $10,000 for tolls.

Please make a better usage of our money before even thinking about charging more money from tax payers. We pay too much already.
Bring us better ideas and not this crap.

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Toll Troll

“Besides that, one person cruising the hudson river from NJ will have to spend $22 to go to Queens in a round trip journey.

Bring us better ideas and not this crap.”

What if there were, like, a giant machine that ran underneath the rivers and moved people around so they didn’t all need to drive, alone, in their cars, around the city?

Sounds so futuristic! I bet this is the kind of idea you mean. Surely if we used the toll revenue to fund something like it would actually solve this problem!

Oh well. Maybe someday!

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Anonymous visitor

You mean like a machine like the giant machine people were asked to pay for in the 60s? The 2nd Ave Subway. Oh yes, it’s here, almost, maybe, like partially, 60 years later.

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Sunnyside

Not everybody works in cubicle, we actually drive from job to job building this city.

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Anonymous visitor

This is the borough’s death. This is the businessmen’s death. This is increasing prices. This is stupid and will not decrease Manhattan congestion and do nothing to increase service or anything to Queens.
EpicFail. DeBlasioFail. JVB? Floating in the DeadSea

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Mac

@visitor MoveNY was formed in 2010 and started this phony analysis soon after. Deblasio didn’t take office until Jan 2014. I’m not a fan of the mayor but I dislike misinformation even more. Where are you visiting from Fox News?

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Mac

I touched a nerve Johnny? So, you’re one of those who don’t care about facts, truth and history. Are you embarrassed to be so ignorant? Nah I bet you’re not. Go back and scream at the Bill O’Reilly show. Hahaha

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Johnny

Mac, your ignorance is frightening, your that ignorant you could not even read the post correctly, typical over reaction, hope you get the treatment you need.

David

Does Johnny mean CNN? Last I looked CNN was still allowed to broadcast in Canada unlike Fox who was yanked for lying. Yes, that “we’re actually considered entertainment because we’re owned by News Corp., which is actually classified as an entertainment company” defense didn’t fly up there. The Canadians still have standards.

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Mac

@Johnny It still doesn’t change the fact that “truth in” broadcasting and reporting laws and standards prevents Fox News from airing its propaganda in Canada.

Anonymous visitor

MoveNY tried under Bloomberg and failed.
If they try again under DeBlasio who’s to blame?!

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Anonymous visitor

MoveNY tried under Bloomberg and failed.
If they try again under DeBlasio who’s to blame?!

And why do you mention FoxNews only when you don’t like an argument?!

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David

MoveNY is so full of crap. Their primary objective is to extract as much cash as possible from drivers. If they were really sincere about reducing traffic on the side streets as their primary concern they would just entice traffic flow to the bridges and tunnels that empty on to highways. Like the Tri Borough, Queens Mid Town, Brooklyn Battery. They probably should reduce those tolls. They’re creating some bogus “over complicated” scheme and trying to con us into believing they’re actually performing some detailed analysis. Not that I’m for tolls but why lower the Bronx Whitestone and Throgs Neck??

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Mr. 11104

While I am all for reducing traffic or charging drivers to get in and out of congested areas, tolling these bridges is not the answer. Where are they going to build the toll plaza? It’s already a 2 lane bridge with many on and off ramps. Either require ALL drivers to have EZ pass and bill those without tags extra automatically by scanning them all, or don’t even bother with this system.

The better method would be putting tolls on manhattan entrances places like midtown etc, but not on bridges. I don’t really agree that people will take the 7 train instead of driving, those who drive has to drive, that’s why they drive, do you think those who could park and take train would be driving?

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rikki

YAHHHHH back then they probably had hundreds of cars going over the bridge daily , not thousands of cars PER HOUR!

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anon

If these three bridges were built by raising money through a bond issue it is likely illegal to place tolls on these bridges. Most MTA and PANYNJ bridges and tunnels were built with bond money. The terms of these bonds are binding, the tolls must go away when the bonds mature. The end run these crooks use is to re-issue the bonds before they mature, but it is too late to do that to these East River crossings the bonds matured a long time ago.

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Vinnie

Not a fan of paying more money for crossing to Manhattan. Part of any plan should include a new LIRR station down on the Sunnyside yards. It could act like a shuttle at the same cost as a subway ride to Penn or Grand Central (if that line goes in) to off set the influx of new users off of the 7 N and Q. They could generate additional income with Muni parking lots for drivers that don’t want to pay a toll. With the idea of housing being built above the tracks they need to supplement transit in and out of the LIC/Sunnyside/Astoria zone.

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frozen

No doubt about the theory that less cars will stop using the bridge because of tolls. For a short while anyway. Of course the people who have been priced out of manhattan and are moving into the way overpriced redevelopments around LIC will soon account for the shortfall in traffic. If you can afford apartments 3-4-5K a month rent, then 10 bucks a day to drive over the bridge is irrelevant. with the population in west queens growing rapidly because of redevelopment those who choose to go on the already way overcrowded subway system, the genius’s that suggested the bridge tolls, will then propose a huge increase in subway fares to reduce the amount of people travelling by that mode and force them to use another mode of transportation thus by their theory will alleviate the dangerous congestion on the subway. of course it won’t but you will pay one way or another. It’s a win win for these genius’s. what next a passport to travel into manhattan even if you walk across the bridge? 100 bucks a year per person. why did no one think of it earlier?, some genius will.

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Mike Novak

Exactly. Price the little people out so that the rich can drive from LIC into the city. After all, they cannot fit into the already overcrowded 7 trains.

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tan

I laugh that they ‘SAY” they will lower the other bridges. hahahaha. Never would nyc lower any Toll that is already in effect.

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Georgek

This is just another way to nickel and dime NY’ers. Remember that when the Tri-Borough Bridge was built that the toll was to pay for the road and then be removed. And 80 years later we still pay a toll. It is about time that we start taxing businesses and people in higher tax brackets more taxes to help pay for infrastructure. They can afford the tolls while the rest of us cannot.

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Steve

That is the dumbest thing I have read. Businesses will lay off people to accommodate the toll charge. People will lose their jobs. What about the toll that small businesses will pay? Great idea lets eliminate more mom and pop shops.

Another brilliant idea lets tax the rich. That sounds fair. Assuming that someone who is a millionaire gets taxed the same amount that someone who makes 100,000 a year gets taxed do you know what the difference is?? A lot! Not to mention most of the rich are supplying jobs for the middle class. We all need each other.

Perhaps if our government stopped wasting our money on stupid shit like helping other countries when we can’t help ourselves that’s a better start.

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Mac

@Steve I’m not for this ridiculous farce of a plan and so called “analysis”. The only thing harder then reading this article and the related articles concerning this rip off was reading your ridiculous “fact fee” rant. Obviously fueled by hours of Fox News watching. Tolls on the east river crossings are taxes on the rich? You must have missed one of your brainwash sessions with Fox because you left out the one about the millionaires that were going to flee Maryland because a new tax. Who says brainwashing doesn’t work. Hahaha

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canubee1

Republicans will not allow the affluent to pay their fair share…Now that being said, the affluent do pay more on an individual basis as compared to an average taxpayer, but not a on percentage basis..I don’t think that someone should pay 15% of their income when I have to pay 28% percent of my income…

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ABSOLUTELY NOT!

ABSOLUTELY NOT! People are going to start parking in Long Island City and Sunnyside and taking the 7 train into the city.

THE 7 TRAIN IS ALREADY CROWDED AT RUSH HOUR AND FORGET IF THERE A PROBLEM WITH THE SERVICE LIKE THIS MORNING!

$5.54 today $10 in 10 years from now.

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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Borderline Wacko

You have a good point, but they are already parking under the el on Queens blvd. Back In the day they were able to park for up to 12 hours. I don’t know If that changed. And that was with out tolls on QBB.

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David

@Absoutely Where have you been? People have been parking in Woodside and Sunnyside for years.. Half the cars on my block are guys from Maspeth.

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Jodi

There’s always a problem with the 7 train service 4 out of 5 times a week. Not including weekends because they aren’t running!

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Sunnyside

They are already doing that in mass. Manhattan parking prices have shot up 20% + lately..

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Borderline Wacko

I for being a retired bus operator driving the Q 32 I lost about 20 mins just going over the bridge, It was always bumper to bumper. I for one agree with this idea.

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John

Yeah you say that because you used to WORK for the MTA. You drive a city owned BUS without the out-of-your-pocket expense. Imagine trips you take from Queens to Western areas. Ex: Queens to NJ = Ed Koch toll + Holland Toll.
~ $20

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Borderline Wacko

John.
Do you know what a 20 min. delay means. It means when I get to the end of the line which was @ 23rd & 5 Ave. 20 mins. to go over QBB which is almost 2miles, then go down 5th ave. That puts me at least a minus 40 mins. You know what the dispatcher does, he sends me up to the 59th bridge to get on time. With a not in service sign. Think about the people waiting for bus that doesn’t show. Also they do that so the MTA does not have to pay overtime.
Oh and by the way I drive every day to work over the 59th st. bridge.

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Sunnysideposthatesme17

That’s because the MTA is ran by fucking idiots. That doesn’t mean we have to pay a toll to make you guys do your job the right way

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Bill Bixley

Now, now young men, don’t cuss. What would our dear Assemblywoman Nolan think if she saw this ruckus? Don’t worry, the good Assemblywoman will take care of this and let us know the best way forward.

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