Mayor de Blasio Touts Sustainability in State of the City

By Jordan Levine

On the evening of February 4, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his third State of the City Speech. The speech, delivered in the Bronx, highlighted what he is doing to promote sustainability, green energy, and transportation initiatives.  This ranges from improvement we have seen in adoption of cleaner heating oil and improved air quality, renewable energy – specifically the plans for the future of solar in city-owned buildings – and a new, innovative plan for a Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar route.  All of these items will help us reach our emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050, as well as another OneNYC goal of providing 1.8 million jobs that are accessible by a 45-minute or less commute.

Mayor de Blasio announced last night that we have successfully eliminated No. 6 heating oil from New York City, a major landmark towards having the best air quality for a major city in the U.S. by 2030.  Eliminating No.6 has been an ongoing effort since the mid-2000’s working with the DEP, building owners, and communities to meet the deadline of December 31, 2015 to eliminate one of the heaviest pollutants in NYC.  In addition, the Mayor signed into law significant updates to the NYC Air Pollution Control Code, which enforce new emission controls in areas such as food trucks, refrigeration vehicles, commercial char broilers, and fireplaces. The increase in these emission controls will continue to have an impact towards increasing air quality for all New Yorkers.

Major de Blasio announced his goal of increasing solar generated energy up to 25 megawatts – enough to power 3750 homes – over the next three years.  The Mayor has already seen a drastic increase from 0.7 megawatts up to 5 by overseeing the installation of solar into 35 city-owned buildings since 2014. This goal will allow for the installation of solar on over 80 city-owned buildings, with about two-thirds of them targeted toward our public schools.  The reduction on emissions that solar will provide will only continue to rise as it increases throughout the city – with much attention given to the installation on all city-owned buildings throughout the city.

NYLCV applauds Mayor de Blasio for leading by example and demonstrating that our public buildings can be a model for a greener and healthier city for all.” (NYLCV) The proposed increase helps to meet the goal of renewable energy providing for 100 megawatts in public buildings by 2015.

One of the most exciting takeaways to highlight from de Blasio’s State of the City last night is the bold idea of a Brooklyn-Queen Connector (BQX), which will be a streetcar connecting the 400,000 residents and 300,000 workers along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront of the East River.  This is one of the most innovative plans to be presented in regards to increasing public, and sustainable, transportation here in the City, with an estimated savings of 18 minutes per trip. The streetcar will stop approximately every half mile across its 16 mile stretch, with connection to over 15 subways, 30 buses, and 10 ferries.

NYLCV’s President, Marcia Bystryn responding by stating: “This is a city built on innovation. When it comes to our transportation infrastructure, we should support any new and bold idea that reduces commute times, improves multi-modal connections and curbs greenhouse gas emissions.  We look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to explore every opportunity to improve transit access for all New Yorkers.”

These are all positive steps forward on the road to 80 by 50 and our other OneNYC goals in advance of the City’s first yearly progress report, due on Earth Day this coming April. We commend the Mayor and his Administration for their continued commitment to creating a greener, healthier City.