As of July 8, southwest Brooklyn took a leap into the future with the advent of cashless tolling on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
An important goal of the update, which replaces toll booths with overhead roadway-spanning archways containing the necessary technology, is to speed things along across the span and ease up congestion on approaches to it, something that — if it works as intended — residents of neighborhoods near the bridge will join commuters in applauding.
Given the seemingly ever-increasing volume of traffic that appears to be a fact of life in New York City, this is an advancement that is long overdue.
Indeed, for months in advance of the arrival of cashless tolling, Bay Ridge streets were clogged with vehicles as traffic across the bridge backed up from the Staten Island-based toll plazas that were clearly incapable of handling the amount of cars, trucks and buses passing through them.
Over the past several months,there were days that it took motorists as much as a couple of hours to cross the bridge, and even those just passing near the access points were impacted, forced to sit in traffic jams on Fourth and Fifth Avenues, 92nd Street, 86th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway that frayed tempers, wrecked schedules and generally caused agitata for motorist and nearby residents.
Hopefully, those problems are by and large now in the past.
That said, residents of southwest Brooklyn still have a legitimate beef with the MTA and the state of New York.
While Staten Islanders enjoy a significant discount on Verrazano tolls, those that live on this side of the bridge — and have to cope with the problems its proximity causes — can’t say the same.
It’s about time that this inequity be addressed by the governor and the MTA board who should once and for all give Brooklynites the same break that Staten Islanders have enjoyed for years.
Frankly, it’s only fair.