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New York Mayor Presents PlaNYC for a More Sustainable New York; 30% Reduction in CO2 by 2030

The proposed congestion charge zone. Click to enlarge.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose Earth Day to present a package of 127 initiatives designed to achieve the sustainability goals that he had outlined in December 2006, including reducing carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.

As a coastal city, we’re on the leading edge of one of the most dramatic effects of global warming: rising sea levels and intensifying storms. The science is there.  It’s time to stop debating it and to start dealing with it. Of course, no city or country can address this issue alone. But that doesn’t mean we can walk away from the responsibility to do our part and to show others it can be done in ways that will strengthen the economy’s long-term health.

—Mayor Bloomberg

Other goals of PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York include: affordable housing for an expected additional 1 million New Yorkers; increasing access to parks, playgrounds and open spaces; reclaiming brownfields; developing critical backup systems for the aging water network to ensure reliability; providing additional reliable power sources and upgrading existing power plants; and reducing water pollution.

Earlier this month, the Mayor released New York’s first-ever comprehensive inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, which was the first step towards achieving major emissions reductions.

For transportation, one major set of initiatives is focused on expanding and improving mass transit.

In analyzing congestion pricing, we studied commuting patterns across the city, and we arrived at an astounding finding.  Of the New Yorkers who work in Manhattan but live outside it, only five percent commute by car.

—Mayor Bloomberg

PlaNYC will seek to fund five key projects that eliminate capacity constraints on some of our most clogged mass transit routes into Manhattan. These are:

  • The completion of the Second Avenue Subway.

  • The addition of a third track on the Long Island Rail Road Main Line, enabling it to run more trains, use its fleet better, and provide more service at local stations in Queens. It will especially serve reverse commuters, who live in New York City but work in Nassau County. Today, nearly 270,000 New York City workers commute to jobs outside city limits, up by 10% since 2000.

  • Two projects to increase capacity for commuters west of the Hudson. The first is a second trans-Hudson tunnel for new Jersey transit, doubling the number of trains it can run and enabling direct service to New York on several lines for the first time. The second is the Moynihan Station Project.

  • A second dedicated Express Bus Lane through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Other initiatives include:

  • Providing new commuter rail access to Manhattan;

  • Expanding transit access to underserved areas;

  • Improving and expanding bus service by initiating and expanding Bus Rapid Transit routes, dedicating Bus/High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on  East River Bridges and exploring other bus service improvements;

  • Improving local commuter rail service;

  • Improving access to subways and bus stops citywide;

  • Developing congestion management plans for outer-borough growth corridors;

  • Expanding ferry service and better integrate that service with the city's existing mass transit system;

  • Promoting cycling by completing the City’s 1,800-mile bike master plan;

  • Piloting congestion pricing to manage traffic in the Central Business District (CBD). Passenger vehicles entering or leaving Manhattan below 86th Street during the business day (weekdays 6 am to 6 pm)—with the exception of the FDR Drive, the West Side Highway, and West Street—would pay an $8 daily fee. Trucks would pay $21. Autos that drive only within “the Zone” would pay half price. The charge would apply to all vehicles, except emergency vehicles, those with handicapped license plates, taxis, and for-hire vehicles (radio cars);

  • Managing roads more efficiently by expanding the use of Muni Meters and creating an integrated traffic management system;

  • Strengthening enforcement of traffic violations by expanding the number of Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs), allowing them to issue blocking-the-box tickets, and increase the use of traffic enforcement cameras;

  • Facilitating freight movement by improving access to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and exploring High Occupancy Truck Toll (HOTT) lanes; and

  • Establishing a new Sustainable Mobility and Regional Transportation (SMART) Financing Authority to advance new projects and achieve a state of good repair in the subway and on the roads.




This is a great mix of measures with a positive focus on transit infrastructure projects. The only thing missing is some timelines for delivery. I only wish we could point to a list like this where I live in Melbourne, Australia.

I don't know the governance arrangements in New York. Does the metropolitan government have the capacity to deliver all of these projects or is it simply a wish list they would like to see funded by State and Federal jurisdictions?

Local government is often great at coming up with forward thinking and innovative plans for the future but in our part of the world they are hamstrung by being small and underfunded

Gerald Shields

Basically under this plan, it would cost you to drive in Downtown Manhattan and you end up doing the subway or bus if you work or live there. Moreover, if you got a bicycle, use it. You'll lose weight and save money woo hoo.

Gerald Shields

Okay, I change my mind a bit. Now I'm interpeting this to be: Hey! Were going to make all of these great transportation, environmental, energy and housing improvements, and were going to make anyone dumb enough to be driving a car or a truck in & out of Downtown Manhattan pay for it! Woo Hoo.

Mark R. W. Jr.

"Of the New Yorkers who work in Manhattan but live outside it, only five percent commute by car."

Then would that generate enough profit for this congestion pricing thing?


This plan is a step in the right direction but is appears to lack replacing New York’s coal power plants with wind turbines. I am almost certain that this replacement alone cold reduce CO2 by 30% by 2030. Moreover, it would be inexpensive because wind power is cheap and it may even generate jobs because one of the global wind turbine producers may chose to set up local production in NY. It would fit Bloomberg’s admirable vision of “show others it can be done in ways that will strengthen the economy’s long-term health.”

Bill Young

Maybe Bloomberg could take another lead from London and exempt electric cars from the congestion charge. I have driven in Manhattan and there is no need for a car that exceeds 35 mph except on the expressways. BTW, driving in Manhattan is not for the faint of heart.


I applaud the mayor on this initiative. Most politicians when they have a year or so left in office, sit back and do nothing. Instead, he is introducing much needed initiatives to make this city greener. That's impressive.

His congestion pricing plan will likely meet opposition in the legislature, but it is desperately needed. Traffic in NYC is a nightmare. And when the city offers such a fantastic and fairly inexpensive public transport system, why not use it?

The population of NYC swells to 8 million during the day. Even if 5% of those 8 million drive in, that's 400,000 cars. That's a lot.

Kudos to the mayor for this plan. I wish other cities in the US would take such bold initiatives. If we want to do something about the environment, we need to do it fast. I hope other mayors and congressmen follow in Bloomberg's footsteps.


I wonder if Billionare Bloomberg ever saw the old John Carpenter/Kurt Russell movie 'Escape from New York'?


Good point Henrik. While this plan no doubt deserves credit, it seems to center around traffic.

They can go several step further and promote other environment friendly practice among the general population. Like,
- stop using edison lamps and replace them with CFL's.
- Put wind turbines on top of multistory building.
- promote use of solar panels on rooftops.
- Use more hybrid buses for the MTA.


Mayor Bloomberg should try to put the battery back into Battery Park ;-)


Mark R. W. Jr.
Millions drive throughout the city.

Much of the coal power you refer to is from the Ohio River basin. Electricity generated locally is mostly powered by natl gas, and some of it is burned in combined cycle (steam + electric) systems. Additionally, we have hydro power from Upstate NY and Quebec. Finally, there is nuke energy, primarily from Indian Point.
_An expansion of the steam system, and upgrading local natural gas fired electric plants (w/gas + steam turbine + waste heat combined cycle systems) would boost energy efficiency to above 85%. The steam could heat/cool large sections of the city.
_Recent advances in garbage to energy technology should also be explored. That might reduce the garbage bill NYC pays to ship it out of state, and the GHGs it releases (through transport or CH4 offgassing).

The population of NYC is above 8.1 million.

Alternative: Solar panels on southern facade, green roofs on top.



How about tidal turbines instead? These are small units (about 35kw). But tidal power is more predictable than wind, and units up to 1 MW are planned in the future.


The wind turbines I am thinking of are the newest generation 5MW turbines that are 200 meters (660 feet) high. When they get mass produced (several thousands a year) in 5 years from now they can produce electricity at 4 cent per kWh at an average wind location. This is less than both coal and nuclear (about 5 cents per kWh) and it is far less than natural gas power at (7 c kWh.). I have seen prototypes in Denmark where I live and I can assure you they will not fit on any rooftop anywhere on the planet. They are big. A hole house can fit nicely >inside< the tower of these giants. The future belongs to wind power. It is clean and it is cheap and unlike nuclear the cost of wind power includes liability insurance.


HAHAHA!! What a load of bull. We shall do all this for you good prople and make THEM pay for it instead of you! Andas none or few of the drivers LIVE ib by they cant vote.. save by moving out and derailing the entire thing.

They have tried this sort of shellgame before and it ALWAYS ends up spiraling down the toilet.

Fact is ny just wants to avoid paying the huge costs needed to keep ut running into 2100 and everyone else wont pay for them as they all need thier money for thier own projects.


NYC sends more tax dollars to Albany (NY State govt coffers) and Washington (Federal) than it gets back through State and Federal discretionary and manditory spending. NYC tax dollars subsidises the spending of the rest of the nation.


How 'bout an incentive, such as a tax deduction, for people who work where they live? Now that's green! Wow, what a concept!

Glenn C

I was in NYC last week and got stuck behind a sanitation truck. Traffic was backed up to 10th Avenue with no relief in sight and traffic agents were writing tickets for blocking the box. Why can't the city do something about garbage pick up schedules. Maybe have it done at night or perhaps by more street compactors like I saw at Union Square? Wait... oh yes the unions and the City go hand in hand and the people take a back seat I guess. 2030 seems so far away. Maybe it'll all be moot by then...

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