“Tens of thousands of small businesses compete everyday and have to come in delivering goods and services to Manhattan,” he said. “Whether it’s in their private car, small van or truck, they service Midtown also.”
The real estate attorney blamed a number of factors for the increased congestion on the streets. He said the city has eliminated 30 to 50 percent of travel lanes, and narrowed lanes to just 10 feet.
“It’s like squeezing a balloon,” Barrison said. “All of a sudden, the same cars have nowhere to go.”
Meanwhile, the city has eliminated nearly one million parking spaces, both on and off the street. When you add that with the influx of ride-sharing cars, delivery cars and private vehicles, that’s nearly 260,000 additional cars on the road.
Barrison said not only wealthy people drive. He drives into Manhattan everyday from his apartment in South Brooklyn.
“I do it because the transit doesn’t serve me and I have no choice,” he said. “I’m not some millionaire.”
He said if he would take an express bus or a bus and a train to work, it would take him four to five hours total. If he drives, on most days, his commute is only an hour.
“My time’s not worth anything?” he said.
While he acknowledged that only 20 percent of people drive, he said 100 percent of people rely on the good, services, deliveries and everything else that “we take for granted in New York.”
He said when it comes to congestion pricing or other ways of funding the MTA, it can’t come down to a popularity contest.
“When you make it a popularity contest, it’s like a strawman argument,” Barrison said.