In an effort to reduce emissions from transportation as well as better the lives of New Yorkers, Transportation Alternatives founded the NYC 25×25 coalition, which NYLCV is a part of. The coalition is urging the City to give back 25% of NYC street space to the people by 2025.
After two decades of little change in regard to the lack of clean transportation and transportation accessibility in NYC, the 25×25 plan seeks to challenge the leaders of our city to make sustainable changes and make them now. From data provided by the NYC Planning committee, it is known that close to a quarter of New Yorkers commute alone in their personal vehicles on a daily basis. The City is dominated by 6,300 miles of roadways and parking spaces that account for more than 75% of our shared street space. This results in long commute times, slim sidewalks, and the isolation of communities based on their access to reliable public transportation. It also results in higher levels of air pollution which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. The 25×25 plan seeks to reduce street lanes and parking for cars and instead increase protected bus and bike lanes in order to improve commuting.
Some of the many benefits to come with the 25×25 plan include expanding park access, reducing the public health burden on communities of color, making streets more accessible, and reducing emissions from vehicles, which are the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in NYC. Not only will there be fewer cars on the roads, but buses and bikes will have more space to move quickly and safely, and green spaces and room for outdoor businesses will increase.
The 25×25 plan will combat the rising air pollution crisis in NYC, which has led to high-levels of asthma in low-income and communities of color due to the traffic routes that intersect them. The plan will not only reduce emissions through reducing the number of vehicles on the road, but the added green spaces will aid in reducing existing air pollution. One car in NYC emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every single year, therefore, a decrease in single-occupancy vehicles and an increase in public transit accessibility and larger bike lanes and walkways will help to significantly reduce the carbon footprint left by vehicles in NYC. This is crucial considering that our annual summer temperatures have been increasing, as well as the water surrounding NYC at a more accelerated rate than the rest of the world due to warming temperatures.
In the past, efforts with similar goals to 25×25 have revolved around small-scale projects or singular organizations. By working as an interdisciplinary coalition, Transportation Alternatives has a stronger voice in challenging the NYC Mayoral and City Council candidates to work harder to promote a safer, healthier, and more sustainable city. This plan not only addresses the public health and environmental challenges New Yorkers face today due to piles of trash, car emissions, a lack of clean green space, and more, but it addresses how a shift towards less cars and more public transportation will improve the city’s economy, safety, and the living conditions of all New Yorkers. The NYLCV will continue to support the 25×25 plans and promote change towards reducing the carbon emissions that come from the number of vehicles on the roads.