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SCAG STUDY SHOWS CONGESTION PRICING WOULD REDUCE TRAFFIC

The proposed area for congestion pricing bounded by the 405 and 10 freeways, 20th street, and Sunset Blvd.

20th April 2019

BY BRIAN HEWS

A study by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has found that charging drivers a $4 “congestion tax” fee to enter into a 4.3 mile area in West Los Angeles “would almost immediately reduce traffic delays and miles driven there by more than 20%.”

The area is bordered by the 10 freeway, the 405 freeway, 20th St., and Montana Avenue.

The study indicated that charging $4 would increase transit ridership by 9%, increase biking by 7%, and increase walking inside the zone by 7%.

The study also found that some drivers would reduce the number of trips in the area where others would wait until after the congestion pricing is not in effect.

That, in turn, would mean less time for drivers behind the wheel during peak traffic hours.

The SCAG study said the tolls would be assessed through the Fastrack system already in use in California, while also utilizing license plate readers to identify drivers who do not have transponders.

The fee would be assessed when you enter the area, you would not be taxed when you left the area.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents part of the area, took the political road rather than a long-term transit vision of the area, telling the LA Times “this is not a proposal, it’s a model, and as models go this probably has as much chance of flying as a model airplane.”

Before this could be implemented, state laws would have to be changed and a firm would have to be hired to conduct extensive public outreach.

And outreach would need to be implemented; a poll conducted by SCAG said that only 40% approve of the congestion tax.

SCAG said that the fees generated would reach $70 million per year, which would be invested back into the area to improve public transit such as bus routes, bike lanes, and light rail routes.

Congestion pricing is not without precedent, in 2003 London implemented a congestion fee from 7 AM to 6 PM. In the 10 years since, traffic has dropped 10% in the area has the fee has raised over $3 billion.

 

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