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UPDATE april 2011

NEW YORK
The City of New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
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3 Introduction

16 Housing and Neighborhoods

30 Parks and Public Space

46 Brownfields

58 Waterways

74 Water Supply

86 Transportation

100 Energy

118 Air Quality

132 Solid Waste

146 Climate Change

160 Cross Cutting Topics

178 Appendices

A greener, greater new york

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 1


2
Introduction

Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S. /Japan ASTER Science Team


Four years ago we asked what we want our education, public health, or social services.
city to look and feel like in 2030. The Plan focuses on the physical city, and
the functionality of its infrastructure in our
A growing population, aging infrastructure, everyday lives: housing that is too often too
a changing climate, and an evolving economy expensive, neighborhoods that need more
posed challenges to our city’s success and quality playgrounds, aged water and power systems
of life. But we recognized that we will determine overdue for upgrade, congested streets and
our own future by how we respond to and shape crowded subways. If these challenges remain
these changes with our own actions. unaddressed, we will undermine our economy
and our quality of life.
We created PlaNYC as a bold agenda to meet
these challenges and build a greener, greater Our city’s history teaches us that investing in
New York. our future is not a luxury, but an imperative.
In the 19th century, innovative and ambitious
This effort has yielded tremendous results. investments in infrastructure like the Croton
In just four years we’ve added more than 200 water system and the Brooklyn Bridge, plus
acres of parkland while improving our existing an unprecedented influx of new people, firmly
parks. We’ve created or preserved more than established New York as the nation’s leading
64,000 units of affordable housing. We’ve city. In ensuing decades, the city’s dynamism
provided New Yorkers with more transportation and ability to reinvent itself, exemplified by new
choices. We’ve enacted ambitious laws to make investments in subways, skyscrapers, sanitation,
existing buildings more energy-efficient. And our and sewers all propelled New York’s status as a
greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 13% below global leader in infrastructure and innovation.
2005 levels.
That’s the story of our city, century after century.
Now we must do more. Times change, but New York City often leads
the change. The key to New York’s success has
Today, we put forward an updated plan that always been our leaders’ foresight and courage
builds upon the progress and lessons of the to boldly meet challenges and capitalize on
past four years. opportunities.

PlaNYC complements other City efforts, such Those are our aims with PlaNYC.
as those we are making on crime, poverty,

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 3


4
Our Challenges
and Opportunities
For New York to thrive, we must accommodate a growing
population, invest in and maintain our infrastructure, enhance
our economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of
our air and water, while reducing our contributions to climate
change and preparing for its effects.

Growth
New York City’s population is still growing. By 2030 we project that our
population will increase to more than 9 million, some newcomers and
some who are already here, along with their children and grandchildren.

This growth, if properly planned for, offers tremendous opportunities.


New people bring new ideas and innovation to our economy. Growth
can enrich our communities and add to the energy and diversity of our
city. But unplanned growth—development in places that don’t make
sense and that out-strips the capacity of public infrastructure—can
burden our city and harm everyone’s quality of life.

As we plan for a growing population, we must think not just of our


quantitative goals but also of our qualitative desires. While we build
more capacity in statistical terms like housing units and subway mileage,
we must simultaneously realize our task is to preserve and maintain
neighborhoods that people want to live in, or where they can start new
businesses. As New York City gets bigger, it’s up to us to make sure it
gets better as well.
Credit: Pablo Fernandez; TF Cornerstone Construction

New construction in
Long Island City, Queens

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 5


Infrastructure
Serving our people, attracting and supporting innovation and
entrepreneurs, and preparing our city for the effects of climate change
requires a visionary approach to the design, financing, and maintenance
of our shared physical space and infrastructure.

From the subways we ride on, to the pipes that deliver our drinking water,
to the power lines that bring electricity into our homes and offices, we rely
on an inherited array of invaluable infrastructure to meet our basic needs.
The New Yorkers who built these systems looked beyond the short-term
and planned for a city that could outlast its challenges and continue to
prosper beyond their own lifetimes. We must have equal foresight.

Today, in some respects, we are living on the limits of our inheritance.


With ridership at its highest levels in half a century, our subways are
increasingly jammed. Our bridges, some over 100 years old, are in need
of repair, or even replacement. Our water system, continuously operating
since it was first turned on, is leaking and in need of maintenance. Our
energy grids, built with the technology and demand assumptions of an
earlier era, strain to meet modern needs.

For much of the second half of the 20th century, New York did not take
care of what it had inherited. The city was widely believed to be in decline
and the City failed to adequately invest in new infrastructure or maintain
the existing assets we depend upon. We have learned that prophecies
of decline can be self-fulfilling and so, despite the recession, we have
chosen to renew our investment in our civic assets in order to increase
opportunities and build a greater city now and for the future.

New Yorkers deserve to be able to turn the tap and have pure water
come out, and flip a switch and be confident the lights will come on.
They deserve to ride a frequent, reliable subway, the ability to stroll to
a nearby park, or safely walk their children to school without the hazards
of traffic. They deserve to live in the greener, greater New York that is
the goal of PlaNYC.

The new Willis Avenue Bridge


being transported up the East River

6 INTRODUCTION
Credit: AP Worldwide Photos

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 7


8
A Global Economy
New York has always been a place of promise and possibility, a place
where people go in search of a better life. The millions who come to
our city arrive with the capacity for hope and hard work.

And, as a result of their efforts, New York City has become an epicenter
of global commerce, attracting the best talent from around the world.

New York can still attract talent and the prosperity that comes with it.
But today’s mobility of people and capital has created a fierce competition
among cities. We’re competing for the best ideas and the most capable
and highly-trained workforce. To thrive economically, we must create
a setting where talented entrepreneurs—and the businesses they
grow—want to be.

One of the fundamental prerequisites for creating that business climate is


functional, cost-effective infrastructure: a transportation system that gets
goods to and from market and commuters to and from work efficiently,
and energy systems that businesses and households can rely on.

Another of the fundamentals is quality of life, no longer a vague nicety


but a tangible feature that business leaders consider when deciding
where to locate or expand: where do talented workers want to live, in
an age when they can choose to live anywhere? They don’t consider
great parks or clean air to be a frill.

The economic implications of sustainability become even more


important in periods of dynamic change. As technology changes, energy
prices fluctuate, and climate conditions change, economic opportunity
will come first to those cities that are leading the way to the adoption
and commercialization of new services and infrastructure suitable for
new conditions. PlaNYC’s emphasis on innovation and the application
of new techniques to difficult problems will help keep the city’s residents
and businesses in the role of global economic leaders.
Credit: NYC Economic Development Corporation

Waterfront parks
ringing Lower Manhattan

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 9


Climate Change
Our climate is changing. Temperatures are increasing, glaciers are
receding, oceans are rising, and storms are intensifying. We must
acknowledge the risks posed by climate change and accept our
responsibility to address them. This includes our own readiness,
guided by science.

Climate change poses acute risks to our city. By 2030, average


temperatures could rise by as many as three degrees Fahrenheit in
New York City. Hotter temperatures will increase public health risks,
particularly for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, and place
further strains on our infrastructure. Our city is more affected by rising
temperatures than the rest of the region because urban infrastructure
absorbs and retains heat. This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat
island effect,” can cause temperatures in New York City to be seven
degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the surrounding suburbs.

As a city with 520 miles of coastline, we are also at risk of increased


flooding as sea levels rise and storms become more intense. Our sea
levels have already risen a foot in the last 100 years and are projected
to rise by up to 10 inches more in the next two decades. Some of our
homes, businesses, and infrastructure like streets and power plants
will be further exposed to hazards.

The challenge of climate change for New York City is two-fold; we must
reduce our contribution to global warming and we must prepare for its
inevitable effects. We are taking steps to address both needs.

New York City already has one of the lowest per capita greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions levels among major global cities, one-third the
U.S. average, due to our density and reliance on mass transit. In 2007
we set a goal to reduce our GHG emissions by more than 30% by 2030
compared to 2005 levels. A series of actions have yielded significant
progress toward this goal. We also launched a comprehensive effort to
understand our climate risks and take concrete actions to reduce the
vulnerabilities we identify.

But we must do more if we hope to slow the rate of climate change


and protect our city from the changes already occurring.

No city can solve this challenge alone. Nor can any of us afford to wait.
New York has always pioneered the development of answers to pressing
problems. It is incumbent on us to do so again, rising to the definitive
challenge of the 21st century.

Highway flooding from


intense precipitation

10 INTRODUCTION
A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC
11
Credit: NYC Office of Emergency Management
Executive Order issued Construction begins Creation of the Office Green Light
to reduce municipal GHG on the Number 7 subway of Environmental for Midtown
emissions 30% by 2017 line extension Remediation announced

Received new Filtration Launch of


Avoidance Determination the NYC
from EPA Climate
Change
Adaptation
Release Launch of Task Force
of PlaNYC GreeNYC

APRIL 22, 2007 APRIL 22, 2008

10 universities City’s first Release of the


join Mayoral Select Bus Sustainable
Challenge to Service route Stormwater
reduce GHG launched on Management
emissions Fordham Road Plan
in the Bronx

First official climate


First tree planted as Second phase of Schoolyards change projections
part of MillionTreesNYC to Playgrounds launched released for NYC

Our Progress
Released in 2007, PlaNYC was an unprecedented effort over 250,000 more New Yorkers within a 10-minute
to prepare for one million more residents, strengthen walk of a park. We’ve launched the city’s first bus rapid
our economy, combat climate change, and enhance transit system and committed $1.5 billion for green
the quality of life for all New Yorkers. The Plan brought infrastructure to clean our waterways. We’ve planted
together over 25 City agencies to work toward the nearly half a million trees. We’re making unprecedented
vision of a greener, greater New York. While our long- investments in our drinking water supply network.
term goals will not be met for many years, we are on
schedule toward most of them and launched 97% of the Over 30% of the yellow taxi fleet is now “green,”
127 initiatives in the 2007 Plan, as documented in annual reducing emissions from some of our heaviest-used
progress reports. vehicles. We’ve enacted regulations to phase out dirty
heating fuels, which are responsible for more pollution
We’ve made smart and innovative investments in our than all of the cars and trucks on our streets. We’ve
infrastructure, which will help us accommodate future streamlined the process to remediate brownfields,
growth and better meet the needs of present-day New reducing the average time it takes to begin a cleanup
Yorkers. In just four years, we’ve created or preserved of our city’s most polluted plots. We’ve created public
over 64,000 units of housing. We’ve completed over 20 plazas for pedestrians, including one in Times Square,
transit-oriented rezoninings areas so that more than the “crossroads of the world,” that are attracting tourists
87% of new development is transit-accessible. We’ve and New Yorkers alike. Pedestrian fatalities are down.
embarked on a new era of parks construction, bringing We’ve completed over 100 energy efficiency retrofits

12 INTRODUCTION
Start of $175 rehabilitation of 250,000th tree Greener, Greater Launch of
the St. George Ferry Terminal planted as part of Buildings Plan enacted NYC Brownfield
MillionTreesNYC to improve energy efficiency Cleanup Program

Launch of Release Ground- NYC’s first


NYC °CoolRoofs of the breaking energy-
NYC Green on new aligned
Infrastructure municipal commercial
Plan recycling lease
facility signed
in Sunset
Park,
Brooklyn

APRIL 22, 2009 APRIL 22, 2010

NYPD unveils Started Introduction


first hybrid $508 million of Green Taxis
patrol cars rehabilitation of Act of 2010 in
Brooklyn Bridge Congress

NYC Green
Acquisition of 30-acre Codes Task Force
parcel for Hunters Local law enacted to lower the releases 111 Coated one millionth square
Point South in Queens retirement age of school buses recommendations foot of rooftop white

on City-owned buildings as part of our commitment to dirtier air. The global recession has forced us to reduce
reduce City government greenhouse gas emissions 30% our capital budget; and as a result we have delayed some
by 2017. Working with the City Council, we’ve enacted PlaNYC projects. Several initiatives have also been slowed
landmark green building legislation that will have the by a lack of state or federal permission, action, or funding.
equivalent impact of making a city the size of Oakland, But we remain resolved toward our long-term goals.
CA carbon neutral. And we’ve launched one of the
most comprehensive efforts of any city in the world to While we have made great progress, much work remains.
increase our resilience to climate change.
When PlaNYC was first launched we recognized that
These actions are having a direct positive impact on the we didn’t have all the solutions to the challenges we
lives of New Yorkers, as well as reducing our greenhouse faced. We also knew that the city would face additional
gas emissions. challenges in the years ahead. That’s why we’re updating
PlaNYC now, four years after its initial launch. This
At the same time, we have encountered obstacles to update is a reaffirmation, not a redirection, that includes
achieving some of our goals. Our efforts to maintain, modifications and additions that do not significantly alter
improve, and expand the transit network have been our overall trajectory.
stymied by the lack of a stable, sufficient, and rational
funding source. Congestion continues to clog our streets,
costing us all money measured in time, wasted fuel, and

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 13


Credit: NYC Mayor’s Office
Our Way Forward
We have been explicit and accountable in stating In the meantime, while we’re doing our part in Red Hook
goals and measuring progress toward them. But and Hamilton Heights, the eyes of Rotterdam and Hong
truly achieving our goals will require the active Kong are on us. In November 2010 Mayor Bloomberg
engagement and involvement of all New Yorkers, not was selected as Chair of the C40 Cities Climate
just City government. Thousands of community-based Leadership Group, a network of 40 of the largest cities
organizations and individuals are already working to in the world whose leaders are dedicated to reducing
enhance the sustainability of our neighborhoods: the greenhouse gas emissions. C40 cities, including 18
Bronx River Alliance is helping clean up the Bronx River; smaller, affiliate cities, account for approximately 21%
the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy encourages of the global Gross Domestic Product. Nearly one out
children to engage with nature; and the Brooklyn of every 12 people on Earth lives in or near their city
Waterfront Greenway organization promotes the limits. Those cities’ selection of our Mayor as the leader
ability to walk or bike along the harbor. of C40 is a recognition of the pace that New York City
is now setting. It also represents an opportunity to
Neighbors are also coming together to create plans learn from these sister cities. Ideas about bus service
to make their own blocks or neighborhoods more improvements from Curitiba might be put to use in
environmentally sustainable, like the Sustainable Canarsie, and parks reforestation techniques from
Flatbush effort in Brooklyn to promote energy efficiency Melbourne might be transplanted to Middle Village.
and recycling, or the Lower East Side Ecology Center in
Manhattan, which organizes community composting Global challenges and neighborhood challenges truly
and education. These examples are illustrative are linked. We all have a role to play and a responsibility
of hundreds of other groups with diverse interests to act. The City of New York takes its responsibility
and different geographic roots, sharing one thing seriously. Just as generations before us rose to the
in common: they care enough to work to create the challenges they faced and bequeathed this great city to
greener, greater neighborhoods that will compose us, so shall we to the next generation. Striding toward
a greener, greater New York. the future, we will create a greener, greater New York.

We will encourage and support these efforts while


inspiring more New Yorkers to join with us.

14 INTRODUCTION
Our goals for achieving a
greener, greater New York
Housing and Neighborhoods Transportation
Create homes for almost a million Expand sustainable transportation
more New Yorkers while making choices and ensure the reliability
housing and neighborhoods more and quality of our transportation
affordable and sustainable network

Parks and Public Space Energy


Ensure all New Yorkers live within Reduce energy consumption and
a ten-minute walk of a park make our energy systems cleaner
and more reliable
Brownfields
Clean up all contaminated land in Air Quality
New York City Achieve the cleanest air quality
of any big U.S. city
Waterways
Improve the quality of New York Solid Waste
City’s waterways to increase Divert 75% of our solid waste
opportunities for recreation and from landfills
restore coastal ecosystems
Climate Change
Water Supply Reduce greenhouse gas
Ensure the high quality and emissions by more than 30%
reliability of our water supply
system Increase the resilience of our
communities, natural systems,
and infrastructure to climate risks

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 15


Housing and
Neighborhoods
Credit: AP Wroldwide Photos/Mark Lennihan
Together we can
Create capacity for new housing
Finance and facilitate new housing
Encourage sustainable neighborhoods
This is a city of neighborhoods where dynamism,
diversity, and enterprise come together. You have
I believe the biggest challenge facing New York people from 192 countries that make New York
City is growth. Everybody wants to live, work, City their home. These neighborhoods become
and play here. this beautiful mosaic of the world.
Onyinye Akujuo // Queens Rahul Sur // Manhattan

Just realizing that a small group of people I think that low-cost housing for families earning
could band together to make their own change $40,000 or less is the number one thing many
in their own environment and their own neighborhoods in the city need. People come to
neighborhood. That’s the gateway for me to [Queens Community House] on a regular basis and
explore the power of community organizing as say, ‘My rent is too high. I can’t afford it anymore.
it relates to the environment in the city. I need a cheaper apartment. Where do I go?’
Nathan Storey // Brooklyn Anna Dioguardi // Queens

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 19


Housing and
Neighborhoods
Create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers while making
housing and neighborhoods more affordable and sustainable

By 2030, New York City will be home to over nine transit-oriented neighborhoods helps stem con-
million people—nearly one million more people gestion on our roads, protect our air quality, and
than lived here in 2005. lower our global warming emissions.

As we prepare for the challenges and opportuni- The primary tool we have to accomplish this
ties that will come with population growth, we shift is zoning, a type of regulation that governs
must set our goals beyond just increasing the the use, bulk, and density of development in the
number of housing units—which will continue to city. By increasing allowable densities at appro-
be a major focus for the City. We must also create priate locations in areas of the city near transit,
and maintain sustainable, affordable neighbor- and decreasing them in more auto-dependent
hoods. We recognize that strong neighborhoods areas, we can direct growth to more transit-ori-
are among our greatest assets. Each neighbor- ented parts of the city.
hood has its own distinctive character, history,
and culture; maintaining this diversity plays a vital Providing housing opportunities near transit
role in the continuing health of the city. is fundamental to building greener, greater
neighborhoods—and, therefore, a greener,
To accommodate a growing economy and popu- greater New York. Mixed-use communities with
lation within our fixed boundaries, we face chal- a variety of employment opportunities and local
lenging decisions about how to invigorate neigh- retail and services, including access to healthy
borhoods, and provide opportunities for a range food within walking distance of residences, are
of housing, in ways compatible with the existing increasingly desirable. We must use resources
surroundings. Increased population density can like energy, water, and construction materials
generate tangible benefits for neighborhoods, more efficiently as well as ensure that residents
but can also provoke valid concerns about have access to clean air and ample public spaces
potential impacts of new development. like parks and plazas. And we must encourage
mixed-income communities that provide a vari-
For most of the 20th century, housing growth fol- ety of housing choices available to households
lowed the expansion of the subway system. Mass at a range of incomes.
transit allowed residents to disperse to lower-
cost land on the edges, while giving them easy The need to create and preserve affordable
access to the jobs concentrated at the center. housing continues to be a priority across the
city. Increasing the affordability of housing for
In the latter half of the century, though, this New Yorkers is directly connected to increas-
pattern became even more dispersed. The per- ing the supply of housing. When supply cannot
centage of New Yorkers living within a half-mile keep up with the demands of a growing popu-
of transit decreased, as many of our neighbor- lation, housing becomes less affordable as
hoods with the best subway access either lost residents bid higher to live in existing units. As
population or experienced only modest growth. sites available for new development become
Development accelerated in parts of the city that scarcer, the land price component of housing
depend more heavily on cars. costs rises, which further increases the cost
of new housing. To ease this scarcity premium,
Although this expansion helped create a diver-
we can continue to increase the zoned capacity
sity of neighborhoods and lifestyle choices, con-
in areas where additional development can be
tinued growth in car-dependent areas poses sig-
supported, and shift capacity from inappropri-
nificant challenges. Encouraging growth in more
ate to appropriate locations.

20 HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS


Rent-Burdened Households In New York City Units of Affordable Housing Created or Preserved under
the New Housing Marketplace Plan
SHARE OF HOUSEHOLDS WITH Gross rent/income PRESERVATION (completed) construction (completed)
ratio greater than 30% PRESERVATION (projected) construction (projected)

60
165,000
150,000

CJB7:GD;JC>IH8JBJA6I>K:
50 135,000
E:G8:CID;=DJH:=DA9H

120,000
105,000
40 90,000
75,000
60,000
30 45,000
30,000
15,000
20 0
1950 ’55 ’60 ’65 ’70 ’75 ’80 ’85 ’90 ’95 2000 ’05 ’10 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Source: U.S. Census Bureau Housing and Vacancy Surveys Source: NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development

Making housing more accessible and affordable Despite the current downturn in the housing create a greener, greater New York if we are a
to New Yorkers requires more than increasing market, the City has continued to make sub- city of greener, greater communities. We must
the overall housing supply. New market-rate stantial investments in affordable housing. Since also recognize that we can’t meet this goal
housing generally serves higher income levels. 2004, we have created or preserved 110,000 on our own. A majority of the new units will
While new inventory generally relieves pres- units of affordable housing. We remain commit- be built by private developers. And we must
sures on costs in the long run, housing currently ted not only to creating and preserving a total of empower communities to develop and imple-
is too expensive for many New Yorkers. Over 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014, but ment neighborhood-specific solutions to the
half of households spend more than 30% of their also to making the housing built or rehabilitated challenges they face. By providing local part-
gross incomes on housing costs, and only 64% of by the City more energy efficient and, therefore, ners with technical, financial, and regulatory
apartments are affordable to a median income more affordable. assistance, we can foster greener, greater com-
New Yorker. We must employ targeted programs munities. In doing so, we will create a healthier,
geared toward creating new affordable housing Despite these achievements and commitments, more equitable city, block by block, neighbor-
units and preserving existing ones, in addition to we have more to do. In planning for the city’s hood by neighborhood.
increasing housing supply. Without action from growth, we must recognize that we will only
the City, there will continue to be fewer options
for many New Yorkers.

Since 2007, we have made significant progress in


overcoming these diverse challenges. As part of
a program of 109 comprehensive neighborhood
rezonings dating back to 2002, we have cre-
Our plan for housing and neighborhoods:
ated new housing opportunities in areas better
served by transit, while limiting growth in auto-
Create capacity for new housing
dependent areas and preventing development 1 Continue transit-oriented rezonings
that would undermine the livability of neighbor- 2 Explore additional areas for new development
hoods. Already, these rezonings have helped
to shift our growth toward transit-supported 3 Enable new and expanded housing models to serve evolving
options. While roughly 70% of the city’s popula- population needs
tion lives within a half-mile of transit, over 87% of
new housing starts since 2007 have been within Finance and facilitate new housing
a half-mile of transit.
4 Develop new neighborhoods on underutilized sites
Furthermore, we have implemented targeted 5 Create new units in existing neighborhoods
affordability programs aimed at low- and middle-
6 Develop new housing units on existing City properties
income New Yorkers through Mayor Bloomberg’s
New Housing Marketplace Plan, launched in 2003.
In 2010, the plan was updated to address the Encourage sustainable neighborhoods
challenges and opportunities of the current hous- 7 Foster the creation of Greener, Greater Communities
ing market. We will strengthen neighborhoods
8 Increase the sustainability of City-financed and public housing
by preserving the investments we have made in
the past, expand the supply of affordable hous- 9 Promote walkable destinations for retail and other services
ing, and stabilize families. Although a decline in 10 Preserve and upgrade existing affordable housing
the real estate market has shifted our focus more
toward preservation, we have remained commit- 11 Proactively protect the quality of neighborhoods and housing
ted to creating housing, as well.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 21


Recent, Planned, and Potential Initiatives
to Increase Capacity for Residential Growth

APPROVED INITIATIVES
PENDING & PLANNED INITIATIVES
AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
!
AREAS WITHIN 1/2 MILE OF SUBWAY STATION !

!!
!!
! !

!!!
!
! !
! !!
!
!

! ! ! !
!
!
! !!
! !
!!!
!!
!

!
! !!
!
! ! ! !
! !
! !
!

!
!
Source: NYC Dept. of City Planning

22 HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS


City-Initiated Rezonings Since 2002

PROMOTES RESIDENTIAL / COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT


Case Study
PROMOTES NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION
Lower Concourse Rezoning
BOTH DEVELOPMENT AND PRESERVATION
For much of the 19th and early 20th
centuries, the South Bronx waterfront along
the Harlem River hummed with industrial
activity. The area’s good rail and canal
connections attracted garment and piano
factories, stone masonries, iron works, and
coal and lumber yards.
But this activity faded as heavy industry
left New York City and the Bronx experienced
a general decline including devastating
population losses in the South Bronx. By
2002, despite access to multiple subway
lines and highways, many buildings in the
Lower Concourse area stood vacant, and
outdated zoning limited redevelopment

Source: NYC Dept. of City Planning


options. Aside from public facilities such
as Lincoln Hospital and Hostos Community
College, investment on and near the Harlem
River was limited to self-storage, gas
stations, and parking.
Four subway and ten bus lines pass through
the Lower Concourse, making it a neighbor-
hood rich in public transportation and able
Our Plan Create capacity for new to sustain significant growth. In 2009, the
City rezoned a 30-block area from the Harlem
We will continue to create new housing to meet housing River to Morris Avenue south of 149th Street
the needs of our growing population. To increase to stimulate private investment, start the
To accommodate our growing population and
potential supply, we must work with communities next phase of this neighborhood’s develop-
improve the affordability of housing for New
to study where new development is most appro- ment, and help repopulate the South Bronx.
Yorkers of all incomes, we will propose regula-
priate. We must act on those studies, rezone, New mixed-use zoning districts will help
tory changes and other actions to enable the
and facilitate new housing creation. And we must facilitate the development of more than
creation of new housing units. We will study
explore other mechanisms for enabling existing 3,000 units of housing in renovated lofts and
areas of the city that could potentially be rede-
properties to be used more efficiently.
veloped, and continue to invest in infrastruc-
new apartment buildings while retaining light
ture to support new development. We will also industrial businesses. The rezoning was the
But we will do more than expand potential supply; first in the Bronx to use the Inclusionary
we will continue to finance and facilitate the cre- explore opportunities to update regulatory stan-
dards to reflect 21st century uses and needs. Housing Program to encourage the creation
ation of new housing. We will enable the creation
and preservation of permanently affordable
of housing on a wide range of scales, from creat-
housing, and it will leverage investment in
ing entirely new neighborhoods such as Hunter’s
INITIATIVE 1 housing and retail to create a public
Point South in Queens to financing new housing
Continue transit-oriented rezonings esplanade along the Harlem River.
units in neighborhoods where we have already
made large investments, such as Melrose in the To promote a complete, healthy neighbor-
South Bronx. Rezoning has been a powerful tool for the City
hood, the City eased restrictions on
both to promote the creation of additional hous-
supermarkets and mapped a 2.2 acre public
We will also ensure that our housing and neigh- ing and to steer those new units toward transit
park along the Harlem River. With the
borhoods become more sustainable. Sustainabil- oriented neighborhoods. Rezonings, such as
ity means more energy-efficient buildings, walk- the 2009 rezoning of the Lower Concourse in
rezoning in place, the Lower Concourse is
ability, the availability of transportation choices, the Bronx, have helped prepare the city for long-
poised to become a walkable, mixed-use
employment opportunities, and access to retail, term growth in the places where it makes sense, neighborhood with a revitalized waterfront.
including healthy food. while addressing our communities’ needs today.

City government can’t make New York sustain- By encouraging denser development in neigh-
able on its own. We need everyone to build a borhoods well-served by transit while limiting
greener, greater New York—which is by defi- growth in auto-dependent areas, we can steer
nition made up of greener, greater neighbor- new development to areas where residential
hoods. We will engage with and support local growth is sustainable. Even in areas close to
sustainability efforts and projects to nurture transit that may be able to accommodate more
those neighborhoods. growth than current zoning allows, neighbor-

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 23


hood rezonings must be done carefully and
with community involvement and consideration
of local infrastructure and services. By increas-
ing density along key corridors, while putting in

Credit: Hudson Yards Development Corporation


place appropriate limits on the height and bulk of
buildings, we can reinforce the current character
of neighborhoods, while increasing capacity and
promoting a diversity of housing types.

We will continue to propose and implement


transit-oriented rezonings throughout the city.
Anticipated areas include corridors in Sunnyside/
Woodside, Queens; Bedford-Stuyvesant North,
The Hudson Yards in Manhattan
Brooklyn; West Harlem and West Clinton, Man-
hattan; and East Fordham Road, the Bronx.

Through the Inclusionary Housing Program, We will evaluate potential scenarios for the The City also has many facilities where it stores
we will continue to encourage the creation and improvement of the Sheridan Corridor and Hunts and archives data. By centralizing data centers,
preservation of affordable housing in conjunc- Point area in the Bronx, as part of a study of pos- using archiving and filing management systems,
tion with new development. The Inclusionary sible changes to the highway network described and exploring the use of re-locatable storage
Housing Program permits an increase in the floor in the Transportation chapter of our Plan. The facilities, we can free up space for new housing
area of residential developments in exchange for outcome of this study will be based on a vision and other types of development. We will con-
the provision of low-income housing. Since 2005, for the overall land use needs in the corridor. tinue to use these and other methods to reduce
the program has yielded more than 1,900 units City government leased or owned space by 1.2
We will also work with the New York City Hous- million square feet.
of permanently affordable housing.
ing Authority (NYCHA), their tenants and sur-
The City can’t take on the enormous task of rounding communities, to determine if there are
readying New York for growth on its own. Pri- additional opportunities for development on the INITIATIVE 3
grounds of NYCHA properties.
vately initiated rezoning actions can contribute Enable new and expanded housing
to our objectives for transit-oriented growth.
We will continue to implement the Hudson Yards models to serve evolving population
Where appropriate, we will work with develop-
Plan, including taking ownership of the last por- needs
ers proposing to make new development acces-
tion of the High Line in Manhattan and com-
sible, well-connected to transit, and responsive
pleting the 7 train line, to continue to catalyze Between now and 2030, the demographics of
to communities.
development in this district. These steps will our city will change. The median age is expected
help transform Hudson Yards in Manhattan into to rise, leading to more elderly and single, and
a vibrant extension of the Midtown business dis- fewer family, households. However, this portion
INITIATIVE 2
trict with 24 million square feet of commercial of the population is not necessarily well-served
Explore additional areas for new use, over 13,000 units of housing, as well as sub- by the present day housing stock and current
development stantial public open space and cultural uses. codes and development practices may not ade-
quately allow for the development of new hous-
We are investigating areas throughout the We will also act to realize the potential of under- ing geared towards these smaller households.
city that could potentially accommodate new utilized Seward Park sites on the Lower East Side We can better serve individuals seeking smaller
growth, and one day could be rezoned or rede- of Manhattan. The Seward Park Extension Urban housing alternatives through better use of our
veloped to create housing. Renewal Area was created in 1965, for commer- existing stock and by building more efficient
cial and housing development. Portions of the new housing models.
Over the next few years, we will advance studies plan were implemented over the years, but five
that identify potential opportunities for develop- sites remain undeveloped. We are consulting The City will explore regulatory changes affect-
ment across the city, including in Staten Island’s with the community to create a plan for a vibrant ing existing housing stock that would enable the
North Shore, where we are working with the mixed-use development suitable for the area. addition of a legal apartment to one- and two-
community and studying transportation and family homes, where appropriate. These units
other supporting improvements. In cooperation Finally, opportunities exist to consolidate the could add housing options suited to elderly
with the MTA, we will study the areas around approximately 42,000 acres of land and 285 or single residents and smaller households in
Metro North stations in the Bronx to identify million square feet of built space that the City neighborhoods where diverse and smaller hous-
opportunities for both new development and owns. Many of these sites are devoted to the ing types are otherwise hard to find. The City
transportation access improvements. We will storage or repair of the City’s 26,000 vehicles. will carefully weigh options that would make
also work with the MTA to study additional prop- Using new technologies, we could transform such units possible, taking into account a range
erties they own or lease that could be used to conventional fleet storage lots into automated of factors, including transportation access and
create housing or other enhancements for sur- vertically stacked facilities, thereby reducing the neighborhood character.
rounding communities. municipal footprint and creating opportunities
for appropriate development.

24 HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS


CASE STUDY
Hunter’s Point South
Along a barren strip of the Queens waterfront
overlooking midtown Manhattan, the City is
building the largest affordable housing develop-
ment in New York City since the early 1970s.

Credit: Related/Phipps/Monadnock with SHoP Architects


This new neighborhood, Hunter’s Point South,
will include approximately 5,000 new units of
housing and is anticipated to catalyze more than
$2 billion in private investment and create more
than 4,600 jobs.
Once completed, residents living in Hunter’s Point
South will be able to enjoy neighborhood stores,
restaurants, an 11-acre landscaped waterfront
park, and their children will be able to attend a
newly-built local school. With affordable housing An architectural rendering of Hunter’s Point South

for middle-income New Yorkers and good access


to public transportation, Hunter’s Point South is
South will also be served by the East River Ferry $130,000 per year for a family of four. Building
a model of a new neighborhood that will help the
pilot program set to launch this spring, giving Hunter’s Point South is key to achieving the
city grow more sustainably.
residents even more choices for ways to move affordable housing targets set in Mayor
By 2013, the first phase of Hunter’s Point South around the city. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan.
will have transformed more than 800,000 square
Finding an affordable place to raise a family is a As a new waterfront neighborhood, Hunter’s Point
feet of vacant waterfront land into an active
challenge for many middle-income New Yorkers. At South will help expand access to the shoreline,
neighborhood with vibrant retail corridors.
least 75% of the apartments in the first phase of promote economic development, and enhance
The neighborhood will feature wide sidewalks Hunter’s Point South will be permanently targeted the public experience of the waterways.
and buildings that access the street with multiple to low-, moderate- and middle-income residents,
entries to shops and apartments. Hunter’s Point with household incomes ranging from $32,000 to

We will also explore the development of new Finally, we are identifying existing government On Willets Point in Queens, we are also preparing
housing models to better serve the needs of seg- buildings and properties to adapt to housing. All for the construction of an entirely new neighbor-
ments of our growing population. In areas that together we will develop approximately 20,000 hood. During much of the early 20th century, the
could accommodate higher density, we could new affordable units by 2014 under the New approximately 60-acre peninsula on the Flushing
consider rethinking traditional unit design and Housing Marketplace Plan. River in Northern Queens known as Willets Point
pursue the development of new non-conven- was used as an ash dump. While the surround-
tional housing alternatives. The City will carefully ing areas have experienced remarkable transfor-
weigh options that could make smaller housing INITIATIVE 4 mation, including the development of Flushing
models possible, taking into account housing Develop new neighborhoods on Meadows-Corona Park in preparation for the
quality and safety, as well as the appropriate- 1939 World’s Fair, Willets Point became further
ness of such arrangements with respect to sur- underutilized sites environmentally-compromised.
rounding land uses.
In a city as densely developed as New York, few Over the next four years, we will select a devel-
large tracts of land present opportunities to build oper and begin infrastructure construction,
entire new residential neighborhoods. Where
Finance and facilitate new such opportunities exist, we will capitalize on
environmental remediation, and development
for Willets Point Phase I, a mixed-use develop-
housing them to create vibrant new neighborhoods with ment including 400 new housing units. When
housing that meets the needs of households completed, the entire Willets Point development
Simply creating the potential for the private with a range of incomes. will include 5,500 units, 35% of which will be
sector to increase the supply of housing in the affordable. It will include 150,000 square feet of
city is not enough. Without action from the City, We are investing more than $65 million in
community space, a school, eight acres of open
many New Yorkers will continue to have fewer infrastructure—including roads, sewers and
space, 1.7 million square feet of retail, a hotel,
affordable housing options. utilities—in Hunter’s Point South to create an
office space, and a convention center.
entirely new neighborhood on the Queens
The City must proactively finance and facilitate waterfront. Over the next three years, we will We will complete similar developments in
the creation of new units, particularly affordable begin construction of 900 new housing units. Arverne, Queens, and Gateway in East New York,
units, to ensure that we can meet our housing When completed, this project will provide 5,000 Brooklyn, together creating 2,600 new units.
needs. That is why we are creating entirely new new units of housing, 3,000 units of which will
neighborhoods, such as Hunter’s Point South be permanently reserved for moderate- and mid-
and Willets Point in Queens. We are also leverag- dle-income families. It will provide more than 11
ing existing programs to finance and create new acres of landscaped waterfront parkland, retail
affordable housing developments throughout spaces, and a new 1,100-seat public school.
the city.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 25


Affordable Housing Units Created
or Preserved Since 2004 Under the
New Housing Marketplace Plan
INITIATIVE 5
Create new units in existing UNITS CREATED OR PRESERVED

neighborhoods UNITS DEVELOPED ON NYCHA SITES


SUBWAY LINES
Vacant or under-used land in our existing neigh-
borhoods also presents opportunities for new
Each symbol may represent multiple
housing development. We will strategically
affordable housing units
target new construction funding in neighbor-
hoods where it will have the most immediate
impact, particularly in ones that are near to
experiencing or experiencing the rewards of

Source: NYCHA; NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development


revitalization after many years of community and
public investments.

In the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area


in the South Bronx, we will transform the last
three large City-owned parcels of vacant land
by financing the development of more than
700 rental units for low- and moderate-income
residents. These units will add to the more than
2,800 units of City-financed new construction
already completed or under construction in the
Melrose Commons area.

Opportunities exist to repurpose and redevelop


lightly used portions of New York City Housing
Authority (NYCHA) sites, including surface park-
ing facilities, in ways that can reinforce their rela-
tionship to surrounding neighborhoods. When to the cost of affordable housing. By lowering
construction costs, we will be able to stretch our
Encourage sustainable
NYCHA began building tall towers surrounded
by open space and parking lots beginning in the dollars further, creating more units in the devel- neighborhoods
1940s, the result often interrupted the continu- opments we finance.
In addition to facilitating more housing, we must
ity of neighborhoods and retail corridors, and
make our communities more sustainable. Sus-
too often left NYCHA developments as islands
isolated from the broader community. In 2004, INITIATIVE 6 tainability means encouraging growth in areas
well served by transit. It means nurturing neigh-
NYCHA and the City agreed to target some of the Develop new housing units on
borhoods that provide housing choices and
areas on these sites for new housing. existing City properties employment opportunities at multiple income
When developing sites, NYCHA has carefully levels. It means building housing that conserves
The City and other public authorities own acres energy and water, constructed of materials that
selected areas in communities that can sup- of land that are underutilized and could be used
port additional development. It has consulted do not harm residents’ health. It also means cul-
for housing. Significant opportunities exist for tivating neighborhoods that contain a vibrant
with the community and local elected officials to housing to co-exist with current uses—from
determine the ultimate shape of development. mix of uses, including retail that offers healthy
libraries to schools to parking lots. We will work foods—a community asset missing from too
Through partnership with the City and the New to maximize these co-locations and opportuni-
York City Housing Development Corporation, many neighborhoods—and other services
ties to convert City-owned underutilized sites within walking distance of residences.
nearly 2,400 units have been built or are being into affordable housing.
built on NYCHA land, including 168 units at the
We will lead by example by promoting these ele-
Elliot-Chelsea Housing in Manhattan and 748 Across the city, there are also dozens of sites ments through publicly-sponsored development
units in University Avenue Consolidated Housing that are no longer appropriate or needed for and regulatory tools. However, City government
in the Bronx. Through this partnership, by the their original use. These sites, ranging from can provide only some of the tools to build com-
end of 2014, we will have completed or started warehouses, former schools, shuttered hospi- munities. Greening our neighborhoods begins at
construction for nearly 3,400 new affordable tals, or former police stations, can be reclaimed the neighborhood or even block level, and relies on
units located throughout the five boroughs. as affordable housing. We will capitalize on local knowledge, energy, and ingenuity to succeed.
opportunities to preserve these buildings while
We will also explore whether current parking meeting our housing needs. For example, 90 We will support the work local neighborhood
minimums for affordable housing are appropri- affordable units will be built as artists’ housing, groups, community-based organizations, and
ate. In more densely populated areas where car in P.S. 109, a former public school in East Harlem, individuals are already doing to make New York
ownership rates are low, particularly among low- Manhattan. greener and greater. By providing technical, finan-
income individuals, we will determine whether
cial, and regulatory assistance, we can help these
parking minimums may be unnecessarily adding
efforts grow, build a new model of collaborative
action, and create greener, greater communities.

26 HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS


INITIATIVE 7 INITIATIVE 8 Case Study
Foster the creation of Greener, Increase the sustainability of City- Greener Greater Communities
Greater Communities financed and public housing All across the city, New Yorkers are helping
make their neighborhoods greener and
This Plan outlines numerous initiatives that the Rising utility costs are increasing rents through- greater.
City will undertake to make New York a more out the city. Between 2005 and 2008, citywide
sustainable city, while realizing the vision of a contract rents increased 1.6% in real dollars; In Brooklyn, Sarita Daftary of East New York
greener, greater New York will also require the median gross rents, which include utilities, Farms is tending the largest community
efforts of community organizations and millions increased by 4.2%. garden in the city. She and other local
of individual New Yorkers. residents are capturing stormwater to
To manage rising utility costs and reduce our transform what was once vacant space into a
Communities are already coming together to greenhouse gas emissions, we must find ways to useful resource. In East Harlem in Manhattan
decide what they can do to make their neighbor- use less electricity, heating oil, and natural gas in
and on Forrest Avenue in the South Bronx,
hoods more sustainable. The available oppor- all housing, including our publicly-financed hous-
the Harvest Homes Farmer’s Market has
tunities and local priorities will be different in ing. A more energy-efficient housing stock will
teamed up with Transportation Alternatives
every neighborhood. The solutions that work in not only reduce stress on our infrastructure and
and the Strategic Alliance for Health to create
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn may be different than those lower our global warming emissions, but also
two Play Streets, closed to traffic during
that work in Bayside, Queens—and will often contribute to the long-term financial viability of
originate with the people who call those places our affordable housing stock.
certain times in the summer to give youth
home. space to socialize. On Staten Island, the Joan
Building on previous work we have done in mod- and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center
We will launch the Greener, Greater Communi- ifying our rehabilitation building specifications to has teamed up with MillionTreesNYC to give
ties approach to help community- and neighbor- include energy and sustainability requirements, away trees to local residents. In Queens,
hood-based organizations develop and imple- we will require that all major City-financed sub- the Jackson Heights Beautification League
ment local initiatives. This includes projects to stantial rehabilitations and new construction recruited 400 people to community
manage stormwater, improve energy efficiency, certify with Enterprise Green Communities (EGC). workshops that developed the Green
establish community composting resources, EGC is a set of guidelines specifically suited to Agenda for Jackson Heights.
create new public space, and enhance the stew- greening affordable housing. By achieving Enter-
ardship of parks. prise Green Communities certification, we will Our Plan includes numerous city programs
ensure that City-financed affordable housing that New Yorkers can tap into. We will
We will also help create greener, greater com- will be built to minimize construction waste and connect communities with a number of
munities by integrating sustainability into neigh- maximize water conservation, energy efficiency, existing City, state and federal programs in
borhood planning. We have begun and will com- and the use of non-toxic building materials. We seven priority areas: energy efficiency, public
plete a study in East New York, Brooklyn, where, will certify approximately 40 affordable housing space creation, tree stewardship, stormwater
working in close cooperation with the Commu- projects annually as Enterprise Green Communi- management, air quality improvement, and
nity Board and other local stakeholders, includ- ties and provide financing for more than 30,000 landfill diversion. We will also align our
ing the Cypress Hills Local Development Corpo- units with energy efficiency and sustainability brownfield remediation efforts with local
ration, we will generate recommendations for requirements by 2014. visions for employment growth and
land use and zoning changes, and assess other redevelopment.
opportunities for making the neighborhood Making our homes sustainable extends beyond
greener. The collaboration will include identify- the materials and systems we use, to the actions In each of these areas we want to provide
ing opportunities to improve walkability, bicycle of individual owners and tenants. To reach out to organizations with financial and technical
access, streetscape, traffic safety, and connec- the individuals who run buildings, we will expand support to help them achieve community
tions among housing, retail, educational and the NYC Green House program to educate small impact.
employment opportunities. The study will also and medium-sized building owners on what they
identify opportunities to improve the energy effi- can do to increase energy efficiency, conserve To engage all New Yorkers, we will launch an
ciency and environmental performance of build- water, use healthy materials, and educate their online platform, “Change By Us,” to empower
ings and public spaces in the area, and promote tenants. We will distribute educational toolkits New Yorkers to self-organize around issues
stormwater management best practices and that provide information on how private build- that matter to them. This site will ask “How
increases to tree canopy. ing owners can avoid high energy bills or costly can we green our neighborhoods?” and
rehabilitations that can drive up housing costs. connect New Yorkers to other residents,
The study will also incorporate efforts to pro- We will also conduct six Green Owner’s Nights a groups, and resources. Like GreeNYC,
mote public health through improved access to year. These events teach best practices on build- “Change By Us” will give citizens the
fresh food by seeking to utilize the City’s FRESH ing management, and connect building owners information they need to take action in
(Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) pro- to local experts on operation and maintenance their own lives.
gram and build on the efforts of local groups practices.
such as East New York Farms. By integrating Greener Greater Communities will connect
these efforts and finding new opportunities for Similarly, NYCHA is implementing its Green New Yorkers to each other and to these
collaborative action in one neighborhood, the Agenda. This is a series of sustainability initia- programs, so that together we create a
City and its citizens will set a new high standard tives aimed at preserving public housing and greener, greater New York, block by block,
for neighborhood sustainability planning. neighborhood by neighborhood.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 27


CASE STUDY
Roofs

In a crowded city, rooftops represent our last big


frontier. Constituting almost 20% of our total area,
rooftop space equates to an entire extra borough.
Currently this asset is not just underutilized; it
contributes to our problems. Largely impervious,
black tar worsens urban heat island effect, smog,
and problems with stormwater runoff.

But it could be different. Coating roofs white, “cool


roofs”, could help moderate our temperatures.

Credit: Nicholas Noyes


Installing collars around drains, “blue roofs”, could
help retain stormwater and improve water quality.
And extensive plantings, “green roofs”, could do
both. Additionally, rooftops could provide sites for Roofs in Northern Manhattan
clean energy installations like solar panels,
gardens, urban farms, or recreational spaces.
roofs, and possibly blue roofs, too, through the of every rooftop. And volunteers working with
To take advantage of these opportunities, NYC Green Infrastructure Plan. our NYC °CoolRoofs program have coated over
we are working to ensure property owners a million square feet.
can get the most out of their roofs. Proposed We are also helping New Yorkers install sustainable
amendments to local codes will allow alternative roofs. Through our tax incentives we are offsetting We are just beginning to understand the potential
energy equipment to be sited like other the costs of solar panels and green roofs, through of our rooftops. As every roof is different, finances,
equipment and expand the areas allowed for our Solar Empowerment Zones we are encouraging technical constraints, and desired uses will result
solar panels, and new guidelines for building- the placement of solar panels in key neighbor- in a unique mix of strategies for each building.
mounted wind turbines will ensure safety. Our hoods, and through a CUNY partnership we will But over time, a vibrant patchwork of beneficial
new codes will expand requirements for cool create a Solar Map showing the solar potential uses should replace the current sea of tar.

improving quality of life while reducing environ- INITIATIVE 9 access to healthy foods. In partnership with the
mental impact and operating costs. As part of its City Council, we are developing and implement-
Promote walkable destinations for
Green Agenda, NYCHA successfully piloted inno- ing programs to provide low-cost temporary
vative lighting and heating upgrades at Castle-Hill retail and other services solutions, while encouraging the development
Houses in the Bronx, saving more than $660,000 of more permanent markets.
in heating costs in 2009 and 2010. By encouraging the location of residents, jobs,
retail, and other services within a walkable dis- Through the Healthy Bodegas initiative, more
Based on this success, NYCHA is pursuing a multi- tance from one another, we can encourage the than 1,000 bodegas have promoted the sale of
phase Energy Performance Contracting program use of sustainable modes of transportation and fresh produce and low-fat dairy products, increas-
to scale up energy conservation and efficiency decrease greenhouse gas emissions. ing sales of these products to local residents.
measures in other developments. NYCHA is also The Green Carts program has issued almost 500
exploring innovative techniques such as Building In order to support a mix of uses in neighbor- new permits to street vendors selling fresh fruit
Information Management Software and Green hoods, we will promote neighborhood shop- and vegetables in underserved neighborhoods,
Physical Needs Assessments. These will allow ping districts as part of a broader Neighborhood quickly and effectively expanding retail options.
NYCHA to more strategically assess the environ- Retail Strategy that seeks to maintain built envi- By augmenting the federal food stamp program
mental and financial impact that green retrofit ronments to attract private investment, local (SNAP) with “Health Bucks,” we are providing
efforts will have on its building stock. residents, and visitors and support the needs SNAP recipients with $2 in coupons for every
of small businesses. The City will create a local $5 in SNAP spent at farmers markets. More than
In 2009, NYCHA created 37 Resident Green Com- retail zoning “toolkit” that will expand the use 110,000 Health Bucks were distributed in 2009,
mittees with more than 400 members. The mem- of zoning tools to address specific retail issues generating an additional $220,000 in sales of
bers have embraced a responsible, low-carbon facing different types of commercial corridors fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables.
lifestyle by switching to CFLs, recycling, con- throughout the city.
serving water, and taking care of newly planted We will facilitate the creation of 300 more
trees. NYCHA will continue to work with the cur- Stores selling fresh, healthy foods do not exist in healthy food retail options in targeted under-
rent Resident Green Committees, while helping some communities. More than three million New served neighborhoods. To encourage the
to create at least six new Committees. Yorkers currently live in dense neighborhoods growth of new grocery stores and supermar-
with limited opportunities to purchase nutri- kets, we launched the FRESH program, which
Building on the success of pilot programs at the tious, affordable foods. In these areas, consump- provides zoning and financial incentives for
Bronx River Houses, NYCHA, in collaboration tion of fruits and vegetables is low, and rates of full-service grocery stores that locate in certain
with the City, will explore scaling up stormwater diet-related diseases are high. neighborhoods considered underserved by food
retention best management practices at other retailers. We will identify additional amendments
sites. NYCHA will also expand upon its current Opportunities exist to use existing food distribu-
to zoning, including an expansion of the FRESH
work to better incorporate sustainability into its tion infrastructure, like bodegas and food carts,
program, to direct grocery stores to more com-
procurement practices. and the City’s regulatory powers to increase
munities with food access needs.

28 HOUSING AND NEIGHBORHOODS


Finally, NYCHA will invest more than $397 mil-
lion at 189 developments to improve its building
stock, which currently houses one-in-twelve New
Yorkers. In addition, NYCHA will apply for a $300
million bond to address additional façade and
roof renovations at more than 32 developments.

INITIATIVE 11
Proactively protect the quality of
neighborhoods and housing

Credit: Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana appears courtesy GrowNYC


Preservation is not only critical for affordable
housing, but to all housing across the city. To
protect tenants, neighborhoods, and the qual-
ity of our housing citywide, we must identify
distressed properties before they fall into a state
of severe disrepair. Until recently, the City’s sys-
tems and tools have been largely reactive and
geared toward 311—our non-emergency source
for information and services—and tenant or
neighbor complaints.

We will work with community groups, the City


Council and state agencies to consolidate data
Shopping for produce at a Greenmarket from multiple sources to identify distressed
buildings that are declining and are at risk of
becoming blighted. We will evaluate over 1,000
In partnership with the City Council, we are also The City is working with owners of buildings with at-risk buildings over the next three years,
creating food retail and production opportuni- affordable units to refinance and preserve their assessing conditions, and performing roof-to-
ties by maximizing the use of City-owned land. buildings in exchange for accepting or extending cellar inspections for those buildings that are
The City has helped establish both the Kitchen affordability restrictions. Some of these build- clearly in distress. We will take action to improve
Incubator at La Marqueta in East Harlem, and the ings also need repair to improve conditions for the conditions of buildings, including more code
Entrepreneur’s Space (E-Space) in Long Island tenants. We will work to preserve these units enforcement, litigation, receivership, as well as
City. These programs provide facilities, equip- using strategies specific to each development. ownership transfer, preservation loans, financial
ment, and other resources to entrepreneurs counseling and referrals.
starting businesses in the ever-growing food To protect Mitchell-Lama and similar types of
manufacturing industry. The City currently serves housing, we will develop creative financing
100 clients at E-Space. We will graduate 25 new arrangements that combine property tax incen-
businesses from that incubator and an additional tives, low-interest refinancing, rehabilitation Conclusion
40 at La Marqueta, so that food entrepreneurs loans, and other subsidies with long-term afford-
ability commitments. To keep smaller buildings While our near-term housing priorities have
can bring healthy food and economic develop-
affordable and in good condition, we will imple- shifted in response to the changing economic
ment to neighborhoods throughout the city.
ment the Small Owner Repair Program, which environment, our long-term planning continues
couples 10-year forgivable loans with upkeep to be driven by the need to house nearly a mil-
lion more New Yorkers by 2030 and a desire to
INITIATIVE 10 and maintenance agreements to ensure the
financial viability, physical upkeep, and continued create greener, greater communities.
Preserve and upgrade existing
affordability of participating buildings. Together
affordable housing these methods will allow us to preserve an addi-
As the economy has changed, the tools we have
used to create and preserve affordable housing
tional 34,000 units through 2014.
Preservation is a top priority in today’s economic have adapted. We can anticipate that the econ-
climate where buildings are more susceptible It is also important to preserve the integrity of omy will change again, and we must continue to
to accelerated financial and physical distress. neighborhoods and their residents. While the be prepared to respond with creativity and com-
We have spent over three decades investing in single family foreclosure crisis has not necessar- passion as newer challenges emerge.
our existing affordable housing stock, building ily affected New York City to the same degree as
up an important long-term source of affordable We must also maintain our focus on the long-
other areas, it has impacted specific neighbor-
housing for low- and moderate-income New term housing needs of the city. By continuing to
hoods such as Jamaica, Queens. To bolster these
Yorkers. However, many of the original afford- expand the potential for housing supply, coordi-
neighborhoods, we will provide an estimated
ability restrictions set by the State and Federal nate and finance the creation of new and afford-
4,000 New Yorkers with mortgage and foreclo-
governments to restrict rents on properties are able housing, and address the sustainability
sure prevention counseling, legal services, and
now expiring, and owners are often inclined to needs of our neighborhoods, we can realize our
education annually through the Center for NYC
convert their buildings to market-rate housing. vision of New York as a city of opportunity for all.
Neighborhoods.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 29


Parks and
Public Space
Credit: Iwan Baan
Together we can
Target high impact projects in
neighborhoods underserved by parks
Create destination-level spaces for
all types of recreation
Re-imagine the public realm
Promote and protect nature
Ensure the long-term health of parks
and public space
Parks range from the simplest form for kids I think the playground [we designed] is great for
to the most complex form like wetlands that little kids, teenagers, and senior citizens. I even
have wildlife and rare species. You have saw my grandma reading at the playground. That
constituencies that can enjoy all of these, makes me feel very happy to see people enjoying
and it’s right here in our community. the school’s playground.
Alex Zablocki // Staten Island Samantha Brito // Queens

The New York Harbor is an untapped resource for


New York’s creative community and their families.
Over the past two summers, we’ve been fortunate
to be able to host outdoor sporting challenges on
the grassy lawns of Governors Island and engage
I felt excited to help in the playground [design]. New Yorkers through a healthy series of activities.
We are the ones who planned out the whole These public playgrounds enable us to keep our
thing. People love this playground. I can tell sanity amidst all the chaos and hustle and bustle
by a lot of people coming to the playground. of living in the city.
Seana Edwin // Queens Khairi Mdnor // Manhattan

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 33


Parks and
Public Space
Ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park

For generations, parks have been among New including the historic investment in parks and
York’s most cherished forms of public infrastruc- public spaces made in 2007, heralded by the
ture. From internationally-renowned flagship launch of PlaNYC.
parks such as Central and Prospect Parks, to
neighborhood playgrounds, to emerging recre- Because the supply of vacant land and capital
ational areas on our waterfront, parks provide budgets are both finite, creating new parks will
vital public spaces for New Yorkers. All together, require creative new strategies. We will con-
our city boasts more than 52,000 acres of City, tinue to reuse unconventional sites such as Con-
state and federal parkland, representing 25% of crete Plant Park in the Bronx, where a former
the city’s area. industrial concrete mixing plant has been trans-
formed into a striking new waterfront park, or
Parks and public space play indispensable roles the High Line, which transformed an abandoned
in our neighborhoods. They provide places to elevated freight rail line into one of Manhattan’s
exercise. They are community forums for formal star attractions.
and informal interactions. They serve important
We must also work to protect the great invest-
ecological functions. They are also an impor-
ment in parks and public spaces that we have
tant catalyst for economic development, raising
made. The long-term health of our parks and
property values and breathing life into neighbor-
public spaces requires continued maintenance,
hoods.
stewardship, and attention.
Despite parks’ importance, over two million New We have made substantial progress. Since 2007,
Yorkers still live more than a 10-minute walk from we have improved access to parks and public
one. And the need for a variety of parks and space, ensuring more than a quarter million
public space will only become more acute as more New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of
our population increases. As New Yorkers’ rec- a park. This new wave of construction includes
reation interests grow to include cricket pitches almost 180 Schoolyards to Playgrounds sites
and kayak launches, we must also make sure our and nearly 260 Greenstreets. Construction has
parks evolve. begun on four of eight new destination parks.
We have planted over 430,000 new trees.
To respond to this growing demand for more
parks and public space, we have embarked on But simply having access to parks is not enough;
what has become New York’s third great era of the type and quality of parks and public space
park building. The first era began in the second matter as well. To accommodate our diverse
half of the 19th century, when Frederick Law open space needs, we have begun to re-imag-
Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux designed ine what the public space outside of parks can
over 1,900 acres of city parkland including be, as well as design sustainable, high-perfor-
our most iconic open space, Central Park. The mance open spaces that have the potential to
second great era began with the appointment enhance ecosystems.
of Robert Moses as City Parks Commissioner in
1934. Taking advantage of New Deal funding, he
more than doubled park acreage in the city. But Our Plan
in the 1970s, our parks were poorly maintained.
Dangerous and unkempt, they lay neglected. In To meet the quality and access needs of all New
1981, Mayor Edward Koch started a turnaround Yorkers, we must continue to improve our exist-
with a capital plan to rebuild our system. In the ing parks, identify new opportunities to trans-
last 10 years, we have accelerated our progress form underutilized sites throughout the city, and
into the third great era of parks transformation, enhance stewardship of our public space.

34 PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACE


Credit: AP Worldwide Photos/Peter Morgan
We will target high-impact projects in the neigh-
borhoods with the greatest open space needs.
These projects will include community gardens
and urban agriculture opportunities, which
enrich many of the city’s neighborhoods least
served by parks. We will continue to create and
renovate parks such as Calvert Vaux Park in
Brooklyn and Soundview Park in the Bronx that
will attract people from all over the city.

We will re-conceptualize and green our streets.


And because vibrant open spaces both need
and support biodiversity, we will increase the
Escaping the heat at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens
health and vitality of natural areas. Finally, we will
ensure the long-term health of our open spaces
and protect the great investments we have made We will create a scorecard that will use a be maintained over the long term and strategi-
through expanded stewardship and care. weighted system across selected criteria, cally target our limited dollars where they get
including demographic data, environmental the highest return.
Collectively, we estimate that by 2030 we will
factors, physical condition, community need
acquire or upgrade more than 4,700 acres of We will also use new methods for assessing
and support, and conformity with the goals of
parkland and public space throughout the five New Yorkers’ distance from parks, looking at
programs like PlaNYC. It will take into account
boroughs. By 2030, every New Yorker will live the street network and actual access routes to a
funding needs for on-going maintenance and
within a 10-minute walk of a park. park instead of simply looking at distance as the
seek to increase partnerships with local com-
munity groups for stewardship. These criteria crow flies.
will help us gauge how well the investment will
Target high-impact
projects in neighborhoods
underserved by parks
Our plan for parks and public space:
In many of the neighborhoods most in need of
parks and public space, there are schoolyards, Target high impact projects in neighborhoods underserved by parks
lightly-trafficked streets, vacant lots, and athletic
1 Create tools to identify parks and public space priority areas
fields that have not realized their full potential.
Through targeted investments that use existing 2 Open underutilized spaces as playgrounds or part-time public spaces
land better, these spaces can become valuable 3 Facilitate urban agriculture and community gardening
community resources. 4 Continue to expand usable hours at existing sites
Low-capital, high-value projects such as School-
yards to Playgrounds have been vital in increas-
Create destination-level spaces for all types of recreation
ing access to usable parks and public spaces 5 Create and upgrade flagship parks
close to where people live. We must identify the 6 Convert former landfills into public space and parkland
next generation of these projects and where
7 Increase opportunities for water-based recreation
they should be located.
Re-imagine the public realm
INITIATIVE 1 8 Activate the streetscape
Create tools to identify parks and 9 Improve collaboration between City, state, and federal partners
public space priority areas 10 Create a network of green corridors

Challenging economic times and the demands of Promote and protect nature
an increasing population require that we make 11 Plant one million trees
the most out of our funding for parks and public
space projects. To do this, we need new tools for 12 Conserve natural areas
assessing new project proposals. 13 Support ecological connectivity

Ensure the long-term health of parks and public space


14 Support and encourage stewardship
15 Incorporate sustainability through the design and maintenance of all public space

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 35


Areas Within a 10-Minute Walk of a Park

AREA WITHIN 10-MINUTE WALK OF PARK IN 2007

AREA WITHIN 10-MINUTE WALK ADDED SINCE 2007

AREA NOT WITHIN 10-MINUTE WALK OF PARK

LANDFILLS, AIRPORTS & AREAS EXLCUDED FROM ANALYSIS

Source: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation


High-Value, Low Capital Projects
Currently Underway or Completed
More than 1,000 community gardens exist in the
city. More than 600 are on sites maintained by
ASPHALT TO TURF
the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA),
BALLFIELD LIGHTING and nearly 500 are registered with the City’s
PLAZAS GreenThumb program. To support and enhance
well-established gardens throughout the city,
SCHOOLYARDS TO PLAYGROUNDS
we will increase the number of registered
GreenThumb volunteers by 25%.

Approximately 80% of the city’s community gar-


dens grow food. Most food-producing gardens
are located in neighborhoods with limited open
space and inadequate access to fresh produce
and other healthy foods. To increase public

Source: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, NYC Dept. of Transportation


access to fresh foods, including produce grown
in community gardens, we will partner with the
non-profit organization, Just Food, to establish
five additional farmers’ markets at community
garden sites. We will also explore additional
ways to support farmers markets.

We are also working in partnership with


GrowNYC, a non-profit, private organization,
to support gardens at our schools. Already 70
school gardens have registered with Grow to
Learn NYC, the Citywide School Gardens Initia-
tive, and are actively educating students about
healthy food choices and environmental stew-
ardship. Through 2013, we will retain 75% of reg-
istrants annually and register 25 new gardens
INITIATIVE 2 lives up to its literal name: a lively place to play,
with a goal of reaching 150 registered school
walk, or bike for three Saturdays each summer.
Open underutilized spaces as We will continue to do so each year.
gardens throughout the city. Furthermore, 50
school gardens participate in the Garden to
playgrounds or part-time public
School Café program that helps school cafete-
spaces We have also created programs that enable
rias serve food grown in those gardens.
community groups to recommend, apply for,
and manage part-time play spaces in our streets. We are also exploring ways to increase the
In 2007, we identified more than 200 school- Local organizations in all five boroughs have number of gardens and urban farms. We will take
yards in areas underserved by parks that could managed Weekend Walks, which close streets a full inventory of municipal land and identify
be better utilized. While neighborhoods lacked to vehicular traffic on summer weekends. The properties that could be suitable for urban agri-
play space, schools with empty lots or play- city hosted 17 of these in 2010 and will conduct culture. We will also review existing regulations
grounds were closed throughout the summer, them at 20 locations in 2011. and laws to identify and remove unnecessary
on weekends, and in the evenings. barriers to the creation of community gardens
Through our Play Streets program we have per-
and urban farms. For example, only green roofs
We launched the Schoolyards to Playgrounds pro- mitted non-profits and schools to temporarily
that use drought-resistant plants are currently
gram to renovate these spaces and open them to close off streets, giving children safe and super-
eligible for the New York State green roof tax
the community when school is not in session. Six- vised places to play and learn. In partnership
abatement. Broadening this legislation to include
ty-nine of these sites needed no additional capi- with non-profit organizations, we will work to
agricultural plants could encourage an increase
tal investment and were opened almost imme- open 15 Play Streets each year where they are
in green roofs and urban food production.
needed most. We will also provide 40 schools
diately. For the remaining sites, we partnered
with access to a Play Street so children have NYCHA will also expand its urban agriculture
with the Trust for Public Land and instituted a
places to play during recess. program, creating at least one urban farm and
participatory design process, in which students
and community members selected amenities 129 community gardens on its grounds.
they wanted in their new playgrounds. Since
INITIATIVE 3
2007, we have built and improved more than 100
Facilitate urban agriculture and INITIATIVE 4
sites, bringing the total to nearly 180 sites open
so far—equaling over 130 acres—and putting us community gardening Continue to expand usable hours at
well on the way to completing over 230 by 2013. existing sites
We are committed to promoting community gar-
We are also creating temporary play places for dens and other forms of urban agriculture. We Today the city does not have enough grass fields
the times of the year when the need for play recognize the important role they serve in build- to accommodate the growing demand for soccer,
space is even more acute. For example, as part ing communities, supporting local cultural heri- field hockey, cricket, and rugby. Those that we do
of the Summer Streets program, we transformed tage, and bringing individuals together around have are quickly worn by intensive use.
Park Avenue in Manhattan into something that the vital issue of access to healthy food.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 37


To meet demand, we will accelerate the con-
version of 26 multi-purpose asphalt fields to
synthetic turf. Since 2007, 12 fields have been
completed and opened to the public. These turf
fields require less maintenance and can remain
open more days every year. They host a greater
range of games, including contact sports, and
can withstand frequent and intensive use.

To address possible health and safety issues


with synthetic turf, we will consult with an advi-
sory committee prior to using new turf technolo-
gies in parks. The committee was organized in
response to local legislation in 2010.

We also have dozens of high-quality fields that

Credit: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation/Daniel Avila


are unusable after the sun sets. By placing addi-
tional lights around our athletic fields, we can
allow two additional hours of use for each field
during the summer and four additional hours
during the spring and fall. We will install lighting
at 19 fields within the next two years.

Create destination-level
spaces for all types of Cyclists relax at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn

recreation
INITIATIVE 5 On our waterfront, at Calvert Vaux Park in Brook-
In addition to targeted investments at the neigh- lyn, we are constructing new fields and bicycle
borhood level, we are also focused on enhancing Create and upgrade flagship parks
paths. Also in Brooklyn, we are constructing
access to larger, “destination-level” parkland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, the most significant major
Recreational sites across the city have the poten-
tial to become destination-level parks. With addi- park to be built in that borough since Prospect
Large regional parks are the most visible end Park was built 135 years ago. At Fort Washington
of our continuum of public land. The larger tional investment, these parks could have the
space and features to serve a large amount of Park in Manhattan, we are improving entrances
parks provide a full range of experiences—rec- and pathways. In Soundview Park in the Bronx,
reational, cultural, and educational—for every people from around the city. For each of these
sites we have or will engage in an extensive plan- we are restoring 15 acres of natural areas,
resident in the city. Adding nearly one million adding new seating and pathways, and upgrad-
more residents means that we need to update ning effort with the surrounding community.
ing sports facilities. At Hunter’s Point in Queens,
and create new destination parks that cater to we are completing construction of a new 5-acre
In McCarren Park in Brooklyn, we are rebuilding
diverse recreational needs. site featuring new courts, green stormwater
McCarren Pool as both an outdoor Olympic-size
pool and a year-round recreation center. We are infrastructure, and public ferry access. In Staple-
Only a handful of spaces are big enough to
constructing a 2,500-seat field house in Staten ton, Staten Island, we have begun construction
create such destination-level parks in our devel-
Island’s Ocean Breeze Park, creating the city’s third of a 6-acre esplanade. We will also commit $260
oped city. Particular opportunities along our 520-
indoor track and field facility. Spanning the Harlem million toward improving Governors Island, mod-
mile waterfront can transform neighborhoods.
River, a rebuilt Highbridge Park will once again ernizing critical infrastructure, upgrading the
We can turn previously inaccessible places into
provide Bronx residents with access to the parks Historic District landscape, planting thousands
vibrant community areas that provide for recre-
along the northern Manhattan greenbelt, including of trees and transforming the desolate south-
ation and encourage commerce and economic
the Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center. High- ern part of the island into the new Hammock
growth. Nearly half of our waterfront is part of
land Park in Queens will be improved with the con- Grove and Play Lawn. On Randall’s Island, we are
our parks and public space network thanks to
struction of new reservoir perimeter lighting, path adding lighting to further enhance newly-con-
new public and private investments, as well as
restoration, and new entry points for wheelchair structed track and field facilities, tennis courts,
more effective waterfront zoning regulations.
users. On Manhattan’s High Line, we will open a and playing fields and improving access to the
Recent improvements in waterfront access and
new section of the former rail line to the public. waterfont.
quality have also increased opportunities for in-
water recreation. Boating, fishing, and, in some These destination-level parks will increase
Since 2002, the City has also acquired more than
areas, swimming can increasingly be part of the access to open space and the water, help meet
373 acres of waterfront land for parks. Under the
way New Yorkers enjoy our waterfront. our diverse recreational needs, and improve the
direction of the recently released Comprehen-
sive Waterfront Plan (CWP) we will continue to quality of our outdoor experiences.
to help New Yorkers reconnect with a waterfront
once underused and obstructed by infrastruc-
ture, regulations, fencing, and private uses.

38 PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACE


Case Study
Fresh Kills
At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost

Credit: NYC Economic Development Corporation


three times the size of Central Park and the
largest park developed in New York City in
over 100 years. Along with this massive
scale comes massive opportunity.
At its peak, Fresh Kills was the world’s
biggest landfill, receiving as much as 29,000
tons of waste each day, making it an example
of wastefulness, excess, and environmental
A kayaker launches his boat from a pier at the Downtown Boat Basin in Manhattan
neglect.
Its transformation into a productive and
beautiful cultural destination will make the
INITIATIVE 6 INITIATIVE 7
park a symbol of renewal and an expression
Convert former landfills into public Increase opportunities for of how we can restore balance to our
space and parkland water-based recreation landscape.

In the early 20th century, the huge dump- With its diverse water bodies, from winding The park’s plan, which will be built in phases
ing ground in Northern Queens was famously rivers and creeks to expansive sandy beaches over thirty years, matches this vision of
characterized as “a valley of ashes” in F. Scott and narrow tidal straits, New York City offers a restoration and renewal. Visitors to the park
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Since then, we variety of possibilities for water-based recreation will be able to mountain bike, run on trails,
have transformed this space into the 1,255 acre like kayaking and canoeing. Improvements in kayak, and horseback ride—uncommon
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, one of the most water quality and access to the waterfront have activities in an urban park. The park’s design,
actively used spaces in our park system. spurred participation in water-based recreation. ecological restoration, and cultural and
One of the most successful catalysts for the rec- educational programming will emphasize
Today, some of the best opportunities to create reational waterways is the New York City Water environmental sustainability and a renewed
parks exist in former landfills, huge swaths of Trail, which we run in conjunction with the New public concern for our human impact on the
open space undergoing transformative care and York City Water Trail Association. Capitalizing earth. The park will serve as a living
adaptive reuse. By decommissioning and reme- on the surge in popularity of human-powered laboratory, articulating a new relationship
diating them to assure public health, we can boating, this program established launch sites with the land as a source of recreation,
eventually turn them into places for New Yorkers for kayaks, canoes, and rowboats and provides habitat for native plant and seed nurseries,
to relax and play. online maps for guidance on routes to take. a source of renewable and alternative energy,
Chief among these will be Freshkills Park in To meet increases in demand, we will need to
and the site of botanical and ecological
Staten Island. At 2,200 acres, it will be almost add still more access points, docks, and onshore research.
three times the size of Central Park. When fully facilities to ensure that New Yorkers can both The New York City Department of Parks &
developed, it will be the largest park developed reach and use the water. In concert with the
in New York City in more than 100 years.
Recreation has begun implementing the
CWP, we will complete an expansion of the master plan developed by landscape
launch platform for small boats at Hunts Point-
We will also remediate the Brookfield Avenue architecture firm James Corner Field
Riverside in the Bronx, build a multi-use “Eco
Landfill in Staten Island, Pennsylvania and Foun- Operations. Initial development has focused
Dock” in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and make improve-
tain Avenue Landfills in Brooklyn, Ferry Point in on providing public access to the interior
ments to the West Harlem Pier in Manhattanville
the Bronx, and Edgemere Landfill in Queens with of the park and showcasing its unusual
and to the floating docks at the Dyckman Street
impermeable landfill caps. This will transform
Marina in Inwood, both in Manhattan.
combination of natural and engineered
these former landfills into several hundred acres beauty. The park’s ecosystem has already
of sprawling natural area. Our first challenge is The need for recreation must be balanced with begun to restore itself, as birds, wildlife, and
to ensure contaminants are fully remediated, a the need for commercial uses of our water, as native habitat thrive. Visitors can learn about
necessary precaution which is painstaking and well as concerns for user safety and water qual- this transformation through a public tour and
time-consuming. But over time, we will continue ity. A multi-agency task force will assess oppor- education program.
to invest in safely converting these landfill sites tunities for expanding the blue network for
into parks. water-based recreation. These improvements Over 150 years ago, Central Park brought
will create better access to the water and bal- nature into the lives of New Yorkers;
ance the needs for recreation and commerce on Freshkills Park will provide 21st century New
our waterfront. Yorkers with a new park filled with exciting
recreational activities that integrate nature
into city living.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 39


Destination Parks Upgrades and Improvements

DESTINATION PARKS UPGRADES UNDERWAY

LANDFILL REMEDIATION PROJECTS UNDERWAY

Orchard Beach
Highbridge Park
Pelham Landfill
Ft. Washington Park

Soundview Park
Ferry Point Park
Randall’s Island
East River Park

East River Park Esplanade

The High Line


Anable Basin
Hudson River State Park Hunters Point Community Park
Transmitter Park
McCarren Park
Bushwick Inlet Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park Highland Park


Governors Island
Pennsylvania Avenue &
Fountain Avenue Landfills

Bush Terminal
Piers Park
Stapleton Waterfront
Esplanade

Edgemere Landfill
Freshkills Park Calvert Vaux Park

Ocean Breeze Park Rockaway Beach


Steeplechase Park
Brookfield Landfill
Source: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation

40 PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACE


Highbridge Park Randall’s Island Soundview Park

Restore bridge and access paths within the park Complete lighting for courts and fields and improve Construct three-mile bike loop, new playgrounds,
access to the waterfront fields, and amphitheatre

The High Line East River Park Esplanade McCarren Park

Open Section 2 (20th to 30th Streets) and pursue Complete construction of 8.5 acres of East River Es- Construct new swimming pool, shaded pavilions, and
acquisition of land for Section 3 planade Park South, featuring water uses, educational recreation center
uses, and café

Governors Island Brooklyn Bridge Park Rockaway Beach

Modernize infrastructure and transform South Battery Re-open Empire-Fulton Ferry Park; complete Construct performance venue and lawn area, new
into acres of lawn and shrubs construction on piers 4 and 5 and on upland areas courts, football field, skate park, and climbing wall
of Piers 3 and 5

Freshkills Park Ocean Breeze Park Calvert Vaux Park

Develop the first public access areas overlooking Main Construct 2,500 seat, world-class indoor track and Renovate lighted baseball and soccer fields, improve
Creek field house pathways, and restore wetlands

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 41


Case Study
Flatiron Plaza

Before 2008, the intersection surrounding the


Flatiron Building was a maze of streets and cars
crossing from six directions. With traffic turning
from some of Manhattan’s busiest streets and few
places for pedestrians to stop, the intersection did
not work well for cars or people.
Today, the intersection has been redesigned to
improve traffic flow and create new spaces that
have themselves become destinations. A triangular
plaza brings 41,700 square feet of public space to

Credit: NYC Dept. of Transportation


the bustling streets of the Flatiron district.
Pedestrians, people-watchers, residents, and
workers from nearby office buildings can now
enjoy spectacular views of one of New York City’s
most photographed buildings while eating their
lunch in a plaza surrounded by planters and
shaded by umbrellas. The redesigned Flatiron Plaza

The new public spaces and redesigned streets DOT worked with the Flatiron Business Improve- and creating spaces for recreation and relaxation
have enhanced pedestrian safety and traffic ment District to fill the plazas with plantings, in unlikely places. A survey conducted by the
flow. The wide streets, once so difficult for people tables, chairs and umbrellas. The group maintains Flatiron Business Improvement District found that
and cars to cross, have been narrowed by adding the plazas for the city through a public/private 84% of people surveyed enjoyed the new plazas.
pedestrian islands. Bus routes through the partnership agreement. For a tired shopper, a harried office worker, or a
intersection are simpler, reducing passenger travel person taking a stroll on a Saturday afternoon,
time; and bike lanes on Broadway and 5th Avenue Throughout New York City, plazas like the one by the plazas offer a place of respite in a busy city.
provide alternative ways to move around the city. the Flatiron Building are transforming our streets

Re-imagine the public realm Through the NYC Plaza Program, not-for-profit
organizations apply to create new or enhanced
We will also make it easier for New Yorkers to
enjoy life on our sidewalks. Our sidewalks cur-
Providing access to parks is about more than existing pedestrian plazas, focusing on neigh- rently provide few spaces to stop. To remedy
simply having them near where people live. We borhoods that are least served by parks. We this, we will initiate our CityBench program and,
will also re-imagine our streets, sidewalks, and select the best sites and partner with organiza- in coordination with community stakeholders,
other public spaces as places in their own right. tions to redesign parts of streets into successful install over 500 benches throughout the city in
By using greenways, plazas, street trees, and neighborhood plazas. key locations where sidewalk space permits,
other measures we will bring a park experience such as bus stops that can’t accommodate a
Fourteen different sites from Plaza de Las Ameri- shelter.
to nearly every corner of the city. These features
cas in Washington Heights, Manhattan, to Marcy
will provide shade and color, clean our air, and
Plaza in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn are cur- We will also build on the recently held inter-
increase property values.
rently in some phase of planning, design, or national urbanSHED Design Competition that
construction. This is in addition to other public developed a standard alternative to current
INITIATIVE 8 spaces that the City has developed at iconic sidewalk sheds. Sidewalk sheds, protective scaf-
Activate the streetscape crossroads like Times Square and Madison folding put up when façade work is being per-
Square in Manhattan, Fordham/Kingsbridge formed, keep New Yorkers safe, but also repre-
Maintaining a strong quality of life is one of the Plaza in the Bronx, and Willoughby Plaza in sent ugly and dark intrusions on our sidewalks.
keys to the city’s vibrancy and competitiveness. Brooklyn. The city currently has 6,000 of these sheds,
Transforming our streets from utilitarian corridors spanning nearly one million linear feet. The
All of these sites create or enhance public spaces winning design, Urban Umbrella, will keep New
for vehicles into great places for people improves
and increase pedestrian safety. We will continue Yorkers safe while also promoting attractive and
the everyday experience of the millions who use
to develop these enhancements by completing walkable streets. We will work with City agen-
them and has clear economic benefits. Attrac-
construction on 13 plazas by 2013. cies, buildings owners, contractors, and profes-
tive and walkable streets increase foot traffic and
retail sales, improve safety, and encourage the sionals to adopt the new design.
We are also opening up a new type of space—
use of sustainable modes of transportation. pop-up cafés—to provide outdoor public seat- We will also continue to activate our streetscape
ing in the curb lane during warm months. We are by allowing movable tables and chairs in arcades
We are moving on multiple fronts to make our
working with community boards to permit the on Water Street in Lower Manhattan. Street fur-
streets more attractive places for a wide range
opening of at least four of these in the coming niture will help activate these privately-owned,
of users. We are building plazas within public
year, building on a successful pilot in 2010. We publicly accessible areas that currently diminish
rights-of-way to create multi-use open spaces.
will also streamline rules to make it easier for pri- vitality along this important pedestrian corridor.
These plazas are bringing residents together and
vate café owners to open up a sidewalk café.
extending outdoor opportunities beyond our
parks and into our neighborhoods.

42 PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACE


INITIATIVE 9 of greenways. Since then, we have been build- Case Study
Improve collaboration between City, ing out this network, and efforts are under way Meeting the Needs of a Dynamic
in each borough to further expand it. Urban Forest
state, and federal partners
For example, we are constructing the Brooklyn When most Americans think of the U.S.
Over 40% of our city’s 52,000 acres of parks Waterfront Greenway which, when completed, Forest Service (USFS), they might think
is not owned by the City, but by other entities, will be a 14-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian of Smokey the Bear or the secluded
mostly the state and federal governments. path stretching along the Brooklyn waterfront mountains of Montana. Now they
Though many of these spaces are side by side, from Greenpoint to the Shore Parkway. It is should also think of Queens.
they often have different rules that prevent our envisioned as a path for both commuters and
parks and public spaces from operating as a recreational users that will knit neighborhoods Urban forestry is a complex and rapidly-
continuous network. together and enhance access to the waterfront. evolving science. To be on the leading edge,
We will also complete improvements to the in September 2010 the City and the U.S.
We will strengthen our collaboration with state Bronx River Greenway and South Bronx Green- Forest Service jointly opened the New York
and federal agencies to improve connections way, Queens East River Trail, Soundview Green- City Urban Field Station (UFS) at Ft. Totten in
between our city’s public spaces. For example, way, Staten Island South Shore Greenway, and Queens. The UFS is modeled after the Forest
state parks in New York City don’t allow dogs or Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. Service’s century-old experimental forest
bicycles and typically have more limited hours.
research stations across the nation, but
This disparity has led to numerous issues; in In addition to promoting greenways, we seek
Brooklyn, a fence had to be built to separate East
this one has a unique attribute: it’s within
to continue to transform our streets. Over the
River State Park from the City’s Bushwick Inlet the limits of the biggest city in the U.S.
past few years, we have made significant strides
Park because of the differing rules and hours. and focuses on the specific conditions
in improving the design and functionality of our
Plans for a greenway along the Bronx side of the inherent to trees in urban areas.
right-of-ways. We no longer treat streets solely
Harlem River will need to stop short of Roberto as vehicular conduits, but also as vital public UFS scientists conduct long-term
Clemente State Park unless we can work with spaces, promoters of mobility by a variety of research, sharing knowledge to support
the State to change its rules prohibiting cycling. modes, and as ecological assets. PlaNYC initiatives like MillionTreesNYC,
We will also collaborate closely with state and parks improvements, and urban ecosystem
We must do more to make our streets live up to
federal agencies through the New York City their full potential. Every street is different, so
management.
Urban Field Station (UFS). The UFS is a joint the effort must begin by understanding which For example, they study bioindicators,
enterprise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture functions—whether it be automobile movement organisms that provide clues to ecosystem
Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and or stormwater capture—different streets should health. Their research on salamanders is
the Department of Parks & Recreation located at incorporate and prioritize.
historic Ft. Totten in Queens. The UFS is modeled
helping managers gauge forest health in
after the Forest Service’s experimental forest By using green infrastructure funding and Van Cortlandt Park and Inwood Hill Park,
research stations, this one with a unique focus coordinating street improvements being done because salamanders’ health is an
on issues relevant to urban forestry. Going for- throughout the city, we can design a template indicator of forest health.
ward, we will foster partnerships that combine for what the complete streets of the future will Researchers are also examining how urban
research and practice to improve the health, look like.
restoration affects ecosystem structure and
promote conservation, and strengthen steward-
To illustrate this, we will release an updated human health, and they are quantifying the
ship of our parks and public space.
version of the Street Design Manual, a compre- benefits trees create for air quality and
hensive resource for promoting higher-quality neighborhood cooling. To aid this analysis,
INITIATIVE 10 street designs and more efficient project imple- researchers will use a new land cover map
Create a network of green corridors mentation. The updated version will include a that will measure New York City’s tree
landscape chapter on the use and maintenance canopy using LiDAR (Light Detection And
Streets and other dedicated paths perform mul- of green infrastructure, street trees, and other Ranging) technology. This information may
tiple functions, including promoting recreation, plantings to help guide the transformation of influence how the City uses street trees to
capturing stormwater, and cleaning our air. We our streets. These elements are already being maximize the benefits they provide.
will seek opportunities to create a network of employed in capital projects throughout the city,
green corridors. and include block plantings of street trees, and This research partnership between the
the construction and planting of Greenstreets on City of New York and the U.S. Forest
Greenways are multi-use pathways for non- reconfigured roadbed. Service is producing useful information
motorized transportation along linear spaces to keep New York City trees healthy.
such as rail and highway rights-of-way, river cor-
ridors, waterfront spaces, parklands and, where
necessary, city streets.

In 1993, the City released A Greenway Plan for


New York City, which identified the essential
structure for the creation of a citywide system

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 43


Street Trees Planted since 2007
by Neighborhood

Promote and protect nature Morrisania


PNA109
TREES FOR PUBLIC HEALTH NEIGHBORHOOD

New York City’s ecological systems are unique, 0 - 200


as the city sits on the border between southern 201 - 500 East Harlem Hunts Point
climes in the Mid-Atlantic and northern climes 501 - 1,000 #11
in New England. This geographical and climato- 1,001 - 3,000
logical overlap allows for a special mix of species
and habitats. The health of these systems is criti-
cal to supporting the natural functions and sys-
tems that give New York clean air, clean water,
and rich, abundant nature.

East New York


INITIATIVE 11 Stapleton
Plant one million trees
We are becoming more and more aware of the

Source: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation


multiple benefits of urban trees. Today, a grow-
ing body of knowledge identifies trees as assets
Far Rockaway
to a city’s economic and environmental health.
City trees cool summer air temperatures, filter
air pollution, conserve energy by providing
shade, and reduce storm water runoff. In fact,
New York City’s trees are considered so valu-
able that it is illegal to damage, destroy, perform
unauthorized tree work, or otherwise harm a
street or park tree.

In 2007, in collaboration with the New York Res- INITIATIVE 12 INITIATIVE 13


toration Project, we started MillionTreesNYC, an Conserve natural areas Support ecological connectivity
ambitious campaign to plant one million trees
throughout the city. We targeted more than Our city is home to 11,000 acres of natural areas, We will also seek to promote ecological con-
60,000 of these plantings in six “Trees for Public from the Ramble in Manhattan to Alley Pond Park nectivity—closely linked green spaces that
Health” neighborhoods with particularly low Preserve in Queens. increase opportunities for people, flora, and
street tree stocking levels and high asthma hos- wildlife to transition more easily between frag-
pitalization rates for children aged 0-4. Fifty-one preserves have been specifically desig- mented natural spaces.
nated as Forever Wild sites. Each site represents
We have already planted over 430,000 trees. By the gold standard of natural habitat in the city, In 2007, the City committed to expanding
the end of 2013, we will have planted another and in some cases features species of plants and Greenstreets, a program that has success-
quarter million, bringing the number to nearly animals that are endemic to that site. These sites fully transformed hundreds of acres of unused
700,000. include more than 8,700 acres of towering for- road space into vibrant green assets. We have
ests, vibrant wetlands, and expansive meadows. already planted nearly 260 Greenstreets. We will
We will research ways to ensure the long-term They are home to thousands of species, includ- build 80 additional sites each year. Greenstreets
health of our newly-expanded urban forest by ing flying squirrels, Great Horned Owls, and rare capture stormwater and improve water qual-
identifying built environment factors that affect plants. They are critical natural elements in the ity, while also serving as important ecological
the mortality rates of young planted street trees, city’s infrastructure and give New Yorkers and respites within the urban landscape.
and pilot new planting techniques that optimize visitors the chance to walk in the woods, paddle
street tree growing conditions. By continuing to on a stream, or observe thousands of species of We are also seeking to expand the role of green
track and monitor trees that were a part of the wildlife in their natural states. roofs in our city. Green roofs have the potential
Young Street Tree Mortality Study we will be to create ecological links between fragmented
able to better understand the long-term viability To conserve these areas, we will explore the cre- ecosystems and habitats. They can reduce
of these trees. We are monitoring tree survival ation of a natural area conservancy. It will pro- urban heat island effects and energy costs for
in our MillionTreesNYC reforestation sites and mote an integrated approach to the restoration, buildings and help retain stormwater. We will
implementing experimental research plots to conservation, and ongoing management of our conduct a study to determine best practices for
help us assess forest restoration strategies. We wild ecosystems. promoting biodiversity in green roof design and
are also conducting additional research on the construction.
long-term outcomes of forest restoration proj-
ects implemented two decades ago. We will also restore landscapes on the Belt Park-
way in Brooklyn to promote ecological connec-
tivity and ecosystem restoration.

44 PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACE


Finally, we will study other ways that building We will also build off of a successful series of Park We will base many of our internal practices on
sites can support the city’s ecology. Building Network Meetings where stakeholders comitted the High Performance Landscape Guidelines,
sites represent nearly half the land area in the to ongoing improvements to Carl Schurz Park in a joint effort between the City and the Design
city and have a great potential to mitigate the Manhattan. We will expand this pilot by holding Trust for Public Space. This manual is the first
urban heat island effect, increase biodiversity, Park Network Meetings for a park in each of the of its kind in the nation. It recognizes that parks
retain stormwater, and perform other critical five boroughs. must function as climate-resilient landscapes
ecological functions. We will address this issue that enable recreation, detain stormwater, and
comprehensively, for the first time, by develop- Our focus on ongoing maintenance and care function as ecological corridors. We will instill
ing a framework to address landscape issues necessarily extends to our tree canopy, where these principles into our design, construction,
on buildings sites in City codes. We will lead by we have added over 430,000 new trees in the and operations practices for years to come.
example by building on the City’s Urban Site last four years alone. To increase tree steward-
Design Manual. We will create a set of standards ship, we created the MillionTreesNYC Steward- To implement these new guidelines, we will
and a design handbook for sustainable site ship Corps. The Stewardship Corps will continue develop a digital library tracking system to cata-
design and construction practices for all munici- to recruit community-based organizations and log sustainable aspects of capital projects. We
pal construction projects. individuals and offer them stewardship and com- will also develop a design checklist for design-
munity organizing training, including free tree ers to set a baseline for performance and create
care workshops and tool kits. achievable goals.

Ensure the long-term health Our relationship with the Trust for Public Land We will also ensure compatibility between the
of parks and public space (TPL), which helped build and design many of City’s Parks Inspection Program’s ratings and the
functions of capital projects to ensure our stan-
our Schoolyards to Playgrounds sites, is serving
those sites as well. Over the next three years, dards measure the right outcomes. For example,
The greatest period of park building since the
TPL will host seven stewardship workshops to what might be viewed as a poorly-draining area
1930s is appropriate at a time when parks are
teach communities how to care for their play- by the current rating system may actually be a
being called on to provide numerous ecological,
grounds. TPL will disburse nearly 100 grants well-functioning rain garden. In addition, ecologi-
economic, and social functions and serve more
to promote onsite stewardship on new play- cal restorations and native plantings may require
people. The demands on our parks system will
grounds, and deliver plantings to approximately different types of maintenance, such as meadows
only become greater given the challenges of an
60 schools twice each year. being mown annually rather than complying with
increasing population coupled with global cli-
the more frequent standards applicable to turf.
mate change. Maintenance considerations must
be incorporated into the planning and design Through our partnership with the U.S. Forest
process. Stewardship–engaging citizens and Service, we will contribute to the New York City
community groups in the upkeep of their parks– Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project, Conclusion
must be fostered by involving the public early in an on-line database of environmental steward-
the park development process. ship groups. This citywide database will support Through these initiatives, we will continue to
community-based efforts to maintain our public advance towards our goal of ensuring all New
spaces and help connect those groups to each Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of park. How-
other and to City agencies. ever, the challenge of connecting New Yorkers
INITIATIVE 14
goes beyond access alone. We must also ensure
Support and encourage stewardship Every plaza project also has a community part- the quality of our parks and public space by pro-
ner involved in the maintenance and program- viding for evolving recreational needs, along the
The long-term health of our parks and public ming of the space. And Weekend Walks are ini- continuum of park types from the newly-planted
space is dependent on our collective effort to tiated by community groups. These programs street tree on the corner, to the dazzling urban
care for it. The City will continue to build on its are rooted in a value system that partners with square, forested hillside, or quiet wetland.
long history of working with non-profit, volun- neighborhoods in the programming and care for
teer organizations, and “friends of” parks groups the public realm. We will re-imagine the public realm by envision-
to maintain these essential elements of our city. ing public space beyond park walls, extending
INITIATIVE 15 down parkways and greenstreets, and creating
Through the Catalyst for Neighborhood Parks public plazas in our communities. We will link
Incorporate sustainability through
program, we combine City-funded capital City, state, and federal parks into a cohesive
improvements with the City Parks Foundation’s the design and maintenance of all network of open space that can be used more
privately-funded arts, sports, and education pro- public space seamlessly by all people.
grams. The Catalyst Program connects ideas,
people, and networks to help care for targeted In addition to engaging the broader community Finally, we will partner with New Yorkers to main-
parks and provides stewardship training with the in stewardship, we will increasingly view design tain our open space. By implementing new sus-
goal of increasing attendance at park events and and construction through the lens of ongoing tainable design guidelines, promoting biodiver-
programs. The current round of catalyst parks is maintenance by continually updating our inter- sity, and engaging communities and volunteers
focused on sustaining stewardship at Soundview nal practices. We are developing training and to care for the health of our urban ecosystems,
Park in the Bronx, East River Park in Manhattan, education programs for our staff, tying together we can ensure that our parks and public space
and Calvert Vaux and Kaiser Parks in Brooklyn. sustainability-related practices and setting tar- can survive for future generations.
The program will train 20 groups on park mainte- gets for improvements. Because 14% of city land
nance and stewardship and increase attendance is City parkland, even small changes in the sus-
at park events to more than 15,000 a year. tainability of operations will have a huge impact.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 45


Brownfields
Credit: NYC Office of Environmental Remediation
Together we can
Develop programs to accelerate
brownfield cleanup and redevelopment
Strengthen incentives for brownfield
cleanup and redevelopment
Deepen our commitment to communities
for community brownfield planning,
education, and service
Expand the use of green remediation
Brownfields hold an important opportunity to
facilitate the “Green Economy” by simultaneously
addressing social, environmental, and economic
My firm is transforming a vacant brownfield into factors. This triple bottom line advances
a large development. The Brownfield Cleanup economic development and community goals.
Program has helped us facilitate cleanup To bring a range of local constituents to the
planning. The incentives, like liability protection table within our Brownfield Opportunity Area,
and City certification of the property are we hold public meetings and engage other local
important. I think these programs will make a big organizations in area-wide and site-specific
difference throughout the city. planning initiatives.
Sin Senh // Queens Shira Gidding // Bronx

Brownfield cleanup helps residents become


stakeholders in what’s developed in their Looking for more opportunities, I took advantage
backyards. Many wonderful ideas come from our of free training offered through a local training
planning work—for small business development, provider and got certifications in working with
job creation, and affordable housing. Brownfields hazardous materials, asbestos and lead
were a significant challenge in creating the abatement, and air sampling. By December 2010,
affordable senior housing we’re opening this I got work as a temporary employee—when I
fall in Harlem. reached my yearly review I was made permanent.
Lucille McEwen // Manhattan Ronell Marshall // Brooklyn

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 49


Brownfields
Clean up all contaminated land in New York City

New York City’s need for space is growing. Of York City Brownfield Cleanup Program (NYC
course, our supply of land remains fixed, so we BCP)—the nation’s first municipally-run cleanup
must use our available space more effectively. program—addresses some of the greatest chal-
lenges in brownfield redevelopment. It reduces
Brownfields—vacant or underutilized land often the uncertainty of investigation and cleanup
thought to be unusable due to environmental requirements, streamlines the regulatory pro-
contamination—represent one of our greatest cess, and provides liability protection from envi-
opportunities to secure new land for develop- ronmental enforcement under City and state
ment. Brownfield cleanup and development will laws. The New York City Brownfield Incentive
improve our economy and our environment, Grant (BIG) Program funds investigation and
especially in poor and disadvantaged commu- cleanup to make brownfields more competitive
nities that suffer the greatest burden of brown- with clean properties for new development.
field sites.
In just the first few months of operation, NYC
The biggest obstacles to brownfield cleanup and BIG grants have demonstrated a high return on
redevelopment are the uncertainty of cleanup cleanup investment to the City. The BIG Program
obligations, fear of pollution liability, and lack has paid out or earmarked $800,000 to support
of financing. Property owners, developers, and cleanup on 16 brownfield tax lots. This invest-
community organizations that are in a position ment is projected to leverage nearly $165 mil-
to redevelop brownfields are also encumbered lion in new development and 500 permanent
by the often lengthy and uncertain cleanup pro- new jobs in the city.
cess. These risks usually lead developers to pass
over brownfield properties and choose clean Brownfields are often concentrated in low-
properties, perpetuating a cycle of disinvest- income neighborhoods, and there are few
ment, abandonment, and neglect. mechanisms available to ensure that develop-
ment plans are coordinated with the commu-
New York City can break this cycle. We can pro- nity’s vision for reuse of brownfield properties.
vide communities, land owners, and developers To address these needs, we have assembled a
with education, regulatory support, technical landmark set of tools for community brownfield
assistance, and financial incentives. Together, planning and participation, education, and net-
we can unlock the potential of vacant and con- working. We also provide City grants to facilitate
taminated properties, improve environmental community brownfield redevelopment planning.
quality, and provide land for new housing, com- The City founded the NYC Brownfield Partner-
mercial spaces, and parks. ship, an association of more than 50 community-
based organizations (CBOs) and environmental
Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment can help
businesses dedicated to providing grassroots
us revitalize neighborhoods and prevent expo-
community services and brownfield cleanup sup-
sure to contaminants. It can also create new
port. Finally, we have also extensively supported
jobs and stimulate our economy. Our efforts
the New York State Department of State’s (DOS)
since 2007 have been successful and we are
Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program,
now cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields
which provides grants to CBOs doing planning in
throughout the city.
areas burdened by clusters of brownfields.
In 2008, we created the City’s new brownfields
In 2007, our set of tools to facilitate brownfield
office, the Office of Environmental Remediation
redevelopment planning was limited. Since
(OER). OER designed and operates a compre-
then, we have established the Searchable Prop-
hensive series of brownfield programs. The New
erty Environmental Electronic Database (SPEED).

50 BROWNFIELDS
brownfield planning efforts into larger networks.
Collectively, we will use intergovernmental col-
laborations, public-private partnerships, and the
track record of cooperation we have established

Credit: NYC Office of Environmental Remediation


with community organizations to achieve the
next generation of advances. Ultimately, we will
make New York City’s brownfields competitive
for redevelopment and revitalization.

Develop programs to
accelerate brownfield
Environmental professionals conducting a brownfield investigation on a Brooklyn property
cleanup and redevelopment
SPEED is an online real estate search engine that governments for brownfields. We will work with With limited resources, we must find creative
contains environmental data on sites through- the environmental industry to help small busi- new approaches to make brownfield proper-
out the city and historic land use information nesses and small- and mid-size developers find ties more competitive for reuse. We will accom-
on more than 3,150 vacant properties. SPEED qualified experts to clean up properties by cre- plish this by collaborating with all stakeholders,
has received over 500,000 visitors in its first five ating a pro bono environmental expert referral including the financial and real estate sectors,
months of operation. As we continue to develop program to encourage new projects. the environmental industry, state and federal
tools like SPEED, our ability to support brown- governments, and citizens and community
field planning will dramatically improve. To expand our commitment to grassroots, com- groups throughout New York City. Together, we
munity-led brownfield planning, we will create will ensure that the cleanup and revitalization
We will also expand green remediation efforts 25 new NYC Community Brownfield Planning of brownfield properties is a driving force in the
to advance PlaNYC goals. We will develop per- Districts and facilitate linkage of these local city’s economic recovery.
formance metrics to evaluate green remedial
efforts and seek new ways to provide incentives
for activities that increase the sustainability of
cleanups in our city.
Our plan for brownfields:
Our Plan Develop programs to accelerate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment
1 Increase participation in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program by partnering
Since 2007, we have learned a great deal more with lenders and insurers
about New York City brownfields, and we have 2 Increase the capacity of small businesses and small- and mid-size developers to
begun to operate new programs to achieve our conduct brownfield cleanup and redevelopment
goal of cleaning up all of the city’s contaminated
land. We will expand this new brownfield infra- 3 Enable the identification, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields
structure in several ways to make previously 4 Build upon existing state and federal collaborations to improve the City’s
undesirable sites more competitive for new brownfield programs
development.
Strengthen incentives for brownfield cleanup and redevelopment
We will leverage the City’s regulatory and techni-
cal oversight, including the high-quality cleanups
5 Study the economic value of brownfield redevelopment in New York City
we render, to lower the risk to lending institu- 6 Leverage the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program to establish funding and other
tions and encourage more investment in brown- incentives for cleanup and redevelopment
field properties. We will also establish preferred
environmental insurance policies to improve cov- Deepen our commitment to communities for community brownfield
erage and lower costs for brownfield developers. planning, education, and service
7 Support community-led planning efforts
In partnership with the state and federal gov-
ernments, we will work to improve liability pro- 8 Support local and area-wide community brownfield planning efforts
tections for sites cleaned up through the City’s 9 Increase the transparency and accessibility of brownfield cleanup plans
Brownfield Cleanup Program. This will make
brownfields more competitive with uncontami- Expand the use of green remediation
nated properties.
10 Promote green remediation in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program
We will make existing incentive programs stron- 11 Promote green space on remediated brownfield properties
ger and expand the suite of brownfield incen-
tives that we provide. We will make it easier to
use incentives offered by the state and federal

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 51


First Brownfield Cleanup Program Projects
and Brownfield Opportunity Areas

BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS:

51 CHURCH / REFURBISHED OFFICE BUILDING

2 HOTEL
Eastchester
3 AFFORDABLE HOUSING / MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT
Harlem River
4 MIXED COMMERCIAL / RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT 4
Port Morris
5 HOTEL / OFFICE / RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
South Bronx
6 MIXED RETAIL / RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT Waterfront
3
Bradhurst/
BROWNFIELD OPPORTUNITY AREAS Harlem 2
1
EAST NEW YORK COMMUNITY
BROWNFIELD PLANNING DISTRICT Flushing River
Waterfront
5

Newtown Creek

6 Jamaica
Bushwick
East Williamsburg/
Broadway Triangle
Red Hook/
Gowanus

East New York


Sunset Park
Port Richmond
West Brighton

Source: NYC Office of Environmental Remediation


INITIATIVE 1 businesses and CBOs to access free consulta- Case Study
Increase participation in the NYC tions provided by environmental industry pro- First NYC BCP Projects
fessionals.
Brownfield Cleanup Program by Several years ago, a developer identified
partnering with lenders and insurers a vacant lot that they believed had great
INITIATIVE 3 potential to bring value and services to the
The NYC BCP oversees environmental cleanups Enable the identification, cleanup, newly rezoned Grand Concourse in the South
on lightly and moderately contaminated prop- Bronx, near Yankee Stadium. A former
erties. It uses a streamlined and predictable and redevelopment of brownfields industrial center, the brownfield property was
process and provides liability protection to land ideally located near a hub for transit lines and
We will establish flexible provisions within the
owners and developers who enroll their proper- major highways. It was identified by Brownfield
NYC BCP that recognize that the timeline for
ties. To ensure the highest-quality cleanups, we Opportunity Area (BOA) community planners as
brownfield cleanup and redevelopment can vary
adopted New York State’s cleanup standards a strategic property for redevelopment—an
greatly from project to project. For example,
and oversee all projects with a team of City sci- anchor site capable of spurring further
to improve prospects for the sale of a property,
entists and engineers. We will establish new economic activity.
owners can utilize the NYC BCP to clean up the
ways to leverage the value of the high-quality
property prior to putting it on the market for sale.
cleanups we render in order to minimize the risk The developer planned to remediate the site
and uncertainty normally associated with brown- There are instances in which a property owner and build a new hotel expected to generate
field redevelopment. This will encourage more cannot afford to conduct a cleanup and potential 60 permanent jobs. However, a portion of the
transactions between landowners and develop- buyers are discouraged by environmental issues property was rejected for enrollment in the
ers, and more lending and financial investment that complicate redevelopment. To address this New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program
in brownfield properties. obstacle, we will allow a landowner to investigate in July 2009, and the developer was unable
a property, develop an approved cleanup plan, to acquire needed liability protection.
We will establish programs to encourage lending
and then defer performance of the cleanup until
institutions to expand financing to parties seek- In March 2011, the property developer enrolled
after a purchaser has been identified. Establish-
ing to redevelop contaminated land and assist in the newly launched New York City Brownfield
ment of this standstill provision in the NYC BCP,
community banks and other lenders that do not Cleanup Program (NYC BCP) as a means to get
where the property is safe and no government
have in-house staff to evaluate environmental necessary liability protection. The cleanup
environmental authority is violated, can enable
risk. We will enable these institutions to rely on proposed by the development team is expected
properties to be marketed more effectively for
the NYC BCP to lower their risk when financing to achieve a Track 1 cleanup, the highest
sale and can provide comfort to potential pur-
mortgages or other property loans, such as standard available under the NYC BCP, allowing
chasers and lenders regarding the environmental
those for small business expansion.
risks and costs associated with a project. Ulti- the site to be reused without restrictions. The
Environmental risk is substantially lower for mately, we can achieve a cleanup sooner than City will also certify the property as a New York
cleanups under the NYC BCP, compared to would have occurred without such a program. City Green Property, a tangible symbol of the
developer-directed cleanups. We will work with City’s confidence that the cleanup is protective
We will continue to assist developers in find- of human health and the environment.
insurance companies to deliver preferred envi-
ing brownfields for new development through
ronmental insurance policies that offer better
improvements to SPEED, our online real estate To help finance the cleanup the project has
coverage and lower premiums for sites enrolled
search engine. SPEED features government envi- also been awarded $60,000 by the New York
in the NYC BCP. To support this effort and
ronmental database information, historical maps City Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) Program.
encourage land transactions on brownfields, the
BIG Program will allow grants to be used for pol-
from the 19th and 20th centuries, and aerial Because the project will achieve a Track 1
lution legal liability insurance to protect develop-
photographs of the entire city. It provides the cleanup and has received strong support from
land use history of more than 3,150 vacant com- BOA community planners, it also qualifies for
ers and their financial institutions.
mercial and industrial properties throughout the a $75,000 bonus cleanup grant. Finally, by
city. SPEED also promotes transit-oriented devel- enrolling in the NYC BCP, the project qualifies
opment by allowing users to superimpose mass for a low-interest cleanup loan from the Bronx
INITIATIVE 2
transit data layers over property searches. We Overall Economic Development Corporation,
Increase the capacity of small will continue to consult with community lead- providing additional funding for remediation.
businesses and small- and mid-size ers and development professionals to identify
developers to conduct brownfield new information that can be added to SPEED to Other projects enrolled in the NYC BCP include
improve this resource. new affordable and market-rate housing,
cleanup and redevelopment office and retail development, and a church.
We will make our brownfield programs more These projects are expected to bring 500
Many small- and mid-sized developers, as well effective for community-guided development.
as non-profit community developers, lack the
permanent new jobs to the city. The NYC BCP is
We will seek development-oriented commu-
expertise needed to remediate brownfields. To unlocking land plagued for years by vacancy or
nity partners in neighborhoods with brownfield
address this issue, we will collaborate with the underutilization. In addition to creating new
properties. We will assist them in working with
NYC Brownfield Partnership to establish a pro jobs and serving the needs of the people who
City agencies and provide advice on how to use
bono environmental expert referral program. will live and work on these properties, these
City cleanup and grant programs. Partnerships
This program will provide inexperienced devel- new projects will drive growth in surrounding
with CBOs and community development finan-
opers with advice on managing properties that cial institutions will help achieve local visions for
neighborhoods and sustainable development
require investigation and cleanup. It will enable brownfield revitalization. throughout the city.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 53


Case Study
Community Outreach and Training
Program

Credit: NYC Office of Environmental Remediation


New York City is home to many people who
are chronically unemployed, young adults
at risk, on public assistance, or among the
working poor. Meanwhile, our environmental
industry has great potential to provide career
opportunities for these New Yorkers.
However, working in the brownfield sector
requires specific skills, training, and
certifications including 40-hour Hazardous The start of remediation at a brownfield site in Flushing, Queens
Waste Operator, electrical/carpentry/
plumbing, and lead and asbestos abatement
certifications. The steps in a brownfield cleanup program can INITIATIVE 4
be complex, especially for those unfamiliar with
Two things are needed to match the needs the process. To simplify this process and increase Build upon existing state and
of interested workers and employers who program predictability and speed, we will estab- federal collaborations to improve
are hiring —job preparedness training and lish the Environmental Project Information Center the City’s brownfield programs
opportunities for employment. STRIVE, (EPIC). This online tool for program participants
a non-profit organization located in East will automate and streamline navigation of our Continued collaboration with state and federal
Harlem, is making a big difference in this programs by providing online applications, com- governments will further improve incentives
area with its Green Jobs training program. munication portals, step-by-step guidance for for cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields,
City brownfield programs, real-time project track- making them more competitive with uncontami-
STRIVE prepares its trainees for work in a ing, and access to project archives. This e-gov- nated land. At the state level, we will advocate
variety of emerging green technology fields. ernment initiative will accelerate cleanups and for a full liability release for parties who remedi-
After three weeks of basic job readiness lower transaction costs for parties enrolled in the ate sites under the NYC BCP.
training to prepare its clients for entering the NYC BCP. In addition, EPIC will enable completely
workforce, participants can get specialized paperless program management. We will work to reach an agreement with the
training in areas with demonstrated demand EPA that provides federal liability protection for
among local employers. We will partner with the U.S. Environmental Pro- parties who remediate sites under the NYC BCP.
tection Agency (EPA) to improve the field tech-
But training alone does not guarantee a job. nology available in the investigation and cleanup Finally, to accelerate cleanup at sites where past
Once trained, participants need help of brownfield properties. We participated in a legal actions by the state government have left
connecting with employers. To expand pilot demonstration of alternative approaches to an environmental lien that discourages new
placement possibilities, the City established investigation, called Triad, at two New York City development and cleanup, we will pursue a pro-
the BrownfieldWORKS! wage subsidy brownfield sites and with the EPA, published a gram for environmental lien forgiveness. We will
program. By reimbursing up to six months joint report in 2010 on the Triad approach. We will work with government partners to establish a
of a worker’s wages, BrownfieldWORKS! continue to collaborate to customize Triad tools pilot program that waives part or all of an envi-
encourages employers to provide job for the investigation of contamination common ronmental lien on a property where the devel-
opportunities to graduates of environmental to city properties and train environmental profes- oper agrees to clean up the property in the NYC
training programs. STRIVE worked with fellow sionals in the use of these methods. BCP and redevelop the property within a defined
members of the NYC Brownfield Partnership schedule.
and OER to help graduates obtain job training Recognizing that many of the city’s waterfronts
placements with the NYC Brownfield were filled in and used for industrial purposes,
Partnership’s environmental businesses. In we will work with BOA grant recipients and local
communities in Significant Maritime Industrial
Strengthen incentives for
2010, 26 training program graduates found
placements through BrownfieldWORKS!, and
Areas to examine existing conditions and strate- brownfield cleanup and
fifteen of them were hired permanently.
gies for remediation, reuse, and redevelopment.
We will encourage cleanup and redevelopment
redevelopment
As our new brownfield programs make of waterfront sites by proposing amendments to Both financial and non-financial incentives can
remediation easier and encourage more the Zoning Resolution that would allow greater be powerful tools to promote brownfield inves-
cleanups, there will be more opportunities flexibility for non-residential uses and floor area tigation, cleanup, and redevelopment. The NYC
for job growth in this field. Job creation, to achieve certain goals, such as brownfield BIG Program and the NYC Green Property Cer-
especially for our city’s most vulnerable, is cleanup, adaptive reuse of outmoded buildings, tification Program, a LEED-like certification for
important to New Yorkers. By harnessing the expansion of maritime uses, and provision of in- remediated land, have demonstrated just that.
water infrastructure. We will work with the state and federal gov-
potential of the environmental industry and
partnering with organizations like STRIVE, we ernments to develop new brownfield financial
can increase opportunities for job growth and incentives and establish other innovative pro-
economic development. grams that provide value to developers.

54 BROWNFIELDS
East New York Community Brownfield Planning District

DISTRICT BOUNDARY
MANUFACTURING ZONING DISTRICT
Deepen our commitment to
COMMERCIAL ZONING DISTRICT
communities for community
COMMERCIAL ZONING OVERLAY
VACANT PROPERTY
brownfield planning,
education, and service
T Our efforts can succeed only with the active
ON S
FULT participation and support of community part-
ners. Through PlaNYC, we established several
S CO programs to join with communities in brownfield
NDUI
T AVE planning and development. We will build upon
these programs and deepen our commitment to
PENNSYL

authentic community engagement and the high-


est level of community protection during and
after cleanup.
VA
NIA AVE

Source: NYC Dept. of City Planning; Pratt Center


AVE
PITKIN
INITIATIVE 7
Support community-led planning
efforts
To promote community-initiated brownfield
planning, we will establish the NYC Community
Brownfield Planning District (CBPD) Program and
designate 25 CBPDs. Putting contaminated land
back into productive use has enormous ben-
efits to communities such as protecting public
INITIATIVE 5 of goals. They create jobs. They build afford- health and the environment, creating jobs, spur-
able housing and green buildings. They can also
Study the economic value of ring economic activity, and realizing community
integrate green stormwater infrastructure, use visions for better neighborhoods.
brownfield redevelopment in New renewable energy, and contribute to transit-ori-
York City ented development. The CBPD Program, linked closely with the BOA
Program, will designate geographic areas in com-
Although brownfield cleanup is widely acknowl- Many financial incentive programs currently exist munities that have clusters of brownfield proper-
edged to be essential to economic development to promote these broader goals. As we clean up ties and active CBOs interested in addressing
in the city, few studies have been conducted brownfields and make them available for redevel- them. The CBPD Program will incorporate the 17
to quantify the financial return of cleanup and opment, there is potential to combine the City’s current New York City BOA study areas.
redevelopment. We want to ensure that our brownfield incentives with other incentives.
existing incentives are designed properly and Through CBPDs, the City will support devel-
that new incentives encourage activity that is For example, the City collaborated with the opment of a community vision for brownfield
beneficial to the city. Bronx Overall Economic Development Corpora- redevelopment linked to community revitaliza-
tion (BOEDC) to establish a low-interest loan pro- tion. We will help realize that vision by providing
To better understand the financial return of City gram that funds Bronx brownfield cleanups in the focused City assistance and services for brown-
cleanup investment, we will collect relevant NYC BCP with the broader goal of creating new fields. We will also provide stronger incentives-
data on these projects. We will develop an eco- jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods. The NYC such as higher grant award limits and special
nomic model that quantifies the monetary value BIG Program offers cleanup grants for the same bonus grants for land owners and developers
of brownfield redevelopment. We will also eval- projects. Through this partnership, we maximize that clean up and redevelop brownfields consis-
uate economic indicators such as job creation financial incentives available to these projects tent with community brownfield plans. We will
and new revenue generation from income and and ensure that BOEDC’s investment will result pilot the coordination of these efforts in East
sales taxes. in high-quality cleanups, while the redevelop- New York, where the City is leading an integrated
ment provides new jobs in the community. land use and sustainability planning study. We
will also provide CBPDs with support from a vari-
INITIATIVE 6 Numerous financial incentives are available for
ety of City programs and resources that promote
brownfield redevelopment projects in the city,
Leverage the NYC BCP to establish but these sources can be difficult for landowners
community sustainability.
funding and other incentives for and developers to find. We will establish an infor- Finally, we will work to expand the State BOA
cleanup and redevelopment mal financial counseling program to help parties Program in New York City. We will identify 8-12
seeking assistance. We will also build a web- potential BOA projects in the city and work
Cleanups conducted under the NYC BCP and the based financial assistance search tool to make closely with community stakeholders to support
redevelopment that follows revitalize neighbor- funding easier and more convenient to find. new BOA applications for these areas.
hoods. These projects achieve a broad range

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 55


Case Study
New York City Brownfield
Partnership
For small businesses, small- and mid-size
developers, and community developers in
New York City, brownfield cleanup and
redevelopment can be a difficult undertaking.
Landowners and developers usually learn
about potential contamination when trying to

Credit: Arch3D
finance their projects and can quickly become
entangled in environmental due diligence
investigations and soil sampling obligations An architectural rendering of a brownfield redeveloped with housing and retail in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
with no obvious place to turn for advice.
New York City’s environmental consulting
INITIATIVE 8 INITIATIVE 9
industry has many businesses that perform
environmental studies and implement Support local and area-wide Increase the transparency and
cleanups on contaminated properties. community brownfield planning accessibility of brownfield cleanup
Together, these firms represent an enormous efforts plans
resource to New Yorkers, not just for the
environmental protection they provide but for To ensure that CBOs leading BOA planning proj- New Yorkers should be informed of the scope of
community service they can deliver. However, ects can undertake complex brownfield planning cleanup work performed in their neighborhoods.
until recently there was no mechanism for efforts, we will establish programs to help them They should know that all work is done in a way
these firms to work together to establish collaborate with City agencies. We will publish a that protects community members. They also
meaningful programs and provide vital report to identify best management practices for have the right to contribute to the development
services for residents of our city. such planners. To support the implementation of of cleanup plans by expressing their concerns
their plans, we will provide technical assistance before any work is performed. Under the NYC
To take advantage of this untapped opportu- grants for consulting services associated with BCP, we will establish advanced safeguards for
nity, in 2008 we worked with environmental brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. community protection in our cleanup plans and
businesses, developers, and community-based encourage community engagement.
organizations to establish the New York City We will work closely with the NYC Brownfield
Brownfield Partnership, an association Partnership to expand educational programs Under NYC BCP regulations, all cleanup plans are
dedicated to community service in the and provide more convenient ways to access subject to a public comment period. To increase
environmental industry. The association is now brownfield redevelopment information. To dis- accessibility of NYC BCP cleanup plans and other
a fully functioning, non-profit organization tribute training materials and planning tools as project documents, we will establish an online
with an elected board of directors and 50 widely as possible, we will work with the State document repository for the public. The reposi-
member organizations. DOS to develop an online community brownfield tory will also be accessible on the websites of
planning portal. This online tool will provide BOA local library branches throughout the city.
The NYC Brownfield Partnership offers a grantees with specialized access to environmen-
series of valuable programs including a pro tal and planning information and allow for direct Work plans for brownfield cleanups are usually
bono community counseling program, to help communication with the City. highly technical documents that can be difficult
residents interpret cleanup plans, and a to understand. While cleanup programs typically
scholarship and internship program to help To support the goals of community-based offer documents for public comment, meaning-
brownfield planners, we will encourage estab- ful public review can be an unrealistic expecta-
cultivate future environmental leaders. The
lishment of larger geographic networks of proxi- tion because most community members do not
NYC Brownfield Partnership also provides
mate BOAs with common priorities and chal- have the technical training to fully understand
experts for City-run brownfield education
lenges. To start, we will support a pilot program document contents. We will eliminate this frus-
workshops and informs potential employers
established by State DOS for area-wide commu- trating barrier by more clearly communicating
about BrownfieldWORKS!, the City’s program nity brownfield planning and cross-government brownfield project information to residents. We
that provides subsidized job training and collaboration in Brooklyn and Queens that links will also work with the NYC Brownfield Partner-
employment opportunities in the environ- multiple BOAs, anchored by the Sunset Park BOA ship to establish a pro bono community counsel-
mental industry to New Yorkers facing and the Newtown Creek BOA. ing program, through which community mem-
employment challenges. bers can receive feedback about a cleanup plan
from independent third-party experts.
The resources mobilized by the NYC
Brownfield Partnership are a great example of We will provide a Community Protection State-
creative collaboration that provides valuable ment (CPS) with each NYC BCP cleanup plan.
community services to New Yorkers, while The CPS will summarize activities that assure
making it easier to find quality environmental community protection in clear, plain language.
services and clean up brownfields. The CPS will also provide residents with contact

56 BROWNFIELDS
These multidisciplinary sustainability efforts
will improve our environment and conserve
City resources. They will also help achieve the
broader goals of PlaNYC and a greater level of

Credit: NYC Office of Environmental Remediaton


sustainability on brownfield properties across
the city.

INITIATIVE 11
Promote green space on remediated
brownfield properties
Nearly completed construction on a former brownfield in the Morrisania neighborhood in the Bronx In addition to “brick and mortar” development,
brownfields present important opportunities to
create valuable public green spaces. Our New
information for key project personnel so they tainability Statement will provide an opportunity York City Pocket Parks Program will convert small
can obtain more information or register project- to document green remedial measures that are brownfields to community parkland. We will col-
related complaints. incorporated into the cleanup process. It is also laborate with community brownfield planning
a tool to build awareness about green reme- organizations, State DOS, and non-profit parks
To provide training for the general public and diation practices that add to the sustainability development organizations to identify prospec-
students on environmental investigation and of brownfield cleanups, encourage innovation tive sites in neighborhoods that are underserved
cleanup practices, we will produce a permanent in this emerging field, and provide a means to by open space. We will begin with a pilot pro-
online library of brownfield educational videos. quantify green remediation activities. The Sus- gram to create three pocket parks. Candidate
These will include short documentaries that tainability Statement will not mandate specific sites will undergo environmental investigation
highlight Big Apple Brownfield Award-winning green remediation approaches, but will encour- and cleanup by leveraging BIG Program funding
projects that demonstrate the best examples of age their use on all projects. and other government grants.
brownfield transformation in the city.
We will establish grants to fund green remedia- We will design protective measures such as
We will continue to bring brownfield-related jobs tion audits for cleanups planned under the NYC liners for state-of-the-art community gardens on
to New York City through the promotion of the BCP. Green remediation grants will enable an remediated brownfield properties. We will work
NYC BrownfieldWORKS! Program. Under this pro- independent expert to review cleanup plans with GreenThumb and the New York Restoration
gram, we will work with community-based job- and recommend additional actions that will Project to pilot a community garden on a reme-
training organizations, and the NYC Brownfield make the cleanup and redevelopment more diated brownfield site.
Partnership to utilize this job training and salary sustainable. Such reviews will accelerate the
subsidy program. This will provide opportuni- adoption of green remediation practices. We
ties in the environmental industry for graduates
of community-based environmental workforce
will also continue to familiarize the local brown-
field industry with state-of-the-art practices in
Conclusion
training programs. this emerging field. To achieve sustainable land use and meet our
city’s infrastructure, housing, commercial, and
We will establish a collaborative pilot program
energy needs, we must effectively identify, clean
Expand the use of green to integrate our brownfield programs with the
up, and reuse the thousands of brownfield prop-
City’s sustainability goals and activities. We
remediation will promote the reuse of local, clean, recycled
erties in New York City.
concrete aggregate as backfill at appropriate Through the goals established in this plan, we
Brownfield remediation and redevelopment in cleanups. This will eliminate the use of non-
New York City is inherently sustainable. It reuses will ensure that this work protects public health
renewable resources that are routinely trucked and the environment, and gives our residents a
underutilized land resources, protects the envi- long distances. We will explore the use of trees
ronment and public health, and lowers carbon voice in this process. By forming partnerships
to implement in situ phytoremediation (an on- across the private and government sectors, we
emissions by encouraging more efficient land site, plant-based technology) for end-of-cleanup
usage. By incorporating green cleanup methods will increase the overall success of our work.
destruction of low-level pollutants in soil and By taking this comprehensive and progressive
into brownfield redevelopment, we can increase groundwater. This will also advance the goals of
the overall environmental benefit of our efforts. approach, together, we can clean up all contami-
MillionTreesNYC. nated land in New York City.
We will encourage stormwater retention prac-
INITIATIVE 10 tices on remedial sites. We will encourage green
Promote green remediation in the infrastructure implementation as part of redevel-
opment at appropriate brownfield sites. Finally,
NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program
we will work to promote renewable energy proj-
To promote green remediation practices, we will ects on city brownfield sites.
request that each cleanup plan under the NYC
BCP include a Sustainability Statement. The Sus-

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 57


Waterways

58 WATERWAYS
A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC
59
Credit: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Together we can
Continue implementing grey infrastructure
upgrades
Use green infrastructure to manage stormwater
Remove industrial pollution from waterways
Protect and restore wetlands, aquatic
systems, and ecological habitat

60 WATERWAYS
We turned our backs on many of our waterways
over a hundred years ago, hid them behind Few people realize that the Atlantic delivers
buildings and highways, and then for too long impressive swells to New York City during
poisoned and choked them. Now, once again, hurricane season, a time when some gorgeous
we are embracing them and remembering that surfing can be observed on the gritty shores of Far
they were the city’s founding asset and great Rock. As a mother of two, what draws me into the
glory. The reason we’re all gathered here at this sea is not the thrill but the joy and serenity I feel
particular spot on the North American coast is catching waves under the rising sun before most
because the water pulled us here. people in the city have even risen from bed.
Tony Hiss // Manhattan Jungwon Kim // Brooklyn

Not only does capturing stormwater prevent our


harbors from becoming polluted, but it becomes a
I live and work around the Bronx River, and I’ve precious resource for greening the spaces where
been learning how to use the river for we live. I painted a mural in Cypress Hills, where
education and for recreation. We’ve worked captured stormwater sustains community
hard to have this place revitalized and gardens. These gardens provide better air for our
everything I do is basically centered on the children to breathe and healthy, local food for our
community and the river. communities to eat.
Andre Rivera // Bronx Katie Yamasaki // Brooklyn

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 61


Waterways
Improve the quality of New York City’s waterways
to increase opportunities for recreation and restore
coastal ecosystems

Water surrounds New York City, and the story of A lot has changed since then. Throughout the
our harbor in many ways reflects the history of 20th century, the City built 14 plants that today
our city. The Hudson, East, Harlem, and Bronx are capable of treating 100% of the 1.1 billion
Rivers, Jamaica Bay, and the Upper and Lower gallons of sanitary waste that New Yorkers
New York Bays have physically defined the city generate every day in dry weather. The City’s
and supported trade, industry, diverse ecologi- efforts were helped by landmark federal legis-
cal communities, and recreation. Our water- lation that included the 1972 Clean Water Act,
ways, as much as any other element of the city, which for the first time established pollution
distinguish our people and neighborhoods. discharge standards and made grants available
to meet them. The City’s efforts have continued
When Henry Hudson arrived over 400 years ago even after federal grants ended in the 1990s.
in what is now New York City, he encountered a We have invested more than $6 billion in harbor
land filled with forests, wetlands, and an abun- water quality improvements since 2002 alone.
dance of nature. During storms, this undevel-
oped land naturally filtered rainwater into pris- In 2011, we are poised to certify system-wide
tine waterways teeming with aquatic life. attainment of Clean Water Act secondary
wastewater treatment standards for the first
New York City’s transformation into a global time ever. And water quality in New York Harbor
center of industry and commerce dramatically is cleaner now than at any time in the last cen-
and irrevocably altered this natural environ- tury. Over 130 square miles, or 95%, of New
ment. People drained coastal marshes, ponds, York Harbor is available for boating. New York-
and streams to make room for development. ers also have access to swimmable waters adja-
After a series of cholera outbreaks in the 1840s, cent to the city’s 14 miles of public beaches in
city leaders invested in sewers to remove the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
sanitary sewage and discharge it directly into More than 116 square miles, or 75%, of the New
waterways. Their vision proved to be a wise York side of the harbor meets pathogen stan-
expenditure, and by the late 1860s, the threat dards for swimming.
of cholera from wastewater in the streets sub-
sided. Nonetheless, the quality of our water- Despite these major improvements, we con-
ways became progressively worse. Eventually, tinue to face four primary challenges to the
wastewater treatment plants were built near quality of our waterways. First, while our
bathing beaches, but construction didn’t keep wastewater treatment plants can handle all
up with need in every waterway. of the volume the city generates on a dry day,
the treated water released from our plants still
Industrialization also degraded our waterways. contains comparatively high levels of nutrients,
Wetlands were filled, and many waterways were such as nitrogen. These don’t pose a public
deepened and their edges hardened with bulk- health risk, but they can impair water quality
heads and piers to support navigation and man- by depleting the dissolved oxygen that fish and
ufacturing. Oil refineries, factories, and shipyards other aquatic life need to survive.
clustered along our tributaries, and their waste
products were often dumped into the water. Second, the majority of our sewer system
While manufacturing declined after World War II, accepts both sanitary and stormwater flows.
the health of the waterfront continued to suffer. There are design limits on the amount of storm-
For decades, stretches of waterfront sat largely water flows the plants can handle without
abandoned while historic pollution seeped threatening the effectiveness of the wastewa-
deeper into the soils and surrounding waters. ter treatment process. To protect treatment

62 WATERWAYS
New York State Water
Quality Classifications

plants, the system has safety valves, known as YOU CAN EAT THE SHELLFISH
combined sewer outfalls. Similarly, combined YOU CAN SWIM
sewer outfalls are necessary in some locations YOU CAN GO BOATING
because of limited capacity in the sewer system
HIGHLY POLLUTED
itself. These discharge excess sanitary and
stormwater flow—otherwise known as Com-
bined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)—into the city’s
surrounding waterways during heavy rains.

While CSOs are the largest source of pollu-


tion entering our waterways, the number and
potency of these events has dropped dramati-
cally over the last 30 years, limiting water qual-
ity impairments to our smaller tributaries. Since
1980, we have increased our rate of CSO cap-
ture from 30% to over 72%. The portion com-
posed of sewage has continued to decrease

Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


from 30% by volume in the 1980s to 12% in
2010. However, we still discharge an estimated
30 billion gallons of CSOs each year.

Third, some of our waterways are severely


impaired by contaminated sediments that leach
pollutants deposited decades ago. These legacy
contaminants continue to degrade coastal
ecosystems that never fully recovered from
the levels of pollution and development that
occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fourth, we also face challenges to our remain-


ing natural areas within our waterways. The
construction of bulkheads and hardened shore- Our plan for waterways:
lines and the dredging of channels have signifi-
cantly altered tidal wetlands, aquatic habitats, Continue implementing grey infrastructure upgrades
and hydrology. For the Hudson-Raritan Estuary 1 Upgrade wastewater treatment plants to achieve secondary treatment standards
as a whole, including New York City, only 14 2 Upgrade treatment plants to reduce nitrogen discharges
square miles of coastal wetlands remain from
an estimated 100 square miles when Henry
3 Complete cost-effective grey infrastructure projects to reduce CSOs and
Hudson arrived 400 years ago. We must protect
improve water quality
remaining wetlands and restore them where 4 Expand the sewer network
they can make the greatest long-term contribu- 5 Optimize the existing sewer system
tion to water quality and the ecosystems neces-
sary for the harbor to thrive. Use green infrastructure to manage stormwater
As a harbor city, the waterways that surround 6 Expand the Bluebelt program
and adjoin the five boroughs are among our 7 Build public green infrastructure projects
greatest assets. Improving the quality of our 8 Engage and enlist communities in sustainable stormwater management
waterways will enhance the quality of life for
New Yorkers. Cleaner waterways will provide 9 Modify codes to increase the capture of stormwater
additional recreational opportunities and sup- 10 Provide incentives for green infrastructure
port the public access provided by our water-
front parks. Removing pollution from contami- Remove industrial pollution from waterways
nated waterways will benefit local ecosystems 11 Actively participate in waterway clean-up efforts
and provide economic opportunities for sur-
rounding neighborhoods. A healthy harbor will Protect and restore wetlands, aquatic systems, and ecological habitat
provide benefits not just for the people enjoy-
ing nature, but also for the other species that
12 Enhance wetlands protection
call this region home. 13 Restore and create wetlands
14 Improve wetlands mitigation
15 Improve habitat for aquatic species

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 63


Our Plan
We are one of the world’s great waterfront
cities—a series of islands and archipelagos,

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


with 520 miles of waterfront. But we have yet
to fully realize the promise of our waterways as
a source of recreation and inspiration. To fulfill
this potential, we must improve the cleanliness
of the water itself.

That is why we will upgrade our wastewater


treatment plants. We will increase their capac-
ity and improve the quality of the water they
discharge. We will ensure that all 14 of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
City’s wastewater treatment plants will meet
monthly secondary treatment standards for the
first time since the standards were established
in 1972. We will also cut nitrogen discharges
Continue implementing grey To further improve water quality, we are in the
midst of a $5 billion upgrade to the Newtown
into Jamaica Bay, the East River, and Long Island infrastructure upgrades Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. This mas-
Sound by 50% by 2020 in order to minimize neg- sive upgrade will increase treatment capacity
ative effects on aquatic ecosystems. The NYC Green Infrastructure Plan includes a from 620 million gallons per day (mgd) to 700
hybrid of green and grey approaches, and we will mgd for a plant that serves approximately one
We will make cost-effective “grey infrastruc- continue to implement those grey infrastructure million residents within a 15,000 acre drainage
ture” investments such as upgrading and con- upgrades that are underway and are cost-effec- area. In 2011, we will certify that the Newtown
structing new detention facilities and pumping tive. We will complete the expansion and modern- Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant—the larg-
stations. These traditional strategies will reduce ization of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treat- est of our plants—meets the effluent discharge
the impact of CSOs around some of our more ment Plant and upgrade other plants to decrease requirements of the Clean Water Act. Once the
polluted waterways, but they alone will not suf- nitrogen discharges into sensitive natural areas. certification process is complete, it will be the
ficiently raise the quality of our waterways to We will construct cost-effective holding facilities first time that all 14 of the City’s wastewater
desired levels. We will address the root cause for CSOs and upgrade other grey infrastructure treatment plants meet secondary treatment
of CSOs by making a transformative investment to improve water quality in our tributaries. We standards since they were established in 1972.
in green infrastructure that captures or detains will also maintain and upgrade our sewer system
stormwater before it can enter and overwhelm to support existing communities, accommo-
the sewer system. date new growth, and reduce pollution. We have INITIATIVE 2
embarked on a massive investment program to
In 2010, we launched the NYC Green Infra- Upgrade treatment plants to reduce
enhance the quality of our waters and assure the
structure Plan. It will supplement traditional health of our residents. nitrogen discharges
approaches with a $1.5 billion, 20-year effort
to improve water quality by making the city Although not harmful to humans, high levels of
greener and more permeable. This invest- INITIATIVE 1 nitrogen can impair coastal ecosystems. Nitro-
ment, combined with targeted cost-effective gen can cause algae blooms that rapidly deprive
Upgrade wastewater treatment the water of oxygen under certain environmen-
grey infrastructure, will reduce CSOs by 40%. It
will save ratepayers more than $2 billion if the plants to achieve secondary tal conditions, typically in late summer.
plan is implemented rather than an all-grey treatment standards
approach. Green infrastructure will not only We will complete $770 million worth of upgrades
improve the quality of our waterways. It will Treating more than a billion gallons of wastewater at the Bowery Bay, Tallman Island, and Wards
also clean the air, lower energy demand, reduce a day is an enormous undertaking. Our massive Island wastewater treatment plants to reduce
carbon emissions, increase species habitat and wastewater treatment plants—which New York nitrogen discharges into the East River by more
property values, and reduce the city’s vulner- City pioneered in the early 20th century—are than 50%. We will also reduce the nitrogen dis-
ability to the impacts of climate change. equipped to handle twice the volume of flow that charged into Jamaica Bay by nearly 50% over the
would occur on a normal day of dry weather. next 10 years. In February 2010, we reached an
We must also address contaminants that have agreement with the New York State Department
lingered for decades. By working with our fed- For the last 40 years, the City has increased its of Environmental Conservation (State DEC),
eral and state partners, we will ensure that our wastewater treatment capacity and enhanced the Natural Resources Defense Council, and
most contaminated tributaries are cleaned up. the level of pathogens that are removed through other environmental groups under which we
Similar partnerships will help us support eco- the treatment process. The substantial improve- will dedicate $100 million to install new nitro-
system protection and restoration efforts. ment in the quality of effluent, or the water that gen control technologies at certain wastewater
leaves these plants, is one of the main reasons treatment plants in Jamaica Bay and another
Through the initiatives outlined below, we that the water within the harbor is cleaner than $15 million for marshland restoration proj-
will improve the quality of our waterways and at any other point over the past 100 years. ects. These investments, made in concert with
create a healthier habitat for fish and wildlife. $95 million the City has already committed for
Our efforts will help to ensure that we can more
fully enjoy the waters that surround us.

64 WATERWAYS
CASE STUDY
Nitrogen
The quality of some of our waterways can be
affected by nitrogen that enters our waterways

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


through discharges from wastewater treatment
plants and other sources such as stormwater
runoff. Although it poses no threat to human
health, high levels of nitrogen can deplete
dissolved oxygen in the water, inhibiting fish
habitation. Other chemicals such as de-icing
fluids can have the same effect.
This effect is a problem in those waterways
Paerdegat Basin CSO Facility where tidal or other natural flushing actions
have been compromised; nitrogen has been
identified as one contributor to the recurring
nitrogen control upgrades in Jamaica Bay, will We will implement other CSO-related grey infra- water quality problems in Jamaica Bay, the
significantly improve the health of one of New structure projects to improve water quality. We East River, and Long Island Sound. As part of
York City’s most valuable ecological areas. will invest $50 million to reactivate the Gowanus our efforts to improve water quality, we have
Canal Flushing Tunnel. The tunnel was opened committed to reduce nitrogen discharges into
nearly 100 years ago, but has not operated at Jamaica Bay and the East River by 50%.
INITIATIVE 3 its full capacity since it fell into disrepair in the
Complete cost-effective grey 1960s. It brings oxygen-rich water from the But- Traditional nitrogen removal processes require
termilk Channel, which is fed by the East River, large, capital upgrades that are energy intensive
infrastructure projects to reduce into the canal to improve overall water quality and have high operating costs. But there are
CSOs and improve water quality and mitigate the effects of CSOs. The existing new technologies available that can cost-
single pump will be replaced with three pumps, effectively remove nitrogen by supplementing
Over the next 20 years, we will invest $2.9 billion increasing the daily flow of water into the canal existing infrastructure. We will introduce two of
to construct cost-effective grey infrastructure by 40%. We will also complete an in-water aera- these technologies, SHARON and ARP, to begin
projects that reduce the amount of untreated tion system in Newtown Creek and a destratifi- removing nitrogen from wastewater treatment
water discharged into our waterways. We cation facility at Shellbank Creek. plant discharges.
will implement two categories of grey invest-
ments—infrastructure that reduces the volume The SHARON, or Single Reactor System for High
of CSOs and other projects that improve the Ammonia Removal Over Nitrate, process uses
INITIATIVE 4 heat to raise bacterial activity to a level where
water quality in waterways impacted by CSOs.
Expand the sewer network nitrogen-rich wastewater can be treated more
In some areas where it is cost-effective, we will efficiently in a single reactor. Within the reactor,
To support current residents and future growth, ammonia oxidizing microorganisms transform
reduce CSO volumes by building large detention
we will prioritize the extension of sanitary and nitrogen by-products into a gas, which is then
facilities that capture and hold CSOs and pump
storm sewers to neighborhoods throughout the trapped and removed from the facility. We
back wastewater to a treatment plant when
five boroughs that need additional capacity. have been operating one of the two vessels
storms pass. We recently completed a reha-
bilitation of the 20-million gallon CSO detention for about a year at the Wards Island Waste-
On the Rockaway Peninsula, we have spent water Treatment Plant. Once SHARON is fully
facility at Spring Creek and a new 43-million almost $55 million to construct separate
gallon facility at Flushing Bay. In 2011, we will operational it is expected to reduce the nitrogen
storm sewers since 2002. This investment has discharge load by 10,000 pounds per day.
complete a 50-million gallon facility at Paerde- improved water quality and reduced flooding
gat Basin that will capture 1.7 billion gallons of and sewer backups. We will target Southeast We will install the Ammonia Removal Process
CSOs per year. This will enable Paerdegat Basin Queens for separate sewer projects to increase (ARP) at the 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment
to achieve a greater than 90% attainment of capacity and reduce street flooding. We will Plant in Jamaica Bay. ARP combines flash
existing dissolved oxygen standards and 100% also finish key projects on the South Shore and vacuum distillation with ion exchange to
attainment of existing pathogen standards. Mid-Island of Staten Island, in Hunts Point in the remove an estimated 90% of nitrogen from
Bronx, and in the Springfield Gardens, Maspeth- filtrate streams. When the installation is
Also in 2011, we will complete a 5-million gallon
Middle Village, and Hunters Point neighbor- completed by 2014, the ARP technology
CSO facility at Alley Creek in Queens. We will
hoods in Queens. should reduce the plant’s nitrogen load
increase the capacity of the Avenue V Pump-
by an additional 3,000 pounds per day.
ing Station in Brooklyn from 20 mgd to 30 mgd. We will also invest in High Level Storm Sewers
This will help reduce CSOs and increase oxygen (HLSS) to keep water out of our combined sewer SHARON and ARP are good examples of how new
levels in Coney Island Creek. We will increase the system. HLSS partially separate the flow in com- technologies are making it possible to remove
capacity of the existing Gowanus Canal Pumping bined sewer areas by capturing 50% of rainfall nitrogen using less energy and fewer chemicals.
Station from 20 mgd to 30 mgd. Together, these and diverting it into our waterways through per- These technologies will lessen the tradeoff that
grey infrastructure projects will reduce CSOs by mitted outlets. We will build HLSS in the Throgs has existed between improving the quality
more than 8.2 billion gallons a year. Neck area of the Bronx, the Gowanus neighbor- of our waterways and reducing greenhouse
hood of Brooklyn, and in the Laurelton neigh- gas emissions.
borhood of Queens.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 65


Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


City workers cleaning sewers Staten Island Bluebelt

INITIATIVE 5 Built-up sediment and debris within portions Green infrastructure improves the quality of
of our sewer system are of similar concern. waterways by using vegetation and other fea-
Optimize the existing sewer system
138 miles of large intercepting sewers con- tures on buildings, roads, and parks to absorb
Building new sewers that separate stormwater nect the system to the wastewater treatment and retain stormwater. By considering all sur-
from wastewater is an effective, but expensive plants. For our system to operate at full capac- faces of our environment as opportunities to
solution to CSOs. The most cost-effective way ity, these interceptor sewers must be clear of enhance drainage, we can reduce the amount
to reduce CSOs is to optimize the existing sewer any blockages or potentially damaging debris. of stormwater runoff that reaches our sewers
network. In the large areas of the city where In spring 2010, we launched an effort to clean immediately after a rainfall. Our use of green
the combined sewer system is well-established, the entire interceptor sewer network within two infrastructure to manage stormwater is part of
we will optimize the sewer system by repair- years, beginning with the neighborhoods with a comprehensive approach to a complicated
ing catch basins, fixing tide gates, and cleaning the most severe flooding issues. We are also problem. The benefits will be immediate and
interceptor sewers. using sonar and video surveys to catalogue the come at a lower cost.
extent and location of sediment and impacted
Catch basins help control flooding from heavy areas. We will establish a permanent program
rains. When built with special hoods, they pre- to maintain the maximum capacity of this vital INITIATIVE 6
vent street debris from reaching our sewers. infrastructure once the initial cleaning and reha- Expand the Bluebelt program
Our 144,000 catch basins are an important bilitation is complete.
part of the sewer system that prevents block- Using green infrastructure to manage storm-
ages and keeps trash off our beaches. We have water is not a new concept for New York City.
established a system to prioritize repairs by risk Use green infrastructure to In fact, since the early 1990s we have relied
and set targets for catch basin repair time. More upon wetlands and natural areas in our Bluebelt
than 2,350 catch basins are in need of repair. By manage stormwater system in Staten Island to absorb stormwater
2014, we will inspect all catch basins and seek runoff, thereby eliminating the need for costly
Trying to reduce CSOs entirely with traditional
to substantially eliminate the repair backlog. storm sewer systems. Using natural systems in
grey infrastructure would be very expensive.
place of traditional sewers has saved taxpayers
The tide gates that cover CSO discharge points Nor would it maximize the water quality gains
$80 million in infrastructure costs, raised prop-
are also in need of repair. Damaged tide gates we can make with public funding. Therefore,
erty values, and restored damaged habitats.
allow wastewater to leak out and corrosive salt we will shift some of our investment dollars
The Bluebelt system is a successful model of a
water to leak in. To combat this problem, we to a more sustainable approach that not only
cost-effective sustainable stormwater manage-
will continue to implement a tide gate reha- improves the quality of our waterways, but also
ment strategy that provides multiple benefits in
bilitation survey that inspects 25 tide gates per provides multiple additional benefits.
addition to improving water quality.
month. We will make repairs as needed in order
to ensure maximum CSO storage and treatment
plant productivity.

66 WATERWAYS
CZlNdg`8^in8dbW^cZYHZlZg6gZVh =jiX]^chdc
G^kZg

LZhiX]ZhiZg
L6HI:L6I:GIG:6IB:CIEA6CIH 8gZZ`
8DB7>C:9H:L:GDJI;6AAH Building on the Sustainable Stormwater Man-
7gdcm
G^kZg agement Plan, we released the NYC Green Infra-
structure Plan in 2010. The plan provides an
implementation strategy for launching a source
control program. We committed $187 million in
fiscal years 2012 through 2015 to immediately
begin implementing the plan. At the same time,
:Vhi ;ajh]^c\ 6aaZn we are seeking approval from the State DEC
G^kZg ;ajh]^c\ 8gZZ` 8gZZ`
DeZc 7Vn and the United States Environmental Protec-
LViZgh tion Agency (EPA) to modify existing regulatory
CZlidlc 7Zg\Zc agreements necessary to fully implement the
8gZZ` I]jghidc plan. We are working with the State DEC to inte-
<dlVcjh 7Vh^ch
?VbV^XV7Vn grate green infrastructure into the current CSO
8VcVa Ig^WjiVg^Zh program and in the Long-Term Control Plans
that will be completed for 13 waterbodies by
EVZgYZ\Vi
7Vh^c 2017. Each Long-Term Control Plan will under-
take a detailed examination of the level of green

HdjgXZ/CN89Zei#d[:ck^gdcbZciVaEgdiZXi^dc
8dcZn infrastructure investment necessary to meet
>haVcY water quality standards.
8gZZ`

To implement sustainable stormwater source


controls across the city, we will work through an
interagency Green Infrastructure Task Force. We
will exploit opportunities provided by planned
public infrastructure projects. We will develop
approved specifications for source controls in
commonly-used applications. We will streamline
design and permitting processes for the incor-
The Bluebelt system is composed of streams, of source controls throughout our built environ- poration of source controls in public projects.
ponds, and wetland areas that treat and detain ment, we will capture rainwater before it enters
stormwater prior to its release into the harbor. It our over-burdened sewer system. We are prepared to spend $1.5 billion on green
provides effective stormwater management for infrastructure over the next 20 years. This
more than 14,000 acres of Staten Island, or about In 2008, the City undertook a comprehensive investment, combined with cost-effective grey
one-third of its total land area. In effect, we have study of the costs and benefits of adopting city- infrastructure investments, will reduce CSOs by
reshaped the natural environment to filter drain- wide source control scenarios in the streets, 40%. Through these investments, we will cap-
age from buildings, lots, and streets, instead of sidewalks, private and public buildings, and ture the first inch of rainfall on 10% of impervi-
constructing sewers through which this runoff parks. The result was a Sustainable Stormwa- ous surfaces within combined sewer areas. The
would be sent to surrounding waterways. ter Management Plan that was the first in the budget includes funding for maintenance and
country to analyze the location and feasibility operations to ensure that green infrastructure
This same strategy can be applied in other of source controls in a dense, ultra-urban envi- continuously performs as designed. Implement-
lower-density areas with key natural features. ronment on a citywide basis. The plan included ing the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, rather
In Staten Island, we will expand the Mid-Island a rigorous analysis of capital and maintenance than an all-grey approach, will save New Yorkers
Bluebelt to Oakwood Beach, New Creek, and costs and potential benefits of widespread more than $2 billion.
South Beach. We will also expand the use of source controls. It concluded that many would
this approach in parts of Queens and other be just as effective as traditional CSO controls,
boroughs where it is cost-effective and there is for a fraction of the cost. INITIATIVE 8
sufficient space. Engage and enlist community
One major initiative of the Sustainable Storm-
water Management Plan was to implement 30 stakeholders in sustainable
INITIATIVE 7 pilot projects that would test promising source stormwater management
control technologies in New York City. There
Build public green infrastructure Incorporating green infrastructure within neigh-
are several demonstration projects underway.
projects Swales and stormwater-capturing tree pits borhoods is best accomplished by working with
allow water to pool in underground holding the people who live there. Because of differences
New York City experiences a tremendous volume areas until it can dissipate. Blue roofs slow roof in soils, slopes, and adjacent land uses, solutions
of runoff from rooftops, streets, and other imper- water from draining too quickly and overwhelm- in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn may
vious surfaces every time it rains. To address ing storm sewers. Permeable pavement allows be different from solutions in the West Village of
the root cause of runoff—impermeable surfac- water to seep through and be absorbed into the Manhattan. This creates both the need and the
es—we must design, build, and maintain storm- ground rather than becoming runoff. By 2013, opportunity for innovation. Local communities
water source controls, or small installations that we will complete these pilot projects by collect- can also provide essential stewardship support
control stormwater where it meets impervious ing monitoring data and publishing the findings. for green infrastructure installations.
surfaces. By implementing a distributed system

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 67


CASE STUDY
Enhanced Tree Pits
Since 2008, we have launched over 30 green
infrastructure pilots ranging from bioswales along
roadways to green roofs on public buildings. These
projects provide specific data on costs, maintenance
needs, and the effectiveness of various forms of

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


green infrastructure. This information will help
implement green infrastructure citywide.
Some types of green infrastructure, such as
enhanced tree pits, take familiar elements of our
urban environment and redesign them so that they
are able to capture stormwater. Traditionally, street
trees were planted in heavy soils within confined
pits that restricted root growth and provided limited
soil moisture and oxygen levels. This leads to Enhanced tree pit in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn
stunted growth, damaged sidewalks, and does little
to capture stormwater runoff. Using enhanced tree
pits will not only improve stormwater management for conveyance to storm sewer catch basins. These closely monitored to measure the storage of storm-
but also improve the health and growth of our pits also include native plants, subsurface storage, water and to form the basis of our planning efforts.
street trees. and specially-engineered soil to filter pollutants and Already, these pilots have been copied in standard
Enhanced tree pits use inlets to capture stormwater absorb greater quantities of stormwater runoff. designs for bioswales and enhanced tree pits that
runoff from the sidewalk and funnel it into the soil can be used in most Department of Transportation
By using enhanced pits, our street trees will grow and Department of Design and Construction road
where it can be absorbed by tree roots and infiltrate. larger, absorb more stormwater, sequester more
The enhanced tree pits are bigger at 100 square feet reconstruction projects.
carbon, and provide more environmental co-benefits.
compared to 25 square feet for a traditional pit. Two Healthier trees provide a larger cooling effect, ad-
curb cuts allow stormwater to enter the pit from the ditional habitat, and higher property values. So far,
street and allow overflow to travel back to the street we have installed five enhanced tree pits that will be

One way of encouraging innovation is by provid- Plans. Community engagement will ensure that To ensure that private investment in source con-
ing grants to local groups to develop and imple- our investments provide the greatest benefits to trols keeps pace with public investments, we
ment green infrastructure projects that are right both local communities and the city as a whole. will tighten existing requirements for stormwa-
for their neighborhoods. In 2009, we awarded ter management on all new development and
$2.6 million to five projects through the Flushing redevelopment. By further limiting the rate at
and Gowanus Green Infrastructure Grant Initia- INITIATIVE 9 which stormwater can be released from sites,
tive. This program targets projects in the Flush- Modify codes to increase the developers and owners will invest in green infra-
ing Bay or Gowanus Canal CSO drainage areas structure and other source controls. Based on
to fund construction of a green roof, vegetated
capture of stormwater development trends, we estimate that an addi-
swales, bioretention basins, and treatment wet- tional $900 million of green infrastructure will
Modifying design codes is another effective way
lands. In early 2011, we launched a new $3 mil- be built over the next 20 years.
to incorporate sustainable source controls and
lion Green Infrastructure Grant Program to fund
other forms of stormwater management within We will strengthen requirements for captur-
efforts by private property owners, businesses,
our built environment. ing stormwater from construction sites. Under
and not-for-profit organizations to install storm-
water source controls within combined sewer federal and state regulations, construction
Since the 2007 release of PlaNYC, we have
drainage areas. We expect to expand the Green sites over one acre must reduce the amount of
made several key changes. Through zoning
Infrastructure Grant Program in coming years. stormwater runoff they generate. These rules
amendments initiated by the Department of
have little effect in New York City where most
City Planning, new commercial parking lots are
Grant programs are just one of the ways we will construction sites are well below one acre. To
now required to include perimeter and interior
partner with local stakeholders to shift to more close the gap, we will propose local legislation
green infrastructure. Buildings in lower density
sustainable stormwater management. We have mandating that smaller construction sites follow
districts are no longer allowed to pave over their
formed the Green Infrastructure Citizens Group, additional requirements to reduce stormwater
entire front yards. New developments citywide
which is open to the public and headed by the runoff. Better stormwater management at con-
must plant street trees and, in lower density
Green Infrastructure Steering Committee, made struction sites will reduce the amount of dirt
areas, provide sidewalk planting strips.
up of civic organizations, environmental groups, and debris that washes into the sewers.
developers, engineers, and design profession- These measures will allow less stormwater to
als. They will meet regularly to ensure that their We will evaluate opportunities to detain storm-
enter the sewers. They will increase or protect
input factors into future planning and implemen- water on rooftops. Blue roofs are one of the
the amount of permeable surfaces that absorb
tation efforts. In partnership with the State DEC, source controls with the greatest potential to
rainfall and help reduce CSO events and local
we will seek public input into future regulatory increase stormwater capture rates at low cost.
flooding by slowing the rate of runoff. We will
decisions through meetings of these groups and Blue roofs, or rooftop detention systems, are a
build upon these measures by improving storm-
through waterbody-specific advisory groups detention technique whereby a flow restriction
water management practices on private sites in
leading up to the creation of Long-Term Control several key ways.

68 WATERWAYS
Citywide Costs of CSO Control Scenarios
2011 – 2031

GREEN STRATEGY GREY STRATEGY

$7 $6.8

8DHI7>AA>DCH>C'%&%9DAA6GH
$6
$5.3
$0.03
$5 $0.9 $3.9

Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
$4 $2.4
$1.5
$3

$2
$2.9 $2.9
$1

Green Infrastructure Public Investment


Green Infrastructure Private Investment Optimize Existing System
Blue roof pilot project in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn Potential Tanks, Tunnels, & Expansions

device around drains holds back water while the INITIATIVE 10 We will use the results of this pilot to deter-
storm surge passes, and then slowly releases mine whether and to what extent a stormwater
Provide incentives for green
the water out to the sewers. We have success- charge could be applied more broadly through-
fully built blue roofs on new schools throughout infrastructure out the city. We will also evaluate the feasibility
the city, but we have not yet proved that blue of creating a crediting program that would give
roofs could be cost-effectively installed on exist- Much of the existing impervious urban land- property owners an incentive to install approved
ing buildings. We are currently piloting blue roof scape will not be redeveloped and is not con- green infrastructure technologies in exchange
systems on existing buildings. We will study trolled by the City. Many private property for reduced stormwater fees.
the results to determine whether we will adjust owners lack either the incentive or the means
codes to require blue roofs on existing buildings to install sustainable source controls on their We will continue encouraging the private sector
in the future. own. By realigning incentives, we will enable to incorporate green infrastructure into their
residents, businesses, and property owners to property through our Green Roof Tax Abate-
We will address the inconsistent rules and regu- partner with us in our effort to reduce CSOs and ment. This program, which was passed by the
lations that are an impediment to incorporating clean up our waterways—efforts that benefit all New York State Legislature in 2008 and imple-
sustainable source controls within sidewalks. New Yorkers. mented by the City in 2009, provides an abate-
Well-designed sidewalks can reduce stormwa- ment from City property taxes of $4.50 per
ter runoff, increase the longevity of trees, and New York City’s water and sewer use charges square foot of legally-installed green roof, up
reduce the urban heat island effect. We will are currently based on the volume of potable to $100,000. Property owners qualify with the
develop and implement a single, consistent water consumed, not the property’s discharge installation of a green roof on at least 50% of
sidewalk standard that includes permeable of stormwater. The result is little correlation a roof and preparation of a maintenance plan
strips, water storage capacity, and increased between the stormwater generated by a prop- to ensure the viability of the vegetation and
planting and recycled materials within all new erty and the stormwater fees that the owner expected stormwater benefits. The program is
sidewalk construction. This will not only provide pays. currently scheduled to run until 2013. We will
new opportunities for the implementation of evaluate the program’s efficacy to determine
We will evaluate the opportunities for a separate
stormwater source controls, but also create a whether to extend or modify it.
stormwater rate and credit system that charges
healthier tree canopy.
landowners for their runoff and provides incen-
tives for them to reduce impervious surfaces. As
We will examine ways to reduce stormwa-
ter runoff from unenclosed industrial uses. an initial step, we are piloting a separate storm- Remove industrial pollution
Although current regulations require source water charge for parking lots that is aligned with
the burdens that those lots put on the system
from waterways
controls for certain types of new construction,
there are fewer controls for undeveloped sites which then has to be paid for by everyone else. The presence of industrial pollution has been
on which many of these uses operate. Runoff The pilot stormwater charge applies to approxi- a long-standing issue for New York’s shoreline.
and emissions from open uses can produce a mately 300 lots that currently have no water ser- Lingering contaminants have proven to be a last-
poor environment for other businesses, discour- vice and therefore don’t pay towards the City’s ing legacy of our working waterfront. During the
aging investment in industrial areas, as well as costs to collect and treat the stormwater they first half of the 20th century, oil, coal tar, ink, and
pollute waterways and adversely affect air qual- generate. These stand-alone parking lots are other pollutants were routinely dumped into
ity and the quality of life in adjacent residential charged $0.05 per square foot of property area, waterways, and some discharges such as PCBs
areas. To address these issues, we will explore a figure derived from the City’s stormwater-re- continued much later. The passage of the Clean
zoning requirements and land use controls for lated capital and expense budget items. Water Act mostly put an end to this blatant
certain, potentially polluting unenclosed com- environmental degradation—but the effects of
mercial and manufacturing uses to improve these pollutants are still felt to this day.
upon existing controls for noise, odor, dust, and
stormwater discharge.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 69


Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
Credit: NYC Dept. of City Planning
The Gowanus Canal Wetlands restoration at Alley Pond Park in Queens

INITIATIVE 11 to the urban coastline that can reduce storm report, the task force recommended 82 parcels
surge and mitigate the impacts of erosion. Their for transfer to the Department of Parks and Rec-
Actively participate in waterway
highly-productive ecosystems form the base for reation (DPR) and 111 additional parcels for fur-
clean-up efforts estuarine and aquatic food webs. This biologi- ther review. We have completed a comprehen-
cal productivity makes them ideal foraging and sive review of these 193 parcels to determine
Some of New York City’s waterways contain con- breeding sites for shorebirds, fish, and inverte- existing conditions, including field inspections
taminated sediments caused by past industrial brates. of all parcels.
use. The Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek
were both designated as Superfund sites in Despite the significant loss of historical wet- We have already transferred 9 parcels to DPR.
2010 by the EPA. We will work with the EPA and lands and streams, New York is still home to While some of the remaining parcels are accept-
the State DEC to assist in the investigation of many critical natural areas. Large swaths of wet- able for transfer now, the majority are degraded,
the contamination and the study of potentially lands in Staten Island, along Long Island Sound, with unresolved dumping and encroachment
feasible remedies. and Jamaica Bay are some of the most valuable issues evident. Some parcels have other poten-
natural habitat in the country. Jamaica Bay is an tially significant environmental problems. We
Even before the Superfund listings, we had important resting place for endangered migra- will finalize the transfer of those wetlands prop-
begun substantial projects to improve the water tory birds and is home to more than 325 differ- erties that don’t suffer from environmental deg-
quality of the Gowanus Canal and Newtown ent avian species. radation. We will also identify resources that will
Creek. At the Gowanus Canal, we will address allow for the incorporation of additional parcels
stagnant water, CSOs, and odor by upgrading Vital wetland habitats are not the only natural into the City’s park system.
the Gowanus Flushing Tunnel, expanding the systems within the harbor in need of restora-
capacity of the canal’s pumping station, and tion and habitat creation. Eelgrass, oysters, New York City’s wetlands face challenges far
building a new interceptor sewer. At Newtown and ribbed mussels were all once widespread more serious than how the City manages its
Creek, we are installing equipment to increase throughout the harbor. The loss of these species own wetlands. In January 2009, we released a
oxygen levels in the water. means the loss of some of nature’s finest filtra- report that assessed the vulnerabilities of exist-
tion systems. We must improve degraded areas ing wetlands and identified additional policies
In addition to the ongoing work at the Superfund and create new habitat by managing ecological to protect and manage them. New York City
sites, we will investigate CSO-related and other functions. We can’t merely protect existing natu- Wetlands: Regulatory Gaps and Other Threats
sediments that lie at the bottom of the Paerde- ral resources—we must actively restore them. found gaps in federal and state regulations—
gat Basin, Flushing Bay, Flushing Creek, Bergen particularly for small freshwater wetlands less
Basin, Thurston Basin, Hendrix Creek, and Fresh than 12.4 acres, unmapped wetlands, and adja-
Creek. Dredging these tributaries will remove INITIATIVE 12 cent upland buffer areas.
CSO sediments that cause odors at low tide.
Enhance wetlands protection
The report identified the need for more accu-
In many ways, the health of our harbor mirrors rate mapping as an important step in improving
Protect and restore that of our wetlands. Wetlands are no longer protection of vulnerable wetlands. State regula-
tion requires wetlands to be mapped in order
wetlands, aquatic systems, being drained and filled like they were only a
to enjoy protection by New York State. How-
few decades ago. However, wetlands still face a
and ecological habitat variety of threats ranging from legacy pollution ever, wetlands naturally expand, contract, and
to climate change. migrate, which makes current and accurate map-
Wetlands are a biologically-rich intersection ping essential to ensure their protection. State
of land and water. They act as natural filtration In 2005, we formed the Wetlands Transfer Task DEC tidal wetlands regulatory maps are based
systems by slowing and retaining stormwater Force to assess available City-owned properties on aerial photography from 1974, and freshwa-
runoff and trapping pollutants that would oth- that contain wetlands. The group was tasked ter wetland maps have not been updated since
erwise contaminate downstream waterways. with addressing the future of City-owned wet- 1995. New maps of wetland areas would identify
Wetlands also provide an undeveloped edge lands, as well as broader questions regarding those areas falling through the gaps of regula-
wetland management and policy. In its 2007 tory protection. We will work with state and fed-
eral partners to update wetlands maps.

70 WATERWAYS
CASE STUDY
Jamaica Bay Restoration

Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Kayaking through the brackish waters and
marsh grasses of Jamaica Bay, it is easy to for-
get you are less than 10 miles from the bustling
streets and tall towers of lower Manhattan. The
buildings, traffic, and people disappear in this
26-square-mile natural sanctuary that is home
Elders Point before restoration to over 325 bird and 91 fish species. But this
diverse and ecologically-rich habitat is threat-
ened by rising sea levels, pollution, non-native
species, and sediment deprivation. Most of all,
it suffers from historic dredging and filling. A
century ago, there were over 16,000 acres of
salt marsh lands around the bay. Today there
are just 800 acres, plus pockets of deep water
borrow pits and navigational channels.

Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


We have made major commitments to enhance
water quality by improving stormwater runoff,
reducing CSOs, and cutting nitrogen discharges
into the bay in half. Although better water qual-
ity in the bay is essential, the City and multiple
state and federal agencies are actively restoring
marsh islands to enhance and protect fish and
Elders Point after restoration wildlife. We have partnered with the Army Corps
of Engineers, the National Park Service, State
DEC, and the Port Authority to restore the Elders
We will expand protection through the New funding, and enforcement mechanisms to pro-
Point marsh island complex, which was among
York City Waterfront Revitalization Program tect, restore, and expand wetlands, associated
the most eroded in the bay.
(WRP). This program establishes policies for buffer areas, and the streams corridors that
the review of all discretionary actions by City, connect them. Long ago, the Elders Point marshland was a
state, or federal government entities within contiguous 132-acre island teeming with birds,
the city’s coastal zone and takes into consider- fish, and other aquatic life. But years of erosion
ation protection of natural waterfront areas. As INITIATIVE 13 and sediment loss cleaved the land into sepa-
we update the WRP in the coming year, we will Restore and create wetlands rate islands connected by tidal mudflats. Recon-
consider designating additional sites of ecologi- struction of Elders Point East was completed in
cal importance, such as the Upper Bronx River, Protecting existing wetlands is not enough to 2006 and Elders Point West was completed in
Arverne, Plumb Beach, southern portion of the reduce the threats to our natural systems. We 2010. The restoration and establishment of the
Arthur Kill shoreline, portions of the Raritan Bay must restore degraded wetlands and create new appropriate tidal elevations to support Spartina
shoreline, Staten Island Greenbelt, and Staten habitats to replace losses that have occurred. alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass) growth used
Island South Shore Bluebelts. approximately 500,000 cubic yards of clean
We have undertaken wetlands restoration proj- sand dredged from the bottom of New York
More than regulatory enforcement is needed ects in connection with the construction of Harbor. This material was dredged to deepen
to protect tidal salt marshes, New York City’s recent CSO detention facilities. At Alley Pond the shipping channels to accommodate larger
most abundant and visible type of wetland. Salt Park in Queens, we recently completed 16 acres vessels. Native plants grown from seed col-
marshes are in decline around the city due to of restoration to revive the local ecosystem and lected from within Jamaica Bay have been
inundation from sea level rise and a variety of improve water quality. We will create 38 acres of used to restore over 80 acres of habitat.
complex interactions in the urban ecosystem. new and restored habitat along Paerdegat Basin
We will collaborate with state, federal, and uni- near Jamaica Bay. Restoring the Elders Point marsh would not be
versity researchers to evaluate both the vulner- possible without the partnership of City, state,
ability of salt marshes and strategies to provide We have also partnered with state and federal and federal agencies. This partnership brings
protection. agencies to share resources and expertise and together critical resources, leveraging limited
achieve the greatest benefit for wetlands within funding and scientific knowledge to produce
We will develop a comprehensive strategy that the region. This collaboration has led to the sustainable and cost-effective restorations.
addresses wetlands management and protec- development of the Comprehensive Restora- These efforts that will help to promote an
tion. In 2009, the City Council passed Local tion Plan (CRP), a joint project of the U.S. Army ecologically vibrant Jamaica Bay that can
Law 31 requiring the Mayor’s Office to create Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), the EPA’s New be enjoyed by future generations.
a wetlands strategy by March 1, 2012. Through York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP),
this process, we will evaluate appropriate and the Port Authority of New York and New
legal requirements, incentives, management, Jersey (Port Authority).

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 71


New York City’s Wetlands
Past and Present
HISTORIC EXTENT OF WETLANDS

Credit: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation


CURRENT EXTENT OF WETLANDS

Salt marsh in Udalls Cove Park Preserve in Queens


Credit: NYC Dept. of City Planning

Source: Regional Plan Association


Wetlands in Staten Island

The CRP is a master plan and strategy that We have worked with state and federal part- York State requires restoration at the site of the
establishes broad goals for restoring wetlands ners to invest over $74 million to restore over disturbance or at a nearby location. This system
and other ecosystems in the Hudson-Raritan 175 acres of wetlands since 2002, but that often is not practical in New York City due to a
Estuary. We will work with our partners to imple- amount falls far short of what is need to restore lack of available space for on-site mitigation. It
ment specific ambitious, yet achievable ecosys- all degraded wetlands in the harbor. There is is also inefficient as the existing system often
tem restoration targets in the harbor. no stable funding source for wetlands restora- encourages restoration projects that are small,
tion and management, and most restoration expensive, and of lesser habitat value. These sig-
Our work with state and federal partners has projects have been conducted using relatively nificant flaws mean that we are not getting the
resulted in the completion of over 165 acres of small funding sources. Compared to other greatest benefit from the money being spent.
restored or enhanced wetlands since 2002. In areas across the country of similar ecological
Jamaica Bay, we worked with the Army Corps, importance—such as the Chesapeake Bay and Federal regulators acknowledge these failings
State DEC, the Port Authority, and the National the Great Lakes—Jamaica Bay receives far fewer and encourage the use of alternative mitiga-
Park Service to restore more than 80 acres at federal dollars. We will advocate for our fair tion mechanisms. One alternative is in-lieu fee
Elders Point in 2009. We also restored 22 acres share of federal funding for wetlands and eco- mitigation, which allows wetlands loss to be
at Gerritsen Creek. system restoration. mitigated by paying a fee to a fund that then
aggregates payments to larger restoration proj-
In the next three years, we will work with state ects. Another option, mitigation banking, uses
and federal partners to invest over $54 million INITIATIVE 14 a similar approach by encouraging large-scale
at 17 sites to restore and enhance over 58 acres wetland restoration projects to generate “cred-
of wetlands and adjacent habitat. We will com- Improve wetlands mitigation
its” that can be transferred to compensate for
plete wetlands restoration projects in the Bronx wetlands loss within a predetermined area.
Large-scale wetlands destruction no longer
at Pugsley Creek Park, Soundview Park, and
happens regularly. However, on occasion, wet-
along the Bronx River. We will also restore wet- Both mechanisms provide numerous benefits
lands must be filled for essential infrastructure
lands along Randall’s Island, at Drier Offerman over the current system by consolidating fund-
or economic development projects. All pro-
Park in Brooklyn, at Meadow Lake in Queens, ing into larger projects that produce economies
posed projects in designated wetland areas are
and at Freshkills Park in Staten Island. We have and ecologies of scale. By consolidating resto-
subject to regulatory oversight that requires
also committed $15 million for additional wet- ration projects and permitting approvals, these
applicants to avoid, minimize, and, if necessary,
lands restoration in Jamaica Bay, and we will alternative mitigation strategies can save tax-
mitigate any damage.
seek to leverage this funding by collaborating payers and regulators time and money. We will
with our federal and state partners. Mitigation is the practice of restoring, enhanc- work with the State to develop wetland mitiga-
ing, or protecting wetland functions to offset tion alternatives that will make the regulatory
their loss elsewhere as a result of construction process more efficient and increase wetland
projects. The current mitigation system in New restoration and creation opportunities.

72 WATERWAYS
CASE STUDY
New York Harbor School
New York Harbor is a source of inspiration. Nowhere
is this better illustrated than at the Urban Assembly
New York Harbor School. Established in 2003, Harbor
School was born with the belief that the harbor could

Credit: Urban Assembly New York Harbor School


provide a previously untapped potential for excel-
lence in secondary, maritime public education.
The creation of Harbor School is part of our
ambitious efforts to reform public education and
replace under-performing schools. Harbor School
welcomed students from an existing high school in
the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Within four
years, graduation rates at Harbor School were more
than triple the rate of the school that it replaced.
And college retention rates are far higher than Harbor School students working on oyster restoration project
other high schools with similar demographics.
Harbor School’s approach is to engage students, to provide hands-on education. Harbor School has the water and partially constructed over the harbor.
most of whom live below poverty and are considered embraced oyster restoration as a vehicle to teach The facility will be critical for marine science educa-
at-risk, by using the waterways that surround the marine science. In 2010, students raised 300,000 tion as it will house aquaculture facilities to raise
city as their classroom. Harbor School provides a oysters from larvae as part of their aquaculture class. native New York species.
rigorous, college-preparatory education built upon The juvenile oysters were placed on the Oyster Resto-
the city’s maritime environment. ration and Research Project’s reefs by Harbor School By providing a maritime-based education for young
student scuba divers. adults, we are not just preparing students for college
In 2010, Harbor School became Governors Island’s and teaching valuable skills. We are also investing in
first permanent tenant since the Coast Guard In 2011, Harbor School will expand into their new Ma- the long-term health of the harbor.
abandoned the island in 1995. This location is not rine Science and Technology (MAST) Center, a 9,000
just symbolic. It also provides unique opportunities square foot, two-story structure located alongside

INITIATIVE 15 about whether the oysters will reproduce and


thrive as a self-sustaining species. We will work
Conclusion
Improve habitat for aquatic species
with the ORPP partners to better understand Improving the quality of New York City’s water-
New York Harbor used to be filled with oysters, suitable environmental characteristics, appro- ways is a long-term commitment that requires
eelgrass, and mussels. To recoup lost water priate locations, necessary water quality con- consensus about priorities and goals.
quality benefits and increase the biological ditions, costs, and benefits. We will expand the
diversity and resilience of the region, we have size of our pilot project and undertake addi- We must remove historical pollution that has
launched pilot programs to test the feasibility tional restoration efforts. We will also work with had a prolonged and damaging effect on our
of reintroducing these three species into the our ORRP partners to develop a strategy to eval- waterways. We must also address the present-
harbor. The pilots will establish the potential uate the scientific findings and expand restora- day pollution that comes from CSOs and con-
water quality benefits of reintroduction, test tion efforts should the pilots prove successful. tinue finding ways to restore natural systems.
whether reproduction of these species is natu- As these investments can be costly, we need to
We will also pilot the reintroduction of eelgrass. focus on those problems that can affect public
rally-occurring, and help determinewhether cur-
This species has the potential to serve as an health or prevent New Yorkers from accessing
rent restoration methods successfully restore
important source of habitat and shelter for fish their waterfront today.
or replace damaged or lost habitat.
and shellfish. Much like trees do on land, eel-
Oyster reefs were once abundant in New York grass stabilizes sediments, reduces erosion, and These improvements will allow millions of New
Harbor, but overfishing, disease, and pollution naturally removes nitrogen from the water. We Yorkers to access areas that have been off limits
all but eliminated these once-dominant features have sown 3,500 plantings since 2009 as a part to recreational use for decades. They will also
by the early 20th century. We are working to of our effort to improve the ecology of Jamaica revitalize our city’s aquatic ecosystems. Our
address whether sustainable oyster populations Bay. We will sow an additional 2,000 plantings in commitment to improving our waterways is a
can be reintroduced in our waterways through April 2011. critical element of our environmental steward-
the Oyster Restoration and Research Project ship for the next generation, which needs and
The final pilot project will evaluate the ability of deserves a clean and healthy harbor ecosystem.
(ORRP). This partnership, led by the Hudson
ribbed mussels to filter nutrients and other pol-
River Foundation, New York/New Jersey Bay-
lutants from the water. The filtering capacity of
keeper, the Urban Assembly New York Harbor
mussels is well known, but it is unclear if that
School, the Army Corps, the HEP, and the Port
capacity could be tapped and applied in the
Authority, has constructed six small reefs
harbor. In 2011, we will construct several artifi-
throughout the harbor in 2010.
cial structures in Jamaica Bay to evaluate ribbed
Initial results indicate that the oyster spat, or mussel growth and measure the effectiveness
larvae, that were placed on the pilot reefs have of these species in removing nutrients and par-
survived and grown. But questions still remain ticulate organic matter from the water.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 73


Water Supply

74
A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC
75
Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
Together we can
Ensure the quality of our drinking water
Maintain and enhance the infrastructure
that delivers water to New York City
Modernize in-city distribution
Improve the efficiency of the
water supply system

76
Part of the wonder of New York City’s water is
the initial genius and foresight to understand
how this incredible natural resource could be
harnessed to the mutual benefit of upstate and
downstate. This has resulted in not only clean,
delicious drinking water but also the protection
of beautiful natural lands and notable works 8.4 million people. We get up every morning and
of engineering and architectural design. Every walk into our bathrooms and turn on the spigot,
New Yorker benefits from this natural resource and we think nothing about it. We cannot take
and every New Yorker should be aware of these things for granted. We have to make sure
its fragility. our infrastructure stays sound. 
Leslie Wright // Brooklyn Robin Noble-Zolin // Manhattan

I live in a neighborhood where people have


gardens in their backyards, washing machines
in their homes, and cars in their driveways.
In the 80s and 90s, we had droughts in the I have lived all over the world, and I have never
summer and during that time the community tasted water so refreshing, so invigorating,
was very aware and close knit and did what and so life-giving as New York City tap water.
we needed to do to conserve water. I believe I am vehemently opposed to my clean tap water
we still need to be in the practice of water being contaminated by chemicals through
conservation because of the potential for hydrofracking, and I am opposed to drinking
future droughts. and buying bottled water.
Almitra Gasper // Queens Aishah Mohamedi Richard // Manhattan

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 77


Water Supply
Ensure the high quality and reliability of our water supply system

Every day, more than one billion gallons of address. In recent years, these storms appear
water travel hundreds of miles from upstate to be increasing in frequency—a pattern that
New York to the city. Our water supply system may only get worse as our climate becomes
was developed through the foresight and vision more volatile. Our investment in cutting-edge
of previous leaders who understood the impor- management tools and the infrastructure nec-
tance of clean water to the long-term prosperity essary to supply drinking water to more than
of the city. In 1837, the City began construction nine million New Yorkers must keep pace.
on the Croton Water Aqueduct System, the first
to bring fresh water from outside the city limits. Our supply is abundant enough to meet our
Over the next century, the City added two more projected growth. In fact, water consumption
upstate watersheds, the Catskill and the Dela- in New York City in 2010 was near the lowest
ware, and connected them to the five boroughs level in recent history, despite significant recent
through an intricate network of aqueducts, tun- increases in our population. However, we must
nels, reservoirs, and water distribution lines. invest in the vast system that carries water to
These watersheds cover 2,000 square miles the city. The aqueducts that bring drinking
and contain 19 reservoirs and three controlled water from the Catskill and Delaware water-
lakes that have a storage capacity of 580 billion sheds to New York City have been in operation
gallons. Today these invaluable assets serve since they were activated in 1915 and 1944,
more than nine million New Yorkers—more respectively. The structural integrity of these
than eight million residents of the city and a mil- conduits remains generally strong, but two
lion residents in Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and stable, continuous leaks have developed in the
Westchester counties. Rondout-West Branch portion of the Delaware
Aqueduct that collectively release between 15
New York City’s drinking water is among the and 35 million gallons of water a day. These
best in the world, exceeding stringent federal leaks do not pose an imminent threat, but must
and state water quality standards. Still, we be addressed to ensure the continuity of the
must be vigilant to protect our source waters. city’s supply over the long term.
The Catskill and Delaware watersheds are so
pristine that water from them does not have to Once our water reaches the city limits, three
be filtered. To keep it that way, we must protect tunnels distribute it throughout the five bor-
watershed lands from activities—like hydraulic oughs. City Water Tunnel No. 1 was completed
fracturing for natural gas—that threaten water in 1917 and supplies most of Manhattan and
quality. Otherwise the City may be forced to Brooklyn. City Water Tunnel No. 2 went into
build a filtration plant that could cost more service in 1936 and covers the rest of the city.
than $10 billion to construct and $100 million Stage 1 of City Water Tunnel No. 3 was acti-
per year to operate. This would not only mean vated in 1998 and serves parts of the Bronx and
spoiling one of New York State’s greatest natu- Upper Manhattan. The Manhattan leg of Stage
ral resources, but a water rate increase for New 2 is on schedule to be in service by the end of
Yorkers of at least 30%. 2013. The Brooklyn/Queens leg of Stage 2 has
been built, but it cannot be activated until two
The quality of our water supply is also threat- new shaft connections are made and Tunnel
ened by climate change. Because the Catskill No. 3 is integrated into the water distribution
Mountains are steep and composed of com- network for Brooklyn and Queens. Complet-
paratively soft clay soils, extreme storms cause ing City Water Tunnel No. 3 will provide critical
turbidity (i.e., cloudiness) and other water qual- redundancy and allow the City to shut down
ity problems that require active management to and repair City Water Tunnel No. 1 for the first
time in its history.

78 WATER SUPPLY
Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


The Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskill watershed The Rondout Reservoir in the Delaware watershed

We will continue to work with upstate communi- Tunnel No. 3 to create redundancy for our aging Investments in the city’s water infrastructure
ties to vigilantly protect our water at its source. water tunnels. We will also build a back-up not only ensure the reliable delivery of clean
And we must complete projects planned for tunnel to Staten Island and enhance our water water but also create jobs and stimulate the
our water infrastructure to ensure a continuous main infrastructure. economy. The City’s three largest water net-
supply of high-quality water. work projects alone—the Croton Water Filtra-
To support the entire water supply system and tion Plant, the Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet (UV)
improve service for residents, we will improve Disinfection Facility, and City Water Tunnel No.
Our Plan the efficiency of our existing infrastructure. We
will use new technology to increase transpar-
3—have created approximately 6,100 construc-
tion and construction-related jobs.
A renewed era of capital investment is underway ency to customers and enhance our ability to
to ensure that the water supply system remains detect leaks. We will also decrease stress on The costs of these investments are high, but
viable for generations to come. To protect drink- the system through continued water conserva- the cost of inaction would be greater.
ing water quality and ensure reliable delivery, tion efforts.
we will invest nearly $7 billion over the next 10
years.

Protecting our water supply at its source is our


highest priority. We will thwart new threats Our plan for water supply:
to our watershed and continue to protect our
supply from development that endangers water Ensure the quality of our drinking water
quality. At the same time, we will continue to
1 Continue the Watershed Protection Program
support economic activity—like sustainable
agriculture with partners including the Water- 2 Protect the water supply from hydrofracking for natural gas
shed Agricultural Council—that can be under- 3 Complete the Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Facility
taken in a way that protects the city’s watershed. 4 Complete the Croton Water Filtration Plant
We will continue our program to acquire water-
shed lands from willing sellers. We will also com-
Maintain and enhance the infrastructure that delivers water
plete major projects to enhance drinking water
to New York City
quality, such as a filtration plant for the Croton
system and an ultraviolet disinfection facility for 5 Repair the Delaware Aqueduct
the Catskill and Delaware systems. 6 Connect the Delaware and Catskill Aqueducts
7 Pressurize the Catskill Aqueduct
We will establish a more reliable water supply
by undertaking maintenance and repairs of 8 Maintain and upgrade dams
key infrastructure that brings water to New
York City. We will repair the leaking Delaware Modernize in-city distribution
aqueduct and maintain the city’s water supply 9 Complete City Water Tunnel No. 3
capacity during the construction of the bypass
10 Build a backup tunnel to Staten Island
tunnel. We will also make critical investments
to shore up our ability to convey water from the 11 Upgrade water main infrastructure
Catskill and Delaware watersheds and deliver it
to New Yorkers. Improve the efficiency of the water supply system
12 Increase operational efficiency with new technology
Within the city limits, we will continue to make
historic levels of investment in our in-city dis- 13 Increase water conservation
tribution systems. We will complete City Water

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 79


Albany Co un t y
New York City Watershed System Schoharie NEW YORK
Reservoir MASSACHUSETTS
considered part of the Gr een e C o u n ty
delaware and catskill systems

Shandaken
iles Tunnel 1927
5M
12

Catskill System, 1905–1928


Cannonsville Pepacton
Reservoir Reservoir • C onsists of Ashoken and Schoharie Reservoirs,
C o lu m
the Shandaken bTunnel, the Catskill Aqueduct,

Eso
ia C o
unty

pus
and the Kensico and Hillview Reservoirs

Cre
ek
are
Ashokan • Provides 40% of the city’s water supply
We

Br law East Delaware Reservoir


st

an
h De Tunnel 1955 • Supplies 600 million gallons per day
a nc
ch

iles
De

Br

Delaware West
M
law

st

100 Delaware
Ea

County
are

Tunnel 1964

Hudso
n River
Rondout Catskill
Delaw Neversink Neversink Reservoir Aqueduct
are Reservoir
R Tunnel 1917 NEW YORK
1954
ive

Delaware
r

Aqueduct CONNECTICUT
1940s
Delaware System, 1940–1964
• C onsists of Cannonsville, Pepacton, Uls te r Cou n t y
Neversink, and Rondout Reservoirs,
S ul l i v an County
and the Delaware Aqueduct
Neversink Riv

• Provides 50% of the city’s water supply


• Supplies 890 million gallons per day
er

Dutchess Count y

Delaw Boyds Corner


are
Reservoir Middle
Lake
Riv

r Branch
e

West Branch Gleneida Reservoir


Reservoir Bog Brook
P utnam Cou n ty Reservoir
Lake
s

East Branch
ile

Gilead
Reservoir
M

Kirk Lake
75

Croton Falls Diverting


Reservoir Reservoir
Orange Titicus
Amawalk
Croton System, 1842–1917 County
Reservoir Reservoir
• C ontains 12 reservoirs, three controlled New Croton Cross River
lakes, the Croton Aqueduct, and the Reservoir Reservoir
PENNSYLVANIA
Jerome and Central Park Reservoirs
Hu

Muscoot
ds

Reservoir
on

Westchester
• Provides 10% of the city’s water supply
Ri

County
ver

Rockland County
• Supplies 180 million gallons per day
Croton
Aqueduct CONNECTICUT
NEW YORK 1893
Kensico
Reservoir
all)
er it y H
mC
iv
kR
f( ro
sin

s
ile Delaware
ver

M Catskill Long Island Sound


Aqueduct
Ne

25 NEW JERSEY Aqueduct


iles
50 M

Jerome Park Hillview


Reservoir Reservoir
In-city Distribution System, 1917–today
• C onsists of three water tunnels and water Bronx
main network Water Tunnel
No.3 1996
Manhattan Nassau County
Queens
Water Tunnel
No.1 1917 Water Tunnel
No.2 1936
Queens
Groundwater
Service Area
Brooklyn
Richmond
Silver Lake Park Tunnel 1970
(underground storage tanks)
Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection N Staten
Island

New York Bay


80 Atlantic Ocean
New York City’s Watersheds and the Marcellus Shale
New YORK CITY WATERSHEDS
MARCELLUS SHALE

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


A natural gas drilling site in Pennsylvania

Ensure the quality of our We will replace failing septic systems, preserve
wetlands, and upgrade wastewater treatment
the Watershed Agricultural Council to promote
sustainable farming techniques that limit the
drinking water facilities in towns near our reservoirs. We will amount of fertilizer and other waste products
work with private land owners to improve land that run into our reservoirs.
The health, welfare, and economic well-being of management practices. By working with sur-
all New Yorkers are linked to the quality of our rounding communities, we will continue to The Watershed Protection Program is costly,
drinking water. That is why we will continue to implement sustainable practices that bring but compared to the costs of constructing and
aggressively protect our watershed from devel- economic development to the region and clean operating a filtration plant, as well as the envi-
opment and hydrofracking, construct an ultra- water to New York City. ronmental impacts of the additional energy and
violet disinfection facility for our upstate water chemicals required by filtration, it is the most
supplies, and build a state-of-the-art filtration We will continue to acquire watershed lands cost-effective choice for New York.
plant in the Bronx for the Croton system. from willing sellers when possible. City owner-
ship of land ensures that crucial natural areas
remain undeveloped, while eliminating the INITIATIVE 2
INITIATIVE 1 threat from more damaging uses. Protect the water supply from
Continue the Watershed Protection hydrofracking for natural gas
New York City protects more than 115,000
Program acres of watershed land through land owner-
ship or conservation easement—including Lying beneath the Catskill and Delaware water-
New York is one of only five major cities in the more than 78,000 acres acquired since 2002. sheds is a small portion of the Marcellus Shale
United States that doesn’t filter the bulk of its To maintain this successful program and meet rock formation. This is one of the largest poten-
surface water sources. Although the 1986 Safe the requirements of our current FAD, we will tial sources of natural gas in the United States.
Drinking Water Act mandated such facilities, contact the owners of at least 50,000 acres of Numerous land owners and natural gas com-
New York City—along with Boston, Portland, land every year. To achieve our land acquisition panies are seeking permission from the State
San Francisco, and Seattle—received a special goals, we secured re-authorization of our Land DEC to extract this gas through a process called
waiver, known as a Filtration Avoidance Deter- Acquisition Program from the New York State hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking.
mination (FAD). The FAD covers the Catskill and Department of Environmental Conservation
Delaware watersheds and ensures, for now, A scientific analysis commissioned by the City
(State DEC) in 2010. We will continue to strike
that the City of New York will not need to build a found that hydrofracking within the watershed
a careful balance between protecting drinking
costly filtration plant for the 90% of its water that requires a level of industrialization that would
water quality and facilitating sustainable local
comes from these two sources. Since 1993, this threaten drinking water quality for nine mil-
economic development.
waiver has been re-evaluated periodically, and lion New Yorkers. This study cited the potential
the federal government issued New York City a The success of this program is possible thanks introduction of thousands of tons of hazardous
new 10-year FAD for the city’s water supply in to strong partnerships with local stakeholders chemicals into the ground, damage to distribu-
July 2007. and communities throughout the watershed. tion tunnels, and clearing of thousands of acres
Through our work with the Catskill Watershed of land if hydrofracking were to occur within our
To protect our customers and maintain our unfil- Corporation, 203 watershed businesses have upstate watershed.
tered water supply, we must continue to protect received $48 million in loans over the last 12
water quality. That is why we are implementing Based on current science and technology, we
years to support tourism, hospitality, manu-
a $462 million Watershed Protection Program believe that hydrofracking can’t safely be con-
facturing, and other industries. We worked
that targets the greatest potential threats and ducted in the city’s watershed. The process
with local communities to rehabilitate more
enlists the help of the surrounding towns, busi- would pose an unacceptable risk to 90% of the
than 3,500 septic systems. We will continue to
nesses, and organizations. The Watershed Pro- city’s daily water supply, on which half of the
rehabilitate an estimated 300 residential septic
tection Program is a unique strategy that com- State’s residents and millions of workers and visi-
systems per year and install new wastewater
bines protection, land acquisition, and environ- tors rely. In light of the negative impacts it would
treatment systems in a number of communi-
mentally-sustainable economic development to have, drilling in the watershed can’t be justi-
ties. We will also continue our partnership with
maintain the high quality of our water supply. fied. We oppose natural gas drilling within the

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 81


watershed and will continue to work with the
State DEC to secure the prohibition of hydrof-
racking within the city’s watersheds.

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


INITIATIVE 3
Complete the Catskill/Delaware
Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Facility
Although water from the Delaware and Catskill
watersheds doesn’t need to be filtered, it must
be treated with chlorine to protect against bac-
teria, such as E. Coli, that could affect public Rendering of the Croton Water Filtration Plant
health. Chlorine kills most pathogens and pre-
vents the spread of waterborne diseases. How-
ever, it is not as effective against certain patho- construction by 2013. Once complete, the plant To re-establish the integrity of the tunnel, we will
gens, such as Cryptosporidium, that can cause will feature the city’s largest green roof—in the undertake a $2.1 billion project to build a bypass
stomach illness, particularly for very young and form of a golf driving range—and will be able to tunnel around the leak in Roseton, repair the
elderly people. While there is no indication that provide up to 290 million gallons per day (mgd) leak in Wawarsing from inside the tunnel, secure
these pathogens pose a public health risk in the of clean water from our oldest watershed. This alternative water sources, and implement con-
city’s water supply, federal rules require that $3 billion project includes more than $240 mil- servation measures during the shutdown. The
public water systems treat their supplies with lion for parks and other improvements for the Delaware Aqueduct will be temporarily shut
two forms of disinfection. surrounding community. down for 6 to 15 months, during which time the
city’s water supply will have to be augmented to
To satisfy that requirement, we will complete meet demand. Much of this increase will come
the world’s largest ultraviolet disinfection facil- Maintain and enhance the from key infrastructure upgrades that will be
ity in 2012. The $1.6 billion plant will use ultra- complete by the time the Delaware Aqueduct
violet light to deactivate certain pathogens. infrastructure that delivers needs to be shut off. In addition to the Croton
The facility will have the capacity to treat more water to New York City Water Filtration Plant, which will provide up
than two billion gallons of Catskill and Delaware to 290 mgd of filtered water, upgrades at the
water per day. Delivering water to New York City requires a vast Cross River and Croton Falls pumping stations,
network of infrastructure that was largely built rehabilitation of the New Croton Aqueduct, and
before World War II. To ensure a reliable water restoration work in the Catskill Aqueduct will
INITIATIVE 4 supply, we will fix the Delaware Aqueduct leaks increase the amount of water that can be piped
Complete the Croton Water and upgrade key dams within our reservoirs. down each day from the Croton and Catskill
We will also connect the Delaware and Catskill watersheds. We will upgrade the former Jamaica
Filtration Plant groundwater system in Queens to provide an
Aqueducts and pressurize the Catskill Aqueduct
The Croton system is the smallest and oldest of to increase capacity and reduce the impacts of additional 30 to 60 mgd during the temporary
the city’s watersheds. It is capable of supplying turbid water. These efforts will improve redun- shutdown. We will also invest in conservation
about 10% of the city’s needs annually, and up dancy for our water supply system and ensure efforts to reduce overall demand.
to 30% in a drought, or if parts of the Catskill or that we have the flexibility to reliably provide
clean water to New Yorkers. Design for a bypass tunnel is already underway,
Delaware supplies became inaccessible.
and we expect to break ground before the end
When the Croton system first came online in of 2013.
1842, the surrounding area in Westchester INITIATIVE 5
County was predominantly rural. Since then, Repair the Delaware Aqueduct INITIATIVE 6
more than one million people have moved into
the watershed, paving over fields, wetlands, and The 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct, completed in Connect the Delaware and Catskill
forests. Today the Croton watershed is highly 1944, conveys approximately half of the city’s Aqueducts
developed. Although the water supply currently drinking water—more than 500 mgd—from
meets all health-based water quality standards, four upstate reservoirs. Since 1992, we have The Delaware and Catskill Aqueducts cross
Croton water has seasonal variations in color, been monitoring stable, yet continuous leaks at within yards of each other in Ulster County but
odor, and taste. two locations on the 45-mile section that carries do not connect. Due to steep slopes and fine
water from the Rondout Reservoir to the West soils left from glacial lakes, at times runoff from
To meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Branch Reservoir. After 10 years of study, we the Catskill watershed can cause the waters in
Water Act, the City was ordered to build a filtra- have identified the locations of the most signifi- Ashokan Reservoir to become turbid, or less
tion plant for the Croton watershed. The Croton cant leakage—near the towns of Wawarsing and clear, due to an increase in the amount of matter
Water Fltration Plant—the city’s first—is being Roseton-—where the aqueduct passes through suspended in the water.
constructed beneath the Mosholu Golf Course limestone, a rock more susceptible to wear and
in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Hundreds of tear than the sandstone, shale, gneiss, and gran-
skilled workers are onsite every day to complete ite that form the vast majority of the tunnel.

82 WATER SUPPLY
Delaware Aqueduct New Bypass Tunnel Illustration

Bypass Tunnel Shafts CASE STUDY


Delaware Aqueduct Repair
Existing Existing
The Delaware Aqueduct brings at least 500 mil-

Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


Shaft 6 Shaft 5A
Existing Tunnel lion gallons of water to New York City every day.
But deep below the ground in Orange and Ulster
County, parts of the aqueduct are leaking. We
must fix the Delaware Aqueduct leaks to achieve
Bypass Tunnel long-term reliability of our water supply and
ensure future growth and prosperity.
Testing and monitoring the leaks provides
critical information that is helping us design
a cost-effective solution that will minimize any
disruption to the city’s water supply. Using dye,
backflow, hydrostatic tests, and hourly flow
We will connect our two upstate watersheds purchased 76 small dams through the Land monitors to get near real-time data, we know
to move cleaner water from the Delaware Acquisition Program. Many of these vital pieces the volume of the leaks. The data clearly show
watershed into the Catskill Aqueduct. This will of infrastructure, like the Gilboa Dam, were con- that the rate of leakage has remained constant
increase the system’s conveyance capacity by structed almost a century ago and require repair since we began monitoring the problem in 1992.
300 mgd from four key reservoirs and signifi- and maintenance.
cantly increase our ability to deliver the highest In 2003 and 2009, we launched an Autonomous
quality water to nine million New Yorkers. The These massive pieces of infrastructure require Underwater Vehicle (AUV)—a cutting-edge,
interconnection is in design, and construction is particular attention due to the enormous poten- self-propelled submarine-shaped vehicle built
on schedule to begin in 2012. tial consequences of neglect. While all of our in partnership with engineers at Woods Hole
dams meet existing dam safety standards, even Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts—
partial failure could cause downstream com- to conduct a detailed survey of the entire
NITIATIVE 7 munities to be flooded. That is why we continu- length of tunnel that connects the Rondout
ously conduct maintenance and assessments. and the West Branch reservoirs. The AUV took
Pressurize the Catskill Aqueduct 360-degree photographs every eight feet,
As part of this effort, we will continue to conduct
engineering inspections, as well as weekly and while also gathering sonar, velocity, and
Once we begin operating the Catskill/Delaware
monthly visual observations of our dam network. pressure data to assist in determining the
Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Facility, the Catskill
location, size, and characteristics of the leaks.
Aqueduct won’t be able to sustain the water
The Gilboa Dam in particular will be a focus of
pressures needed to convey water between To fix the leak, we will build a bypass tunnel
our dam rehabilitation efforts. In 2005, it was
Kensico Reservoir and the new ultraviolet disin- around the most significant portion of the aque-
determined that the Gilboa Dam didn’t meet
fection facility. The problem stems from a loss of duct that is leaking. We will also repair parts of
existing safety standards. Emergency work took
40 feet of gravitational pressure that was neces- the concrete liner in the existing tunnel. During
place to anchor the dam until further improve-
sary for construction of the ultraviolet disinfec- the first phase of construction between 2013
ments could be made. To upgrade the Gilboa
tion facility. and 2016, we will build new shafts to connect
Dam to meet new dam safety standards, a $300
million rehabilitation project is underway that is
the aqueduct to the bypass tunnel.
We will pressurize the Catskill Aqueduct to
increase the volume of ultraviolet-treated water on schedule to be completed in 2016.
The three-mile bypass tunnel will go around the
that can be delivered from the Catskill and Dela- leaking parts of the tunnel and be constructed
ware watersheds. As climate change increases between 2015 and 2019. Once the bypass tun-
the intensity and frequency of rain events that Modernize in-city nel is complete and ready for connection, the
can impair water quality, it is essential to main-
tain maximum flexibility in the choice of source
distribution aqueduct will be shut down. While the aqueduct
is shut off, workers will fix cracking in Wawars-
waters that can be tapped to meet the city’s Some of the oldest parts of our system are the ing by injecting grouting from the inside of the
drinking water needs. tunnels, water mains, and pipes that carry water tunnel near the affected areas.
within the five boroughs. More than 1,000 miles
But before the tunnel can be shut down and
of water pipes—out of 6,700—are already more
INITIATIVE 8 repaired, we must prepare the water supply
than a century old.
system by completing several pieces of crucial
Maintain and upgrade dams
We must develop ways to ensure reliable dis- infrastructure, such as the Croton Water Filtra-
The dams that impound our reservoirs are a criti- tribution of water across the city. We must tion and upgrades to the Jamaica groundwater
cal part of New York City’s water supply system. complete City Water Tunnel No. 3 to make the system in Queens. These upgrades will help
Throughout our three upstate watersheds, we system fully redundant and make it possible to
maintain the city’s water supply capacity while
own 29 dams that are considered “high hazard” take Tunnel No. 1 out of service. We must also
the bypass tunnel is connected.
based on the possibility of serious economic improve reliability by constructing a backup This multi-year effort will ensure that we can
damage, environmental harm, and loss of human tunnel to Staten Island and continue to aggres- continue to deliver the highest quality water to
life if they were to fail. Since 1997, we have also sively upgrade and replace aging water mains. nine million New Yorkers for generations to come.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 83


Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


Installation of shafts for City Water Tunnel No. 3 City workers repairing a water main

INITIATIVE 9 a new 72-inch water tunnel that can deliver up system, use less energy and fewer chemicals
to 150 mgd to Staten Island. Construction is for treatment, and provide additional flexibility
Complete City Water Tunnel No. 3
scheduled to begin this year and will be com- during droughts and extreme weather events.
Construction on City Water Tunnel No. 3, the plete by 2014.
largest and most expensive capital project in
the city’s history, began in 1970. The 60-mile INITIATIVE 12
tunnel was designed in stages, beginning at the INITIATIVE 11 Increase operational efficiency
Hillview reservoir in Yonkers, traveling through Upgrade water main infrastructure with new technology
the Bronx, moving south to the tip of Manhattan
and then on to Brooklyn and Queens. Once water leaves our in-city-tunnels, it travels Historically, most water customers had their
through 6,700 miles of water mains to reach water consumption manually measured every
We are currently completing Stage 2 of this proj- our homes. These aging pipes require continual three months. This meant that neither the
ect, which consists of the Manhattan and Brook- maintenance and occasional upgrades. We will City nor residents had the tools to accurately
lyn/Queens legs. Work on the tunnel portion build out and replace critical water supply infra- manage water use or detect leaks. To address
of the Brooklyn/Queens leg, which will deliver structure to support the growth of the Coney this limitation, we will complete installation of
water to Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, is Island community and make thousands of hous- new automatic meter reading (AMR) devices
substantially complete. The Manhattan leg will ing units and offices possible at Atlantic Yards. for all 835,000 water customers by 2012. We
be completed by the end of 2013. We anticipate We will replace distribution mains in Jamaica have already installed more than 650,000 AMR
activating the Brooklyn/Queens leg by 2025. Estates in Queens and Pelham Parkway in the devices across the city, which puts us right on
The completion of City Water Tunnel No. 3 will Bronx. We will also complete the trunk main net- schedule.
enable us to shut down City Water Tunnel No. 1 work in the Rockaways in Queens. Our commit-
for inspection and potential repairs. ment to upgrading and maintaining our system The installation of an AMR system is a critical
will save ratepayers money by preventing costly step to conserving water and saving money for
water main breaks and help support economic New Yorkers. This technology provides real-time,
INITIATIVE 10 development in every borough. web-based information about water consump-
Build a backup tunnel to Staten tion. It offers property owners the tools to reduce
water use and find and repair leaks before they
Island
Improve the efficiency of create unmanageable bills. The new wireless
equipment will end the use of estimated water
Staten Island is currently served by the five-
mile-long Richmond Tunnel, which connects the
the water supply system bills, giving homeowners and small businesses
borough to City Water Tunnel No. 2. Completed more accurate and timely records of usage.
Optimizing the water system reduces stress on
in 1972, the Richmond Tunnel tripled carrying water infrastructure and supports all compo- Using new real-time consumption data available
capacity to Staten Island. nents of the supply and distribution network. By through AMR online, we launched a voluntary
increasing the efficiency of our existing system, notification program in 2011 to alert property
Currently, two pipelines embedded in New York
we will simultaneously reduce demand and owners when their water consumption appears
Harbor provide redundancy for the Richmond
increase supply, thus making the system more to deviate from normal usage. Spikes in water
Tunnel. However, the Port Authority of New York
affordable and effective for residents. use can indicate a costly leak if not addressed
and New Jersey (Port Authority) is deepening
the harbor channel for larger container ships quickly. We will also develop a smart phone
By implementing new technology to track and
to spur regional economic development. This application to allow customers to track their
monitor water usage, we will better manage
requires the replacement of a significant part of water use and respond to potential leaks and
the city’s water system and use our resources
Staten Island’s supply. consumption spikes on the go.
more efficiently. Although our water supply is
currently abundant, we will increase water con- Today, many of the largest water users are still
In partnership with the Port Authority and the
servation. This will reduce wear and tear on the billed an annual flat fee that often doesn’t accu-
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we will construct
rately reflect a property’s actual water use. We

84 WATER SUPPLY
CASE STUDY New York City Average Daily Water Consumption
Water Consumption 1955 – 2010

Population growth has increased demand for


housing, energy, and transportation infrastructure 1600

across the city. Yet, New Yorkers use less water


today than they did 50 years ago. 1500

B>AA>DCHD;<6AADCHE:G96N
We have not always used our water supply so 1400
efficiently. Water consumption rates hovered around
unsustainable levels as recently as two decades ago. 1300 >C'%%.L:JH:9
A:HHL6I:GI=6C
High consumption rates overburdened the supply 6I6CNI>B:>C
G:8:CI=>HIDGN
system and left the city’s water levels precari- 1200
ously low during droughts. Instead of investing in
large capital projects to increase supply, the City 1100
implemented several initiatives that helped bring
consumption to near historic lows. 1000
1955 ’60 ’65 ’70 ’75 ’80 ’85 ’90 ’95 2000 ’05 ’10
Beginning in 1985, the City began installing meters
at properties to track water consumption. This Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection
allowed the City to charge residents and businesses
based on how much water they consumed, instead
of using an estimated rate. As people saw how switch. Shower heads and faucets were exchanged Although current levels of water consumption
much water they used—and how much they paid for for low-flow fixtures at the same time. The program are near historic lows, it is important to maintain
it—consumption dropped by a total of 200 million replaced 1.3 million inefficient toilets between 1994 these gains to prepare for the Delaware Aqueduct
gallons day (mgd). and 1997, reducing average consumption by 70 mgd repair or increased volatility that may occur due
In 1994, the City expanded its conservation efforts and decreasing water usage by 37% in participating to climate change.
by launching the world’s largest toilet replace- apartment buildings.
ment program. In order to speed the transition to Advances in technology, stricter efficiency standards,
new federally-mandated high-efficiency toilets, and conservation incentives have reduced consump-
the City offered incentives for owners to make the tion levels by 200 mgd over the last two decades.

will replace the city’s 30,000 largest meters


over the next 10 years to increase the number
In 2011, we will release a design manual for
water conservation in buildings. We will also
Conclusion
of large customers on metered billing. This will seek opportunities to use advanced strategies New Yorkers sometimes take for granted that
help ensure that the cost of water and sewer for water conservation in new and existing City- we can turn on a tap and instantly get pure
services is fairly distributed. owned buildings water that has traveled more than 100 miles. We
shouldn’t take this for granted. This essential ser-
Finally, we will develop next-generation forecast- Because older toilets and fixtures use three to
vice is possible only because of extensive infra-
ing technology to ensure the optimal use of the five times as much water as today’s standard fix-
structure, the product of the foresight, ingenuity,
entire reservoir system for New Yorkers and other tures, we will replace old and inefficient toilets
and financial investment of prior generations.
stakeholders. This new technology will enable in City government buildings. We will also ana-
us to more precisely anticipate storms, forecast lyze the costs and benefits of the widespread The initiatives described above are essential.
the impact of weather events on water quantity replacement of inefficient toilets citywide as we But they are not inexpensive. Each will take a
and quality, and supply the highest quality water develop a strategy to achieve an optimal level of sustained commitment of public resources and
to the city. Our new system will also allow us to water consumption for the city. communication so that New Yorkers are better
increase the volumes we can safely release to aware of what it takes to supply a billion gal-
our regional partners without any additional risk The absence of rules or recommendations on
lons or more of clean, great-tasting water every
to our supply of high-quality water. how to safely and efficiently use captured rain
day. By making these critical investments, and
or water recycled from showers and sinks—
making more efficient use of existing resources,
also known as greywater—has inhibited its use
we will ensure New Yorkers will enjoy a reliable
INITIATIVE 13 in New York City. Due to the city’s population
water supply for generations to come.
density, careful planning and oversight must be
Increase water conservation
considered in order to protect public health,
The city’s water usage has been declining prevent cross contamination, and to ensure the
despite population growth. We will implement long-term sustainability of water re-use proj-
several programs to continue this trend in the ects. The State DEC is charged under New York
years ahead. State law with developing statewide standards
for re-use. They are expected to release a report
We will lead by example by increasing water to guide regulatory decisions in the near future.
conservation in City government buildings. We will work within the State’s comprehensive
Recent high-performance City buildings prove standards to encourage re-use, remove barri-
that meaningful results can be achieved with ers in local building codes, conduct cost/benefit
little or no cost increase and can reduce potable analysis, establish long-term compliance man-
water consumption anywhere from 20 to 80%. agement and maintenance requirements, and,
where appropriate, provide incentives.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 85


Transportation
Credit: AP Worldwide Photos/Henny Ray Abrams
Together we can
Improve and expand sustainable
transportation infrastructure and options
Reduce congestion on our roads,
bridges, and at our airports
Maintain and improve the physical
condition of our roads and transit system
I live in Tottenville which is the last exit in
New York City. Public transportation is not that
great, and I don’t know anyone that relies on A ferry is really a cool part of an urban
transport on Staten Island. It may not be the experience. It slows down life for a few minutes,
easiest or the best, but driving is really the and it’s a cool way to see parts of the city that you
only way to get around. Whether you take might not otherwise see, and pass neighborhoods
Richmond, Hylan, or Victory Blvd, driving in that you wouldn’t otherwise know. It would be
Staten Island will take you 40 minutes longer awesome if there were a great interconnected
than it should. I live 20 minutes, without traffic, system that would let me take ferries around
from my college but it can take up to an hour different parts of the city—it would give me
with traffic! That’s outrageous. even more reason not to have to drive my car.
Brigitte Franco // Staten Island Karen Levy // Brooklyn

Walking, biking, driving, or taking one of the best


I need to be near a subway because I don’t subway and bus systems on the planet, the NYC
drive. The subway is important to me because transportation network has carried me from
I do interpreting in the hospital so I have to go Pelham Bay’s rocky shores on Long Island Sound
to Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I need the to Brighton Beach and the sandy dunes of the
subway. I don’t want to drive a long way. Rockaways.
Farzana Morshed // Queens Paul Mankiewicz // Bronx

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 89


Transportation
Expand sustainable transportation choices and ensure the
reliability and high quality of our transportation network

Transportation systems shape a city’s growth In addition to capacity constraints, our infra-
and prosperity. New York City has benefited structure is also aging. At a time when transpor-
from billions of dollars of past investments in tation investment by state and federal govern-
our bridges, tunnels, roads and subways. Those ments is declining, we must find ways to invest in
investments connected New York to the world maintenance to keep the network reliable. While
and channeled development throughout the five we are working with state, federal, and regional
boroughs. The shape and reach of our transpor- agencies for a comprehensive solution, we will
tation system helped determine how and where continue to take innovative incremental steps to
we live and work today. improve the portions of the transportation net-
work directly under the City’s jurisdiction.
To support a vibrant economy now and for the
future, we must demonstrate a similar commit- Even in the face of chronic budget shortfalls, we
ment and maintain and expand our transpor- have shown we can find new ways to keep the
tation assets. We must also actively manage network reliable and increase the performance
our infrastructure to its highest return on of its assets.
investment. Our strategies must focus on our
key transportation needs: handling increased Through innovative strategies we have strength-
demand from population and job growth; opti- ened and expanded transportation choices
mizing the speed, safety, reliability and comfort throughout the city. We partnered with the
across modes; and managing the flow of goods Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to
into, out of, and around our city. launch the first bus rapid transit lines—Select
Bus Service (SBS). The city’s bike network has
New York City’s transportation network—our nearly doubled. We made it easier and safer
roads, bridges, tunnels, subways, commuter to walk with the Safe Routes to Transit, Safe
rails, buses, taxis, sidewalks, airports, train sta- Routes to Schools, and Safe Streets for Seniors
tions, and ferries—moves more people and programs. Projects like Green Light for Midtown
goods than any other system in the country. The have simplified traffic patterns, improved pedes-
system performs remarkably well, considering trian safety, and created new public plazas
the sheer number of people and tons of things throughout the city.
being moved and the myriad of federal, regional,
state, local, and private sector transportation To reduce congestion, we installed more than
agencies and entities involved. But in many 4,500 Muni-Meters, increasing capacity for curb-
ways, we still face significant challenges. side parking. We launched Park Smart, a pilot
program that promotes parking turnover in busy
Many New Yorkers have long, unreliable, or commercial areas. The City and the MTA also
crowded commutes. Our transit system faces secured state approval to continue using red
large budget shortfalls. Our ability to add capac- light cameras to enforce traffic laws and install
ity is limited. The cost of distributing freight is cameras on buses to ticket drivers who block
high compared to other cities. And our passen- dedicated bus lanes.
ger and freight gateways to the rest of the nation
and world are not worthy of a global city. We used one-time federal stimulus funding stra-
tegically to begin 31 major repair projects on
Failing to address these issues imposes a cost our transportation network, including upgrades
on all New Yorkers. The Partnership for New York to the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island
City estimates that traffic congestion, including and rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge.
reduced productivity, increased shipping times,
and pollution-related health problems, costs the
New York region more than $13 billion per year.

90 TRANSPORTATION
New York City Traffic Volumes and Transit Ridership How New Yorkers Get to Work
=dlCZlNdg`Zgh<ZiidLdg`
Transit ridership traffic volume

150

Di]Zg
140 &(
Ldg`ZYVi=dbZ 9gdkZ6adcZ
) '(
130
>C9:M

120
8VgeddaZY
*
110

7jh
100 HjWlVndgGV^agdVY &'
)(

90
1993

1994

2003

2004
1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009
Source: NYC Dept. of Transportation Source: American Community Survey 2007-2009

We have also experienced some setbacks. Four


years ago, we proposed a plan to reduce traf-
Our Plan trial ferry service along the East River. Building
on the substantial investments we have made in
fic congestion and provide critical funding for We will continue to expand transportation our bike network, we will work to fill in gaps in
transit to improve bus and subway service. Like options for New Yorkers, and also invest hun- our system and connect riders to other modes
the first gasoline tax proposal to pay for roads dreds of millions of dollars to maintain the assets of transit by installing bike racks near subway
decades ago, the plan to charge drivers in the they depend on. We will work with the MTA to stations. And we will continue to make improve-
Manhattan Central Business District and devote improve the convenience and speed of our bus ments to enhance pedestrian safety.
the proceeds to improving transportation was network. We will continue to support the mega-
controversial. The plan’s merits were extensively To reduce congestion on our roads, bridges, and
projects currently under construction to expand
debated, and the projected costs and benefits airports we will pilot technology and pricing-
our subway system. To better meet the demand
were broadly evaluated. It would have improved based mechanisms. We will modify our park-
for taxis to underserved areas, we will expand
traffic conditions and transit service. ing policies to reduce cruising and encourage
“yellow-caliber” taxi service throughout the city.
greater vehicle turnover, using pricing to manage
While a state commission modified the plan and To provide growing waterfront communities demand for scarce on-street metered parking.
reached a broad consensus in favor of it, the with transportation options, we will launch a
State Legislature chose not to vote on it. The
Legislature did adopt a payroll mobility tax on
employers in the region and a taxi surcharge,
as well as other motor vehicle related fees.
The state plan, which still required transit fare
increases, left a large funding gap for system
Our plan for transportation:
improvements, normal asset replacement, and
Improve and expand sustainable transportation infrastructure and options
expansion of transit. Due to the national reces-
sion, the payroll tax revenue fell short of fore- 1 Improve and expand bus service throughout the city
cast and resulted in shortfalls that the MTA filled 2 Improve and expand subway and commuter rail
through cost savings, including reductions in 3 Expand for-hire vehicle service throughout our neighborhoods
bus and subway service. In short, as a result of
policy choices compounded by the effects of
4 Promote car-sharing
the national recession, transit service has been 5 Expand and improve ferry service
reduced, fares have increased, taxes have been 6 Make bicycling safer and more convenient
levied on employers, and capital maintenance for
7 Enhance pedestrian access and safety
the future of our transit system is in question.
Reduce congestion on our roads, bridges, and at our airports
This instability of financial support for New York
City’s transit system jeopardizes our economy 8 Pilot technology and pricing-based mechanisms to reduce traffic congestion
and quality of life. We will continue to work with 9 Modify parking regulations to balance the needs of neighborhoods
all of our partners at the regional, state, and fed-
10 Reduce truck congestion on city streets
eral levels to find ways to reduce congestion and
finance our transit network. But we cannot afford 11 Improve freight movement
to wait for others to act. We will take action in 12 Improve our gateways to the nation and world
a variety of incremental ways to enhance our
transportation network and mobility options for Maintain and improve the physical condition of our roads and transit system
New Yorkers. 13 Seek funding to maintain and improve our mass transit network
14 Maintain and improve our roads and bridges

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 91


Case Study
SBS Riders

Two bus rapid transit routes—the Bx12 SBS along


Fordham Road in the Bronx and the M15 SBS along
First and Second Avenues in Manhattan—now move
passengers quickly along what once were some of
the slowest bus routes in the city.

Credit: NYC Dept. of Transportation/Theodora Ravago


SBS buses are faster than conventional local or
limited bus lines because passengers pay their
fare before boarding. The buses also have
exclusive use of travel lanes to avoid traffic and
smart traffic lights that stay green longer or turn
green earlier when a bus approaches. When the
bus arrives, passengers can get on using three
different doors, decreasing the amount of time
the bus spends at each stop.
Passengers boarding an SBS bus after paying their fares at vending machines

For Jose R. Mejia, SBS has dramatically improved


his trip across the Bronx. Each weekend, he travels
place to place. Anything that facilities efficiency is a better line on First Avenue made me switch to
by bus from Southern Boulevard to Sedgwick
necessary.” And SBS is doing just that. By 2013, travel on First as much as possible.”
Avenue to visit his family. Before SBS, this would
there will be Select Bus Service in all five boroughs.
take close to an hour. Now using SBS, the trip to With the next SBS routes rolling out on 34th Street
visit his family takes thirty to forty minutes. Manhattan resident A. Scott Falk frequently goes in Manhattan, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island,
out of his way to take the SBS. “I live between and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, we will cut
According to Jose, “SBS is necessary because the
Second and Third Avenues, so it used to make travel time and improve bus travel for more New
city needs to move people more efficiently from
more sense for me to ride one of the multiple bus Yorkers, making the bus a more desirable option.
lines on Third if I wanted to go uptown. But having

We will work with the Port Authority of New York INITIATIVE 1 had been one of the slowest bus routes in the
and New Jersey (Port Authority) and other part- city, improved by 17% and ridership grew by
Improve and expand bus service
ners to improve our freight network, including 6%. Other features with applicability to non-
truck, rail, maritime, and aviation. throughout the city SBS routes include Transit Signal Prioritization
(TSP), which enables traffic lights to recognize
All of these efforts will be successful only if we Buses carry 2.3 million riders each week day. In approaching buses and either turn the light
are able to maintain and improve the physical many neighborhoods, buses are the only transit green or keep it green to allow buses to move
condition of our roads and transit system. We options for residents, providing a critical link to more quickly. We will install TSP on 11 routes in
will seek resources to improve our roadways and jobs, shopping and recreation. Building on les- all five boroughs. We will also make operational
change our permitting process to better manage sons from other cities, we have partnered with changes to improve bus priority on the Ed Koch
roadwork, which causes congestion. We will the MTA to use technology to make bus service Queensboro Bridge to make travel between the
also continue to work with the MTA, the State, more attractive and convenient for the cus- boroughs quicker and more efficient. Working
and neighboring jurisdictions to identify stable tomer. with the MTA, we will implement SBS features
funding for transit operations, maintenance, and on other lines to make our bus system quicker,
expansion in the metropolitan area. In 2008, the MTA and the City launched the
easier, and more dependable for the customer.
city’s first SBS route, along Fordham Road in
the Bronx. SBS routes use off-board fare collec- Most New Yorkers today get their real-time
tion, dedicated bus lanes, signal prioritization,
Improve and expand and efficient spacing of bus stops to speed trips
bus information by peering anxiously down
the street looking for the next bus. MTA Bus
sustainable transportation for riders. Travel time on the Fordham SBS line, Time, the MTA’s new real-time bus informa-
the Bx12, improved by 20% over the service it
infrastructure and options replaced and total ridership increased by 10%.
tion system, will tell riders where their bus is
by using a mobile web interface, a text-based
In 2010 the MTA installed additional SBS lines cell phone service, or on-street LCD displays.
In general, one-third of all trips made in the city
along First and Second Avenues in Manhattan. MTA Bus Time is currently available on the B63
are by transit, one-third by foot, and one-third
We will work with the MTA to expand SBS by in Brooklyn and will be installed on all 31 bus
by car. But transit has an even bigger share of
adding routes on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, routes in Staten Island.
trips between home and work, and moreover,
34th Street in Manhattan, and Hylan Boulevard
most of the growth in intra-city travel since the
in Staten Island, and we are studying improved
1999 has been accommodated on transit—lead-
bus access to LaGuardia Airport in Queens.
ing to subway ridership at its highest levels in
fifty years. By providing New Yorkers with more Regular buses can also use many of the features
choices for transportation—particularly those that we piloted on our SBS routes. For example,
in neighborhoods with limited access to tran- when bus lanes were installed on 34th Street in
sit—we can improve mobility and quality of life. Manhattan, travel time on the M34 bus, which

92 TRANSPORTATION
A 2007 survey of yellow taxi passengers revealed
that 66% of riders believed that taxis helped them

Credit: Pat Cashin, Metropolitan Transportation Authority


live without a car. Ninety-seven percent of non-
car owning households in Northern Manhattan,
Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens reported that
they had used a car or taxi in the month prior to
participating in a 2009 survey. Taxis and car ser-
vices serve this important need.

But trying to find a taxi outside lower and central


Manhattan is difficult unless you’re at an airport.
Ninety-four percent of all taxi trips originate in
Manhattan, while 80% of city residents live in
Construction crews building the tunnels for the Second Avenue subway
Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
Demand for cab service in those boroughs and
northern Manhattan is now met by dial-in, radio-
INITIATIVE 2 We are also exploring areas, such as the North
dispatched car services rather than taxis.
Shore of Staten Island, where coordinated trans-
Improve and expand subway and
portation improvements could dramatically Under the current City code, it is illegal for car
commuter rail improve the quality of life for current and future services to pick up passengers who hail them on
residents, business owners, and visitors to the the street. As a result, New Yorkers who hail car
To meet our current and future needs, the MTA working waterfront. The North Shore is one of
is undertaking three mega-projects that rep- services have to take their chances with a mix of
the major maritime employment hubs in the unlicensed and licensed livery vehicles operating
resent the largest expansion of the New York region. We will complete an analysis of potential
regional transportation network in more than contrary to their licenses.
short-term improvements, focused on the area’s
seven decades. major east-west connector streets and problem- Hiring an unlicensed, unregulated car service
atic intersections. In anticipation of findings from is risky. Passengers who hail liveries cannot be
Construction of the Number 7 Line extension to
the MTA North Shore Right-of-Way Alternatives certain that they are getting into a vehicle driven
the Hudson Yards on the Far West Side of Man-
Analysis, we will also investigate minor reloca- by a licensed operator with proper insurance.
hattan is well underway and expected to be
tions of the former rail right-of-way to support Fares are variable, and haggling is common.
completed in 2013. The 7,000-foot, two-track
future transit use, to facilitate maritime business, Although the City recently passed rules that
extension will bring the Number 7 line from its
and to improve waterfront access. have improved passengers’ ability to distinguish
current terminus at Times Square, along 41st
Street to 11th Avenue and then south to 34th a licensed livery vehicle from an unlicensed vehi-
Despite significant population growth and cle, passengers continue to unknowingly enter
Street, linking Far West Midtown and Flushing. economic expansion, no new rail tunnel has
The City has funded this extension by issuing unlicensed vehicles.
been built under the Hudson River in a century.
bonds against the expected appreciation in tax Expanding trans-Hudson rail capacity is a critical We will expand “yellow-caliber” taxi service to
revenues resulting from the redevelopment of regional economic development and sustainabil- neighborhoods beyond lower and central Man-
West Side property, which will be induced by the ity priority. With Penn Station already at capacity hattan by licensing additional vehicles which
presence of the subway. and population projected to grow on both sides would provide street hail service in those areas
of the Hudson River, we are committed to work- which are currently underserved. By updating
The MTA is constructing Phase 1 of the Second
ing with our state and federal partners to iden- our regulations to more accurately serve the
Avenue Subway. When Phase 1 is completed,
tify cost-effective opportunities for additional demand which exists today, we can provide New
the Q Line will run on the Second Avenue Line
capacity in the bi-state corridor that is so vital to Yorkers with more options that enable them to
between 63rd Street and 96th Street. This new
both states and the nation. more easily live without owning a car.
capacity will relieve the most crowded segment
of the Lexington Avenue Line, which currently
carries about 1.3 million riders a day (more than
the Boston and Chicago subway systems com-
INITIATIVE 3 INITIATIVE 4
bined). Phase 1 is expected to be completed in Expand for-hire vehicle service Promote car-sharing
2016 and is projected to carry 213,000 riders on throughout our neighborhoods
opening day. Only 54% of New York City households own a
Taxis and car services are an important part of car. Among car owners, many use their cars
The East Side Access project will bring Long our public transportation system. They move relatively infrequently yet want or need the flex-
Island Rail Road (LIRR) service to Grand Central over 1.2 million people every day—meaning ibility of having access to a car for shopping,
Terminal by 2016. This will increase the LIRR’s New York taxis and for-hire car services carry family visits, or recreation. Keeping a car in the
capacity into Manhattan, reduce overcrowding more passengers than most public transit sys- city can be expensive, and finding a place to
on the LIRR between Jamaica and Penn Station, tems in the country other than the MTA, Los park can be difficult.
and provide Queens and Long Island residents Angeles Metro, and Chicago Transit Authority.
with direct access to Manhattan’s East Side. Taxis and car services are operated by private Giving people more alternatives to the fixed
When complete, East Side Access will serve entrepreneurs and regulated by the City, which expense of car ownership makes economic and
approximately 160,000 customers a day. authorizes service providers and sets the rules environmental sense. Car-sharing is an efficient
under which they operate. and convenient option for people who use a car

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 93


Credit: AP Worldwide Photos/Adam Rountree
Ferries carrying passengers on the East River

infrequently and don’t want to pay the insur- INITIATIVE 5 and bikes. We will also evaluate the long-term
ance, maintenance, and parking costs that are feasibility of ferry service along the East River
Expand and improve ferry service
the burden of ownership. and to other parts of the city.
Ferries are a critical part of our transportation
New York City is already the largest market for
network, carrying over 90,000 people each day
car-sharing in the country, accounting for about
between Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten INITIATIVE 6
one-third of all car-share members. Given the
Island, and New Jersey. The busiest route, the Make bicycling safer and more
number of occasional car users in the city, this
market could grow significantly.
Staten Island Ferry, is the nation’s largest pas- convenient
senger-only ferry operation.
Zoning amendments initiated by the City in For over a decade, we have been building a city-
We are now in the final stages of a comprehen- wide network of greenways, on-street bicycle
2010 facilitated the expansion of car-sharing by
sive Staten Island Ferry Study, which includes lanes, and signed bicycle routes. Since 2000,
enabling shared vehicles to be stationed in off-
a passenger demand forecast and preference commuter cycling has more than tripled. These
street parking lots and garages around the city.
survey, condition surveys of existing vessels, efforts are successful not only in attracting a
Another opportunity to encourage car-sharing
propulsion trade-off study, and new design con- rapidly-growing number of cyclists, but also
is within the City’s own fleet of 26,000 vehicles.
cepts. The study will inform us as we secure in making streets safer for all users—drivers,
During evenings and weekends, the periods of
funding for upgrades to an aging fleet of ferry- pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists alike.
highest demand for car-sharing vehicles, many
boats as part of our citywide emphasis on main- When protected bike lanes are installed, crash-
City vehicles sit dormant. Replacing these with
taining all our transportation assets in a state of related injuries for all road users have dropped
car-sharing vehicles offers the potential for mul-
good repair. by as much as 40% and in some cases the
tiple benefits—producing fiscal savings for the
City, freeing up valuable parking spaces, and decrease has been even more significant. Con-
To provide New Yorkers with more sustainable
making car-sharing more broadly available to tinued expansion of the bike network, initiatives
transit options and create vital links to waterfront
the public. for bike parking, education, and implementa-
communities underserved by existing transit, we
tion of a bike-sharing program will be needed to
will pilot ferry service along the East River, where
In 2010, we launched a pilot program to replace offer this alternative to more New Yorkers and
there is potential for strong demand. The route
50 City-owned vehicles based in Lower Man- achieve our goal of doubling bicycle commuting
will service Queens West, Greenpoint, North and
hattan with ZipCars—vehicles owned by a pri- from 2007 levels by 2012 and tripling it by 2017.
South Williamsburg and Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn,
vate car-sharing company. We will assess more
and East 34th Street and Wall Street/Pier 11 in Cities throughout the world—such as Paris,
opportunities for car-sharing in the City’s fleet.
Manhattan. As part of the pilot, which will be run London, and Washington, DC—have created
by a private operator, we will evaluate opportu- bike-sharing programs to provide convenient
nities to integrate commuter and recreational access to bikes and expand mobility options
service and intermodal connectivity to buses for residents and visitors. Through bike-sharing,

94 TRANSPORTATION
Case Study
Bike-Sharing: Barclays Cycle Hire in
London, England

London, like over 100 cities around the world, uses


a bike-sharing program to provide more choices
for short trips. In a bike share program, bikes can
be picked up and dropped off at kiosks located
throughout the city near street corners, parks, or
train stations, businesses, shops or parks. Users
pay a low annual or short-term access fee, and can

Credit: Transport for London 2011


then take unlimited 30-minute trips per day. After
30-minutes users are assessed a small fee.
Bicycles are available 24 hours a day—especially
useful when transit service is running on reduced
or late-night schedules.
Bikes ready for use at a bike-sharing kiosk in London
London’s program, the Barclays Cycle Hire, makes
6,000 bicycles available at 400 locations. Bicycles
are located every few blocks throughout Inner the 24-hour option for $1.60 (£1.00) or the 7-day Bike-sharing makes it easy to get around and
London and the program will expand eastward for a pass for $8.00 (£5.00). Since the program started eliminates the need to find bike parking. Users
total of 8,000 bicycles in time for the 2012 London in July 2010, 95% of trips have been less than 30 can take a bike from one kiosk and drop it off
Olympic Games. The London program and cycle minutes—with bicyclists only paying the one-time at another. New York, like London, is a dense,
super-highway bike lane routes are sponsored by access fee. Bike-sharing in London has been very multi-modal city, and New Yorkers and visitors alike
Barclays Bank for an estimated $40.4 million (£25 successful—over 1.5 million trips were made on would benefit from travelling across the city on two
million) over the next five years. the bikes in the program’s first three months of wheels. By 2012, New Yorkers will be able to get an
Barclays Cycle Hire charges an access fee of $73 operation. Only 12 bicycles have been stolen. annual membership to a bike-sharing program for
(£45) for an annual membership. Visitors or those less than the cost of a monthly MetroCard.
interested in short-term memberships can choose

bicycles are made available to riders at kiosks for


a small fee. When Paris installed its bike-sharing
number of seconds remaining before a flashing
“Don’t Walk” signal turns solid. To reduce conflict
Reduce congestion on our
program, cycling quadrupled in one year. Bike- between vehicles accessing parking garages in roads, bridges, and at our
sharing will enable New Yorkers and visitors to
check out bikes for short trips for a nominal cost,
areas with high pedestrian activity, we will adopt
new guidelines for public garages that promote
airports
or for free if the trip is fewer than 30 minutes. We pedestrian safety. Congestion costs our region more than $13 bil-
will partner with a third-party operator to estab- lion a year in lost economic output, and contrib-
lish a robust bike-sharing program in the city. In 2007, we targeted a series of sites across
utes to poor air quality. This price tag impacts
the city to alleviate sidewalk congestion and
every New Yorker in the form of our commuting
improve the pedestrian experience near subway
time and delayed deliveries. Our regional air-
INITIATIVE 7 stops and schools and at bus stops under ele-
ports, which are among the busiest airports in
vated subway platforms. We will implement nine
Enhance pedestrian access and the U.S., are also among the most congested,
additional “Bus Stops Under the Els” projects to
safety address the unique safety and visibility issues at
increasing costs for businesses and consumers.
these stops. We will also make walking to school As our population continues to grow, we must
Most New Yorkers are pedestrians at some point safer for children by implementing 32 Safe
in their day—whether walking to school, to the take steps to manage demand and make our
Routes to Schools projects. The Safe Routes to roads, bridges, and airports operate more effi-
corner store, or to the subway. A safe and acces- Schools program enhances school safety patrols,
sible pedestrian realm is a building block of a ciently. Managing demand can derive more effi-
reduces traffic speeds, and improves crosswalks cient use from our limited transportation capac-
sustainable transportation system. and sidewalks. ity. Tools like pricing and intelligent transporta-
We have made significant strides to reduce traf- tion systems technology enable us to better
Finally, we will complement these safety
fic facilities and improve pedestrian safety over manage physically constrained assets by encour-
advances with improvements that make the city
the last four years. In fact, 2009 was the safest aging drivers to shift their trips away from the
more accessible to walkers. Even the savviest
year on record for pedestrians in New York most congested travel times. Parking pricing is
New Yorkers can get disoriented, especially in
City, as traffic fatalities were down 35% from another opportunity to change driving patterns
unfamiliar neighborhoods. A recent study found
2001. Despite this progress, pedestrians still and optimize utilization of a finite physical space.
9% of New Yorkers (and 27% of visitors) had been
accounted for over half of all traffic fatalities lost in the week previous to taking the survey.
from 2005 to 2009. We will partner with neighborhoods from across
the city to design a standardized pedestrian
To enhance pedestrian safety, we will install
wayfinding system for New York, making all of
pedestrian countdown signals at 1,500 intersec-
the city’s neighborhoods accessible to natives
tions across the city. These signals help pedestri-
and visitors alike.
ans cross the street safely by counting down the

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 95


Case Study
Roosevelt Island
In the middle of the East River between
Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island

Credit: AP Worldwide Photos/Richard Drew


has long been a laboratory of transportation
innovation. In 1969, the Master Plan for
Roosevelt Island called for a car-free neighbor-
hood. While the two-mile long island is no
longer car-free, the legacy of innovation
continues as the Roosevelt Island Operating
Corporation (RIOC) actively promotes sustain-
able transportation practices. Automobile congestion in Midtown, Manhattan

One of the island’s most iconic features is its


aerial tramway that connects it to Manhattan.
INITIATIVE 8 timing, and reducing traffic congestion in key
An estimated 2 million people ride the tram areas of the city. ITS uses real-time information
every year. Riders of the clean and efficient Pilot technology and pricing-based
about roadway conditions to help manage traf-
cable-propelled transit system enjoy spectacu- mechanisms to reduce traffic fic signals and optimize performance.
lar panoramic views. Some of the best congestion
waterfront views can also be seen from the
island’s bike paths, and efforts to facilitate In our densely developed city, there are clear INITIATIVE 9
bike sharing are being planned. physical limitations to our ability to expand our Modify parking regulations to
road network. We must find ways to make more
In addition to maintaining the tramway, RIOC efficient, effective use of the infrastructure we balance the needs of neighborhoods
has successfully partnered with the New York have. Experiences from cities around the world
State Energy and Research Development Zoning regulations dictate the amount of off-
suggest that pricing strategies are among the
Authority (NYSERDA) and New York Power street parking spaces that must or can be built in
most cost-effective means of promoting mobility
Authority (NYPA) to use hybrid-electric buses. new residential and commercial developments.
within a capacity-constrained system.
Like other cities that came of age before the era
They are building upon that program by
A major cause of traffic congestion on neigh- of the automobile, many parts of New York City
installing electric vehicle charging stations
borhood retail streets is cars cruising for an on- were built around subways and streetcars, not
and employing smart parking technologies.
street parking space—or double-parking when the automobile. In fact, parking spaces in resi-
The public can now board a fleet of hybrid-
drivers can’t find a space. To address this prob- dential buildings were prohibited until 1938 in
electric buses that use ultra-low-sulfur fuel New York City. Off-street parking requirements
to get around the island. Using ultra-low-sulfur lem, we launched Park Smart, a parking program
designed to encourage turnover of parking were not enacted until 1950; therefore, much
fuel reduces the emission of dangerous of the housing stock was built without consider-
particulate matter by 90%, nitrogen oxide spaces by charging higher rates during the hours
of peak demand. In three neighborhoods— ation for residential parking.
by 40%, and greenhouse gases by 30%.
Greenwich Village, the Upper East Side, and
Setting parking requirements involves balanc-
To encourage use of electric vehicles, RIOC is Park Slope—Park Smart encourages drivers to
ing the demand for parking with the effects of
installing charging stations at the centralized park for a shorter period of time, making parking
car ownership and use. While traditional zoning
parking facility. This project is critical to spaces available to more drivers. We will expand
requirements are intended to ensure parking
building the infrastructure needed to support this program to three new neighborhoods, and
supply meets household demand for car owner-
electric vehicles. Electric vehicles can reduce make it even more effective by combining it with
ship, requiring too much parking to be built in
the levels of emissions associated with the use innovative strategies to manage curbside load-
a dense city like New York can encourage driv-
of conventional gasoline-fueled vehicles. ing in these areas, thus making the most efficient
ing, contribute to congestion, and unnecessarily
use of scarce curb space.
raise the cost of new development. As density
RIOC is also experimenting with smart
Over the last four years, the City has replaced and transit availability varies across the city, the
parking technology to better manage the parking balance must be struck for each neigh-
limited number of on-street parking spaces. over 11,500 single space parking meters with
2,986 multi-space Muni-Meters, providing debit borhood; there is no one-size-fits-all rule.
Sensors embedded in the street will relay
occupancy information to dynamic street signs and credit card payment options and creating
In many neighborhoods in Manhattan, develop-
or mobile applications. Drivers will be directed more space on the sidewalks. We will install
ments are not required to provide parking for
4,500 additional Muni-Meters throughout
to available spaces instead of driving around residents, and most new surface parking lots
the city to replace 51,800 older single-space
looking for a parking space. By reducing the are prohibited. Public parking garages in these
meters, expanding these benefits to additional
amount of time drivers spend looking for areas are only allowed by special permit. In
neighborhoods.
parking spaces, RIOC is creating streets with 1995, we expanded these parking regulations
less congestion and improved air quality. We will also continue to deploy innovative Intel- beyond these communities—known as the Man-
ligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology hattan Core—to include Long Island City.
By implementing these ideas, Roosevelt Island
to improve the safety and performance of our
is continuing its legacy as a site of transporta-
existing street network by improving signal
tion innovation.

96 TRANSPORTATION
Freight Modal Share In The New York City Region

Rail 0.13% A 2009 Port Authority study found that 25%


of the trucks entering New York City via Port
BD9:D;IG6CHEDGI6I>DC

Air 0.89% Authority crossings are carrying food, from mul-


tiple origins. Much of the food coming to the city
passes through the Hunts Point Food Distribu-
Water 9.7%
tion Center (FDC) in the Bronx, the largest food
distribution center in the U.S. We are currently
Truck 89.2% reviewing the transportation needs of this area
as part of a federal grant to study the Sheridan
Expressway corridor. The study contains a range
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
of alternatives, including the option of removing
the highway and improving arterials. In evaluat-
ing all options, we will work to ensure that the
Source: New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
FDC continues to play its vital role in the city’s
food distribution network. The FDC contains
We will complete a study of current parking eries. We will also implement commercial paid more than 115 businesses that generate more
trends in the Manhattan Core and explore modifi- parking at high-demand loading zones citywide than $3 billion in annual sales and support
cations to parking regulations. We will also study to increase the turnover of curbside loading 10,000 jobs.
areas outside the Manhattan Core to identify spots and to encourage businesses to make off-
Before we can increase the efficiency of our food-
how we can revise parking regulations to better peak deliveries.
related freight movement and reduce its impacts
balance the needs of residents, businesses,
The New York Container Terminal (NYCT) at How- on congestion, and improve residents’ access to
workers, and visitors. When completed, these
land Hook in Staten Island handles more than food, we need to better understand what New
studies will guide future parking and curbside
10% of the three million containers that enter the Yorkers eat, where it comes from, how it gets to
management policies for the City. As described
Port of New York and New Jersey. Improving truck the city, and where it ultimately gets delivered.
in the Housing and Neighborhoods Chapter,
we will also explore whether current parking access to the terminal and reducing its impact
We will partner with the City Council, which is
minimums applicable to affordable housing are on local streets is critical. Working with the Port
seeking to address many of these questions
unnecessarily adding to the construction cost of Authority, we will reduce traffic bottlenecks at
through the Speaker’s FoodWorks program, to
some categories of housing, and explore amend- the intersection of Forest Avenue and the Staten
launch a food distribution study at the neighbor-
ing those requirements as appropriate. Island Expressway, and create direct access
hood level, as well as study improvements in how
between the NYCT and the Goethals Bridge.
food flows into the city from elsewhere. We will
also assess the barriers and potential municipal
INITIATIVE 10 interventions to facilitate, expanded the distribu-
INITIATIVE 11
Reduce truck congestion on city tion and consumption of regional food products.
Improve freight movement
streets
We will also work to shift inbound freight from
The City has launched several initiatives to trucks to rail and increase rail capacity into the
City residents and businesses depend on freight
improve the flow of freight. Trucks bring us the city. The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market,
transportation for nearly everything we eat,
things we want and need, and are essential located at the FDC, presents an opportunity to
wear, and use. More than 434 million tons of
to our prosperity and way of life, but they also expand the use of freight trains to supplement
freight moved to and through New York City in
bring noise and emissions. We must recog- trucks for incoming shipments. The produce
2004. Over 90% of this was transported by truck.
nize the economic and logistical importance market handles 60% of the produce consumed in
Traffic congestion and capacity constraints add
of freight delivery while also seeking methods the city and 22% consumed in the region. Approxi-
delays and cost to truck-borne freight transpor-
to reduce its negative impacts. Solutions will mately 3,800 trucks travel to and from the market
tation in the city. This in turn adds to traffic con-
include actions to reduce congestion on our each day, with many additional trucks also serv-
gestions for all travelers. Effectively managing
roadways, shift more freight from trucks to rails ing other enterprises in the vicinity, an important
the flow of freight in New York will become an
and barges, and increase cargo-handling capac- employment cluster. As part of a potential rede-
even greater challenge as the volume of freight
ity on our waterfront. sign currently under negotiation, we will work to
in the city is projected to grow by 85% by 2030.
maximize inbound rail market share.
The City plays an active role in other regional
Freight deliveries to the Manhattan Central
projects that impact freight in the City. For To enhance the prospects for more rail freight
Business District (CBD) are essential to keeping
example, the Port Authority is currently leading deliveries to other parts of the city, and to
businesses supplied, but during midday hours
its Comprehensive Long-Term Regional Goods increase options for moving products out of the
delivery trucks contribute to on-street conges-
Movement Plan, which will result in a 30-year city, we need more rail transfer hubs. To address
tion which in turn delays the deliveries. A recent
action plan for improving freight movement in this challenge, we will solicit private interest in
City pilot found that when businesses in Mid-
the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. The development of a rail-based use at the Arlington
town Manhattan voluntarily shifted their deliver-
City will continue to participate in this effort and Rail Yard in Staten Island. We will also continue
ies to off-peak hours (between 7pm and 6am),
take the appropriate actions that emerge within working with the Port Authority and its railroad,
trucks experience less congestion and dramati-
our jurisdiction. New York New Jersey Rail, to procure a third
cally increase their productivity. We will seek to
expand this program by working with business party to design, build, operate, and maintain
sectors and shippers interested in off-hour deliv- marine-rail transfer hubs at the 51st Street and

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 97


Freight Rail and Barge Network with Port
Facilities and Industrial Business Zones
65th Street rail yards in Brooklyn. Those yards
FREIGHT RAIL NETWORK
are adjacent to the docks for the railroad’s rail-
RAIL BARGE FLOAT
car-on-barge operation, the shortest-distance
waterborne route for rail freight between Long RAIL YARD
Island, Brooklyn and Queens and gateways to PORT FACILITY
the rest of the U.S. in New Jersey. INDUSTRIAL BUSINESS ZONE
Freight access between Brooklyn and Queens
and points west of the Hudson River is also
extremely important to our economy. Yet many
of the crossings are constrained, particularly
Oak Island Rail Map Fresh Pond
Junction
for rail freight. The Port Authority is manag- Brooklyn
ing the Environmental Impact Statement for Navy Yard
the Cross Harbor Freight Program, which will Greenville Red Hook
evaluate policy and infrastructure alternatives
New York
to enhance freight connections between New Container South Brooklyn
Jersey and various parts of the city, and includes Terminal Marine Terminal

Source: NYC Economic Development Corporation


consideration of a rail and/or truck tunnel under
New York Harbor. The City will remain engaged 51st & 65th St
in that effort. Arlington Rail Yards
Rail Yard
We will also increase rail and waterborne freight
deliveries at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
The City will invest more than $90 million, to be
matched by $60 million in private investment, to
return the facility to a state of good repair. This
will create 300 new jobs and allow ships and
barges to deliver vehicles, construction materials,
and unprocessed metal, glass and plastic to and
from the facility. Because water transportation is should not be satisfied until the day when some- have national implications because they ripple
six times more efficient than trucking in terms of one stepping off an airplane or intercity train in through the national system.
tons per gallon of fuel burned, port deliveries will New York City feels like he or she has arrived at
be more cost effective for shippers. an airport or train station suitable for a world- To reduce delays and expand capacity in the
class city. airspace system, the City will encourage the
Since trucks are by far the dominant means of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the
delivering goods to New York City, we also will New York City sits nearly at the midpoint of the airline industry to implement next-generation
work with the State and other regional agen- Northeast Corridor, the most promising poten- (NextGen) air traffic control technology in our
cies to improve operations and infrastructure of tial high-speed passenger rail line in the U.S. This region, upgrading from radar-based technology
the arterial highways in the five boroughs and federal initiative involves states along the Atlan- to a satellite-based system.
to manage on-street truck routes for improved tic seaboard as well as Amtrak. Additionally, New
safety and efficiency. We will continue efforts York State has undertaken strong commitments JFK also lacks available modern logistics facilities
with partner agencies to coordinate truck per- to improve the important Empire Corridor rail for freight businesses. While JFK handles 57%
mitting, enforcement, and routing initiatives in line linking New York City with important upstate of the region’s air cargo, growth of this critical
the metropolitan area. cities like Syracuse and Buffalo. We will work industry faces challenges. In 2009, JFK’s cargo
with our federal and state delegations to maxi- volume dropped 21% from 2008 levels, com-
mize the planning and construction dollars that pared to an average volume loss of 10% at the
INITIATIVE 12 flow to our region in support of these important top 50 largest airports. This downward trend
Improve our gateways to the nation projects, and will continue to work directly with results in economic losses to the region, as
Amtrak and other state and federal entities to major national distribution centers and airlines
and the world have moved operations to other areas where
improve those long-distance passenger rail facili-
ties within our city boundaries. they face less congestion and lower costs.
A dynamic city like New York depends increas-
ingly on its connections to other places. Our In partnership with the Port Authority, we will
The three regional airports that serve the city—
future as a center of commerce and tourism as launch a comprehensive study of the JFK air cargo
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK),
well as our own lifestyle depends on our ability industry. The study will quantify cargo market
LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty
to move people and goods to and from destina- conditions and trends, identify the specific costs
International Airport (EWR)—are among the bus-
tions across the nation and around the globe. and benefits of doing business at JFK, and iden-
iest and most congested airports in the nation.
While we have direct responsibility for many tify opportunities for infrastructure, financing,
Together they handled 104 million passengers
transportation assets within the city, we must and development programs that will benefit New
and 2.3 million tons of cargo in 2010, collec-
also be vitally concerned about those transpor- York-based importers and exporters who depend
tively leading the nation, but they rank near the
tation facilities and services owned by other on competitive access to global markets.
bottom for on-time departures. Because New
government or private entities that connect us
York area airports are major domestic hubs
to the other places where we do business. We
as well as international gateways, delays here

98 TRANSPORTATION
Passenger Flight Delays at the Busiest US Airports Streets Maintenance Ratings

Los Angeles - LAX 8.0 EDDG ;6>G <DD9

Phoenix - PHX 8.2


Houston - IAH 8.7 100%

Denver - DEN 9.6 90%

Las Vegas - LAS 9.6 80%


JH6>GEDGIH

E:G8:CID;HIG::IH
70%
Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW 10.2
60%
San Francisco - SFO 10.3
50%
Chicago - ORD 13.9
40%
Atlanta - ATL 14.1
30%
New York Region - LGA 20.3
20%
New York Region - EWR 23.0
10%
New York Region - JFK 23.5
0%
0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
6CCJ6A6K:G6<:6>G8G6;I9:A6N>CB>CJI:H
Source: Regional Plan Association; Federal Aviation Administration Source: NYC Dept. of Transportation

Truck access to JFK’s cargo-handling areas is The MTA’s subway, bus, and regional rail services One factor that leads to the deterioration of our
essential to ensuring the airport’s competitive- provide 8.5 million rides per day in the city and streets is the frequency of street cuts to conduct
ness. Several short-term solutions have been the surrounding region, reducing traffic conges- sub-surface work. To improve efficiency, we will
identified to ease congestion to and from JFK. tion and providing the foundation on which a ask the State Legislature to allow joint bidding
These include marketing the Cross Island Parkway New Yorker’s low carbon footprint is based. Ser- for street construction. Currently, utility compa-
as an alternative to the Van Wyck Expressway for vice reductions have direct impacts on New York- nies must procure their construction work sepa-
non-commercial vehicles, making improvements ers today and jeopardize the maintenance and rately from public sector contracts to repair the
to the Van Wyck Expressway, allowing 53’ trailer expansion needed for future generations. The streets. This divided process leads to long delays
access to JFK, and providing a southern route to MTA has sufficient funding to continue its capital and multiple street cuts in the same streets, fre-
JFK for commercial vehicles. We will pursue these program through 2011. We will continue to work quently causing traffic jams. Joint bidding will
recommendations as we explore long-term solu- with the MTA, the State, and the regional jurisdic- increase efficiencies, reduce the amount of time
tions with the Port Authority and industry. tions that rely on commuter rail to identify stable streets are under construction, and expedite
funding for transit operations, maintenance and their return to use.
expansion in the metropolitan area.
Maintain and improve the
physical condition of our INITIATIVE 14
Conclusion
roads and transit system Maintain and improve our roads and Maintaining and improving a robust and reliable
transportation system is essential to enhance
bridges
We have come a long way toward improving the our city’s quality of life and provides a founda-
condition of our aging and fragile transporta- Past experience has shown us the high cost of tion for economic growth.
tion network. But we have not yet achieved a full not maintaining our roadways and bridges. Nev-
“state of good repair” on our roads, subways, In a fiscally constrained time, we must continue
ertheless, the current economic downturn has
and rail network, and the funding gap forecast for to choose our investments and actively manage
forced significant reductions in the City’s capital
the future is more daunting. We must continue our infrastructure wisely, focusing on those
budget. We have been able to use $267.3 million
to vigilantly maintain our existing transportation expenditures and programs that bring more
in federal stimulus funding as a short stop-gap,
network to ensure its reliability and quality. travel choices to more New Yorkers and maxi-
but finding ongoing funding for transportation
mize the use of our assets. We must build on the
maintenance remains a challenge.
success of the past four years, during which we
INITIATIVE 13 We are working aggressively to maintain reliable have undertaken innovative approaches to build
and manage transit, pedestrian, and cycling
Seek funding to maintain and operations on our roads and bridges. Currently,
72% of our streets are in a “good” pavement capacity. We must also continue to explore cre-
improve our mass transit network condition or better. We have also continued our ative tools like pricing, technology, and improved
efforts to maintain the 787 bridges owned by the for-hire service to make the whole system func-
Even though passengers are paying more at tion better. Finally, we must continue to look for
the turnstiles, revenue generated from each City, with all but four now rated in “very good,”
“good,” or “fair” condition. Three of those four ways to finance the upgrades and maintenance
swipe only takes the MTA so far. Fare box reve- to keep our system in good physical condition.
nue accounted for 41% of the MTA’s budget for remaining bridges are either undergoing con-
2011. The chronic financial instability of transit struction to repair deficiencies or scheduled for
service in New York City is a significant vulnera- future repair.
bility for a city that depends on reliable, robust
transit service.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 99


Energy
Credit: Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia // http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:UpstateNYer
Together we can
Improve energy planning
Increase our energy efficiency
Provide cleaner, more reliable, and
affordable energy
Modernize our transmission and
distribution systems
I use a cell phone and a computer,
an alarm clock, an electric toothbrush. I ride I have been trained, and now train others, to
the subway, I stay warm and cool inside and inspect one- and two-family homes and make them
out, I buy food, I cook, I eat out, I go more energy efficient. In the future this will be a
to movies and plays. When do I not use energy? great field for me to start my own business.
Michael Johnson Chase // Manhattan Arturo Miranda // Queens

Today’s cogeneration technology has risen to


New Yorkers are known for innovation, a level of efficiency which now approaches 90%. 
creativity, and community, so it seems like a no- Nearly all the fuel used in today’s ultra-high
brainer that we would be the citizens leading efficiency cogen plants can be put to use
the charge to reduce waste and improve energy producing electricity, high-temperature hot
efficiency. water, and chilled water for buildings.
Christina Greer // Manhattan John Bradley // Manhattan

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 103


Energy
Reduce energy consumption and make our energy systems cleaner and more
reliable

From the birth of our gas distribution system in A central strategy for improving our energy
1823, to Thomas Edison’s creation of the first system is to reduce energy consumption in exist-
central power plant on Pearl Street in 1882, New ing buildings, which is the most cost-effective
York City has long been an innovator in urban way to reduce greenhouse emissions. Energy
energy systems. In turn, these systems have use in buildings accounts for almost 75% of our
shaped our city. Electrically powered subways GHG emissions, and up to 85% of the buildings
drove the city’s expansion across the five bor- that will exist in 2030 are already here today.
oughs, while elevators and district steam sys- Efficiency improvements will save money and
tems allowed the city to grow vertically into a energy, while also creating skilled, local jobs.
breathtaking landscape of skyscrapers. Without But achieving this at the large scale will require
energy, we would not have Broadway’s bright transformational changes across the entire
lights, Astoria’s movie studios, or Wall Street’s building industry.
trading floors. In short, these energy systems
created a dense metropolis known for its high- We must also clean our supply of heating fuels
energy lifestyle—“A City That Doesn’t Sleep.” and electricity. To create heat and hot water,
roughly 10,000 of our largest buildings use
But compared to rest of the country, we are sur- residual oil, a viscous fuel that is nearly as dirty
prisingly low-energy when it comes to actual con- as coal. Eighty-six percent of soot pollution from
sumption. The average New Yorker is responsible buildings comes from the burning of residual
for roughly one-third the greenhouse gas (GHG) oil—despite the fact that it is only used in 1% of
emissions of the average American because our our buildings. Eliminating the use of residual oil
density makes for an extremely energy-efficient will require additional natural gas pipeline capac-
lifestyle. New Yorkers typically walk or take ity to the city—which we have not received in
public transportation, rather than driving. And over 40 years—as well as extensive upgrades to
we inhabit smaller spaces, often in multi-family the local gas distribution system.
buildings with shared energy systems.
Our electrical supply, on the other hand, is
Yet, we can do better. Our once-innovative already cleaner than the national average
energy infrastructure needs to be modernized because we have access to low-carbon nuclear
and our buildings are full of outdated equip- and hydroelectric power, as well as a portfolio
ment. Burning fossil fuels to create electricity, of relatively clean natural gas-fired generation.
hot water, and heat contributes to air pollution Still we must go further. Older power plants can
and greenhouse gas emissions. As our summers be retrofitted or ‘repowered’ to achieve greater
get hotter and last longer, peak demand for efficiencies. We can also encourage investments
electricity forces the activation of our dirtiest in- in efficient cogeneration, renewable power, and
city power plants and causes stress to our elec- expanded transmission lines.
trical grid. Our energy is also expensive: New
Yorkers pay among the highest retail energy Attracting these investments has become
prices in the nation, collectively spending more increasingly challenging following the reces-
than $15 billion each year. We must reduce our sion of 2008, which dampened growth in energy
energy consumption and clean our supply to demand and prices. As our economy recovers,
ensure that we have reliable, affordable, and uncertainty about future consumption levels will
clean energy over the coming decades. affect the pace of private sector investments in
modernizing our energy system. Further com-
plicating matters is the potential closure of the
Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power

104 ENERGY
New York City Energy Consumption–Historic and Projected Peak Demand for Electricity–Historic and Projected
Business as Usual Business as Usual

Electricity heating fuels vehicles Summer peak demand for electricity

800
14,000
700
12,000
600
MILLIONS OF MMBTUs

10,000
500

B:<6L6IIH
8,000
400
6,000
300

Source: M. J. Beck Consulting, LLC


4,000
200

100 2,000

Source: NYISO
0 0
2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030

2008

2018
2000

2004

2006

2020
2002

2010

2012

2014

2016
plant located in the Lower Hudson Valley that
supplies up to 30% of our power virtually carbon-
Our Plan We will pursue three general strategies to reduce
energy consumption and improve efficiency:
free. Removing this cornerstone of our electricity We will build a greener, greater New York by implementing and effectively enforcing the poli-
system could threaten reliability, increase prices, reducing energy consumption and making our cies that we have already launched, broadening
and jeopardize our greenhouse gas reduction energy supply cleaner, more affordable, and their reach to new sectors, and promoting the
efforts. more reliable. best new practices.

Since 2007, we have made significant progress


to reduce energy demand. Working with the City
Council, we passed the Greener, Greater Build-
ings Plan, the most far-reaching legislation in
Our plan for energy:
America impacting energy use in existing build-
Improve energy planning
ings. We also launched the Green Codes Task
Force, which developed 111 specific propos- 1 Increase planning and coordination to promote clean, reliable, and affordable energy
als for sustainable improvements to our codes,
many of which have already been enacted. We Increase our energy efficiency
have also implemented an accelerated strategy 2 Implement the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan
to reduce GHG emissions from City government
3 Improve our codes and regulations to increase the sustainability of our buildings
operations 30% by 2017, and nearly 30 major
institutions have agreed to match us. 4 Improve compliance with the energy code and track green building
improvments citywide
We have also made strides to improve the city’s 5 Improve energy efficiency in smaller buildings
energy supply and distribution system. Con
6 Improve energy efficiency in historic buildings
Edison, the regulated utility that serves most of
the city, has made major upgrades to the elec- 7 Provide energy efficiency financing and information
trical distribution grid to increase reliability. Two 8 Create a 21st century energy efficiency workforce
older power plants in the city have been repow-
9 Make New York City a knowledge center for energy efficiency and emerging
ered or replaced with more efficient technolo-
energy strategies
gies. Renewable energy investments have grown
rapidly in response to new incentives, lower 10 Provide energy efficiency leadership in City government buildings and operations
prices, and streamlined permitting. Together, 11 Expand the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge to new sectors
these changes to our supply mix have made our
electrical system more robust and reduced its Provide cleaner, more reliable, and affordable energy
greenhouse gas intensity by 26% since 2005.
12 Support cost-effective repowering or replacement of our most inefficient and
This progress is encouraging, but we—the City, costly in-city power plants
private and public utilities, state and federal 13 Encourage the development of clean distributed generation
regulators, financiers, and consumers—all need 14 Foster the market for renewable energy in New York City
to do much more. Without continued energy
efficiency improvements and investments in our Modernize our transmission and distribution systems
supply and distribution infrastructure, we will
not meet our energy, air quality, and greenhouse
15 Increase natural gas transmission and distribution capacity to improve reliability
gas emission reduction goals. and encourage conversion from highly polluting fuels
16 Ensure the reliability of New York City power delivery
17 Develop a smarter and cleaner utility grid for New York City

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 105


Annual Average Day-Ahead Natural Gas Prices Average Annual Wholesale Electricity Price
(Northeast Region and Henry Hub) NYC Hudson valley pjm
Transco z6 ny transco z6 non-ny niagara 100
algonquin
12.00 columbia tco henry hub
90

10.00 80

70
96N6=:69EG>8:$BB7IJ

8.00
60

E:GBL=
50
6.00
40

4.00 30

Source: Ventyx Energy Velocity


6EG>A'%%,/ 9:8:B7:G'%%,/
20 EaVCN8>CIGD9J8:9 G:8:HH>DC7:<>CH
2.00

Source: Bloomberg
10

0.00 0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

To ensure the successful implementation of the energy projects that will benefit New York City, INITIATIVE 1
Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and the Green including utility-scale renewable projects.
Increase planning and coordination to
Codes Task Force proposals, we will work to pro-
vide the building industry the resources it needs To foster the growth of smaller-scale clean promote clean, reliable, and affordable
to comply. We will create an energy efficiency energy technologies we will make targeted energy
corporation to provide financing for energy and cost-effective investments at City-owned
upgrades in private buildings that will pay for facilities, and seek partnerships with the private No single entity oversees New York City’s com-
themselves. We will remove barriers in our codes sector to reduce direct costs to the city while plex energy systems. Con Edison manages the
and regulations, and overcome split-incentives capitalizing on best available practices. We will entire electrical grid and steam system, National
that are embedded in real estate leases. And we also work with utilities to encourage these types Grid and Con Edison share natural gas distribu-
will collaborate with our partners to ensure that of investments across the city by streamlining tion, and dozens of companies provide fuel oil.
building owners and managers make informed permitting and interconnection processes. The New York State Public Service Commission
decisions about their energy use and that we (PSC) regulates the electricity, natural gas, and
Finally, we will accelerate the phase-out of highly- steam distribution systems, while several state
have a sufficiently skilled workforce.
polluting residual heating oil and mitigate future and federal regulators approve new energy
We also need to expand our efforts beyond the supply constraints by aiding in the development infrastructure development. The New York State
largest buildings we initially targeted. We will of appropriately-sited natural gas transmission Energy Research and Development Authority
work to increase the energy efficiency of our one pipelines. To create economies of scale that will (NYSERDA), Con Edison, and National Grid all
million small and mid-sized buildings and in our lower conversion costs, we will work with utili- manage programs to encourage energy effi-
historic building stock. And we will adopt the ties and key stakeholders to cluster buildings in ciency and renewable energy. The City adminis-
latest, more stringent national model codes for underserved neighborhoods where gas distribu- ters the energy code for buildings.
new construction and renovations. tion upgrades can have the greatest air quality
benefits. While the City is not in the energy business, we
Finally, we will continue to lead within our own do have a compelling interest in ensuring that
building portfolio to accelerate GHG emission Together, these strategies will enable us to New Yorkers can access clean, reliable, and
reductions and employ visionary technologies invest wisely in our future. New Yorkers will save affordable energy today and in the future. To
and design strategies. By partnering to create a money. Our economy will grow. And we will achieve these goals, we need to think holistically
world-class energy-engineering program, a data make progress towards our clean air and green- about the energy spectrum, from the largest
clearinghouse on large building energy use, and house gas reduction goals. power plants and transmission lines down to the
venues to test cutting-edge practices, we will heating systems in individual buildings. Clearly,
once again make New York City a knowledge this will require engagement, collaboration, and
center in urban energy innovation. Improve energy planning the sharing of information with the large number
of public and private parties involved.
Changes to our energy supply portfolio can We only have so much ability to influence our
either advance or derail our efforts to reduce energy system. Unlike water and sewer infra- Energy supply projects take years to develop
GHG emissions and improve air quality. For this structure, the electric, gas, and steam systems in and decisions made by the energy industry stay
reason, we will support the continued safe oper- New York City are investor-owned and regulated with us for decades, impacting the cost of doing
ation of Indian Point. by the state and federal governments, not the business in the city. To coordinate on strategic
City. We can use building and energy codes to and regulatory issues, we established the New
We will also encourage a more diversified portfo- encourage efficiency and regulations to require York City Energy Planning Board, consisting of
lio of private sector-driven supply and transmis- cleaner fuels. But ultimately the decisions of mil- the City, the State, and the utilities. In 2009, the
sion investments to ensure that future New York- lions of individual households and businesses will Energy Planning Board presented for the first
ers have access to clean, affordable and reliable determine how energy is used. For this reason, time a unified vision in its collective comments
power. We want to attract the best ideas and it is essential to partner with utilities, regulators, to the New York State Energy Plan and recently
world-class investments. We will offer support in state energy agencies, and other key stakehold- members helped shape the City’s study on the
the regulatory and permitting process for clean ers to align our goals, policies and incentives. potential impacts of an Indian Point retirement.

106 ENERGY
Credit: Empire State Building is a registered trademark and used with permission
An energy retrofit will reduce the Empire State Building’s energy consumption by 38%

We have also created an Energy Policy Task Force New York City must also continue to develop of conditions. Working with the real estate
to bring together a broader range of stakehold- visionary building practices. We will work to industry, we will develop rules and guidelines to
ers to advise us on energy issues. We will rely streamline the approval of new technologies, and implement and fully enforce these new laws.
on this group for guidance on topics such as the we will strive to make New York City a leader in
building out of the city’s natural gas distribution the emerging discipline of energy efficiency. The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan requires
system and public-private partnership models the city’s largest buildings to annually measure
for financing clean distributed generation and their energy use, called benchmarking, and for
renewable energy projects. INITIATIVE 2 this information to be made public. We bench-
marked 2,700 City government buildings and
Implement the Greener, Greater Buildings
We will continue to work with the Planning this data will be shared. To measure the effec-
Board and Task Force to encourage clean energy Plan tiveness of the new benchmarking law and to
supply investments, effective incentive pro- understand energy use in buildings, we will ana-
grams, shared data collection and management, In December 2009, the City Council passed lyze and report on benchmarking results for the
and coordinated energy forecasting. four laws, collectively known as the GGBP, that first three years the law is in effect.
require energy efficiency upgrades and energy
transparency in large existing buildings. Specifi-
cally, these laws call for annual benchmarking,
Increase our energy efficiency energy audits, retro-commissioning, lighting
INITIATIVE 3
upgrades, and sub-metering of commercial Improve our codes and regulations to in-
In the past four years, New York City enacted the
tenant space. crease the sustainability of our buildings
nation’s most comprehensive set of policies to
improve energy efficiency in buildings. We must Three out of these four laws only impact the Buildings have a significant impact on New York
successfully implement these policies, which city’s largest 16,000 properties, both public and City’s environment. Energy use in our buildings
include training tens of thousands of building private, that compose half the built area in the is responsible for almost 75% of our carbon emis-
managers, architects, and electricians. We will city. By 2030, these laws will reduce GHG emis- sions, 94% of our electricity use, and 85% of our
also combine federal funds with private dollars to sions by at least 5% citywide, save New Yorkers potable water consumption.
provide building owners with access to capital for more than $750 million per year, and create
energy upgrades. almost 18,000 construction-related jobs. Green building and operating techniques can
dramatically improve the performance of our
Energy efficiency practices must be expanded These laws will transform the building industry buildings. We must ensure that the most cost-
to address the one million smaller buildings by making energy efficiency common practice. effective, sustainable, common-sense strategies
not covered by the Greener, Greater Buildings Transforming an industry involves developing become common practice by “greening” New
Plan (GGBP). This expanded effort could include new regulatory procedures—terms must be York City’s codes.
requirements for energy transparency measures legally defined, procedures codified, and rules
for all buildings. made comprehensive enough to cover a range

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 107


Sample Benchmarking Report

At the request of Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker


Quinn, the Urban Green Council assembled the
New York City Green Codes Task Force, consisting
of more than 200 experts in design and construc-
41 Your Benchmarking Score:
Compared to the EPA Portfolio Manager Scores of other buildings in New York State

tion. The task force developed 111 proposals to


green the City’s codes. These proposals would
LEED EB 69 75 Energy Star
modify City codes and regulations that impact
buildings or impede green building practices. min score min score
25%

% DISTRIBUTION OF BUILDINGS
Twenty-two Green Codes Task Force proposals
have already been adopted through law, rule, or
change to practice. We will complete the incor- 20%
poration of the Green Code Task Force proposals Your Building 41
into our regulations. We will also refine a group 10%
of proposed changes to the Zoning Resolution to
remove barriers to energy efficient building enve- 10%
lopes and the siting of clean energy on buildings.
Going forward, it will be important to work with
5%
technical experts and industry and regulatory
authorities to ensure that the new codes are
cost-effective and achievable, while ambitious 0%
enough to bring the benefits of green building to 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
all New Yorkers. EPA PORTFOLIO MANAGER SCORE

Concurrently, there have been national efforts to


create comprehensive green codes that could
Source: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
apply across the country. These efforts culmi-
nated in the International Green Construction
Code (IGCC) and ASHRAE 189.1. We will work
INITIATIVE 4 of the buildings that account for the other half
with the International Code Council (ICC) and the of our inventory, which includes more than one
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Improve compliance with the energy code
million homes and small- to mid-sized buildings.
Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to bring and track green building improvements
New York City’s codes and these model green
citywide Several other cities and states have imple-
codes into greater alignment. mented policies to increase the energy effi-
We have taken great strides to increase energy ciency of buildings by providing information
Efficiency of new construction and renovations to potential buyers at the time a building is
efficiency through our codes. Architects and
can also be improved by adopting the next sold. Austin, Texas requires energy audits for
engineers must now submit energy analyses and
iteration of the model energy codes, which are small residential properties; California requires
drawings to show how a design meets current
national standards. These codes are 30% more benchmarking of all commercial properties;
energy code requirements, and we are requiring
stringent than the 2010 City codes. We will Montgomery County, Maryland mandates the
progress inspections during construction. We
amend the model enerrgy codes to reflect the disclosure of energy use and costs for resi-
will aim to achieve 90% energy code compliance
unique conditions of New York City and work dential properties. These requirements allow
by 2017 through stringent enforcement and by
with City Council to adopt them. prospective building owners to learn about the
providing energy code training for designers.
energy efficiency of the property they are con-
We have also established several boards to
To track citywide impacts and provide better sidering and have information about potential
approve new technologies and ambitious proj-
information to the public, we will develop a energy upgrades at the same time they are
ects not addressed by current codes and regu-
“Green Building Report Card” and an online financing and planning other improvements. We
lations. This includes a Building Sustainability
tracking tool to show which buildings are making will work with the City Council and other stake-
Board to develop building code and product
green improvements, such as installing a cool holders to develop a strategy to increase the
standards for new technologies, an Innovation
roof or converting boilers to cleaner fuels. energy efficiency of smaller buildings.
Review Board to bring together multiple agen-
cies to review new codes or technologies, and To encourage energy efficiency in buildings
the Interagency Green Team to address broader
INITIATIVE 5 before a change in ownership, we will launch
issues. We will continue to convene these enti- a series of energy efficiency public education
ties to review and facilitate the use of new tech- Improve energy efficiency in smaller
campaigns. These efforts will leverage the NYC
nologies. buildings Green House program and GreeNYC campaigns
to educate New Yorkers about reducing energy
The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan addressed
consumption. We will also launch an energy effi-
energy efficiency in buildings over 50,000 square
ciency competition between residential neigh-
feet, which collectively constitute about half the
borhoods throughout the five boroughs.
floor area of the city. To meet our carbon reduc-
tion goal, we must also address the efficiency

108 ENERGY
CASE STUDY
Green Light New York
“Bright Lights, Big City” couldn’t be more
appropriate. In New York City, 27% of our
electricity is used to light buildings,
accounting for 12% of our overall carbon
emissions. Fortunately, efficiency gains
from lighting can be made cost-effectively
and quickly because of dramatic, ongoing
advancements in lamp efficiency and in
sensors and controls that turn lights off
when they aren’t needed. In response, the
national energy codes have doubled in
stringency over the past 20 years. The
Greener, Greater Buildings Plan will bring
these improved standards to buildings

Credit: Brian Raby, Courtesy of Greenlight, NY


throughout New York City.
Designing lighting that meets the stringent
requirements of the new codes and still
provides a workable, pleasant environment
isn’t easy. Lighting strategies must be seen
to be understood and evaluated. A large
number of professions are involved in
A designer examining a fixture’s light distribution lighting decisions, including architects,
engineers, interior designers, lighting design-
ers, building owners and managers,
INITIATIVE 6 INITIATIVE 7 contractors, distributors, and electricians—
Improve energy efficiency in historic Provide energy efficiency financing and over 50,000 people in New York City.
buildings information According to a recent poll, few of these
decision-makers are familiar with basic
Architecturally and historically significant build- To make energy efficiency upgrades, building lighting concepts, the new codes, or new
ings are important for preserving New York City’s owners need access to capital and information. technologies.
identity. The style, design, and facades of our Historically, banks have been reluctant to lend
buildings merit protection—but their inefficient money for energy efficiency projects because the To overcome these barriers and reap the
energy systems could sometimes benefit from loans are relatively small and difficult to manage. efficiency benefits of the regulations, New
modernization, without compromising external York needs a lighting resource center—a
visual character. To overcome these obstacles, we will create physical space where exemplary lighting
a not-for-profit corporation, the New York City designs can be seen, classes taught, and
The national model energy codes exempt national Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), capital- lighting strategies mocked up and demon-
and state landmarks from complying with current ized with federal stimulus funding and organized strated. In California and Washington, such
standards. But the intention behind this exemp- to partner with the commercial lending industry centers have effectively supported advanced
tion doesn’t mean we should necessarily preserve and philanthropic sources. NYCEEC will make energy codes for over 20 years. In partner-
inefficient lighting, leaky envelopes, and wasteful energy efficiency financing less risky for lenders ship with the National Resources Defense
heating and cooling systems. In many cases, the and more accessible to property owners. Council, New York State authorities, and the
integrity of historic buildings can be kept when professional associations, we have helped
hidden energy-using systems are modernized. New York State and the federal government
create a not-for-profit, Green Light New York
We will work with the historic preservation soci- have increased funding for energy efficiency
to be a resource center to support the New
eties to reconcile energy codes with preservation programs roughly six-fold in recent years. How-
ever, the rules can be bewildering, and pro-
York lighting industry.
requirements. We will also partner to create a
handbook of energy efficiency strategies for his- grams are run by different agencies and utilities. Green Light New York will demonstrate
toric buildings, which will help design profession- As a result, they often overlap or leave critical lighting solutions with a mock up space,
als retrofit such buildings more effectively. gaps for funding. exhibits, a day lighting lab, and interactive
Through NYCEEC, we will create an informa-
examples of best practices and solutions.
tion center to provide comprehensive, updated It will also provide a venue for lectures,
information on energy efficiency funding and demonstrations, and classes in energy
tax incentives. We will also work with the State efficiency. By providing a physical center for
PSC, NYSERDA, and our utilities to ensure that this exchange of knowledge, Green Light can
state efficiency programs support our carbon accelerate progress toward our energy and
carbon goals.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 109


CASE STUDY
Amalgamated Green
For the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan
(GGBP) to transform the building industry
and reduce energy use, the owners and
managers of 16,000 properties and their
workforce need training in the new special-
ties of energy efficiency.
City government can’t assess these needs or
deliver the trainings on its own, but we can
convene the people with knowledge and
resources. We helped create Amalgamated
Green, a group of thirty stakeholders,
including the unions, the Real Estate Board of
New York (REBNY), City University of New York
(CUNY), professional societies, and energy
training providers to build these resources.
For each GGBP law, the group analyzed
training needs and how best to meet them.
Through Amalgamated Green, resources have

Credit: Clark Jones


been created for outreach on the Greener,
Greater Buildings Plan and for trainings in
the NYC Energy Code and benchmarking.
Trained building operator using new skills learned in energy efficiency program
For example, funded by Con Edison and
NYSERDA and aided by a pro-bono market
analysis by the firm of HR&A, Urban Green reduction initiatives, become more transparent A lack of national standards in energy efficiency
created a presentation about the GGBP and is and accountable, and are fairly apportioned to professions is hampering progress. We are
managing volunteers who will deliver it to New York City. working with the U.S. Department of Energy
owners and managers. To educate the design and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
community about the new energy code, INITIATIVE 8 to help develop national certification standards.
NYSERDA has funded Urban Green to develop Once national standards are in place, we will
Create a 21st century energy efficiency
a class that will be delivered by American adopt them.
workforce
Institute of Architecture (AIA) chapters.
To encourage builders to upgrade their skills,
Benchmarking is another example. The Achieving large-scale energy efficiency requires we will develop and implement a sustainable
transforming the knowledge, skills, and practices contractors designation program for electri-
largest buildings in New York are now being
of the entire building industry. Architects and cians, plumbers, and general contractors that
benchmarked thanks to the teamwork of
engineers must understand the energy code. demonstrate knowledge in green practices and
organizations throughout the industry.
Building managers and superintendants must technologies.
Owners can now get aggregated building
learn to benchmark and operate their buildings
data from Con Edison and National Grid. The more efficiently. Electricians must know how to
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s correctly install advanced sensors and controls. INITIATIVE 9
online tool addresses multi-family buildings
and tracks benchmarking data. NYSERDA In 2010, we launched Amalgamated Green, a Make New York City a knowledge center
funded the Association for Energy Affordabil- group including universities, unions, and profes- for energy efficiency and emerging energy
ity to hold benchmarking trainings twice a sional associations focused on identifying and strategies
week, and CUNY students are managing a hot developing skills needed to achieve our goals. As
line to answer questions. Finally, Urban Green the demand for workers with the skills to imple- To make our city a national knowledge center for
and the Related Companies have developed ment our sustainability policies evolves, we will energy efficiency, we need an energy engineer-
a step-by-step explanation of how to comply, work with this group to ensure we have a quali- ing program, a consolidated database of infor-
and REBNY has hosted several comprehen- fied workforce. Working with public and private mation on energy use in buildings, and broader
sive information sessions. partners, we will also help launch Green Light exposure to new technologies.
New York, an energy education center that will
As we implement the Greener, Greater initially focus on lighting training for designers While New York City has many skilled practitio-
Buildings Plan and adopt the proposals of and other real estate professionals. ners in energy efficiency, we don’t have a major
the Green Codes Task Force, we will continue degree program in energy efficiency engineer-
harnessing the resources of our building Because electricians will need to install advanced ing. We will partner with a university to develop
industry through Amalgamated Green–now energy systems, we will incorporate the energy a program in energy efficiency engineering and
a proven resource. code into the licensing exam and continuing edu- building science. The program will train the next
cation curriculum for electricians. generation of building energy specialists and

110 ENERGY
Estimated Annual Financial Savings from
Retrofits of City-Owned Buildings*
STATUS measures, the museum is saving $356,400 from
COMPLETE their annual utility bills, and reduced its annual
IN PROGRESS greenhouse gas emissions by 1,431 metric tons.

Improving the operation and maintenance (O&M)


ESTIMATED ANNUAL SAVINGS ($) of our buildings will reduce energy consump-
$1,000 tion. A pilot project in City buildings found that
$100,000 no-cost operational changes, such as turning off
lights and setting thermostats correctly, reduced
$1,000,000 energy consumption by an average of 17%. By
implementing our O&M plan, we can capture
$2,000,000 this low cost operational savings potential.

City agencies currently have little incentive to


prioritize energy efficiency, because energy bills
are paid centrally. We will create incentives to

Source: NYC Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services


ensure that agencies prioritize conservation and
proper energy system management practice.

We can also accrue savings by ensuring that


interior renovations done to City facilities are
more efficient. We will create standards and a
handbook for green renovations of City facilities.
Working with City Council, we will also create a
* Each dot represents the total financial savings from all completed or board to assess the merits of new technologies
in-progress retrofits of City-owned buildings occuring in each zip code.
and pilot them in City buildings.

We will help the private sector address these


opportunities for efficiency too. Under some
host a research program to identify and address INITIATIVE 10 leases, landlords are not motivated to make long-
the most common and serious energy issues
Provide energy efficiency leadership in term capital improvements for energy efficiency
that affect our building stock. because tenants pay the energy bills. To enable
City government buildings and operations both parties to share in the benefits of energy
Understanding how our building stock uses
New York City will continue playing a leading role efficiency, we have worked with the real estate
energy and the effectiveness of various effi-
both in piloting innovative technologies and in industry to develop voluntary model lease lan-
ciency strategies has been hindered by a lack of
implementing our aggressive plan to cut munici- guage. We will incorporate this energy-aligned
data. This is about to change. All of our energy
pal GHG emissions by 30% below FY 2006 levels lease language in new City leases where the City
efficiency efforts, including private sector
by 2017 (30 x 17). As a leader, we will develop is the tenant, and work with the private sector to
benchmarking, audit reports, the upgrades to
industry capacity and promote best practices. make this standard practice in New York City.
municipal buildings, energy projects funded by
NYCEEC, and the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge, will Today’s industry leaders are going even further,
provide us with robust data. We will partner with New York City government uses energy in diverse
ways. This includes operating 14 wastewater creating new buildings that use little to no energy
one or more institutions to develop a standard- through techniques known as net-zero or Passive
ized energy database and make this information treatment plants, a large vehicle fleet, thousands
of streetlights, and 4,000 buildings. Our 30 x 17 House. They are trying to dramatically cut energy
available to the real estate, technical, financial, consumption in existing buildings through “deep
and business communities. program addresses all of these uses.
energy retrofits.” By piloting at least one net-zero
Since 2007, the equivalent of 10% of our energy school, a Passive House building, and a deep
Finally, we need to encourage the best new prac-
budget has been allocated to energy efficiency energy retrofit project, we will continue to be at
tices in the private sector. New York City has long
investments. This commitment is being supple- the forefront of building practice.
been a national leader in green design, from the
first green skyscraper in Times Square, to the mented by $700 million received to fund energy
first green residential high-rise in Battery Park efficiency work in schools. To further ramp up
our efforts, we will pursue a variety of procure- INITIATIVE 11
City. We need to quicken the cycles between the
generation of new ideas and their incorporation ment mechanisms, including Energy Savings Expand the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge to
Performance Contracting.
into projects, and we need to broaden familiar- new sectors
ity with new strategies in order to facilitate more
As part our 30 x 17 program, the American
widespread adoption. We will partner with our Institutions, such as hospitals and universities,
Museum of Natural History underwent a com-
cultural institutions to create exhibits where the are poised to reduce their energy consumption
prehensive energy audit and received a series
public and decision-makers alike can see and quickly. They have the long-term perspective of
of energy efficiency upgrades. Lighting fixtures
experience the best new strategies. owning and operating their properties for many
have been retrofitted throughout the museum
decades. In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg issued a
and hundreds of occupancy sensors have been
challenge to the city’s largest universities and
installed. Along with other energy conservation

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 111


New York University’s Energy Reductions Key Components of NYU’s Energy Reduction Strategy
Other
Behavior change
(shutting off computers
and turning off lights)
220
Reduced excessive
heating and lighting Cogeneration
Plant
200
Energy use (kBtu/sf)

180
Lighting and
Improved operation
equipment retrofits
160 of mechanical
systems

140
Note: the chart
accounts for 80% Switching to Occupancy
120 of NYU’s emissions cleaner fuels controls
cuts since 2006
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

-
Source: New York University Source: New York University

hospitals to match the City’s goal of reducing


carbon emissions 30% in ten years.
Provide cleaner, more reliable, INITIATIVE 12
and affordable energy Support cost-effective repowering or
Twenty-nine institutions have accepted the May- replacement of our most inefficient and
or’s Challenge. They have created GHG invento- We are working to make our energy supply port- costly in-city power plants
ries and action plans for emissions reductions, folio cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable.
and they meet regularly to share information. New York City is fortunate to have an electricity Given the relative lack of available building sites
The institutions participating include many of supply that is already cleaner than the national in the city that are suitably zoned for power plant
the city’s largest energy users and collectively average. Most in-city power plants are gas- construction, one of the most promising means
account for more than 75 campuses and roughly fired and our imports are primarily carbon-free to increase energy production while improving
80 million square feet of real estate. nuclear and hydropower. However, many of our affordability and environmental outcomes lies in
in-city generation resources are old and ineffi- repowering existing plants.
Only three-and-a-half years into the Challenge, cient, and congested transmission lines limit our
many institutions are on track to achieve their ability to import larger amounts of clean electric- Repowering means replacing old generation
30% reduction well in advance of the ten-year ity. And we have one of the highest wholesale units with new units that burn cleaner fuels,
timeline. Several universities and hospitals have electricity prices in the nation. increase capacity and efficiency, and improve
already surpassed the goal and are eager to operational flexibility. Well-designed retrofits
commit to a more ambitious target. We will con- Complicating matters is the potential closure emit far fewer pollutants, use far less fuel, and
tinue to support the University and Hospital Chal- of the Indian Point Energy Center in the Lower can significantly reduce cooling water consump-
lenges, and will develop “stretch goals” including Hudson Valley. Closing Indian Point without a tion. The result is cleaner air and water, as well
setting a new carbon reduction goal for the next viable and relatively clean replacement option as lower energy costs. Repowering is our first
decade. would jeopardize reliability, significantly increase policy choice for cleaning our energy supply
prices, worsen local air quality, and make it because it produces demonstrable benefits at
Building on our success with universities and very challenging to achieve our goal of reduc- current industrial sites.
hospitals, we will expand the Challenge program ing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030. For
to at least two new sectors. Housing coopera- these reasons we will support the continued Leaving older and dirtier power plants in place
tives and condominiums, large commercial ten- safe operation of Indian Point. is simply too costly for New Yorkers’ health
ants, hotels, religious institutions, and similar and pocketbooks. Unfortunately, some energy
entities are good candidates. They compose a To ensure that future New Yorkers have access market rules can deter potential developers
significant amount of real estate, and their own- to clean, reliable, and affordable energy, we will from entering the market with new generation
ership structures facilitate concerted manage- also seek to diversify our supply portfolio and resources. For that reason, we support a whole-
ment of energy efficiency. make existing generation in the city more effi- sale energy market design that encourages sen-
cient. This will require more robust electric and sible repowering and new generation projects.
The cooperative housing sector, for example, gas networks, better incentives for moderniz- We will advocate that the New York Independent
includes one in ten New York City housing ing generation assets, targeted investments in System Operator and the Federal Energy Regu-
units. It accounts for more than 350 million cogeneration and renewable energy, and longer- latory Commission (FERC) adopt energy and
square feet of real estate, and is responsible term transformational options for harnessing capacity market rules designed to best serve
for 1.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas cleaner resources outside the city. The devel- the interests of ratepayers, while also recogniz-
emissions per year. If 40% of the cooperatives opment of two state-of-the-art gas-fired plants ing the needs of energy infrastructure develop-
in the city met the goals of a Mayoral in the New York City area that will come online ers to obtain a fair return on their investments.
challenge, by 2021 this could lead to an soon indicates that private developers can be
annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction attracted to build projects that improve air qual-
of 206,000 metric tons. This is equivalent to ity and increase system reliability. We will work
making 35,000 New Yorkers carbon neutral. with utilities, regulators, and the private sector
to encourage more of these investments.

112 ENERGY
CASE STUDY
Public-Private Partnerships To Capture and
Utilize Methane
Our fourteen wastewater treatment plants utilize
stomach-like ‘digester’ units to remove solids
from wastewater, while making methane gas as a
by-product. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas
when released to the atmosphere but, if captured,

Credit: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection


it is a relatively clean energy source known as
natural gas. We currently capture and use about
30% of methane from treatment plants to meet
on-site energy needs. However, we still emit large
quantities, equivalent to over 250,000 tons of
carbon dioxide annually. Public-private partner-
ships will allow us to put more of this gas into
productive use at minimal direct cost to the
The anerobic digesters of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
City—thereby reducing our greenhouse gas
emissions cost-effectively.
road. National Grid is funding all capital costs in Island are served by a 75-year old centralized
At the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
exchange for a guaranteed annual stream of gas. heating system that must be replaced. We are
we are partnering with National Grid to develop
The delivery of any additional gas will generate exploring a private partnership to develop a
one of the nation’s first ‘waste-gas-to-grid’
revenue for the City. This innovative agreement cogeneration system at the Wards Island Wastewa-
projects. When completed in spring 2012, the
will bring to market a cost-effective source of ter Treatment Plant that would reduce direct costs
project will inject purified digester gas into
renewable gas and will serve as a replicable model to the City while providing necessary infrastruc-
National Grid’s distribution system, which serves
for other urban sites. ture and reducing emissions.
Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The project
will inject enough gas to heat 2,500 homes and We are also pursuing a partnership at the Wards This system could use digester gas supplied by the
will also reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the Island Wastewater Treatment Plant that accom- treatment plant to produce district heat while also
same savings as removing 3,000 vehicles from the plishes multiple goals at once. Buildings on Wards generating 10 to 30 MW of electricity.

INITIATIVE 13 to streamline permitting and interconnection Solar


processes. We will also encourage utilities to
Encourage the development of clean Solar photovoltaic (PV) is ideal for an urban envi-
improve coordination of electric and gas distri-
distributed generation bution planning. This will help ensure that most ronment because it can be located near end-
residential clean DG sites have adequate gas users, reducing the need for expensive transmis-
Clean distributed generation (clean DG) enables supply and are able to provide demand reduc- sion upgrades. Last year alone, New York City’s
properties to create their own power with higher tion or emergency backup power benefits. installed solar capacity doubled from 3 MW to 6
efficiencies and less environmental impact than Finally, we will continue to advocate for cost-ef- MW. The City’s solar property tax abatement and
central plants. For example, cogeneration sys- fective ratepayer-funded incentives to catalyze expanded “net metering” rules have significantly
tems can achieve high efficiencies by capturing clean DG development. improved the economics for solar PV projects.
the heat by-product of electricity production Lower installation costs, improved technology,
and reuse it for heating and cooling, thus reduc- and streamlined permitting processes have also
ing GHG emissions. Clean DG systems also help INITIATIVE 14 driven growth.
lower peak demand for electricity and improve
the reliability of our electrical grid. We will seek Foster the market for renewable energy We expect to see even more growth over the
to develop 800 megawatts (MW) of clean DG. in New York City next four years because of state and local incen-
tive programs. The Public Service Commission
We have ample opportunities to develop clean Nationwide, installed capacity of renewable (PSC) forecasts that a new five-year $125 million
DG at City-owned sites. We expect clean DG to energy has more than doubled in the past four program for large-scale renewable energy proj-
contribute up to 10% of the greenhouse gas emis- years to over 53,000 MW. New York City’s densely ects in the New York City area will add more than
sions reduction needed to achieve our 30x17 built environment makes it more difficult to 60 MWs of solar PV to Con Edison’s service terri-
goal. We are currently developing cogeneration develop large-scale renewable energy projects. tory by 2015. We also expect continued growth
plants at Rikers Island and the new Police Acad- However, the city does have some key opportu- in applications for the City’s solar tax abatement,
emy in College Point, Queens, totaling over 15 nities to attract private investment and integrate and we will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of
MW in capacity. We are also examining cogenera- renewable energy into our energy supply mix. this program in the coming years.
tion at the North River Water Wastewater Treat-
ment Plant, at a complex of government build- A recent GreeNYC study found that over 60% To support this growth, we will create an online
ings in Lower Manhattan, and at other sites, pos- of New Yorkers would be willing to purchase solar map that will enable New Yorkers to deter-
sibly in partnership with the private sector. We renewable energy at a premium. We will explore mine the potential for generating solar power
will also explore the feasibility of clean DG as part possibilities for pooling consumer purchasing on their rooftops. We will also work with Con
of the renovation of City Hall. power to drive the development of local renew- Edison, the National Renewable Energy Labora-
able energy resources. We will also promote tory, and the private sector to create a perfor-
Many private buildings sites are also ideal for consumer awareness about renewable energy mance monitoring system linked to over 100
cogeneration, but private developers often face options and work with energy service compa- solar PV installations across the city. This system
steep obstacles bringing projects to fruition. We nies to account for the greenhouse gas reduc-
will work with utilities and project developers tions that result from consumer purchases.
A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 113
Clean Energy Projects at City-Owned
Sites: Planned or Under Development

CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS AT CITY-OWNED SITES


Hydroelectric power
at upstate DEP
COGENERATION water facilities
WASTE-GAS-TO-GRID PROJECT
WIND TURBINE
SOLAR PV
SOLAR THERMAL 48th Police Precint
SMALL HYDROELECTRIC Morrisania Health Center
North River WWTP
St. Mary’s Rec Center

Rikers Island
Wards Island WWTP

114th Precint New Police Academy

FDNY Recruitment Building 115th Precinct

Manhattan Comprehensive
Night & Day School Newtown Creek WWTP

Centre Street government


building complex

Sunrise Yard
Queens 13
Pennsylvania Avenue and District Garage
Fountain Avenue Landfills

Brooklyn South 14 District Garage


Port Richmond WWTP

Source: NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection; NYC Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services
Fresh Kills and Engine Companies 264,
Brookf ield Landf ills 265, 266, 268 and 329

Engine Company 168


Oakwood Beach WWTP

114 ENERGY
Credit: PPL Renewable Energy

Credit: NRG Bluewater Wind


The Pennsauken​, N.J. renewable energy park, built on a landfill The Nysted Offshore Wind Farm in Denmark

will provide insight on how distributed solar We are exploring the development of small MW of power at those locations. We are working
resources interact with the electrical grid and wind projects at City-owned sites. These proj- with energy developers and will develop gener-
can aid peak demand reduction. ects must be technically feasible, cost effec- ating capacity if sufficient commercial interest
tive, located near load centers, and compatible and public benefit is demonstrated, and if we
Solar projects are currently subject to a complex with local community needs. For example, the can ensure that projects can be developed in an
permitting and interconnection process involving Oakwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant in environmentally-sensitive manner.
numerous entities. To streamline this process, we Staten Island may provide an ideal location for a
will work with Con Edison, NYSERDA, and other wind turbine, and we are studying the feasibility We will also investigate how to generate energy
parties to explore the development of a central- of developing a 1.5 MW project at the site. The from the large volumes of water that flow
ized website for permit application and tracking. Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island is also being through our water distribution and wastewater
We are also modifying City codes and regulations studied by private developers for the feasibility treatment systems. Additionally, we will evalu-
to remove barriers to solar investments while of wind turbines. ate the prospects for tapping into “geothermal”
maintaining necessary safety standards. resources, such as sewer systems and ground-
Offshore wind projects present a potentially water, to serve heating and cooling loads at
The City will also use its own assets to drive solar transformative opportunity to develop utility- nearby buildings.
development. We currently have 15 photovol- scale renewable energy that will feed directly
taic and solar thermal projects in design. We are into the city. European countries have developed Biogas
installing small-scale solar PV and solar thermal nearly 3,000 MW of offshore wind and the U.S.
projects at City-owned sites and plan to release Approximately 7% of the City government’s GHG
Department of Energy concluded that the mid-
a Request for Proposals for third-party installa- emissions come from methane that is vented
Atlantic area has vast potential. However, no off-
tion and ownership of 3 MWs in 2011. and flared at wastewater treatment plants. If cap-
shore wind project has been successfully com-
tured, this gas could be injected into the natural
pleted in the United States.
We will explore public-private partnerships gas distribution system or productively reused as
to develop larger renewable energy projects, The City is an active party in an offshore wind fuel for on-site power and heat generation for our
including utility-scale solar energy projects at development collaborative with Con Edison, the buildings. We are pursuing innovative cogenera-
capped municipal landfills. City landfills can Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New tion and waste-gas-to-grid projects at the New-
accommodate more than 50 MW of solar power York Power Authority (NYPA). The collaborative town Creek and Wards Island Wastewater Treat-
on only a small fraction of available land. These seeks to develop several hundred megawatts ment Plants. These projects can reduce green-
projects can be sensitively developed to comple- of wind power more than ten miles off the coast house gas emissions with minimal direct cost to
ment habitat restoration efforts and longer-term of the Rockaways in Queens. Private developers the city and will establish a financial model that
plans for recreational use. Installing solar power are exploring additional areas for wind arrays can be replicated at other urban sites. By 2017,
at these sites could significantly improve local and transmission interconnection options off we will reuse 60% of the anaerobic digester gas
air quality by reducing generation at the city’s the Atlantic coast. We will work with state and produced in our wastewater system.
dirtiest plants during periods of peak summer federal regulators to support cost-effective pro-
demand. posals for both public and private offshore wind
Wind
projects that will benefit New York City. Modernize our transmission and
Hydropower distribution systems
New York State is a leading location for wind
energy in the Northeast, with nearly 1,300 MW The City’s upstate watershed and downstate New York City’s energy infrastructure consists
installed. However, most wind projects were water distribution system provide opportunities of a complex and inter-woven network of power
built far away from New York City, and we are to develop clean hydroelectric power. plants and electricity, steam, and gas transmis-
unable to access these sources of carbon-free sion and distribution systems. Much of this infra-
electricity. By using City assets and thinking We currently operate five hydroelectric power structure is in need of modernization to achieve
creatively, we can create closer opportunities facilities at the City’s upstate drinking water res- our goals and to sustain New York City as a
to build both small and large wind projects to ervoirs. We have studied the economic and envi- global financial and commercial hub. Investment
serve New York City. ronmental feasibility of four additional genera- by building owners and utilities in advanced
tion facilities that could provide approximately 15

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 115


distribution and energy management systems
improve demand reduction capabilities and the
integration of distributed energy resources. The
city’s natural gas supply must be reinforced with
new transmission capacity connecting to gas
resources outside of the city, and distribution
upgrades are needed within the city to keep up
with growing demand. The City faces a number of
reliability challenges and opportunities, including
the possible closure of Indian Point and the devel-

Credit: Con Edison


opment of new transmission lines that could one
day deliver cleaner and less expensive electricity.
Con Edison workers installing local gas distribution upgrades

INITIATIVE 15
Increase natural gas transmission and We will work with Con Edison, National Grid, and We will seek to diversify our energy portfolio
distribution capacity to improve reliability key partners to accelerate upgrades to our natu- by importing additional generation resources
ral gas distribution system in underserved areas from outside the five boroughs. For example,
and encourage conversion from highly where they can have the greatest air quality ben- we are pursuing more robust interconnection
polluting fuels efits. By identifying clusters of buildings that are with neighboring power systems such as Penn-
ready to convert from oil to natural gas, we will sylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) to increase
New York City has a critical need for additional help create economies of scale that will lower the reliability and resource diversity. We will also
natural gas capacity. Despite decades of popula- costs of conversion for customers. We will col- continue to evaluate the costs and benefits of
tion and economic growth, no new major direct laborate in developing a multi-year infrastructure longer-term and more transformative transmis-
transmission pipelines have reached the city in build-out plan and will advocate state regulators sion line proposals that would deliver additional
more than forty years. Without additional capac- to allow utilities to aggressively implement it. sources of clean power to the city. One such
ity, utilities will be unable to respond to growing proposal would connect deep offshore Atlantic
demand for new service as customers pursue Increasing concerns about the environmen- wind directly with the city. Others would allow
clean DG and conversions from dirty heating oil. tal and health impacts of natural gas produc- us to import Canadian hydropower or upstate
Supply constraints could also drive up electricity tion cannot be ignored. We will work with state wind resources.
prices since 90% of our in-city power plants are officials to protect New York City’s watershed
gas-fired. from natural gas exploration. As a responsible Ensuring reliability goes beyond physical inter-
consumer of natural gas supplies, we will also connections to electricity sources. For example,
To ease supply constraints we will assist develop- forcefully advocate for improved regulations and Con Edison relied on customers to reduce their
ers in obtaining permits and approvals for appro- safety standards nationwide. demand by nearly 450 MW on the hottest days
priately-sited natural gas transmission pipelines. last summer to ensure reliability. Emergency load
The proposed Spectra Energy pipeline would shedding programs have existed for decades,
provide natural gas supply to up to 2 million INITIATIVE 16 but they will take on a new importance as a
homes in New Jersey and the greater New York
Ensure the reliability of New York City model for market-based mechanisms to reduce
metropolitan region, as well as much needed energy consumption that will be made possible
supply to the Bronx, Manhattan, and portions of power delivery by a smarter, more responsive energy grid.
Queens. Similarly, the proposed Transco Williams
New Yorkers remember past disruptions to the
pipeline would critically reinforce gas supplies in
electrical grid. Today the grid is more reliable
Brooklyn and Queens. We will work with pipeline INITIATIVE 17
thanks to expanded demand reduction efforts
developers, the FERC, and community stakehold-
and Con Edison’s improvements following the Develop a smarter and cleaner electric
ers to expedite the siting and development of
both of these projects.
2006 Queens outage. However, we still face sig- utility grid for New York City
nificant reliability challenges. Principal among
City regulations eliminating the use of highly pol- these is the potential closure of Indian Point, When Thomas Edison opened the Pearl Street
luting residual heating oil will increase demand which could lead to major system disruptions in power station in Lower Manhattan in 1882,
for new gas service. With gas prices nearing the absence of a viable replacement plan. he laid the foundation for the modern electric
historic lows and expected to remain below oil grid—an innovation that changed the world but
New York City’s ability to import electricity is that has changed relatively little since that time.
prices for some time, building owners have the
limited by under-sized and congested transmis-
unique opportunity to upgrade their heating sys-
sion lines, and opportunities to expand in-city Today the utility industry is making strides to
tems while generating a return on their invest-
generation are limited. Periods of peak summer develop a smarter, more responsive electric
ment. In addition to significantly improving air
demand put significant stress on utility infra- system. Enhancing two-way communications
quality, residual oil users can save over half a
structure and cause the activation of the dirtiest with energy users will help utilities to reduce
billion dollars annually by converting from dirty
in-city plants. As a result, each summer we must peak demand while enabling consumers to earn
heating oil to natural gas.
brace for the possibility of neighborhood-level money by saving energy. Advanced controls and
blackouts and increased air pollution. diagnostics will facilitate integration of clean

116 ENERGY
CASE STUDY
What Happens if Indian Point Closes?

New Yorkers receive up to 30% of their total


electricity from Indian Point, a nuclear facility in
the Lower Hudson Valley which emits virtually no
greenhouse gases or air pollution. Indian Point’s
low operating costs help displace generation at
more expensive and polluting power plants
located inside the city and throughout the state.
We also depend heavily on Indian Point for
reliability, as congested transmission lines limit
our ability to import power from more distant
locations.
The City supports the continued safe operation of
Indian Point. However, we know that Indian Point
may not still be operating in 2030, the horizon for

Credit: Entergy
PlaNYC. The plant may be denied a New York State
water quality permit that is required for federal
The Indian Point Energy Center
relicensing in 2013.
Retiring Indian Point without replacing at least a
portion of its capacity could lead to power system increase and our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas federal regulators to ensure that measures are
instability. Replacement costs would exceed $2 emissions 30% by 2030 would be unachievable taken to keep the plant safely online. At the same
billion and New Yorkers would also pay at least because we would most likely shift to electricity time, our objectives of reducing demand for
$1.5 billion in higher energy costs over the next generated by more carbon-intensive sources. With energy and diversifying our sources of supply for
decade, and electricity consumers could see their these impacts in mind, we will work with Entergy energy are valid strategies regardless of Indian
bills increase by 15%. Local air pollution would (Indian Point’s owner), Con Edison, and state and Point’s expected lifespan.

distributed energy resources, including a grow- of residential and business customers to price enterprise that will require persistence and
ing number of electric vehicles. Although these signals and other means of prompting demand vigilance. We must not only adopt the right
advances will take time to develop, they will reduction. We will continue to support Con Edi- policies, we must ensure that they are prop-
transform the way we use energy. son’s efforts to capitalize on lessons learned and erly implemented, that their success is mea-
to scale up cost-effective technologies. sured, and that the policies are amended as
The City will pilot strategies for a smarter grid by situations change and we learn more.
deploying an Energy Enterprise Metering System We will also work with regulators, utilities, build-
(EEMS) in thousands of its buildings. This innova- ing owners, and energy companies to encour- In addition, because our energy systems are
tive system will deliver real-time consumption age deeper participation by commercial and owned and operated by a variety of corpo-
information to building operators and will enable industrial consumers in market-based programs rate and public entities, and regulated by a
the City to increase its participation in peak load to reduce peak demand. In addition to enhanc- variety of state and federal agencies, we will
management from 17 MW up to 50 MW. We will ing reliability, these programs will improve air need to continue developing strong strategic
also explore opportunities to leverage City assets quality, lower electricity prices, and over the relationships with property owners, consum-
such as its wireless communication infrastructure longer term mitigate the need for costly system ers, regulators, financial institutions, funding
to assist utilities in conducting automated meter upgrades. authorities, and others, and work together
reading for power and gas customers. to achieve our common goals.

We are also partnering with the private sector


and academic institutions to implement a fed-
Conclusion Actions beyond our control, such as the clo-
sure of the Indian Point Energy Center, could
erally-funded smart grid demonstration project We have set ambitious goals to reduce demand make it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve
at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The project will for energy, obtain a cleaner, more reliable, and our greenhouse gas reduction goals and to
tie together a building management system, a affordable supply of energy, and reduce our city- maintain reliability and affordability. Other
500 kW solar PV array, and a battery system to wide carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. We have actions, like a national carbon tax, could
store power generated on-site. Integrating these laid out comprehensive policies that put us on make it easier to reduce consumption and
systems will demonstrate the viability of “virtual track to achieve those goals, but good policies clean our supply. Clarity of purpose, con-
generation,” in which buildings can profit from alone will not ensure our success. Succeeding stant measurement of our progress, and
selling energy curtailment services on wholesale will require consistent commitment, strong part- adaptability of our plan are essential to meet
electricity markets. nerships, and proper alignment of actions that our goals in the face of such uncertainty.
may be beyond our control.
Con Edison has received substantial federal
funding to undertake smart-grid demonstration Dramatically reducing energy consumption and
and pilot projects. A demonstration project in carbon emissions in a city of more than 8 mil-
Long Island City has tested the responsiveness lion people over 20 years is an unprecedented

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 117


Air Quality
Credit: NYC Economic Development Corporation
Together we can
Understand the scope of the challenge
Reduce transportation emissions
Reduce emissions from buildings
Update codes and standards

120 AIR QUALITY


The quality of the air was much worse in the
50s and 60s. Now the possibility of cleaner air
is a reality. Our building is making the capital
investment to convert to a dual-fuel boiler, one In the Bronx we have the highest incidence of
that uses both natural gas a a finer grade of asthma. If children have severe asthma, they are
heating oil. I am proud that we will be not able to run, do track, play ball. It affects their
contributing to cleaning the air. activities. It affects what they are able to do.
Chip Fisher // Manhattan Lillian Reid // Bronx

I’ve driven a cab for 36 years and for the last


five years I have driven a hybrid. I like the idea
that the hybrid cab is good for the city. It helps New York is growing in population, so we need to
the air quality, and it’s not really different from do things to keep our air clean and healthy and
driving any other taxi. While there are some safe for all of us to breathe. And we need to do
up-front and maintenance costs, driving around it now, not later. If we don’t, especially in a large
Manhattan, I save 40-50% on gas. city like ours, it’s going to cost us in the long run.
Cliff Adler // Manhattan Mustaqeem Abdul-Azeem // Brooklyn

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 121


Air Quality
Achieve the cleanest air quality of any big U.S. city

Over the past two decades, as federal, state, U.S. These reductions are also critical to protect
and local regulations have strengthened air qual- the health of New Yorkers. Air pollution is one of
ity standards, New York City’s air quality has dra- the most significant environmental threats we
matically improved. We have undertaken numer- face, contributing to approximately 6% of annual
ous actions to reduce emissions from local deaths in New York City each year.
sources of pollution. Despite these efforts, our
air quality still fails to meet federal standards for Over half of our PM 2.5 originates outside the
ozone and fine particle matter (PM 2.5). Many of city. Some pollution drifts in from neighboring
our communities experience pollution levels sig- jurisdictions, including from traffic, industry, and
nificantly higher than the citywide average. Many power plants. Other sources are more distant,
of these same neighborhoods have high rates of such as mid-western power plants and factories.
asthma and other health conditions exacerbated Depending on the time of year, up to 70% of par-
by air pollution. In addition, future regulations ticulate matter measured in the city comes from
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency somewhere else. Because of these inter-state
(EPA) are likely to result in the city being in non- impacts, we will continue to ask our Congressio-
attainment for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur nal delegation to keep federal laws strong.
dioxide (SO2) standards.
But a significant portion of our pollution comes
PM 2.5 is a by-product of burning fuel in trucks from local sources. New studies undertaken by
and buses, factories, power plants, and boil- the City put real numbers to what we have long
ers. Each year, PM 2.5 pollution in New York City known—neighborhoods in close proximity to
causes more than 3,000 deaths, 2,000 hospital heavily-trafficked roadways or buildings burning
admissions for lung and heart conditions, and Numbers 4 and 6 heating oil have annual aver-
approximately 6,000 emergency department age PM 2.5 levels that are 30% higher than areas
visits for asthma in children and adults. with less traffic or fewer buildings burning those
dirty fuels.
We have chosen PM 2.5 as our standard because
of its significant health impacts—and because This information—the most comprehensive
we lag behind other big cities in the levels in effort of its kind undertaken by a major city—is
our air quality. To meet our goal of achieving the allowing us to strategically identify neighbor-
cleanest air quality of any big city in the U.S., we hoods with the worst air quality as well as local
estimate that we need to reduce average PM 2.5 sources to reduce emissions citywide. We suc-
concentrations by 22% below 2005 levels. The cessfully sought a state law that reduced the
City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sulfur content in Number 2 heating oil by 99%.
(DOHMH) projects that if we meet this goal, we We enacted a local law that requires the use of
could prevent more than 750 premature deaths 2% biodiesel in heating oil and created the new
and almost 2,000 hospital admissions and emer- low sulfur Number 4 oil classification. We are
gency room visits. investing hundreds of millions of dollars to con-
vert school boilers that burn Numbers 4 and 6
Other primary pollutants such as SO2, NO2, and oil in schools to cleaner fuels. We have already
volatile organic compounds (VOCs) also have completed boiler conversions at 13 schools—
impacts on our health, as does ozone, which is the first of almost 100 school buildings that we
formed through chemical reactions of primary will convert by 2017. We worked with the City
pollutants. Further reducing those emissions Council to lower the retirement age for school
will be essential to meeting our goal of achiev- buses and require the installation of indoor air
ing the cleanest air quality of any big city in the filters for bus cabins. We launched the most

122 AIR QUALITY


PM2.5 per Square Mile in U.S. Cities Number of Events Avoided Annually if PlaNYC Air Quality Goal Met
With Over 1 Million Residents
30 900
850
800
IDCHE:GHFJ6G:B>A:

25 760
700
20
600

15 580

:K:CIH
500

400
10
280
300
5 220
200

0 100
SAN DIEGO

PHILADELPHIA
PHOENIX

LOS ANGELES

SAN ANTONIO

DALLAS

CHICAGO

HOUSTON

NEW YORK CITY


0

Emergency
Premature Deaths Hospital Admission Hospital Admission Emergency
for Respitory for Cardiovascular Department Visits Department Visits
(30 and Older)
Conditions Conditions for Asthma for Asthma
(20 and Older) (40 and Older) (Adults) (Children)

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene Source: NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene

comprehensive ground-level air quality monitor- cles to cleaner fuel sources. We will apply similar one million trees throughout the city and cre-
ing program undertaken by a city. And, focusing strategies to other vehicles, including ferries ating pedestrian zones separated from the
on many of our neighborhoods with the highest and planes. By partnering with the Port Author- worst traffic. Our Transportation plan will better
asthma rates and fewest trees, we planted more ity of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority), manage traffic congestion and improve the flow
than 430,000 trees, which help remove pollut- we can achieve substantial reductions across all of freight, which affects our air quality. As part of
ants from our air. transportation sectors. our Solid Waste plan we will continue to shift the
export of our waste from long-haul trucks to rail-
Yet more remains to be done to achieve the The electricity and heating fuels used to power cars and barges. And our Energy plan is replac-
cleanest air quality of any big city in the U.S. We and heat our buildings account for a quarter of ing old, outdated power plants with modern,
must continue to reduce our biggest known pol- local PM 2.5 emissions. We will enact regulations more efficient models and transitioning our
luting sources—motor vehicle exhaust, building to reduce pollution caused by the dirtiest heat- energy supply to cleaner fuels.
heating oil, and aging power plants with out- ing oils used in buildings, and reduce the indoor
dated technology. We will continue to partner air quality risks posed by building materials. These strategies will accelerate air quality
with other levels of government, private busi- improvements so that one day, every New
nesses, and building owners to increase the use We will also reap the benefits of our Parks and Yorker will breathe the cleanest air of any big
of alternative fuels. These actions will improve Public Space plan, which is planting more than city in America.
our air quality, enhance public health, and in
many cases, save New Yorkers money.

Our Plan Our plan for air quality:


Our air quality has improved in recent years. Our
three-year average of PM 2.5 concentrations has Understand the scope of the challenge
decreased since 2007. Similarly, PM 2.5 concen- 1 Monitor and model neighborhood-level air quality
trations have continued a gradual decline on a
national and regional level. But New York City Reduce transportation emissions
still fails to meet all of the federal air quality stan-
2 Reduce, replace, retrofit, and refuel vehicles
dards and many of our neighborhoods have sig-
nificantly higher concentrations of PM 2.5 than 3 Facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles
the citywide average. 4 Reduce emissions from taxis, black cars, and for-hire vehicles
As other cities also take steps to improve air 5 Reduce illegal idling
quality, our efforts will have to be even more 6 Retrofit ferries and promote the use of cleaner fuels
dramatic to keep pace. That means we must 7 Work with the Port Authority to implement the Clean Air Strategy for the Port of
continually reevaluate our goal and benchmark New York and New Jersey
it against other cities.
Reduce emissions from buildings
We will aggressively reduce emissions from cars,
trucks, and buses by promoting fuel efficiency, 8 Promote the use of cleaner-burning heating fuels
cleaner fuels, and cleaner or upgraded engines.
We will seek federal legislation to explicitly allow Update codes and standards
state and local governments to provide incen- 9 Update our codes and regulations to improve indoor air quality
tives for fuel-efficient vehicles. We will use fed-
10 Update our air quality code
eral funding to continue converting diesel vehi-

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 123


New York City Community Air Survey
Summer Ozone Concentrations
Case Study
New York City Community Air Survey > 31.8 Ozone Concentration (ppb)

New York is a city of neighborhoods, each < 14.4


with its own unique history, character, and
physical environment. These distinctive
features extend to local air quality. Until
2008, relatively little was known about how
air quality varied between neighborhoods in
New York, what contributed to poor air
quality, or how to best target policies to
reduce local emissions.
As part of PlaNYC, the New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in
partnership with Queens College of the City
University of New York, launched the New

Source: NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene


York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) in
2008. NYCCAS is the first-ever comprehen-
sive survey of street-level air quality in New
York City. The program is designed to
understand how average air pollution levels
vary from place to place within the city.
The survey collects one air sample every two
weeks, in each season, from more than 100
locations throughout the five boroughs.
NYCCAS air samples are collected at street
level, where people walk along sidewalks, Understand the scope of the primary pollutants with sunlight, is greatest
outside Manhattan, especially in southeastern
and where traffic-related pollution is usually
higher. Monitoring locations are in areas with challenge Queens and southern Staten Island.
high or low traffic and building densities,
Launched in 2008, the New York City Community
various mixes of commercial, residential and
industrial properties, and in areas with dense
Air Survey (NYCCAS) is one of the largest stud- INITIATIVE 1
ies of urban air quality to date. The survey mea- Monitor and model neighborhood-
or sparse tree cover. These locations reflect
sures street-level concentrations of pollutants
the variety of urban environments found in
year-round at more than 100 locations through- level air quality
New York City.
out the city. NYCCAS then uses these pollution
Through NYCCAS, we have a better understand-
NYCCAS monitors air samples for fine measurements—and the distribution of known
ing of the drivers of local PM 2.5 emissions in
particles (PM 2.5), elemental carbon (EC), pollution sources such as traffic and oil-burning
the city and the impact these sources have on
other elements in particles, nitrogen oxides boilers—to estimate concentrations of air pollut-
neighborhood variability. This has allowed us
(NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the winter ants throughout the city.
to effectively target our policy efforts at the
months, and ozone (O3) in the summer. The first NYCCAS report on winter air quality sources most responsible for our local PM 2.5
The sampling results from each location documented large geographic differences in emissions and in those communities that are
are analyzed for statistical correlation the concentration of PM 2.5, NO2, and elemen- most impacted.
with dozens of land-use factors such as t tal carbon. It demonstrated for the first time that
he density of boilers and truck traffic. The Based on what we have learned from the first
many neighborhoods of all income levels in the
results are then projected to other locations year of monitoring, we have identified 100 sites
city suffer from high levels of street-level pollu-
to create air-quality maps for the entire city. that represent a range of local emissions with
tion. Furthermore, it identified the main drivers
significant impacts on neighborhood air quality.
of street-level air pollution in the winter to be
By showing where air-quality levels are better This smaller network will allow continued moni-
high traffic volume and the use of residual fuel in
or worse and identifying the most important toring at lower cost, using the same pollutants
buildings. This information is already informing
local sources of harmful air pollutants, strategies to reduce emissions and neighbor-
to evaluate changes as local emission reduction
particularly diesel fuel and heating oil, NYCCAS hood variability in air quality.
initiatives are implemented. We will maintain
can help focus our efforts on actions that can a street-level air monitoring network to track
reduce air pollution and improve our health. NYCCAS has produced several more reports. neighborhood air quality differences over time.
A winter supplement reported on the wide dis-
Using the existing NYCCAS infrastructure, we
parities in nickel concentrations in air associated
will expand the methods and pollutants mea-
with the use of residual fuel boilers. The summer
sured to look more closely at specific types of
air quality report demonstrated that ozone, a
emission sources and exposure settings. We will
secondary pollutant caused by the reaction of

124 AIR QUALITY


In addition to changing the make-up of our
vehicle stock, we are piloting new, low-emission
fuels. The Department of Parks and Recreation
uses a 20% biodiesel blend (B20) in all of its
diesel vehicles and equipment and is now pilot-
ing B50 blends. Other agencies, including the
departments of Sanitation, Transportation, and
Environmental Protection, use B5 in their diesel
fleets, and will switch to B20 during the summer.
All of these agencies’ fueling stations dispense
at least B5 fuel. To reduce emissions, we will
expand the use of biodiesel in the City’s fleet.

In addition to the City’s efforts to improve the


environmental performance of its own fleet,
we aim to reduce emissions from private fleets.
Private delivery fleets log thousands of miles
a year on New York roadways. Since 2000, we
have worked with the New York State Energy
Research Development Authority (NYSERDA)
to manage a federal Congestion Mitigation and
Air Quality (CMAQ) funded initiative that helps

Credit: City of New York


private sector companies and non-profit enti-
ties retrofit their vehicles or switch to alternative
fuels. Program participants can convert to either
A NYPD hybrid patrol car in Willets Point, Queens
clean natural gas (CNG) or hybrid vehicles, or
retrofit their diesel vehicles. To date, the City has
spent roughly $15 million to retrofit, replace, or
enhance monitoring and modeling to examine INITIATIVE 2 repower approximately 280 trucks, eliminating
pedestrian exposures in different traffic configu- 63 tons of PM 2.5. We will complete upgrades of
Reduce, replace, retrofit, and refuel 400 vehicles through existing CMAQ and other
rations and at different times of day, emissions
from the commercial cooking sector, and expo- vehicles funding sources.
sures to additional toxic air pollutants.
The City owns and operates a fleet of more than We are currently working with private school
26,000 vehicles and motorized equipment. bus companies to retrofit all full-size school
Through several strategies—increasing use buses to reduce emissions. Using CMAQ and
Reduce transportation of public transit, reducing the number of City Federal Transit Administration funding, we will
emissions vehicles used for commuting, and pursuing car- install Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), which
sharing opportunities—we will reduce our fleet reduce particulate matter emissions by at least
In 2005, motor vehicles traveled 18.6 billion by 5%. This reduction of light-, medium-, and 85%, on 685 buses.
miles throughout the five boroughs. Each year, heavy-duty vehicles will reduce fuel use by City
these trips generate about 11% of our local PM vehicles and associated PM 2.5 and greenhouse
2.5 emissions. They also generate 28% of nitric gas emissions. INITIATIVE 3
oxide (NOX) and 17% of VOC emissions, both of
We are taking aggressive steps to make our
Facilitate the adoption of electric
which contribute to ambient PM 2.5 levels.
fleet, which is already the largest clean-fuel vehicles
Areas in the city with the greatest traffic density municipal fleet in the country, even more effi-
have much higher levels of PM 2.5, NOX , and cient. More than 6,000 City-owned vehicles, or We can reduce emissions in the city not only
NO2 than areas with lower traffic density. But 25% of our total fleet, are already hybrid or other by reducing vehicle miles traveled, but also by
ozone is different. Ozone results from chemi- alternative-fuel vehicles, including garbage making vehicles more efficient.
cal reactions among other pollutants, NOX and trucks, police cars, and heavy loaders.
In recent years, automotive manufacturers
VOCs, in the presence of sunlight. As a result,
To continue this transformation, we will imple- have made great strides in producing vehicles
high ozone levels often occur in locations down-
ment the Clean Fleet Transition plan, a vehicle- that use less energy, emit fewer emissions, and
wind from emission sources including loca-
by-vehicle plan to convert the City’s fleet to burn little or even no gasoline. Among the most
tions such as the Rockaways in Queens and in
cleaner vehicles, including hybrid and electric promising of these technologies are those that
southern Staten Island. Therefore, our efforts
vehicles. We are among the first government rely on electricity—either to enhance the dis-
to reduce emissions from transportation have
fleets to receive Chevrolet Volts off the initial tance a vehicle travels before consuming gaso-
a benefit for all neighborhoods, not just those
production line. To prepare for the expansion line, or to produce an entirely electric operation
along congested roadways.
of our plug-in fleet, we will install more than 60 relying on battery storage technology. For New
electric vehicle charging units at City-owned Yorkers who will continue to rely on automo-
facilities and garages. We will also pilot other
new technologies.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 125


Emissions: Gas-powered Auto versus EV
87I; 9;?B?D=

Electric vehicle charged from


renewable resource

Case Study Electric vehicle charged on NYC grid


North East Regional Vehicle
Partnership
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
For years, people have dreamed about quiet,
exhaust-free cars. That dream is now Best case gas engine technology (2030)
becoming a reality with electric vehicles. But
making electric vehicles work for every day
driving requires planning and collaboration Conventional gas vehicle

among cities, utility companies, and the


private sector. In November 2010, Philadel- 0 100 200 300 400 500
phia, Boston, and New York City kicked off
8D':b^hh^dch\$b^aZ
this collaboration by launching the Northeast
Source: IEA, IAEA, AG Energiebilanzen, U.S. Dept. of Energy, McKinsey, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Regional Electric Vehicle Partnership (NREVP)
to help all three cities serve early electric
vehicle adopters now and build for the future. biles for their mobility needs, electric vehicles additional electrical wiring from the street,
offer an improvement over gasoline vehicles in which can add significant costs and delays. We
Electric vehicles benefit all city residents. reducing both urban pollution and greenhouse will work with Con Edison and auto manufac-
Their owners will never have to fill up at a gas gas emissions. turers to streamline the installation process for
station or go in for an oil change. The cost home chargers to ensure that it is as quick and
of driving will become more stable since The environmental benefits of electric vehicles affordable as possible. We will also identify and
electricity prices are less volatile than those over purely gasoline-powered vehicles depend adopt best practices from the partner cities in
of gasoline. Non-owners will enjoy a city with on a number of factors. The extent of the ben- the NREVP.
quiet vehicles that don’t contribute to local efits is determined largely by the generation
smog and create fewer greenhouse gases. Yet source of the electricity used to charge the Many New Yorkers do not park at home. Instead,
without the appropriate codes and regulations, electric vehicle’s battery. The mix of generation they rely on commercial parking garages and
the right cost of electricity, and a network of sources that provide power to the New York City on-street parking. Using federal stimulus fund-
chargers, electric vehicles won’t succeed. electric grid are favorable to electric vehicles, as ing, more than 200 EV chargers are being
approximately 40% of the electricity consumed installed throughout the metropolitan area,
That is why this tri-city partnership is vital. in New York City is generated by low carbon including in commercial parking lots. To ensure
The partnership’s initial goals include getting energy sources such as nuclear and hydroelec- that we have a sufficient EV infrastructure, we
information to consumers and facilitating tric power. In New York, an electric vehicle pro- will work with parking garage owners, co-op
construction of an electric vehicle infrastruc- duces almost 75% fewer greenhouse gas emis- boards, consumers, and Con Edison to ensure
ture. The partnership’s websites will contain sions than an average sedan. that each group understands the technical and
information consumers can’t find in any one consumer needs associated with EV chargers,
other place, such as: how each city is using Research demonstrates that the potential as well as the rules and regulations governing
electric vehicles, car availability, and local demand for electric vehicles outstrips likely their installation and operation.
charging costs. We are sharing knowledge, supply in New York City. By 2015, up to 16% of all
new vehicles purchased by New Yorkers could Despite substantial and increasing media cover-
exchanging information on curbside
be electric vehicles if these vehicles are made age of EVs, few New Yorkers are aware of their
charging, the cost of prime and off-peak
available. This would mean that electric vehicles specific benefits and limitations, let alone differ-
electricity, and on how to design building ences between the various models. Prevalent
could amount to 2.5% of the city’s total vehicle
codes to accommodate electric vehicles. myths about EVs—that they accelerate poorly,
population by 2015, or about 50,000 vehicles
Finally, we are educating our building owners. in total. However, converting this demand into or merely shift pollution from the tailpipe to the
By installing chargers, offices and commercial actual deployment requires the concerted effort power plant—discourage potential owners. As
parking facilities will supply key electric of various stakeholders. an impartial party, the City can serve a useful
role in providing facts about EVs.
vehicle infrastructure. Through our close work
To encourage the purchase of electric vehicles
with them, we are enabling the private sector A survey conducted by the City found that pro-
and eliminate impediments to their adoption,
to build a widespread charging network. we are collaborating with Boston and Philadel- viding basic information dramatically increases
phia as part of the Northeast Regional Electric interest in EVs. In fact, 21% of consumers were
Boston, Philadelphia, and New York form
Vehicle Partnership (NREVP). One of the first key more likely to adopt an EV after being educated
the spine of one of the most important
barriers that this partnership has identified is the about the potential benefits. To foster greater
and densest transportation regions in the
difficulty of the installation process for EV charg- adoption and use of EVs, we will work with pri-
country. Together we play an important role
ing equipment. vate and non-profit parties to launch an infor-
in ensuring that electric vehicles are
mation campaign to inform New Yorkers about
nationally successful. Yet, electric vehicles New York City already has some of the most their benefits and use. And while we are building
require us to reinvent our rules and straightforward installation regulations in the our EV infrastructure, we will also promote the
infrastructure. In cities as old as ours, this is country. If a home has sufficient electric wiring, use of hybrid vehicles which have significant air
an even greater challenge. Pooling our an electrician can install a charger without get- quality benefits.
resources helps us tackle these challenges ting pre-approval from the city. However, instal-
and realize the dream of clean, quiet cars. lation is not always easy. Old homes may need

126 AIR QUALITY


Case Study
“Turn it Off” Campaign
In response to the serious environmental, health,
and financial consequences of idling vehicles in
New York City, GreeNYC, our public education
program, partnered with the Environmental
Defense Fund, EcoDriving, and the New York City
Department of Transportation to inform New
Yorkers about the negative impacts of idling. The
campaign, titled “Turn it Off,” sought to educate
New Yorkers about idling, reduce their idling
tendencies (thereby decreasing their PM 2.5,
ozone, and CO2 emissions) and, ultimately, to
change their attitudes towards adopting environ-
mentally-friendly behaviors.

Credit: Damian Sandone


GreeNYC targeted both local drivers and commut-
ers from the Tri-State region by strategically
placing public service announcements where and
when they would reach the greatest number of GreeNYC messaging targeted at drivers
drivers while on the road. The announcements
consisted of messages explaining the legal,
health, financial, and environmental conse- As a result of the campaign, GreeNYC increased campaign—despite the fact that the total number
quences of vehicle idling and engaged drivers by issue awareness by generating over 194.6 million of 311 calls for all issues actually declined during
prompting them to call 311 (the City’s phone media impressions among New Yorkers. This this period. The dramatic increase in 311 calls
number for non-emergency services) to report resulted in a 111% increase in the number of 311 speaks to the success of the campaign in
instances of idling. calls related to idling during the peak of the increasing public awareness of this issue.

INITIATIVE 4 Empowering state and local governments to and buses. New York State established an anti-
incentivize fuel-efficient vehicles is an important idling law in 1990 that set a five-minute idling
Reduce emissions from taxis, black tool. We can reduce local emissions, reduce fuel limit for heavy-duty diesel vehicles, excluding
cars, and for-hire vehicles costs for drivers, support the development of marine vehicles. Enforcement of these laws is an
alternative fuels and new automotive technol- effective way to reduce emissions.
In New York City, there are currently more than ogy, and reduce spending on foreign oil. We will
13,000 yellow taxis, 10,000 black cars, and work with Congress to pass legislation to explic- In 2009, we enacted rules that enable 2,300
25,000 for-hire vehicles. The average yellow itly allow state and local governments to incen- Traffic Enforcement Agents to issue tickets for
taxi travels more than 80,000 miles annually. tivize fuel-efficient vehicles. idling violations, greatly expanding our ability
The entire for-hire fleet is so fuel-inefficient that to enforce anti-idling laws. GreeNYC, our public
taxis account for 4% of all ground transportation Electric vehicles are also a promising technology outreach program, launched an anti-idling cam-
CO2 emissions and 1% of all city CO2 emissions. that may help to reduce emissions in our taxi paign to inform New Yorkers about the eco-
Making our taxis more fuel-efficient is critical to and for-hire vehicle fleets. We will launch an elec- nomic and public health costs associated with
meeting our air quality and carbon reduction tric vehicle taxi pilot to test this technology and idling. This three-month campaign resulted in a
goals. That is why in 2007 the City attempted its applicability for taxi use. 111% increase in 311 calls reporting illegal idling
to mandate that all new taxis would have to compared to the same period the previous
achieve more than 25 miles per gallon beginning year. We will continue to improve compliance
in the fall of 2008, and 30 miles per gallon in the INITIATIVE 5 of existing anti-idling laws through targeted
fall of 2009. enforcement and education.
Reduce illegal idling
In 2009, a federal court invalidated the City’s
attempts to set fuel economy standards and offer Idling releases pollutants into the air, increases INITIATIVE 6
financial incentives to increase the use of hybrid engine operating costs for fleets, and shortens
taxis, on a finding that those rules were pre- engine life. The best anti-idling strategies include Retrofit ferries and promote the use
empted by federal law. And in March of 2011, the a mixture of incentives for retrofits, laws and of cleaner fuels
Supreme Court refused to hear the City’s appeal. enforcement of those laws, and education. Con-
verting diesel vehicles to cleaner fuels will play a Through upgrades and engine retrofits, the
Despite this setback, over 30% of the city’s significant role in reducing emissions from truck Staten Island Ferry fleet has become less pollut-
13,237 yellow cabs are hybrid or clean diesel idling. But there is even more we can do locally. ing. The City fuels the ferries with ultra-low sulfur
vehicles, giving New York City the largest fleet diesel (ULSD), which contains no more than 15
of clean vehicle taxis in the country. These vehi- The amount of time a vehicle can idle is limited parts per million of sulfur, as a means of further
cles have proven themselves able to provide by law. New York City has a three-minute idling reducing emissions from this sector. The switch
reliable service with dramatically lower emis- limit that targets all vehicles, including trucks to ULSD has produced immediate air quality
sions and fuel costs.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 127


Credit: AP Worldwide Photos/Bebeto Matthews
The Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

benefits with no operational problems, well in INITIATIVE 7 a number of actions to reduce harmful diesel
advance of the EPA’s 2012 deadline for the use pollution from the Port of New York and New
Work with the Port Authority to
of ULSD by ferries and similar vessels. We will Jersey.
also complete engine upgrades on four ferries. implement the Clean Air Strategy for
the Port of New York and New Jersey The strategy adopts voluntary measures of the
We will also work with private ferry operators parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
to reduce emissions from their fleets. Utiliz- Trucks serving the Port of New York and New from port activities by 5% per year, and crite-
ing CMAQ and Federal Transit Administration Jersey make up less than 4% of all trucks and ria pollutants such as particulate matter by 3%
(FTA) funding, we will retrofit 20 private ferry less than 1% of all vehicles on the regional road- per year. As a 10-year strategy, this equates to
boats with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOCs), ways. However, for the neighborhoods immedi- a 30% decrease in criteria pollutants and a 50%
which reduce particulate matter emissions, and ately adjacent to port facilities, truck emissions decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from
repower nine additional vessels to improve fuel have a significant impact on local air quality and baseline 2006 levels despite any port growth
efficiency. public health. over the next ten years. We will continue to work
with the Port Authority and other partners to
We will also work to clean up the fuel used by The City has a limited ability to directly regu- implement the actions outlined in the strategy
maritime vessels. New York State currently late maritime and port activities. Our goal is to and reduce emissions from all port sources.
exempts bunker fuel, which is essentially Number work with our partners in government and other
6 oil used for maritime purposes, from the Petro- stakeholders to reduce emissions from the ships, As part of the strategy, we are partnering
leum Business Tax. This creates an economic dis- trains, and trucks that use our ports. Due to the with the Port Authority, EPA, New York Power
incentive for the purchase of cleaner, more effi- complex regulatory structure governing our Authority, and Carnival Cruise Lines to develop
cient fuels. Bunker fuel has a high sulfur content ports, much of this effort can be accomplished the first operational “cold ironing”, or shore
(27,000 parts per million) and is the heaviest and only in collaboration with the Port Authority and power-capable cruise terminal, on the East
most polluting type of fuel used by ships. Other federal agencies. Coast at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (BCT) in
jurisdictions, including the State of California, Red Hook, Brooklyn. Cruise ships dock at the
have removed tax exemptions for bunker oil to The Port Authority, in partnership with the City, BCT approximately 45 times a year. The ships
incentivize the use of other fuels. We will work the EPA, the States of New York and New Jersey, stop for between 10 to 11 hours to load and
with the State to repeal the exemption on the and the maritime and trucking industries, partici- unload passengers and supplies. During this
Petroleum Business Tax for bunker fuels. pated in an unprecedented effort to produce an time, they use their auxiliary engines, which
actionable and transparent strategy for reducing burn high sulfur diesel fuel, to power their on-
maritime emissions. In October 2009, the Port board systems. This practice emits as much
Authority released its Clean Air Strategy, dem- pollution as 41,000 heavy-duty diesel trucks per
onstrating that emission reductions are feasible ship each time they dock.
and measurable. As part of this effort, critical
federal, state, and local partners agreed to take

128 AIR QUALITY


PM 2.5 Emissions From Heating Fuels
0.05

0.04

gained by cleaning our energy supply, which has


:B>HH>DCHaW$BB7ij

a tremendous impact on local PM 2.5 emissions.


0.03

Currently, 478 City schools—roughly one-third


of all schools—burn Numbers 4 or 6 heating oil.
0.02
Many of these are in neighborhoods where the
asthma rates are more than three times higher
than the national average. By 2017, the City
0.01
will modify the boiler systems of 100 of these
schools, to enable the boilers to burn cleaner
0
fuels. Schools located in neighborhoods with the
Natural Gas #2 (Low Sulfur) #2 #4 (Low Sulfur) #4 #6 highest pediatric asthma hospitalization rates—
generally rates greater than seven per 1,000—
;J:AINE:
Source: NYC Mayor’s Office will be prioritized to achieve the maximum local
benefits. These neighborhoods are concen-
trated in the Bronx, Harlem, Central Brooklyn,
Cold ironing would allow cruise ships calling at Working with our partners in the City Council and
and along Jamaica Bay in Queens.
the BCT to connect to the city’s electric grid and the environmental and business communities, we
shut down their engines while docked. If ships enacted a local law in 2010 that lowers the sulfur We have already replaced boilers at 13 facilities.
use shore power instead of high sulfur diesel limits in Number 4 oil to 1,500 parts per million This will lead to a 50% reduction in CO2 and a 44%
fuel, the surrounding community in Brooklyn will (ppm) starting in 2012. We recently published reduction in soot emissions at these locations,
benefit from substantial reductions in local air rules that, when fully enacted, will require that all as well as reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
pollution. We will work with the Port Authority to boilers in New York City burn low sulfur Number We will release Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
install and operate shore-power capability at the 2 oil or natural gas. Low sulfur Number 2 oil—a to enter into energy performance contracts for
BCT, which will result in annual reductions of 6.5 new class of fuel created by state law—contains our schools. While Numbers 4 and 6 boilers are
tons of PM 2.5 and 89.3 tons of NOX. We will also only 15 ppm of sulfur, compared to 3,000 ppm in not the sole focus of this effort, successful bid-
look for opportunities at other facilities to con- current Numbers 4 and 6 heating oil. ders will conduct comprehensive energy audits
nect ships to the city’s grid. of school buildings and make specific recom-
Upon full implementation, these regulations will
mendations on how to improve each building’s
reduce the amount of fine particles emitted from
overall energy efficiency, which could include
Reduce emissions from heating buildings by at least 63%. They could
the replacement of outdated fuel oil boilers. We
lower the overall concentration of fine particles
buildings in the city’s air from all sources by 5%. We esti-
will continue to replace school boilers that burn
Numbers 4 or 6 heating oil and will complete
mate that these air quality improvements could
Emissions from buildings are a significant source conversions at 15 additional facilities by 2013.
prevent approximately 200 deaths, 100 hospi-
of local air pollution in New York City. We con-
talizations, and 300 emergency room visits for
sume 1 billion gallons of heating oil annually,
illnesses caused by air pollution each year. The
more than any other city in the U.S. Burning
heating fuels accounts for nearly 14% of fine par-
regulations will also reduce carbon dioxide by Update codes and standards
approximately one million metric tons.
ticulate matter pollutants emitted in New York In addition to state and federal standards, New
City. More pollution comes from this source than By changing the type of fuel a building uses, York City’s air quality is regulated by the New
from vehicles or power plants. The particulate owners also save money on maintenance and York City Air Pollution Control Code (Air Code).
matter created by heating oil contains heavy operating costs. The proposed heating oil regu- The Air Code has not been thoroughly updated
metals and other pollutants that damage our lations would phase out Numbers 4 and 6 heat- since 1975. It needs to be revised to take into
lungs and hearts, contribute to asthma, and sig- ing oil by 2030. We can accelerate air quality account new scientific findings and changes in
nificantly decrease life expectancy. benefits if buildings voluntarily phase out these technology.
fuels prior to the regulatory deadlines.
The quality of the air we breathe inside is as
INITIATIVE 8 important as that which we breathe outside. On
Property owners can begin to reduce pollution
Promote the use of cleaner-burning immediately. We can educate building owners average, Americans spend about 90% or more
heating fuels and residents about the risks associated with of their time indoors. While detailed information
heavy oils, as well as the financial benefits of on indoor air quality and its impacts on human
Approximately 10,000 buildings in New York City switching to cleaner fuels. We can work with health are limited, the EPA found that indoor
burn Numbers 4 and 6 heating oil, which are the local utilities and clusters of buildings to achieve levels of pollutants can be two to five times
dirtiest heating oil types available and have sig- economies of scale to expand natural gas infra- higher, and occasionally more than 100 times
nificantly higher levels of sulfur, nickel, and other structure. We will work with the Environmental higher, than outdoor levels. This can be exacer-
pollutants compared to other available heating Defense Fund, building owners and associa- bated in places like New York City, where indoor
fuels. These buildings, which represent only 1% tions, local utilities, and NYCService to launch pollution sources from businesses can impact
of the total buildings in the city, are responsible a program to encourage and support the early residential and commercial tenants sharing
for more PM 2.5 emissions than all cars and phase out of Numbers 4 and 6 heating oils. This multi-use buildings.
trucks in the city combined. program will provide benefits similar to those

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 129


New York City Community Air Survey
Winter Fine Particulate Matter Concentration
with Boilers Using #6 Heating Oil

PM 2.5 (µg/m3) > 18.7


Concentration
< 10.8

Boiler Using #6 Oil

AQ2
#8

Source: NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene; NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

130 AIR QUALITY


Credit: Environmental Defense Fund/Isabelle Silverman
Pollution emitted from the burning of Numbers 4 and 6 heating oil

INITIATIVE 9 While New York State currently limits the amount


of VOCs that can be emitted from paint and
Conclusion
Update our codes and regulations to
adhesives, several state and local governing Despite decades of progress, air pollution in
improve indoor air quality bodies, including the Battery Park City Author- New York City remains a significant concern.
ity, have set more stringent limits for their pur- Current levels of PM 2.5 are estimated to con-
Many materials used in buildings, such as car- chases. As research and industry standards on
pets, paint, and glue, emit VOCs long after they tribute to over 3,000 premature deaths and over
these and other building materials evolve, we 8,000 hospital admissions and emergency room
are installed or dry. VOCs are common chemical will propose regulations to reduce exposure to
contaminants that can easily evaporate into the visits annually in New York City. We are working
toxins released by building materials, including to achieve the best air quality in any large Ameri-
air. Their presence can be noticed as an odor, paints, glues, and carpets.
such as paint and “new car” smell. can city. We have made great strides in measur-
ing air quality, in legislating emissions reductions
Many VOCs are known or suspected carcino- from school buses and from heating oil, and in
INITIATIVE 10 reducing pollution from ferries, private trucks,
gens. They can cause other short- and long-term
health problems. However, studies are still pend- Update our air quality code and construction vehicles.
ing to determine the exact health impacts and
exposure levels that could trigger symptoms. The goal of the New York City Air Pollution Con- The air pollutants with the greatest public health
trol Code (Air Code), which gives the City author- impact in New York City result mainly from fuel
A number of jurisdictions, including California ity to set and enforce emissions and fuel stan- combustion emissions of on-road and-off road
and Illinois, have adopted standards for carpet dards, is to preserve, protect, and improve the vehicles, heating oil, other building sources,
manufacturing. These standards, most notably air resources of the city. and electric power generators. By focusing our
those created by the Carpet and Rug Institute efforts on these areas, we can reduce citywide
(CRI), include testing for VOCs. They prohibit the Unfortunately, the Air Code has not undergone air pollution levels and also reduce variability
use of materials that do not comply with these a comprehensive overhaul and revision since across our neighborhoods.
standards. In New York City, we enacted laws 1975. Instead, it has been revised in a sporadic
creating an environmentally preferable purchas- and piecemeal manner. This incomplete revision Enlisting the help, funding, and expertise of
ing program, which requires the City to purchase has made the Air Code inflexible to new types private and public partners will help us reduce
only carpet and carpet adhesives that meet the of fuels and technologies and difficult to comply emissions from key sources.
CRI standards. This requirement does not apply with. We will update the Air Code to streamline
to private buildings. compliance processes and encourage innova-
tive ways to reduce local sources of pollution
while maintaining rigorous standards to protect
public health.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 131


Solid Waste
Credit: NYC Dept. of Sanitation/Michael Anton
Together we can
Reduce waste by not generating it
Increase the recovery of resources
from the waste stream
Improve the efficiency of our waste
management system
Reduce the City government’s solid
waste footprint
Organic waste can easily be turned into what
gardeners refer to as “black gold” or compost
to revitalize depleted urban soils. Composting In today’s world, waste is produced in substantial
is a self-empowering and scalable process, quantities. Our actions have a huge effect on the
requiring a pair of hands and a patch of open environment and climate. Unfortunately, not many
space. We can put compost to use in our green people recycle. In addition, people are ill-informed
infrastructure, from the street trees, to public about what can be recycled. Knowledge and
and private gardens, to green roofs. awareness can be the keys to a cleaner community.
Christine Datz-Romero // Manhattan Jhishan Khan // Queens

I run a couple of green bakeries and we’re


trying to create a new paradigm for a
sustainable food business. Every day we are
trying to reconfigure the operation towards
sustainability. We’re composting and asking
vendors and suppliers to take tangible steps
towards greening their own businesses and Exploring ways to create mutually beneficial
we’re talking everyday about how to create partnerships between the waste management
consciousness on the consumer and the industry and the construction industry is where
industry side. solutions will be found on a game-changing scale.
Maury Rubin // Manhattan John Burrus // Staten Island

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 135


Solid Waste
Divert 75% of our waste from landfills

Every year, we generate more than 14 million Most private carters disposed commercial
tons of waste and recyclables in our homes, busi- waste at Fresh Kills until the early 1990’s, when
nesses, universities, streets, and construction higher disposal fees at the landfill drove them
sites. It takes a fleet of more than 2,000 City gov- to a growing number of private transfer stations
ernment and 4,000 private trucks to collect it all around the city. In 2001, the City closed Fresh
from across the five boroughs. Once these trucks Kills and began sending the majority of City-
are full, they are emptied or “tipped” at recycling collected waste to private transfer stations con-
facilities or transfer stations, where the materi- centrated in a handful of neighborhoods in the
als are transferred to long-haul trucks, barges, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.
or railcars for processing or final disposal. This
complex system has an enormous impact on our To create a more equitable system, we worked
environment, communities, and economy. with the City Council, environmental organiza-
tions, and community groups to develop a new
We estimate that the city’s entire solid waste Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) in 2006.
system creates 1.66 million metric tons of green- The plan charts a strategic path towards “bor-
house gas (GHG) emissions annually, represent- ough equity.” It minimizes the impacts of the
ing 3% of the city’s total GHG emissions. As our system on over-burdened neighborhoods by
city grows, and we meet the challenges posed by ensuring that City-collected waste from one bor-
climate change, we must reduce the amount of ough is not sent to another borough for disposal
waste we generate and its related impacts. and by establishing specific transfer stations for
residential wastesheds in every borough.
Solid waste management in New York City has
dramatically evolved. Until the 1930’s, much of The SWMP also reduces traffic congestion,
our waste was simply dumped into the ocean noise, and related air pollution by maximiz-
or onto city streets. The persistent problem ing the use of rail and barge to transport (or
of waste-strewn streets and associated public “export”) waste outside the city. Full implemen-
health concerns led the City to create the Depart- tation will reduce City-collection truck travel by
ment of Street Cleaning in 1881—the precursor nearly 3 million miles, private long-haul truck
to the current Department of Sanitation—to sys- travel on city streets by 2.8 million miles, and
tematically collect our waste. long-haul truck travel outside the city by 55 mil-
lion miles. We estimate this shift will reduce GHG
Through the 1980s, we relied on a network of emissions by approximately 38,000 metric tons.
thousands of apartment building and City-oper-
ated incinerators as well as 89 City-owned land- The SWMP similarly addresses the impacts from
fills for disposal including Fresh Kills in Staten commercial waste collection and export by
Island, which at one point was the world’s larg- encouraging a shift to rail and barge. In addition,
est landfill. Opposition to incineration and land- we committed to expanding recycling programs
filling increased and new regulations forced the and piloting emerging solid waste conversion
upgrade or closure of many such facilities. By technologies that can dispose of waste more
the mid 1990’s, incineration had ceased, and sustainably and further reduce GHG emissions.
the City instituted mandatory recycling require-
ments. Only one of the City’s landfills, Fresh Since 2006, we have made significant progress:
Kills, remained in operation. By the late 1990s, approximately 30% of City-collected waste now
all disposable waste collected by the City–from leaves the city by rail, and two refuse marine
households, non-profit institutions, government transfer stations are under construction. In addi-
agencies, parks, and street baskets–ended up at tion, a new large-scale recycling processing facil-
Fresh Kills, transported largely by barge from a ity in Brooklyn is scheduled to open by 2013.
network of City-run marine transfer stations.

136 SOLID WASTE


New York City’s Waste Diversion Rate by Waste Stream
14 Million Tons per Year

Disposed Recycled

100%
90%
Commercial Residential
Waste 80%
Waste
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
Construction &
10%
Fill Demolition
Waste 0%

Residential waste Commercial waste Construction & Fill


Demolition

Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC Mayor’s Office Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC Mayor’s Office

Solid waste management practices have the business community, we will pursue ways to develop recognition programs for businesses
improved substantially. We no longer dump our reduce packaging and hazardous materials in that reduce their solid waste footprint and con-
waste at sea, burn it in unregulated incinera- products, eliminating waste at its source, and tinue to encourage new markets for recycled
tors, or dump it in unregulated landfills. Overall, expand product stewardship programs in which materials.
despite a growing population, waste generation manufacturers take responsibility for the dis-
citywide and per capita has decreased over the posal of their products. To reduce the amount of organic material we
past 10 years, reflecting nationwide trends. But send to landfills, we will expand opportunities
managing our waste in an equitable, sustain- While we currently recycle approximately half for community-based composting and encour-
able, and cost-effective manner is increasingly the waste generated in the city, including con- age commercial food waste recovery opera-
challenging. struction and demolition debris, fill, commer- tions. Advances in technology will also allow
cial and residential waste, we can recover even us to pursue alternative disposal methods by
While we are continuously researching alternative more resources from our wastestream. We will safely and efficiently converting our waste into a
methods for disposal and working to increase our incentivize recycling and make it easier, more source of clean energy.
diversion rate (the percentage of materials recov- cost-effective, and more accessible. We will
ered from the general waste stream), we will likely
maintain our reliance on landfills far from the city.
Together, transportation and methane emissions
from these landfills (despite methane capture
systems) compose a significant portion of total
Our plan for solid waste:
GHG emissions. We currently spend more than
$1 billion a year to manage solid waste including
Reduce waste by not generating it
$300 million to export 3.3 million tons of City-col- 1 Promote waste prevention opportunities
lected waste. These costs are projected to rise 2 Increase the reuse of materials
exponentially. We must take aggressive steps to
make our waste management system more envi- Increase the recovery of resources from the waste stream
ronmentally and economically sustainable.
3 Incentivize recycling
4 Improve the convenience and ease of recycling
Our Plan 5 Revise city codes and regulations to reduce construction and demolition waste
6 Create additional opportunities to recover organic material
We must make changes at every stage of our
7 Identify additional markets for recycled materials
waste system–reducing the amount we gen-
erate, reusing more of it, recovering more 8 Pilot conversion technologies
resources from it, and more efficiently dispos-
ing of what we can’t eliminate. We must also Improve the efficiency of our waste management system
change how we think about our waste–not as 9 Reduce the impact of the waste system on communities
a by-product to be disposed, but as a resource
10 Improve commercial solid waste management data
that can generate energy, create jobs, and spur
economic development. 11 Remove toxic materials from the general waste stream

The most effective way to minimize the impacts Reduce the City government’s solid waste footprint
of our solid waste is to reduce the amount of 12 Revise the City government procurement practices
waste we generate. We will encourage individu-
als to adopt waste prevention practices and pro- 13 Improve diversion rate for waste from City government
mote opportunities for businesses, institutions,
and individuals to reuse materials. Working with

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 137


Even as we increase recycling rates and gener-
ate less waste for disposal, there will always be
waste that can’t be reused or recycled. We will
continue to implement the SWMP and decrease

Credit: NYC Dept. of Sanitation / MIchael Anton


the impacts of our waste management system
on local communities.

We recognize that to reduce waste generated in


the city, we must engage New Yorkers to change
their behavior. Through a series of GreeNYC
public education campaigns we will educate
and empower the public to reduce, reuse, and
recycle more.
City-collected waste being prepared for containerization at a transfer station
In asking New Yorkers to reduce their solid
waste footprint, City government must lead the
way. We will improve diversion at City agencies INITIATIVE 1 ties. Cutting disposable bag consumption in half
could eliminate approximately 58,000 tons from
by improving recycling in our offices and opera- Promote waste prevention
tions. We will seek to minimize waste through our general waste stream and reduce GHG emis-
opportunities sions by approximately 12,000 metric tons.
informed decisions about the goods we pur-
chase. In short, we will set an example that com- In many cases, we generate unnecessary waste New Yorkers generate more than 2.5 million
panies, institutions, and individuals can emulate. without even thinking about it. For example, tons of paper annually and recycle less than half
New York City has high quality drinking water of what is recyclable. Therefore, we will develop
Diverting 75% of our solid waste from landfills will
from the tap, yet millions of bottles of water are a public education campaign to reduce paper
require several actions. We will need to reduce
consumed in the city each year. While water bot- consumption and increase recycling. We will
the amount of waste we produce, encourage
tles are recyclable, only 13% statewide are actu- also develop an easily-accessible tool for New
technologies to recover resources from our
ally recycled. Yorkers to opt-out of receiving unsolicited mail.
waste, encourage new markets for recovered
materials, increase recycling at home and in our Increasing the availability of tap water and rede- Finally, we will work with the city’s 24,000 res-
businesses, and improve our waste management signing water fountains to better accommodate taurants and food-related businesses to identify
infrastructure. If we do this, we can drastically reusable water bottles will make it easier for New and adopt practices that reduce waste. These
reduce the impact of our city’s waste on taxpay- Yorkers to avoid unnecessary consumption. We could include minimizing packaging for food
ers, the environment, and our communities. will encourage the use of reusable water bottles products and giving customers the option to opt
by installing redesigned water fountains in public out of receiving all the disposable materials that
spaces and parks. We will educate the public often accompany take-out food.
Reduce waste by not about the benefits of drinking tap water, and we
generating it will expand partnerships with non-profit orga-
nizations and businesses to increase tap water INITIATIVE 2
consumption as an alternative to bottled water.
The most effective way to reduce the amount of Increase the reuse of materials
solid waste generated in the city is to not create Another pervasive form of waste we can reduce
it in the first place. This means empowering the Reusing products and materials is one of the
is the ubiquitous disposable bag. The City col-
public to make choices that reduce their waste most cost-effective and practical ways to reduce
lects approximately 5.2 billion plastic and 200
and making it easier for businesses and individu- waste. A number of City-funded programs
million paper bags each year. These bags repre-
als to reuse materials. Targeted public education encourage households and businesses to reuse
sent 3% of our residential waste stream, includ-
campaigns will inform the public about opportu- materials.
ing street basket collection, and weigh approxi-
nities to reduce plastic bottle waste by drinking mately 110,000 tons, costing the City $10 mil-
tap water, to reduce the number of disposable The NYC WasteMatch program helps businesses
lion a year to export. We estimate that private and organizations find used or surplus commer-
bags in our waste stream by using reusable bags, waste haulers collect another 300 million bags,
to reduce paper consumption by opting out of cial goods and equipment that others no longer
representing approximately 6,000 tons of waste need. Since 1997, the program has diverted
unwanted subscriptions, and to donate reusable each year. And the bags that are not captured
goods instead of discarding them. By eliminat- more than 25,000 tons of materials from landfills.
by our waste collection system clog our water-
ing waste at its source, we can save energy and ways and our wastewater treatment systems, Materials for the Arts provides supplies to thou-
reduce GHG emissions and costs to residents, get caught in trees, and litter parks and streets. sands of New York City’s arts and cultural orga-
businesses, and the City. Despite recent laws requiring large retail stores nizations, public schools, and community arts
and shopping malls to accept and recycle plastic programs. Since 1997, the program has facili-
bags, only a small percentage of plastic bags are tated the reuse of over 8,000 tons of materi-
recycled through this program. als donated by companies and individuals and
redistributed to artists and educators.
We will launch a public education campaign to
reduce litter, expand the use of reusable bags, GrowNYC, a non-profit organization created by
and improve awareness of the effects of dispos- the City dedicated to improving the environ-
able bags on our environment and communi- ment, also sponsors “Stop N Swap” commu-

138 SOLID WASTE


Residential and Street Basket Waste Residential and Street Basket Waste—Potential for Diversion

Disposed Composted Recycled


Other
E-waste
12%
1% 100%

Textiles Paper 80%


7% 30%

60%
C & D Waste
5%
Household
40%
Hazardous
Waste
0.25% 20%
Food
18% 0%
Plastic
Current state Future state
14%

Metal Glass
5% 4%
Leaf and Yard
Waste
4%
Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC Mayor’s Office Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC Mayor’s Office

nity events. These allow individuals to discard recyclables, and making it easier for individuals We will also set recycling goals for City govern-
unwanted but reusable items, which people may and businesses to recycle. We can also recog- ment and challenge corporations and institutions
take home for free, whether or not they have nize businesses and institutions for adopting to meet or exceed those goals. We will recognize
brought something in exchange. more sustainable waste management practices, standout performance and collect and publish
including increased diversion rates and the use best practices for even broader adoption.
One challenge to increasing reuse efforts is the of recycled materials.
rising cost of storage and transportation of mate- For residential waste, we will pursue strategic
rials. Therefore, online forums to facilitate the reward programs to incentivize household recy-
reuse of materials are crucial. We will promote INITIATIVE 3 cling. We know that increasing our residential
and enhance the City’s online portal, the NYC diversion rates would have a significant impact
Incentivize recycling
Stuff Exchange. This portal offers an exhaustive on GHG emissions and reduce the City’s cost of
list of organizations and businesses where resi- New Yorkers have long recognized the value of exporting our waste. For example, if we diverted
dents can donate, buy, or sell gently used items. recycling. Recycling was introduced in 1895, 60% of the amount of paper, metal, glass, and
Through the NYC Materials Exchange Develop- when household waste was separated into three plastic that is already suitable for curbside recy-
ment Program (MEDP), we will continue to foster categories–food, rubbish, and ash. Food waste cling, we could reduce GHGs by approximately
relationships between reuse organizations, was processed into grease for soap products 100,000 metric tons.
provide capacity building training, and increase and into fertilizer. Rubbish was sorted to salvage
public awareness and access to these innovative In addition, we will improve access to recycling
paper and other marketable materials. And ash,
waste prevention services. performance information by making it easier to
along with the nonsalable rubbish, was landfilled.
find community board diversion rate data online.
These efforts will divert thousands of tons of Today, although recycling can save money or This will enable community-based organizations
waste from landfills and save individuals, non- even generate revenue, we are not recycling to monitor the effects of their recycling and out-
profits, and schools millions of dollars. as much as we could. After 22 years of manda- reach initiatives. And while we expand recycling
tory residential recycling programs in the city, awareness, we will also enforce the recently
residents still properly sort less than half of what increased penalties for large buildings that don’t
Increase the recovery of could be recycled, throwing away valuable mate- comply with recycling rules.

resources from the waste rials. Though we have limited information about
commercial recycling in the city, we know that INITIATIVE 4
stream most businesses do not capture as much as they
Improve the convenience and ease
could for recycling. In order to further under-
We currently recycle half of all waste generated stand commercial recycling and make informed of recycling
in New York City. A majority of this recycled policy decisions, the City has embarked on a
material, however, is fill and construction and study of the entire commercial waste system. While most New Yorkers want to recycle, the
demolition debris. And while one-third of our res- system can sometimes be confusing. There are
idential waste stream could be recycled through Until this study is complete, we will develop new different rules and bins at home, on the subway
current curbside collection, less than half of all recognition and award programs or build on platform, and at work. There are detailed rules
recyclable materials are properly sorted by resi- existing models such as LEED and the Green Res- about what types of plastics can and can’t be
dents. In addition, there is no curbside collection taurant Association to incentivize businesses and recycled. Recycling bins on the streets and in
of organic materials, such as food and textiles, institutions to expand recycling and use recycled parks are scarce. We must make recycling easier
and only limited collection of yard waste, which and recyclable materials. While many businesses and more convenient.
together compose nearly a third of our residen- in the city have already recognized the impor-
tance of sustainable solid waste practices, these To improve access to recycling and create a
tial waste and could be diverted.
incentive programs would encourage broader more consistent system, we will deploy 500
We can increase the amount of our waste that adoption of these practices. Leveraging the recycling receptacles in public spaces across the
is recycled by expanding the items we desig- buying power of local businesses will also help city and seek to increase that number over time.
nate as recyclable, creating new markets for support emerging markets for recycled materials. In addition, we will establish recycling in 25% of
all City parks.

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 139


Case Study Recycling in households, particularly in multi- INITIATIVE 6
Policies to Incentivize Waste family residential buildings is often difficult due
Create additional opportunities to
Reduction to a lack of space to store and sort recyclables.
Without this dedicated space, it is challenging recover organic material
Today New Yorkers pay for waste collection for residents or superintendents to keep recy-
through local taxes regardless of how cling separated. Many other cities and the Bat- Approximately 30% of what we throw away in
much—or how little—they generate. A tery Park City Authority require new residential our homes is organic material. The majority is
growing number of cities have taken a buildings to provide a waste and recycling room. from food scraps, but also includes leaf and yard
different approach and implemented a We will work with the City Council to require new waste and textiles, such as used clothes.
fee-based system known as “Pay As You multi-family residential buildings to provide suf-
Throw” or “Save As You Throw” (SAYT) that ficient space for recycling receptacles. On the commercial side, we estimate that organ-
varies based on how much waste a household ics represent 18% of the total waste stream, the
generates. Recycling education is central to improving majority of which is food waste from businesses
recycling rates. We already conduct recycling and institutions. Paying to transport these
In communities with these programs, education in many forums, including websites, organics to distant landfills is not only expensive
household trash collection charges are direct mail, and outreach programs for multi- due to the high water content of these materi-
based on the amount thrown away, while family buildings and schools. The New York City als, but it is also a key driver of our GHG emis-
recycling collection is free. This creates a Housing Authority (NYCHA) has also success- sions. We know that when food is disposed of in
direct economic incentive to recycle more fully expanded recycling education by organiz- a landfill it quickly rots and becomes a significant
and generate less waste. By increasing ing Resident Green Committees, which provide source of methane.
recycling rates and decreasing disposal neighbors with specific information about what
volumes, SAYT can have environmental and how to recycle. Reinforcing the importance Yet with proper separation and treatment, food
and economic benefits. It’s also fairer: of recycling with the 1.1 million children in our waste can be converted into a valuable resource
public schools is an ideal way to increase recy- for agricultural applications and energy genera-
those who generate more, pay more; those
cling at home. We will encourage teachers to tion. Other organic materials, such as leaf and
who generate less, pay less.
incorporate recently created recycling education yard waste and textiles, can also be composted
SAYT treats waste collection just like modules into their curriculum. or recycled. Diverting organics from the general
electricity, gas, phone, and other utilities; waste stream could save the City and its busi-
households pay a variable rate depending on nesses millions of dollars by avoiding expensive
the amount of service they use. As of 2006, INITIATIVE 5 disposal costs. It could also reduce transporta-
30 of the 100 largest U.S. cities used a SAYT Revise City codes and regulations to tion impacts such as congestion, noise, and air
system. emissions.
reduce construction and demolition
Of course, implementing this approach in waste Residential organics
New York City, which has a high percentage
of high density, multi-family housing, would The New York City construction industry is one New Yorkers have several options to compost
present special challenges. Although there of the largest consumers of materials and gen- their food waste. Many community-based orga-
erates more than 7 million tons of waste annu- nizations accept food waste for small-scale com-
is no directly comparable U.S. city that has
ally. Construction and demolition (C&D) waste posting. GrowNYC hosts drop-off locations for
implemented SAYT, other cities may offer
consists of the debris generated during the con- organics at select Greenmarkets, and residents
lessons.
struction, renovation, and demolition of build- with yards can use small containers to compost
Seoul, South Korea, with a population of ings, roads, and bridges. It includes fill such as kitchen scraps along with their yard waste. For
over 10.5 million, instituted a SAYT system in dirt and rocks, of which nearly all is recycled, nearly 18 years, the City has also operated the
1995. Trash bags of 20, 50, and 100 liters and building materials such as concrete, wood, NYC Compost Project, which offers outreach and
each are provided for a fee to residents and metals, glass, carpets, and furniture, of which education about composting for residents, non-
businesses. Smaller bags cost less than the less than 40% is recycled. While the New York profit organizations, and businesses at botanical
larger bags. In addition, the cost of disposal City construction industry is a leader in recycling gardens and non-profits in each borough.
varies by district and is based on actual costs C&D debris, it has the potential to recycle and/
or reuse even more through improved handling We will expand outreach and education efforts,
which are assessed and passed to residents.
and separation of materials. benchmark and quantify current community-
We will review relevant SAYT research as well based composting efforts, and work with com-
as the experiences of other densely-popu- Several C&D materials, including old growth munity and government partners to increase
lumber, carpet, ceiling tiles, new gypsum, and the number of available drop-off locations for
lated cities with similar systems to clarify
gypsum tiles, are optimal candidates for recy- food waste. In addition, we will launch a grant
how a SAYT approach might work to
cling. Several recycling options currently exist program for small-scale composting to encour-
incentivize recycling and decrease waste
for carpet, ceiling tiles, and old growth lumber, age diversion of food waste.
generation in New York City.
but there are few or no local resources to effec-
tively recycle clean gypsum scrap that is used for To capture the roughly 4% of residential waste
gypsum wallboard. We will work with the busi- made up of leaf and yard trimmings, we will rein-
ness community and the City Council to enact state leaf and yard waste collection for compost-
mandatory recycling for certain C&D materials ing in the city. This will create a high-quality soil
and encourage cost-effective recycling options product for use by City agencies and non-profits
for these materials. in parks and natural resource programs.

140 SOLID WASTE


Case Study
Grease to Fuel
As business winds down at restaurants throughout
the city, commercial carters arrive to pick up their
waste. But a new kind of waste collector is
becoming a more common visitor to restaurants
at closing time: commercial grease trucks using
long hoses to extract used cooking oil, also known
as yellow grease, from kitchens. This burgeoning
market is driven by an increasing demand for
yellow grease as the base material for a valuable
fuel—biodiesel.

Credit: Attiyya Anthony


Although biodiesel can be made from several
feedstocks including soybeans, entrepreneurs
in New York City are making it from used cooking
oil, harvested from our city’s 24,000 restaurants. A yellow grease hauler prepares to collect used cooking oil from a restaurant kitchen

Biodiesel has substantial environmental benefits.


Compared with standard diesel, it creates fewer
Currently, restaurants and institutions with large and are helping the city achieve several
greenhouse gas, particulate matter, and carbon
kitchens must properly dispose of yellow grease by PlaNYC goals: transforming waste into a valuable
monoxide emissions, without sacrificing perfor-
placing it in the appropriate containers and setting commodity, stimulating the local economy, and
mance. The fuel can fulfill many of our needs—
it out on the curb for waste collection, however, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas
from powering our cars and trucks to heating
some may just dump it down the drain. The grease emissions.
our buildings.
solidifies in our sewers and can create backups
In 2010, the City passed a local law requiring that disrupt service and are expensive to clear.
heating fuel to contain 2% biodiesel by October
2012. With heating oil combustion accounting for Companies that collect and process yellow grease
nearly 14% of local PM 2.5 emissions, the adoption into biodiesel have begun turning New York City
of biodiesel can help meet our air quality goal. into a model of sustainable business development

We will also expand composting of leaf and grass Commercial food waste and biodiesel processors now collect it for free.
clippings generated by our City parks. Specifi- Today, commercial carters pick up yellow grease
cally, we will install one small-scale composting The Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is situ- from more than half of the city’s restaurants.
unit in each borough. We will also expand the ated on 329 acres of City-owned property in the
use of mowing equipment that mulches leaves Bronx and is the largest food distribution center The City has helped spur this market by requir-
and other organic matter so that nutrients seep in the U.S. It generates approximately 27,400 ing that all heating oil used to heat our buildings
into the soil. tons of waste per year, roughly 75% of which is include a 2% blend of biodiesel. We will continue
organic and all of which is being hauled away in to support this developing industry through out-
The City piloted curbside collection for organ- trucks for disposal. The distribution center is an reach and education to businesses and institu-
ics in the early 1990’s and found that while it did ideal candidate for an on-site organics recovery tions. We will also streamline the licensing for
increase diversion rates in lower-density neigh- operation. Such a facility could lower waste dis- grease haulers and the permitting process for
borhoods, it was not a cost-effective collection posal costs, generate a clean source of energy, yellow grease transfer stations.
method. Although the disposal costs were lower reduce truck traffic and related impacts both
for organics than refuse, each collection truck locally and regionally, decrease congestion, and Every year, more than 24,000 restaurants, 5,000
only picked up a small amount of organics on reduce air pollution. We will pursue the estab- grocery stores, 4,000 hospitals, 5,000 cultural
their route, which resulted in a high collection lishment of an on-site organics recovery facility and educational institutions, and numerous
cost per ton. Since 20 years have passed, we will at the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. hotels and sports arenas, throw away approxi-
reexamine this issue and complete a new study mately 600,000 tons of food. In many cases,
to determine the feasibility of curbside organics Yellow grease, which is essentially used cook- this waste could effectively be separated at its
recycling. ing oil, is another organic resource in our com- source and diverted from landfills. While some
mercial waste stream with significant value and companies and institutions have recognized the
Textiles, a key component of our organic waste, energy potential. It can be processed locally into growing importance of diverting food waste and
represent almost 7% of our residential waste biodiesel, a fuel that generates comparatively the opportunity to be recognized as a “sustain-
stream. Nearly 190,000 tons of textiles are dis- lower air pollutants and GHG emissions than tra- able business,” participation in commercial com-
posed each year. Since 2007, GrowNYC has col- ditional diesel. However, when it is improperly posting efforts remains limited.
lected textiles at select Greenmarkets. In Fiscal disposed of in drains, yellow grease solidifies
Year 2009, they collected and recycled approxi- and can clog the sewer system. In Fiscal Year Approximately 12,000 tons of food waste per
mately 150 tons from almost 20,000 New York- 2010, the City received more than 14,000 sewer year in the city, including waste from Yankee
ers. The City will launch a new public-private back-up complaints. Stadium and Citi Field, is currently sent to com-
partnership to provide 50 new permanent drop- mercial processing facilities for composting
off locations in each borough for textiles that will Because of its potential as a cleaner fuel, yellow and resource recovery. However, these sites
be reused or recycled. grease is now a coveted commodity. Over the are located far outside the city, with the closest
last decade, yellow grease has significantly more than 150 miles away. The lack of commer-
increased in value and entrepreneurial haulers cial processing facilities in close proximity to the

A GREENER, GREATER NEW YORK PLANYC 141


Solid Waste Management Plan:
Full Implementation

city poses a challenge to fostering the market for MODE OF EXPORT BY WASTESHED Bronx
commercial food waste recovery. We will pro- RAIL
mote commercial organics recovery as part of BARGE
our proposed business recognition and award CITY COLLECTION TRUCK
program to encourage sustainable solid waste
management practices.
Manhattan
New technologies have the potential to reduce
the impacts created by the traditional disposal * Queens
of our commercial food waste. On-site dewater-
ing units can remove the water from food waste
and use odorless aerobic digestion in which bac-
teria eat food scraps. This process significantly
reduces the weight and volume of food waste.
These units can substantially reduce collection Brooklyn
truck trips, in turn reducing air and noise pollu-
tion, GHG emissions, and congestion.

There are currently several dewatering pilot pro- Staten Island


grams underway in the city, including one at a

Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation


large Manhattan department store. We will con-
tinue to evaluate pilots of new technologies and
encourage businesses and institutions to adopt
them as a means to increase diversion rates. * City collection trucks transport waste directly from Manhattan
to a resource recovery facility in New Jersey
Biosolids

New York City produces approximately 450,000


tons of biosolids from its wastewater treatment
plants every year. While these biosolids are gen- as recyclable through curbside collection. This tation, and reduce construction costs. We will
erally landfilled, they also can be harnessed as includes paper and cardboard, metal and glass encourage applications for the local beneficial
an energy source either directly or indirectly containers, and plastic bottles and jugs. Only 2% reuse of dredge material.
for heat, transportation fuel, or power produc- of our entire residential waste stream is com-
tion. Since sludge is organic material, it may prised of plastics designated for curbside collec-
tion. However, 11% is comprised of other types INITIATIVE 8
also be used as fertilizer or soil conditioner for
parks, farms, lawns, and golf courses, and in of plastics, including types that are more difficult Pilot conversion technologies
asphalt-paving mixes. We will pursue sustain- to recycle and have limited or no markets. As
recycling technologies and markets evolve, we The SWMP sets out a clear path to reduce the
able and economical opportunities to process
will revisit the expansion of plastics designated GHG impact of exporting our waste by shifting
and market sludge for beneficial reuse through
for recycling and work to encourage markets for from truck transport to barge and rail. A more
pilot projects and partnerships with utilities and
plastics that aren’t currently collected. equitable distribution of waste volumes at trans-
private investors.
fer stations means that collection trucks travel
Some of our greatest potential for recovering fewer in-city miles. The results are improved air
materials from the waste stream comes from the quality and the benefits of lower congestion.
INITIATIVE 7
dredge material excavated from our harbor and
Identify additional markets for the detritus from road work. We already recycle Even with these changes, we still rely largely on
recycled materials more than 45% of the asphalt removed when landfills for disposal. In order to identify alterna-
fixing a road, at City-owned recycling plants, and tive disposal methods that further reduce meth-
When the City began mandatory curbside recy- turn it into new asphalt to repave our streets and ane emissions and transportation impacts, we
cling in 1989, plastic recycling had just begun to fill potholes. While we are experimenting with have studied new and emerging technologies
emerge. In response to legislation being imple- the use of even higher concentrations of recy- that convert solid waste into either electricity
mented in municipalities and states across the cled asphalt in our streets, we will also encour- or fuel that can then be sold as a revenue-gen-
nation, the plastics industry developed sort- age its use in city construction projects. erating product. These alternatives must be part
ing technologies to separate and process the of a citywide solid waste strategy that includes
diverse types of plastics collected and make new Regionally, we dredge 4.49 million cubic yards robust recycling programs.
products out of them. of material a year from our harbors to main-
tain navigation channels and provide access to Conversion technologies are used in Europe and
Decisions about what is mandated to recycle is waterfront businesses. This material could be Asia and are gaining greater appeal in the United
largely based on the market—we designate those used in multiple applications instead of being States. Two specific technologies, anaerobic
materials for which there is an established and landfilled. This type of beneficial reuse and recy- digestion and thermal processing, are the most-
relatively constant demand. Today, nearly a third cling would conserve raw materials in quarries, widely used and have the greatest potential for
of our residential waste stream is designated reduce energy use and pollution from transpor- commercial applicability in New York City.

142 SOLID WASTE


Transportation Modes for City-Collected Waste

Credit: NYC Dept. of Sanitation/Michael Anton


MODE OF TRANSPORT FROM CITY CURRENT FUTURE
Rail 32% 41%
City collection truck 23% 12%
Long-haul truck 45% 0%
Barge 0% 47%

Loading containerized waste onto railcars at the City’s Staten Island transfer station Source: NYC Dept. of Sanitation, NYC Mayor’s Office

Anaerobic digestion uses microorganisms to INITIATIVE 9 regulations have decreased the public health
break down waste. It produces a biogas that and environmental impacts from existing trans-
Reduce the impact of the waste
can be combusted to generate electricity and a fer stations.
compost that can be used as a soil enhancer and system on communities
fertilizer. Thermal processing technologies use The SWMP also reduces the impacts of recycling
heat to process solid waste and produce a syn- Over the past 30 years, a small number of com- collection and infrastructure. The Sims Municipal
thesis gas (“syngas”) that is then combusted to munities in the city have borne the brunt of Recycling Facility at the South Brooklyn Marine
produce electricity. impacts from our waste management system. Terminal, which will open by 2013, will facilitate
Those most affected live in neighborhoods in the expansion of barge transport for recyclables
Compared to landfilling or conventional waste- close proximity to high concentrations of trans- throughout the city. This facility will reduce City
to-energy technology such as incineration, these fer stations where thousands of tons of waste collection truck traffic by approximately 230,000
new conversion technologies could offer eco- are transferred from collection trucks to long- miles per year.
nomic and environmental advantages. Combus- haul trucks or railcars.
tion of a gas as part of anaerobic digestion or To reduce the environmental impacts of commer-
thermal processing produces less air pollution, To address these impacts, the City worked with cial waste management, the long-term contracts
particularly dioxins and heavy metals, than the the City Council, environmental advocates, envi- identified through the SWMP will facilitate export
incineration of solid waste. Because the end- ronmental justice organizations, and affected of commercial waste by rail and barge. Spe-
products could be beneficially reused and so