NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drivers are sounding off on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s a plan to cut down on traffic congestion in the city.
When you think of driving in the city, smooth sailing never comes to mind.
“I wouldn’t live here for free,” said Stan Pasterczyk of Middletown, New Jersey. “The parking, the congestion, everything. It’s beautiful but it’s not for me.”
De Blasio’s new traffic plan aims to curb the frustration.
“Our job is to lift that burden and make New York City more livable,” de Blasio said.
The five-point plan rolls out in January and is expected to improve congestion in all five boroughs.
“Everything starts with the word clear and we’d like to see a lot more clear streets in the city,” de Blasio said.
The plan aims to clear lanes, clear curbs, clear intersections, clear zones and clear highways.
The clear lanes plan affects Manhattan’s busiest crosstown streets, restricting deliveries to one side of the street weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, NYPD Transportation Bureau Chief Thomas Chan explained Monday night how the new traffic policy will be implemented, particularly when it comes to restricting truck deliveries on a number of streets in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“The officer can use some discretion. If you’re going to jump out of the car and take five boxes and move it out and you’re out of there quick – one, two three, you’re out of there – I think that our officers and agents who will use our discretion,” he said.
But Chan said unloading 20 or 30 boxes will warrant a ticket.
“That would be beautiful if they can do something like that. Even the night delivery, too. This can help traffic a lot,” said taxi driver Pierre Dorismond.
But delivery drivers are less than pleased.
“He’s trying to get rid of us, we can’t even park, double park or at bus stops any place and they’re giving us tickets left and right,” one delivery driver said. “How are we going to do our deliveries?”
“I think we should start cutting down on some of those app-based taxis that they have going on now because all you see in a stop light or stop sign is taxis,” another delivery driver said.
Michael Sinensky, who owns several Manhattan restaurants, said changing delivery times is a terrible idea that will hurt small business owners.
“Dictating to us when we can and can’t get deliveries will increase our expenses because we’ll have to have staff at off hours,” he said. “When you say to every restaurant, you have to deliver at a very small window, that could create a major problem.”
To clear curbs in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and a zone in Midtown there will be no standing on either sides of the street during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
The NYPD will be adding 160 new police officers to handle traffic enforcement, including 50 specifically designated for intersection enforcement.
“I would urge all my fellow New Yorkers to live by a simple four-word rule: don’t block the box. Be fair to everyone else,” de Blasio said.
To clear high traffic zones, new truck routes will be added in Staten Island and on the Cross Bronx Expressway, which will also be part of the clear highways traffic study along with Staten Island and the Gowanus Expressway.
The mayor’s plan got a tepid response from the group Move New York. The group said in a statement, “Congestion pricing is the only way to bus traffic and raise substantial revenue to rescue our failing subway and transit system.”
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer explained, one of the most scathing criticisms came from MTA Chairman Joe Lhota who wants a congestion pricing plan that would bring tolls to East River bridges — something he said will reduce congestion.
Lhota dismissed de Blasio’s plan.
“Substantially, most of the things, the changes discussed in his plan, are really just following the law and enforcing the law,” he said.
That’s something Lhota said the mayor should have been doing all along.
“I don’t know what we’ve been doing for three-and-a-half years, he should have been doing it,” he said.
Lhota was skeptical that the mayor’s pilot program to test banning deliveries during the morning and evening rush in clogged areas would make much of a difference.
“It puts them in the middle of the day, in the middle of the day the traffic is equally as bad as during the peak hours,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also already panned the plan, one day after Mayor de Blasio issued it.
De Blasio said the plan will increase city traffic speeds 10 percent by the end of next year.