Nov 30, 15

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Greening the MTA

There's a lot to like about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) recent announcement that it's looking for ways to go green. Sure, riding the subway and/or bus in New York is a pretty eco-friendly thing to do, compared to driving a car around town. But when you run a massive 6,200 car, 468 station subway system as well as a 4,500 bus system, which transports 740 million people per year, plus two massive commuter rail lines, you still contribute pretty significantly to the...


Breaking News: Is congestion pricing a go? Not quite...

News outlets including The New York Times and the AP are reporting that the New York State Legislature has reached an agreement of sorts: to form a commission to study congestion and come up with a plan to mitigate it. The commission might or might not end up recommending congestion pricing. According to The Times, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno says that the City Council would be required to approve whatever plan the commission recommends, and the Legislature would have until the...


When Simple Things You Can Do Really Do Make a Difference

I'm wary of the "50 simple things you can do to save the earth" approach to environmentalism and economic justice. Some things just aren't that easy to do at the scale we need to do them. And this focus on tiny individual changes distracts us from demanding better environmental or economic decisions and actions from our elected and corporate leaders. The first wave of this easy steps and shopping for a better world movement was in full swing about 20 years ago. It bottomed out in an...


Solar 1 to Become Solar 2

For more than five years, Solar 1 , New York City's first solar-powered green energy, arts, and education venue, has acted as a sort of "center" for New York City's green movement. Located on the East River waterfront in Manhattan at 23rd Street, the solar-powered classroom and the surrounding park (Stuyvesant Cove Park) have hosted eco-festivals, Citysol), Green Drinks events and countless green lectures, solar-powered movies, cultural activities and fundraising efforts. Still, many New...


Spitzer Backs Congestion Pricing; NYC Finalist for Multi-Billion in Federal Funds

As discussion and debate of the congestion pricing plank of PlaNYC has continued, it's only become more obvious how much potential it has to change New York City for the better -- by cutting the pollution that sends thousands of children to hospitals every year with asthma attacks; cutting the city's load of climate disrupting carbon dioxide emissions; creating much-needed funds for improving mass transit connections between the subways, busses, and ferries; relieving traffic jams not only in...


Take Me to the River: Water Access and PlaNYC

Memorial Day weekend launched swimming season in New York City; not in the city’s pools, which don’t open until June 29, but swimming at ocean beaches and some of the rivers around New York. The Parks Department maintains 14 miles of beaches, all of which are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This past Sunday, while many New Yorkers headed to Orchard Beach and Coney Island, some brave souls headed to Battery Park City for Lady Liberty’s 3rd annual swim from the South to...


PlaNYC Parks Follow-up

Back in April, I took a look at the parks and open space section of the Mayor's PlaNYC report ( PlaNYC: There Oughta be a Park...Within a 10-Minute Walk of Every New Yorker ) and found some promising ideas that would help to green our neighborhoods and bring parkland to within a short walk of every New Yorker. Unfortunately, I also found a lack of answers as to how the city was going to fund and maintain this greener, growing city. This is a big problem. Historically, the Department of...


Large Cities Climate Summit Comes to New York

Fresh on the heels of releasing PlaNYC and an inventory of the city's greenhouse gas emissions, New York is hosting this week's Large Cities Climate Summit, a conference of leaders from more than 30 cities around the globe. A successor to a 2005 gathering in London, the summit's purpose is to create long-term international collaborations between large cities to drive down carbon emissions, and to encourage cities to work with the private sector as well as national governments to accelerate...


PlaNYC: Where's the Green Manufacturing?

Even if you've read the Mayor's amazing Sustainability Plan for New York City, you may have missed the section about creating greener jobs and manufacturing zones. That's because there is no plan to create greener jobs and manufacturing zones. You'll find sections about housing, trees, parks, global warming and reducing traffic, but nothing about the growing green economy. It's really a shame. Sure, the city needs more affordable housing, and luxury condos are good for our tax base. But...


PlaNYC on Water Quality

New York City's biggest water quality problem can be described with a three letter acronym: CSO. It stands for Combined Sewage Overflows. Combined overflows provide the much needed relief to our sewers when the city's treatment facilities become overwhelmed by a combined overload of wastewater from buildings and stormwater runoff from the streets: they divert this flow directly into our rivers, canals and bays instead. Sewer overflows basically prevent raw sewage and polluted stormwater...

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