Congestion Pricing defeat; Columbia student remembered...

Behind The News
April 9, 2008 1:05:04 PM PDT
It will be fascinating to hear Mayor Bloomberg's reaction to yet another stunning defeat for one of his pet projects and platforms. Congestion pricing - the Mayor's proposal to help ease traffic in Midtown Manhattan by charging drivers $8 for coming onto the island south of 60th Street -- appears to be dead. Not just voted down in Albany, but not voted on at all.

I've yet to hear anyone say they're for gridlock, but clearly many people didn't think congestion pricing was the way to stop it. If the heated discussions in our newsroom are any indication, there is no shortage of opinions about the proposals. Hard to imagine now what could be laid forth to help solve New York's insane traffic problems.

Common courtesy -- are you listening you double parkers? -- might be too much to expect, and I often wonder how much of our traffic situation could be eased if people didn't block the box or double park or if garbage trucks worked overnight instead of during the rush hours or if taxis were forced to pull over to the curb when they pick up passengers or.... well, the list is never ending.

All of which does little to answer the question posed at the beginning: what will the Mayor's reaction be, and what happens next?

And the other big question: How will we improve mass transportation, so that people who usually drive in their cars will feel compelled to take subways and buses?

Will the deadline carrot of congestion pricing -- $354 million in federal transportation money - be extended? We'll have the latest, and reaction to congestion pricing's apparent defeat, tonight at 11. Jeff Pegues is our reporter on the story.

Also at 11, we're at Columba University, where friends and fellow students of Minghui Yi are gathering tonight, to remember the graduate student who was killed Friday night - hit by a car as he tried to run away from an attacker.

The 24-year-old Yu was apparently just minding his own business, walking near campus after he dropped his girlfriend off at her apartment, when a 14-year-old boy assaulted him. That teenager is now facing manslaughter charges.

Yu is described as an outgoing, gifted student, who was a teaching fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in statistics. His parents are now trying to get visas to come here from China and claim Yu's body.

Jim Dolan is on the story for us.

China is also in the news tonight -- with Hillary Clinton calling on Pres. Bush to personally boycott the Olympics this summer, and with a dramatic demonstration at the Golden Gate Bridge by protestors over China's Tibet policy.

You'll see the arrests/rescues, tonight.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

Bill Ritter