A pipe dream for many Bronxites and Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz will soon become a reality.
The Henry Hudson Bridge toll, a costly charge for Bronx residents crossing the Harlem River via the Henry Hudson Parkway, will soon be free for Bronx-registered vehicles using an EZ Pass.
The Henry Hudson Bridge rebate is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020 according to Dinowitz’ office. When an E-Z Pass-equipped car crosses the bridge, the toll will be charged to its account, but then immediately credited back. The toll, which started out at ten cents when it was first initiated, is currently $2.80 for E-Z Pass users and $7 for those without E-Z Pass.
“In recent years the toll has continued to rise,” Dinowitz said after the announcement. Many drivers leave the parkway and use the local streets to avoid the pricey bridge toll, causing increased congestion and pollution in Kingsbridge and Marble Hill, the assemblyman added.
Originally, Dinowitz suggested moving the toll stations to the Bronx/Yonkers border, however the Bronx rebate will accomplish the same goal.
“Bronxites shouldn’t be put in a situation of paying two tolls. That isn’t fair,” he said, in relation to the additional ‘congesting pricing’ fee Bronx drivers will be charged when entering mid-town Manhattan.
Dinowitz led the charge and secured the commitment for the Henry Hudson Bridge rebate after voting in favor of the Congesting Pricing Program.
“I understand that there are some transit advocates who may be disappointed with what they perceive as a congestion pricing carve out or a furtherance of incentivizing individual car usage, however I disagree with that characterization,” Dinowitz said noting his positioned softened from adamant opposition to congestion pricing a decade ago.
His opposition to the plan changed in 2019 due to an overwhelming need for revenue to fund the proposed Fast Forward plan recommended by NYC Transit president Andy Byford.
That plan is a decade-long effort for transportation improvements by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other government agencies to better the transit system.
One major component of that plan, which Dinowitz had called for in January, was improved and redesigned, Bronx bus routes.
Specifically, Dinowitz is particularly interested in accelerating both the installation of Transit Signal Priority at intersections along all bus routes throughout the northwest Bronx and the implementation of all-door boarding on local bus routes.
Some of his other transit driven incentives for 2019 are: improving multi-modal transit accommodations, such as the addition of bicycle parking at MetroNorth and subway stations with a particular focus on terminal stations at Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street on the #1 IRT, Wakefield 241st Street on the #2 IRT; and Nereid Avenue on the #5 IRT, and Metro-North stations at Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil, Wakefield and Woodlawn; re-implementing express subway service along the #1 IRT to reduce commute times into Manhattan.
At the top of the the assemblyman’s transit priority list now is making all subway and Metro North stations in his district handicap and ADA accessible.