With a population of 1.6 million, it is the most populated of New York City’s five boroughs. Manhattan is also the economic center of the city along with the city’s “melting pot” of all different cultures. In addition to hosting the United Nation’s Headquarters, New York City’s Wall Street makes the city economically powerful. Some can even go to argue that Manhattan is one of the most economically powerful cities. Due to this Manhattan is extremely busy with people needing to get to one place to another and often in a rush, and public transportation is not the most reliable system. For this reason, these cars are a necessity in a place such as Manhattan. There has been a long going conversation that private cars should be ban from Manhattan. Some may argue that traffic is worse than public transportation however that is not always the case. With variables such as train malfunctions and sick passengers, a forty-five-minute commute by private car, with traffic, can easily be turned into a two-hour commute by subway. The banning of private cars in Manhattan is simply unreasonable.
Cars provide a common means of transportation from one destination to the next. Cars provide not only the luxury of privacy while traveling but also make life easier for people to get to places that are not near public transportations. This is especially important during times of unfavored weather conditions such as snow, rain, sleet, hail, heatwaves, the list goes on. When living in a place like New York City where there are freezing cold winters and scorching hot summers the luxury of a car is needed. According to NYCEDC, “45 percent of all households in the city own a car….Manhattan, where only 22 percent of households own a car” No this is not high compared to the rest of the city but 22 percent of 1.6 million is 352,000 households with cars. That means 325,000 cars are going to be taken away from people in the city, and that is assuming that there is only one car per household. According to an article written in 1961 by Percival and Paul Goodman, “…new garaging is $20,000 per car” To put that in perspective it would be approximately $213,256.13 today, 2020. Where would the city receive this money to pay for garages for a minimum of 325,000 cars. That would mean the city would need a minimum of $69,308,242,250 to build the garages. To put that number in perspective Bill Gates has a net worth of $110,000,000,000. In addition, $69,308,242,250 does not take into account the cars coming from outside of Manhattan who will need to park their cars in said garages before entering the city. Unless given a very generous grant the city will have to pay for these garages through taxpayer money. This will most likely result in the city raising its taxes for the new garages. This alone proves how unreasonable the banning of private cars in Manhattan would be.
On the other hand, critics will argue that the banning of private cars in Manhattan is a way to cut down on pollution. Being that 75 percent of pollution is caused by cars the banning of private cars in Manhattan will not only be a contribution to stopping climate change but it also betters air quality in the city. Bettering air quality in the city means less smog and fewer children growing up with asthma. As reported by health.nyc.gov 10.6 percent of children 0-17 have asthma, which is 2.3 percent higher than the average percentage of children 0-17 with asthma in the United States, 8.2 percent. Banning private cars it would eliminate a minimum of 22 percent of cars from Manhattan, not including cars driving in from outside the borough. Doing so will also decongest the city freeing up room for a better bus system and because most New York City public busses are hybrids this will reduce the pollution due to cars.
In conclusion, the biggest reason to ban private cars in Manhattan would be to decongest and reduce pollution by having people use public transportation. Nevertheless, places such as New Mexico have already tested the banning of cars and as stated by the Washington Post, “there was no evidence in Mexico City that more people were taking public transit because of the driving ban.” This just illustrates how completely banning private cars in Manhattan will not be beneficial not to mention how it will give the MTA practically a monopoly of public transportation in the city meaning that they can raise the fair prices however high they want. Now, the argument to ban cars in Manhattan stems back to 1961 and there have been so many technological advances to motorized vehicles since then one being electric cars. As if right now very few companies are making them and, yes, they are very costly, but it is a better alternative to completely banning private cars. Another option that cities in China, such as Beijing, already do would be the even-odd license plate system. This just means if your car ends with an even number one may only drive it certain days a week and if it ends in an odd number they can drive the other days. This method had shown to better the air quality in Beijing and decongest the busy city. London also has its own congestion problem in which they have implanted a congestion fee to those with cars. Both options will allow for decongestion in the city along with allowing people who live in that borough to keep their cars. These are better alternatives because at the end of the day, completely banning private cars in 2020 is simply unreasonable. It is too simple of a solution to a complex problem.
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