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Heschel on the Border of New Congestion Tax Zone

New York City’s new congestion tax is negativity affecting the lives of Heschel students. In an attempt to prevent traffic in the Times Square area and raise money for mass transit upgrades, the New York State Legislature called for the installation of tolling devices at 120 detection points. Some of these devices have already been planted on 61st Street and West End Avenue. The tolling zone begins on 60th Street and extends south. Motorists are charged $9-$23 for every crossing during rush hour, and with a discount of at least 50% between midnight and 4 a.m. 

As Heschel students start driving, they are experiencing first-hand the financial effects of this tax. 

Acknowledging the goals of this plan, senior Noa Glezer expressed criticism. “I think it’s less thought out than it should be and, honestly, an inconvenience to New York City residents,” Glezer said. “For example, I live on 60th Street, which is the cut-off, and my garage is on 59th Street, so theoretically, every single time that I take my car out of the garage, my family will have to pay a tax. No other person in the country pays $9 every time they go one block away from their apartment.”

Additionally, many students come from New Jersey and already pay a $17.50 toll to cross the George Washington Bridge, yet they will now have to pay an additional $9.50 to cross 60th Street if they want to exit the West Side Highway at 59th Street, the nearest exit to Heschel. 

While this plan attempts to prevent congestion in one area of the city, senior Eva Ungar claims that it will only create more congestion in other areas. “At the other schools near Heschel, like Collegiate, everyone drops their kids off right before we start or right after we dismiss,” Ungar said. “So [the new tax] is going to make it not only more expensive, but it’s going to end up just shifting the congestion from downtown to midtown.”

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