Mayor de Blasio Announces More Bike Lanes and Permanent Open Streets in his State of the City Address

On January 28, 2021, Mayor de Blasio put out his 2021 State of the City Address, centering around the theme “a recovery for all of us” as the city looks to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. In the address the Mayor did mention climate and his commitments in his last year to reducing emissions, improving transportation, and electrification.

In his address, the Mayor mentioned an effort to create a cleaner city. 10,000 New Yorkers will be employed using stimulus funds as the City Cleanup Corps, based on the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps. Among the corps’ responsibilities is to tend to community gardens and beautify public spaces. 

Later in his speech, the Mayor included the city’s plan to address “the clear and present danger confronting all of us” even after the pandemic is over: the climate crisis.  He started by mentioning the need for the city to “lead the way in ending the use of fossil fuels” and transitioning to renewable energy sources. The city has already taken its billions of dollars in pension fund investments away from fossil fuel companies and putting it towards the development of renewable energy. The Mayor then talked about the city’s plan to fully decarbonize pension funds through a $50 billion investment in renewable energy. The city will also ban new fossil fuel connections by the year 2030, favoring renewables such as hydroelectric power instead. Within the next four years, the city government will run on 100% renewable energy.

The Mayor then talked of the need to leave behind the era of the automobile in the city. Open streets will become a permanent part of the city. This will give streets back to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as allow for the expansion of outdoor dining and building of community oases. The Mayor then mentioned that bridges, although beautiful symbols of the city, have been a part of the city’s automobile problem. He plans to instead make them part of the solution through prioritizing clean modes of travel across them.

To this end, new two-way protected bike lanes will be installed on both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge. Furthermore, other space on the bridges will be “devoted solely to clean transportation.” Bicycle boulevards will be created in every borough, giving bicyclists travel priority while ensuring their safety. Changes like these, the Mayor said, will allow us to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels and automobiles in favor of a green future as part of the city’s commitment to its Green New Deal. NYLCV looks forward to working with government stakeholders on all of these initiatives.

The Mayor’s full address can be viewed here.