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PR- 195-13
June 7, 2013


City Reaches Major Milestones in Work on 132 Initiatives for Greener, Greater New York

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today released the 2013 PlaNYC progress report and announced that the City is on track to meet all of its ambitious sustainability targets. The report – an annual benchmarking of the City’s work toward its PlaNYC goals – measures progress on more than 100 initiatives that the City has launched to meet its targets for cleaner air and water, more housing and park space, and enhanced quality of life for all New Yorkers. In the last year, the City built on the achievements made since PlaNYC first launched in 2007 by: planting 65,000 trees; breaking ground on a new project at High Bridge Park; launching Citi Bike, the city’s newest public transportation option and nation’s largest bike share program; undertaking the largest expansion of the recycling system in 25 years; and reaching a 16 percent greenhouse gas reduction – more than halfway to the goal of 30 percent by 2030. The 2013 PlaNYC progress report is available at 

“We’ve come a long way since kicking off PlaNYC: our air is healthier, our waterways are cleaner, and we’re building a sustainable future for our city,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The progress report we’re releasing today provides a detailed accounting of where we stand on all 132 PlaNYC initiatives, which were updated in 2011 and continue to evolve to meet the City’s future needs.   We’ve made great progress—reducing greenhouse emissions by 16 percent, launching Citi Bike, and planting more than 750,000 new trees.  But Hurricane Sandy was a devastating reminder that the threats associated with climate change are all too real, and we must continue to reduce the City’s contribution to the problem, while also taking steps to protect our communities and the infrastructure on which they rely.”

“This year’s PlaNYC progress report highlights the City’s data-driven, analytical approach to policy development and implementation,” said Sergej Mahnovski, Director of the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “We continue to set the standard for sustainability planning through rigorous research and analysis as we advance toward achieving our goals, with 94 percent of our 405 milestones now complete or in progress.”

“As this 2013 progress report shows, New York is making great strides in becoming a more sustainable city,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Mayor Bloomberg and his Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability deserve a lot of credit for weaving sustainability into the very fabric of city life. In many ways, PlaNYC has set the standard for sustainability action plans for cities around the country and around the world. And here in New York, PlaNYC has created a strong framework to carry sustainability into the next mayoral administration and well beyond.”

“The Clean Heat Task Force was an exceptionally successful collaboration between the government, not-for-profit, and private sector,” said Douglas Durst, Chairman of the Clean Heat Task Force and Chairman of The Durst Organization. “By working together, we established an achievable road-map that significantly reduces the particulate matter in our air and allows homeowners, landlords, coops and condos to upgrade their heating system to cleaning burning fuel without undue hardship or dislocation”

Mayor Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC in 2007, an unprecedented and comprehensive sustainability program that established the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and requires the City to conduct annual progress reports, as well as an updated plan every four years. In 2011, the City updated PlaNYC to include 132 initiatives with more than 400 specific milestones to reach by December 31, 2013. The City is on track to meet its targets and an overview of the gains made follows.

Housing and Neighborhoods

New York City’s population will be almost nine million by 2030. To accommodate this population increase, the City set the goal in the PlaNYC Housing and Neighborhoods chapter to create homes for almost one million additional New Yorkers while also making housing and neighborhoods more affordable and sustainable. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Created or preserved more than 145,000 units of housing;
  • Completed 119 neighborhood rezonings (36 percent of city’s total built area), focusing development in areas well-served by transit while preserving neighborhood character;
  • Broke ground on Hunter’s Point South – the largest affordable housing complex built in New York since the 1970s; and
  • Passed the Zone Green Zoning Text Amendment, which eliminates obstacles to energy efficiency, on-site renewable power, and resilient systems in both new and existing buildings.

Parks and Open Space

Access to adequate and quality parks and open space is critical to quality of life and public health, especially as the city’s population grows. To enable access for all New Yorkers, the PlaNYC Parks and Open Space chapter sets goals to ensure than all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk to a park. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Planted more than 750,000 trees to date;
  • Added 300 acres of new parkland;
  • Opened 229 open spaces for children to play through the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, which maximizes the use of underutilized space to provide additional recreational opportunities;
  • Planned the construction of eight new regional parks, one began construction this year – the High Bridge Park; and
  • Opened 129 new community gardens on New York City Housing Authority properties.


Prior to 2007, brownfields were seldom redeveloped because no government oversight or liability protection was available to cleanup sites with low to moderate levels of contamination.  PlaNYC established the goal of cleaning up all contaminated land in New York City and established an innovative brownfields strategy that blended economic development and community planning. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Established the Brownfield Cleanup Program that has fostered 8.3 million square feet of development on previously contaminated properties.
  • Enrolled more than 95 projects on more than 200 individual tax lots that will enable new development that will provide nearly $3 billion in new investment.
  • Established 12 new Brownfield Opportunity Area’s for locally based planning and provided $9 million for investigation and cleanup through the Brownfield Incentive Grant program; and
  • Launched the NYC Clean Soil Bank to encourage the reuse of clean soil from deep excavations at remediated sites on other properties that need clean soil.


Through PlaNYC, the City has undertaken bold initiatives to clean New York’s waterways, which have suffered from centuries of intense development and inadequate stormwater management and wastewater treatment. These efforts have increased opportunities for recreation and restored coastal ecosystems. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Invested more than $10 billion in water quality initiatives over the past decade, including major upgrades to the sewer system and several of the largest wastewater treatment plants;
  • Launched the Green Infrastructure Plan to invest $1.5 billion over 20 years to reduce combined sewer overflows through green infrastructure;
  • Created the Bluebelt system to provide ecologically sound, cost-effective stormwater management for approximately one-third of Staten Island’s land area, as well as parts of the Bronx and Queens, through natural drainage corridors and constructed wetlands; and
  • Restored 76 acres of eroded salt marsh in Jamaica Bay.

Water Supply

New York City provides high-quality drinking water to more than nine million people each day, and maintaining the quality and reliability of our water supply requires significant investment. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Invested $372 million to complete the Manhattan leg of the City Water Tunnel No. 3;
  • Installed Automatic Meter Reading devices in 2009 to provide low-cost, accurate wireless water meter readings to the City and assist in leak detection.
  • Invested more than $1.5 billion to purchase forests and other lands in the watershed; and
  • Prepared for the opening of the $1.6 billion UV Disinfection Facility, which will provide secondary disinfection for Catskill/Delaware water.


New York’s vast system of streets, bridges, tunnels, subways, commuter rail, pedestrian and bicycle routes—and the people and vehicles that use them—move our city and drive our economy. The PlaNYC Transportation initiatives aim to provide safe and sustainable transportation options while ensuring the reliability and quality of our transportation network. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Launched Citi Bike, New York’s newest public transportation option and the nation’s largest bike share program;
  • Built more than 300 miles of bike lanes;
  • Launched Select Bus Service in all five boroughs in coordination with the MTA to combine the speed and amenities of rail-based transit systems with the flexibility of buses; and
  • Launched an electric taxi pilot in 2013 and set the goal of electrifying 1/3rd of the taxi fleet by 2020.


New York City’s energy strategy must ensure clean, reliable, and affordable energy today and for the future. The PlaNYC Energy goals will reduce emissions, create jobs, and save money. The City has:

  • Benchmarked nearly 2 billion square feet of real estate—more than the entire built area of San Francisco and Boston combined--as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan;
  • Implemented the recommendations of the Green Codes Task Force – 40 of which have become law – to improve how buildings use energy and other resources;
  • Expanded the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge from universities and hospitals to commercial tenants, encouraging participants to reduce GHG emissions 30 percent in just 10 years;
  • Launched the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation to catalyze the marketplace for energy efficiency finance and announced $100 million in financing for NYC Clean Heat;  
  • Retrofitted more than 2,700 streetlights with LED technology;
  • Increased solar capacity more than ten-fold since 2007, from 1 MW to over 14 MW today;
  • Supported development of over 1,000 megawatts of new, highly efficient in-City generation; and
  • Supported development of the Spectra and Williams Rockaways Pipelines to provide New York City with its first new direct interstate gas pipeline in decades.

Air Quality 

New York’s dense urban environment brings New Yorkers into close contact with sources of air pollution. The City continues its progress toward the PlaNYC goal to achieve the cleanest air quality of any large U.S. city. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Created groundbreaking New York City Community Air Survey in 2008 to track the environmental quality of local air and its impacts on the health of New Yorkers;
  • Launched NYC Clean Heat in 2011 to eliminate the use of heavy fuel oil and accelerate the transition to the cleanest heating fuels; and
  • Facilitated the conversion of over 2,000 buildings and now more than halfway to achieving program goal of a 50 percent Particulate Matter 2.5 reduction, which will save 120 lives annually.

Solid Waste 

New York generates more than 14 million tons of solid waste and recyclables each year, with almost half of that sent to landfills or other facilities far away from the City. To reduce costs and environmental impacts, the City set the goal to divert more than 75 percent of Solid Waste from our landfills. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Begun the largest expansion of the recycling program in 25 years to include rigid plastics, of which currently 50,000 tons are sent to landfills, in 2013;
  • Launched the Food Waste Challenge, a voluntary program to engage restaurants in reducing their food waste by 50 percent through composting, donation, and prevention strategies; and
  • Started an organic waste recycling pilot, which will allow homeowners to recycle food waste rather than discard it with trash.

Climate Change

New York faces threats from the effects of climate change today and in the future. The Climate Change strategies have two goals: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent before 2030, and to increase the resilience of the city’s communities, natural systems, and infrastructure. Since 2007, the City has:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent – more than half of citywide greenhouse gas reduction target, and on track to exceed our 30 percent carbon mitigation target by 2030;
  • Coated more than 3.5 million square feet of roofs with a reflective white coating that reduces energy use, cooling costs, and carbon emissions; and
  • Called on the New York City Panel on Climate Change to create updated climate change projections for the City that will inform rebuilding decisions following Hurricane Sandy.


Marc La Vorgna/Lauren Passalacqua   (212) 788-2958


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