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Old 02-06-2019, 04:39 PM   #361
Riverside
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Well, in this case, the question is can Boston unilaterally adopt and find a place in its own budget to run a circulator bus service (as DC has) such as:

Kenmore - Boylston - SS -Seaport
NS-Congress-Seaport
Longwood - Kenmore -Central
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Fairmont Electrification
Red-Blue Connector
Bus Signal Priority
Silver-under-D
Bus Shelters (&heated ones)
Outlining this list of improvements to coincide with CZC (or its equivalent) is key to any argument in favor of it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:33 AM   #362
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

After the hell that was navigating through the city yesterday evening (even though acknowledging that it was Valentine's day and evening traffic was even worse than "normal"), I would gladly fork over the $5 if it means reducing the congestion.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:20 PM   #363
stick n move
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

Would congestion toll proceeds go towards transit to therefore help reduce congestion?
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:35 PM   #364
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Would congestion toll proceeds go towards transit to therefore help reduce congestion?
That is the general pattern seen elsewhere. Usually, though, you issue bonds to improve transit first, then apply the congestion tolls to pay back the bonds. Carrot and stick. Better transit AND costlier driving.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:30 PM   #365
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

https://www.wired.com/story/age-of-c...n-pricing-nyc/
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:20 AM   #366
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

For congestion tolling, how about you add a tax on Ubers and Taxis going to/from Back Bay/Downtown (maybe an exception from 12 until 5 am when the T isn't running).

Then you could tax parking in downtown and back bay. This includes street parking, which should cost much more than it already does. But garage parking too, which the majority of car commuters use. I'd say that tax should only be instituted on weekdays, not on weekends.

The MBTA basically has peak pricing at all of their lots and even on the commuter rail (it's $ anywhere on weekends round trip). Why not some similar tax on drivers, to pay for that 20 billion dollar tunnel.

That would institute a tax on 99%+ of people going by car to/from the central business districts. Honestly, commuting to downtown Boston by car is sort of unnecessary from almost everywhere. The commuter rail is really extensive, capacity and frequency of trains could increase though. Then you could increase the number of park and ride stations, add garage at more of them.

Of course that'll hurt Charlie driving his private SUV from Swampscott to downtown, so it probably won't happen. Though if he took the commuter rail i'm sure he'd see that it's actually faster than driving from Swampscott (though I understand the security aspect would be difficult).
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:13 AM   #367
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
The MBTA basically has peak pricing at all of their lots and even on the commuter rail (it's $ anywhere on weekends round trip). Why not some similar tax on drivers, to pay for that 20 billion dollar tunnel.
I remember reading in the 2006 Globe that they couldn't toll Big Dig use because it would slow down and negate the congestion savings. However, now that we've got continuous tolling on the Mass Pike state wide, why can't we add tolls to the Big Dig?
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:14 PM   #368
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

I drive on I-93 almost every day and I agree that we need to add tolls to it if anything for fairness to I-90 drivers. However, adding tolls to federal interstate highway is not easy as it requires a permission from FHA, which will likely only allow it for a highway work project this tolls will help finance.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:52 PM   #369
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

While this doesn't apply if you're just tolling the Ted and not anything else, if you're tolling under downtown you wind up reducing some of the value of the congestion charge the closer you get to the price of it.

A hypothetical trip:

Dorchester to Somerville. If we have a congestion charge but the highway is still free, and traffic's not great in the tunnel downtown, it makes leaving the highway to cut through on local roads a "stickier" decision for thru-traffic. I might choose to wait in the tunnel for 15 extra minutes over the alternate route of a dozen turns downtown that Waze gives me to avoid the traffic jam.

On the other hand, if I'm getting dinged for a toll on the highway anyway, I'm more inclined to go the fastest route rather than just staying on the highway.

Now, if your toll is $0.50 and the congestion charge is $10, it's probably not going to affect many decisions. But if your toll is a significant portion of or the full congestion charge, you will see much less deterrence of cut-through trips like that.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:44 AM   #370
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

As in London and Stockholm, congestion tolls typically apply only to the city streets in the Central Business District CBD (that the city controls), and not to the roads that allow you to go across or around (90, 93), and indeed that's what's been proposed for Boston.
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Old 03-04-2019, 06:39 AM   #371
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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As in London and Stockholm, congestion tolls typically apply only to the city streets in the Central Business District CBD (that the city controls), and not to the roads that allow you to go across or around (90, 93), and indeed that's what's been proposed for Boston.
Sorry, maybe I missed something. What proposal is there for congestion tolls in Boston? Other than AB fantasyland?
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:40 PM   #372
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Originally Posted by fattony View Post
Sorry, maybe I missed something. What proposal is there for congestion tolls in Boston? Other than AB fantasyland?
From Carbon Free Boston Report, as discussed on p.14 upthread:

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
BOSTON GREEN RIBBON COMMISSION (CARBON FREE BOSTON)
From Page 56 of 120 in
Carbon Free Boston Report (https://www.greenribboncommission.or...Report-web.pdf)

Longwood-Back Bay-Downtown-Seaport

Boundaries are roughly:
WEST: The Brookline city line (Emerald Necklace) & BU Bridge
NORTH: Charles River Basin, Dam, & Harbor
SOUTH: Heath St- SW Corridor Park-I-90-W 2nd St
EAST: Reserve Channel (Pappas Way)
Michelle Wu:
https://twitter.com/wutrain/status/1027953309733343234
Quote:
Why are Uber/Lyft drivers less entitled to use city streets than any other suburban commuter coming into the city? Add fees to rideshares if you'd like but please also add congestion pricing with all funds going into improving public transit

9:03 AM - 10 Aug 2018

SEPARATELY: Congestion Tolling on State Toll Roads came-and-went over the summer:
https://www.bostonherald.com/2018/07...stion-pricing/
Quote:
Gov. Charlie Baker signaled he’s likely to put the brakes on a Senate plan to test rush-hour congestion pricing on the state’s toll roads, saying his working constituents would see it as “incredibly punitive.”

The Herald reported yesterday that a new MassDOT pilot program, included in the state budget that is now being reviewed on Beacon Hill, is aimed at easing congestion on highways by offering commuters steep discounts of as much as 25 percent for avoiding peak traffic hours. While the current plan doesn’t raise tolls, drivers have told the Herald they consider it unfair and are suspicious that it could ultimately lead to rush-hour surge pricing. A separate plan would study congestion pricing for commuter rail service.
Quote:

“A lot of people come in based on when their boss requires them to come in,” Baker said yesterday in an interview on WAAF. “They also come in based on things like dropping their kids off at school and putting their kids at day care and a whole bunch of other things. And I think for a lot of folks who don’t have the flexibility to manage their schedule, because, you know, they are working on a time clock, and stuff like that, they are going to view this as incredibly punitive.”

“My guess is that a modest difference between what you pay before 6 and what you pay after 9 and what you pay between 6 and 9 probably doesn’t make much difference at all,” Baker said. “I doubt we’re going to want to get into the business of dramatically charging people extremely different prices depending upon what time of day they come in.”
Despite the governor’s strong rhetoric, Baker’s office, when asked whether he intends to veto the measure, said he would “carefully review final legislation on his desk.”
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:34 AM   #373
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Originally Posted by Smartiro View Post
I drive on I-93 almost every day and I agree that we need to add tolls to it if anything for fairness to I-90 drivers. However, adding tolls to federal interstate highway is not easy as it requires a permission from FHA, which will likely only allow it for a highway work project this tolls will help finance.
Why then are there tolls on 93 in New Hampshire? Plus, 90 is surely a federal interstate highway (you can take it all the way to Seattle) yet the MA Turnpike Authority tolls it. Why couldn't the MA legislature pass a bill to toll drivers coming in to the CBD from the north and south?

If anyone has any insights on these question I would love to learn!
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:57 AM   #374
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

The deal on interstates & tolls, in a nutshell, was:

1) If the toll-road pre-existed, it could stay tolled (and just got a new interstate numbered badge and connectors). Most stayed tolled. And I-95 has so many tolls because it mostly was just a badge placed on pre-existing toll roads MD-DE-NJ-NY and NH-ME and I-90 was a badge placed on pre-existing toll roads OH-PA-NY-MA.

2) If it was *built* as a new segment with interstate highway funds, the state had to keep it untolled. Hence the strange NJ setup where "free" I-295 parallels the NJ Turnpike in mid-state. And also why I-95 has no tolls through MA-RI-CT and DC-VA-NC-SC-GA-FL: it was built from scratch with Fed help in those states

3) In rare cases between the 1950s and 1980s, states were permitted mid-construction to give back $ so that they could put a toll on.

4) This setup left a few key gaps, where states didn't welcome a "free" I-competitor to their preexisting tolled facility. Best examples: I-95 under Baltimore Harbor (where MD didn't want competition with its tubes) and I-95 from Trenton to NYC (where NJ looped I-95 back on itself rather than give people a free way to go from Philly to NYC)

4a) VERY late in the process (mid 1980s) the holdouts were allowed to cut side deals for interstate-funded segments with tolls: MD's Ft McHenry Tunnel, & MA's Ted Williams, and NJ-PA's redo of their own PA turnpike to NJ turnpike connector (and calling it "I-95"). But it literally took an Act of Congress where the segment was important enough to all the other states, and the host State was strong enough to insist on a deal, and well equipped enough to have/build sufficient local alternatives.

Tolling the streets (and "US Routes" like 1 & 3 & 6) has always been fair game, since they are not interstates. But it has taken transponders and plate readers and a different sort of political will to toll the streets.
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Last edited by Arlington; 03-29-2019 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:14 AM   #375
tysmith95
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
The deal on interstates & tolls, in a nutshell, was:

1) If the toll-road pre-existed, it could stay tolled (and just got a new interstate numbered badge and connectors). Most stayed tolled. And I-95 has so many tolls because it mostly was just a badge placed on pre-existing toll roads MD-DE-NJ-NY and NH-ME and I-90 was a badge placed on pre-existing toll roads OH-PA-NY-MA.

2) If it was *built* as a new segment with interstate highway funds, the state had to keep it untolled. Hence the strange NJ setup where "free" I-295 parallels the NJ Turnpike in mid-state. And also why I-95 has no tolls through MA-RI-CT and DC-VA-NC-SC-GA-FL: it was built from scratch with Fed help in those states

3) In rare cases, states were permitted mid-construction to give back $ so that they could put a toll on.

4) This setup left a few key gaps, where states didn't welcome a "free" I-competitor to their preexisting tolled facility. Best examples: I-95 under Baltimore Harbor (where MD didn't want competition with its tubes) and I-95 from Trenton to NYC (where NJ looped I-95 back on itself rather than give people a free way to go from Philly to NYC)

4a) VERY late in the process (mid 1980s) the holdouts were allowed to cut side deals for interstate-funded segments with tolls: MD's Ft McHenry Tunnel, & MA's Ted Williams, and NJ-PA's redo of their own PA turnpike to NJ turnpike connector (and calling it "I-95"). But it literally took an Act of Congress where the segment was important enough to all the other states, and the host State was strong enough to insist on a deal.
To get around that, you could easily add a tax on all parking in Downtown/Seaport/Back Bay. Than add a tax on all Uber/Lyft trips to and from those areas. Another big plus to this is that it wouldn't necessarily require state action, Boston/Cambridge could likely do it on their own if they desire.

From almost everywhere in the region it's easy to get downtown using transit.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:17 AM   #376
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

^ Don't forget raising the cost of metered street parking (as discussed in
Is parking too cheap?

The workarounds so far have created huge workaround markets:
- Resident sticker abuse
- Visitor placard abuse
...and coming soon
- Telling your autonomous vehicle to
-- circle the block
-- drive home and come back later
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:19 AM   #377
tysmith95
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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^ Don't forget raising the cost of metered street parking (as discussed in
Is parking too cheap?

But you'd still have "kiss and ride" congestion, and resident sticker abuse (like we do now).
I mean kiss and ride is and would still be a pretty small segment of traffic. Resident stickers you have a point, that might be harder to implement. I think it makes more sense to discourage commutes to central business districts by car, but for people who live in the city and reverse commute it's different and they often don't have the option of transit at say a 128 office.

And of course street parking should be more expensive. Below market rate street parking encourages people to circle blocks to look for parking, which makes traffic a good bit worse than it already is.

Autonomous vehicles would create whole new problems, but that's the future and we can legislate that when it becomes a problem.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:21 AM   #378
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

I've edited my post to point to the looming traffic disaster that will perfectly pierce the current system that assumes:
- cars need a driver to be driven in traffic
- cars need to park when they don't have a driver

Autonomous cars will crush any schemes based on parking, or that only an Uber/Lyft/Taxi can "drive you" and drop you off.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:24 AM   #379
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
I've edited my post to point to the looming traffic disaster that will perfectly pierce the current system that assumes:
- cars need a driver to be driven in traffic
- cars need to park when they don't have a driver

Autonomous cars will crush any schemes based on parking, or that only an Uber/Lyft/Taxi can "drive you" and drop you off.
You're 100% correct, but it'll still take years until fully autonomous vehicles are on Boston streets.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:52 AM   #380
Arlington
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Re: Congestion toll in Boston?

Which means that congestion tolling and AVs will likely arrive together.
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