FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW REZONING WILL KEEP EAST MIDTOWN COMPETITIVE AND IMPROVE CONGESTION IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, August 4, 2013.
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“East Midtown has long been one of the world’s premier business districts, and it’s played a central role in making New York the job-creating economic engine it is today. It’s also home to Grand Central Station, a crucial transit hub that millions of people pass through every day. But East Midtown and Grand Central both face major challenges – challenges our Administration is working hard to address. Last week, our plans to strengthen the neighborhood’s future took an important step forward.
“Because of outdated zoning rules that effectively prevent new office buildings from being built in the area, East Midtown is losing its competitive edge to keep and attract businesses – and that could mean fewer jobs for New Yorkers and lost tax revenue to invest in our schools, parks, and neighborhoods. Proposals to modernize the zoning regulations have been discussed for decades, but nothing has happened. At the same time, Grand Central is too congested, as anyone who has taken the 4/5/6 subway line knows all too well. That congestion affects riders along the entire line, from Brooklyn to the Bronx.
“Our Administration has submitted a rezoning proposal that would help tackle both of these issues. It would permit development of a limited amount of modern, 21st-century office space, crucial to keeping the area a competitive, thriving business center. And by requiring those developers to contribute major funding to infrastructure enhancements, our proposal would improve the commute to and through Grand Central by easing train and commuter traffic at the station. That funding would also bring more outdoor public space for pedestrians in the area. Other places around the city where we’ve made those kids of improvements – from Queens Plaza to Times Square to Chelsea and the Flatiron District – are attracting fast-growing businesses and bringing pedestrians new open spaces to sit, eat lunch, and relax.
“Without the funding our proposal will generate, these improvements to East Midtown may never happen. The MTA doesn’t have capital money in its budget to make the enhancements Grand Central needs. That’s why last week, we announced that the City will provide funding for mass transit and open space improvements immediately upon passage of the East Midtown rezoning. That funding will help set the stage for sustainable development – and under our plan, it will then be paid back to the City by the developers who, thanks to our rezoning, will be able to bring modern office space to the area. This new plan is a great deal for the City: It’ll bring benefits to the public far more quickly, and they’ll be entirely paid for by developers attracting new businesses and jobs.
“East Midtown has a remarkable history – but if it’s going to have a strong future, we have to act now. Many of New York’s leaders understand that –including Manhattan’s Borough President, Scott Stringer, who endorsed our new rezoning plan last week. We’ve worked closely with Borough President Stringer, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and other elected and community leaders to ensure our plans strengthen the neighborhood and the long-term health of our economy – and we’ll continue working to make them happen in the weeks ahead.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
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