Friday April 19, 2019
Home Lead Story New York Beco...

New York Becomes First US City to Impose Congestion Pricing Against Global Warming

Fewer cars also means a better traffic flow, which creates lower emissions than cars idling

0
//
new york, traffic, global warming
FILE - Traffic makes its way down Seventh Avenue in New York's Times Square, May 25, 2017. VOA

New York will become the first U.S. city to impose congestion pricing, seen as a key weapon against global warming, following lawmakers’ approval on Monday of a state budget to fund the plan.

Drivers will have to pay to drive in busy midtown Manhattan, one of the city’s five boroughs, as part of an effort to reduce the number of cars and invest in public transit such as subways, officials said. Fewer cars means lower emission of carbon dioxide, the leading gas that causes global warming, experts say.

Benefits are many

Fewer cars also means a better traffic flow, which creates lower emissions than cars idling, they say. “You have to get fewer cars driving into Manhattan,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.

new york, global warming, US
Fewer cars means lower emission of carbon dioxide, the leading gas that causes global warming, experts say. Pixabay

“The traffic is so bad. I can’t tell you how many days myself, I just get out of the car and walk, because it’s so much faster.” The plan is part of the state’s $175 billion budget that also includes a ban on disposable, single-use plastic bags.

New York becomes the first major U.S. city to follow the lead of London, which began levying a congestion charge on vehicles driving into the city center in 2003, and a handful of other international locations including Stockholm and Singapore.

The system has succeeded in reducing air pollution and traffic in London, which currently charges drivers £11.50 ($15.24) per day during weekday business hours.

Plan would start in 2021

After introduction of the congestion charge, bus ridership in central London increased by 37 percent in the first year, and traffic congestion dropped by about a quarter, research found.

global warming, US, new york
Drivers will have to pay to drive in busy midtown Manhattan, one of the city’s five boroughs, as part of an effort to reduce the number of cars and invest in public transit such as subways, officials said. Pixabay

Beginning in 2021, New York drivers will likely be charged more than $10 (7.70 British pounds) to travel below 60th Street in Manhattan, essentially south of Central Park in an area that includes Broadway theaters, Wall Street banks and high-end shopping.

ALSO READ: Facebook Deletes Accounts and Pages Linked to Indian Political Parties and Pakistan’s Military

The precise amount of the fees will be decided later as will be the possibility of exemptions for taxis, ride-sharing drivers and other issues, officials say.

While an earlier campaign for congestion effort failed more than a decade ago under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, this effort succeeded in part due to the promise of raising badly needed funds for the deteriorating subway system, experts said. (VOA)

Next Story

New York Takes Drastic Steps to Prevent Spread of Measles Outbreak

There have been more than 400 measles cases in 19 states just this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

0
measles outbreak
A woman, right, who identified herself as Ester, passes a group of boys, April 9, 2019, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. Ester says that she does not believe that the measles vaccination is safe. VOA

For months, New York City has been fighting a measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community. The mayor finally declared a public health emergency April 9 because measles continue to spread among unvaccinated children. Parents who refuse to vaccinate now face heavy fines.

Brooklyn is a borough in New York City known for its tight-knit, ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Women wear long, modest dresses, and the men are recognizable in large-brimmed hats and long black coats.

Vaccine mandatory

About 100,000 Orthodox Jews live in Brooklyn. It’s in this community where measles has been spreading since an unvaccinated child brought the virus back from a visit to Israel last October. The inability to contain the outbreak prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a public health emergency.

“We have a situation now where children are in danger,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio ordered mandatory vaccinations in the Orthodox neighborhoods. Unvaccinated children will not be allowed to attend school, and their parents may face steep fines.

Their religion does not prohibit immunization, and city health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says the duration of this outbreak is alarming.

“We’ve worked closely with the community religious leaders and schools to make sure that vulnerable people are kept safe during this outbreak and to challenge the dangerous misinformation that is being spread by a group of anti-vaxxers,” she said.

Schools honor emergency

The ParCare Community Health Network caters to Orthodox families. Gary Schlesinger is its chief executive. He told VOA that the private, religious schools these children attend will honor the terms of the emergency declaration.

“They were very clear that they will unequivocally deny any parent who does not vaccinate their children,” he said.

Schlesinger says about 100 families are solidly against vaccines because they mistakenly believe vaccines cause autism or even death. These are some of the same beliefs people in other, secular communities hold.

Safe vaccine

Dr. Camille Sabella at the Cleveland Clinic says multiple studies involving hundreds of thousands of children prove that the measles vaccine is safe.

“It really is an incredibly safe vaccine. We’ve been using it since the 1960s in this country, and it has an outstanding safety record,” he said.

ALSO READ: Measles Cases Between Jan to March have Exceeded the 2018 Count: US Health Officials

There have been more than 400 measles cases in 19 states just this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials are concerned because measles outbreaks can also be a sign that children aren’t being vaccinated against other deadly diseases, as well. (VOA)