Jeffrey Dinowitz pulled off a feat no other lawmaker since before World War II could accomplish — he eliminated tolls for Bronx drivers on the Henry Hudson Bridge.
Tolling major thoroughfares like the bridge is designed to discourage driving and instead push people toward mass transit. And arguments that rebating tolls somehow counters that.
But it doesn’t. By our own counts, less than 10 percent of total traffic crossing the Henry Hudson Bridge are from Bronx residents using E-ZPass. Waiving the $2.80 toll will certainly increase that a bit, but not significantly. And we believe Dinowitz is right when he says any increase will likely be nothing more than traffic pulled from the already-congested Broadway Bridge a mile or so to the east.
If only 10 percent of cars on the Henry Hudson Parkway originate from the Bronx, that means the rest are coming from either other parts of the city, or more likely, other parts of the region — like Westchester County and Connecticut. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides plenty of mass transit opportunities from those locations with its Metro-North service, yet tens of thousands of polluting, gas-guzzling cars make their way across the Henry Hudson Bridge every single day.
Yet, congestion pricing below 60th Street in Manhattan might further curb that. It will generate more revenue for mass transit — in the ballpark of $300 million annually.
The Henry Hudson Bridge is an important riverside link from the city to all points north. But for those in Riverdale and even Kingsbridge, it’s necessary for a much more local commute. And it shouldn’t be one they’re shelling out $2.80 — or even worse, $7 — every time they want to use it.
No one is going to consider driving instead of taking the subway simply because of this toll being waived. It’s nonsense. Even with the toll, taking the train saved only a nickel.
This is a plan designed to make life just a little easier for all of us living in this part of the Bronx. And it all comes back to helping mass transit, because without congestion pricing in Manhattan, we’d be in serious trouble.