New York's Green Agenda
New NY gov Eliot Spitzer is going back to the ol' Carter mantra and calling for conservation. He's proposing a combo of legislation and regulations to get the state to consume less energy by 2015. Although the details haven't been revealed, the NY Times reported that these will include stricter energy standards for appliances, and upping the ante for energy efficiency on (so-called) green buildings. There's also talk about building/installing renewable energy generation facilities.
The reasoning for this is simple - by using less energy the state will save money. Well that, and Spitzer won't be forced to be the bad guy in proposing to build new power plants, even though he's already proposed legislation to make NIMBY a non-issue in locating "clean" power producing facilities (besides, by the time the state will need more power plants the Gov will have moved on to bigger and better things...)
In other NY news - NYC mayor Bloomberg revealed his big green plan for the city yesterday. However, this plan will need some serious cash (with some projects it could be in the ballpark of $200 mil a year). One revenue generating proposal involves a toll for drivers coming into Manhattan (based on a similar scheme in London). The PlaNYC (that's what they're calling it) is very, very, very ambitious and includes proposals for several gigantic projects:
One proposal calls for investments of $200 million a year from both the city and state to create a financing authority that would assure the completion of major projects like the Second Avenue subway. New authorities, with representatives from the city, state and private industry, would push for improved energy efficiency in new buildings and for the replacement of energy-guzzling power plants.
The city also would encourage the construction of platforms over railyards and highways to create land for housing. In addition, the plan would open 290 schoolyards as playgrounds, eliminate city sales taxes on energy-efficient hybrid vehicles, increase the number of bike paths and cultivate mussels to suck pollution out of the rivers.It is a lofty vision for NYC, but I think it is just what this city needs. It goes back to a question I've asked before here, how do we rebuild the already built up environment?
n another measure, the city would plant more than 1 million trees in the next 10 years. It would offer incentives — intended to capture storm water runoff — for larger and deeper sidewalk tree pits and green roofs.
The plan calls for zoning changes in many neighborhoods with access to public transportation that would allow for larger homes and a higher density of housing, although such changes are often resisted in those neighborhoods.
It pledges that every New Yorker would live within a 10-minute walk from a park, and it calls for small public plazas in each community board district that does not have a park.
It would replace or modernize diesel-powered school buses in the city fleet and offer incentives to get heavy diesel trucks off the road. And it would commit city funds to clean up 7,600 acres of so-called brownfields, where soil has been polluted by chemicals or industrial materials. Some of the land would become parks.
NYC doesn't have the luxury of space as nearly every square inch has been built upon, yet the city is an ever changing place even despite these existing infrastructures (and perhaps because of them.) There is a lot of development and redevelopment going on, and neighborhoods across the five boroughs are being revitalized (or destroyed depending on whose side you're on). But this redevelopment does need direction and a vision and it sounds like Bloomberg is stepping up to provide just that.