The substantial and growing gap between the rich and everyone else is increasingly inscribed on our geography. There have always been affluent neighborhoods, gated enclaves, and fabled bastions of wealth like Greenwich, Connecticut; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Potomac, Maryland; and Beverly Hills, California. But America’s bankers, lawyers, and doctors didn’t always live so far apart from teachers, accountants, and small business owners, who themselves weren’t always so segregated from the poorest, most struggling Americans. My father, a factory worker, raised his family in suburban New Jersey just around the corner from my uncle, who had a management position as the head of research and development at Colgate Palmolive. But that kind of world has disappeared today. As the sociologists Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff noted in their 2013 study of economic segregation in America, “During the last four decades, the isolation of the rich has been consistently greater than the isolation of the poor. “
Dark blue = Metro areas where the wealthy are the most isolated
Yellow = Metro areas where the wealthy are more mixed in or integrated.
In San Francisco, a family would need 4.7 full-time minimum-wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
In more affluent metros, higher housing prices can lead to higher concentrations of poverty.
The Move NY plan remains in its formative stages and open to change, but some of the basics are in place. Its first goal will be to distribute bridge and tunnel traffic more evenly and dissuade bridge shopping on the East River. To that end, all the eastern crossings, including the currently free bridges, will cost the same price: $10.66 round-trip for E-Z Pass users, $15 cash. Those increases will be counter-balanced with toll reductions on the outer bridges of as much as 50 percent.
That takes care of commuters entering the island from everywhere but the west. (The outcome of Bridgegate aside, the plan does not involve the Port Authority bridges and tunnels that carry travelers from Jersey for various logistical reasons.) Next the plan takes aim at congestion in Manhattan itself. A toll cordon would be placed at 60th Street to charge drivers heading into the part of the city with the greatest demand: the midtown business district.
Those are the broad strokes; now for some of the finer details. Drivers will be encouraged to pay with a transponder (like E-Z Pass); those without one will be captured via license-plate cameras. Cars will pay the tolls each pass, but commercial vehicles will only have to pay once round-trip in a 24-hour period, to limit the burden on businesses. Yellow cabs will pay a surcharge south of 96th Street — the idea being that they contribute to congestion but in theirquasi-transit role shouldn’t pay the full cordon price every time.
All told the plan could generate up $1.5 billion in net revenue every year. The MTA would manage the money (under the terms of the plan, the agency would lease the four free East River bridges from the city, though the feds might have final say about that). Precisely where the money will go is what Schwartz and Move NY leaders hope to determine with public input awareness campaign. For now, most of it (roughly a billion) is earmarked for transit: maintaining current service and expanding into transit deserts, with anything extra stowed away for long-term capital projects. The rest would go toward the city’s roads and bridges, as well as subsidies for suburban buses or rail commuters.
The revenue number might attract local eyes, but it’s the traffic improvement that will get the attention of other cities. Schwartz and Move NY want traffic flows in the cordon area to improve by 20 percent. Right now the tolls are fixed, but Schwartz says they’ll be adjusted on a quarterly basis to make sure that mark is being met. If traffic is flowing above expectations, it could be lowered. If it’s still oozing like ooze, the tolls might go up.
[Map: Mark Byrnes]
Why a brand-new $10 million library has been sitting empty for months.
[Image: “Settle the Northside Library Funding Issue Now”/Facebook]
After a week of sunny days and cold nights, much of France’s air has become a sort of toxic stew. And Paris is by no means the only region affected. The northern cities of Caen and Rouen are also laying on free public transport until Sunday, with Reims and Grenoble offering a free commute for today alone. Such measures might seem drastic seen from the United States—they will cost the Paris region €4 million per day and will include making the city’s bike-share scheme free to use—but in France they are already being damned as too little, too late. Right-leaning daily Le Monde has criticized the plans as “timid.” The week-long delay in implementing them, it says, reflects 20 years of inertia in France during which the motorist lobby and manufacturers of diesel-powered vehicles have stifled legislation and debate.
A few thousand dollars worth of steel bollards could have prevented last night’s mayhem.
It can be tempting to think of “the uninsured” as the poorest of the poor. But that’s not entirely the case. While people living below the poverty line are the most likely to be uninsured, 28 percent of people who make between 100 and 200 percent of poverty level (up to about $23,340) lack coverage, as do 15 percent of those who make between 200 and 400 percent (up to about $46,700).
These maps, created by Kevin Johnson and used here with permission, show where people not covered by either private or public insurance live in each city. Johnson used the 2012 American Community Survey; higher uninsured rates are represented by red and orange colors.
Read more. [Image: Kevin Johnson]