NYC Traffic Congestion Prompts Website, Calls for Tolls at East River Crossings

Fed up commuters are posting photos of their least favorite traffic spots in New York City with the hope of catching the attention of city and state lawmakers.

David Moore, of Red Hook, loathes driving over the Manhattan Bridge into the city, where traffic slows to a crawl, especially during rush hour.

"It's pretty much chaos on Chrystie Street in the morning," Moore said. "Everyone's getting jammed up at all these crisis points. I don't think it's safe." 

But instead of feeling helpless about the gridlock, Moore has found a way to vent. He takes photos of his leave favorite intersection -- the "particular pain point" of Chrystie and Canal streets -- and posts them to

The website, which is run by Joshua Brooks from Cornell Law School, provides a place for New Yorkers to post photos of congestion and discuss the causes of traffic problems, as well as possible solutions.

"If you think that figuring out how to solve NY's congestion problem should involve the people who live and work here, not just experts and interest groups, then you've come to the right place," the website reads.

Public discussion on the site is open through Dec. 1. Comments and photos will then be compiled and submitted to local and state officials and transportation authorities.

"We are going to take all the comments here and submit it to every lawmaker in New York," Brooks said.

The Smart Participation site has added urgency to the push by Alex Matthiesen at MoveNY, a group that wants tolls at East River crossings. MoveNY says adding tolls to East River crossings will help congestion and cut tolls at other MTA bridges across the city. The group predicts that their plan will add $1.5 billion in annual revenue and boost annual economic output by $2.8 billion.

"We are convinced the more the average New Yorker knows about the plan the more likely they'll support it," Matthiesen said.

But the plan has many opponents and it has also encountered Albany gridlock, known for being about as slow as the morning drive into Manhattan.

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