For the past year or so, PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s sustainability initiative (“sustainability” being a new buzz word for “environmentally friendly” or “contributing to a better quality of life”) has taken center stage at City Hall.
Introduced on Earth Day 2007, PlaNYC 2030 is a catch-all collection of 127 measures designed to make New York a more livable city by the year 2030, when it is projected that there will be a million more New Yorkers—and Mayor Bloomberg will be 88 years old. It envisions a city with a Second Avenue subway, thousands of more affordable apartments, and a minimum of air and water pollution. Some people say it’s Bloomberg’s bid for a legacy that will outlast him—just as the now-infamous Robert Moses left a network of playgrounds, parkways and state parks and beaches.
“Each of the 127 initiatives,” said Bloomberg at the unveiling of the plan, “will produce concrete improvements that New Yorkers will be able to see and feel and experience in their everyday lives.”
What exactly do those 127 initiatives include? At a breakfast at Gracie Mansion several months later, the mayor rapidly went through a laundry list of items, including hybrid taxis, more parks, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, cleaning up long-abandoned, polluted industrial sites that could be used for housing, planting street trees, establishing new express bus lines in each of the five boroughs, developing vacant lots, fixing pothole-plagued roads, and continuing work on a third water tunnel.
In some cases, PlaNYC will fund—or has already funded—projects that have languished for years, such as the rebuilding of the crumbling McCarren Park Pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to which $50 million has now been allocated.