Mike Bloomberg is not known as a humorist but if the Yiddish saying, "Man plans and God Laughs," is true, than the mayor must have the man upstairs in stitches for his sustainable city PlaNYC 2030. What got us to thinking about this was the announced departure of Mike's resident greeniac. As Daily Politics reported: "Mayor Bloomberg's top environmental official, Rohit (Rit) Aggarwala, is leaving the city to follow his heart -- and his fiancee -- to California.
The man behind PlaNYC, the plastic bag tax, congestion pricing, wind farms, and other green initiatives that Bloomberg embraced in his second term is heading to Stanford in June, when his bride-to-be, Elizabeth Robilotti, begins a two-year fellowship in infectious diseases at the medical school there."
But what got us even more-again courtesy of the intrepid Liz-was the following from the mayor on the need to re-evaluate how the city does economic development in order to be more faithful to the sustainable city nostrum: "The mayor indicated that the city is preparing to adjust the way it shapes real estate development, in an effort to address what he called "unfinished business" in the PlaNYC agenda. "We realized that a lot of our development policies were working at cross-purposes with our sustainability goals," said Bloomberg, "so, we're going to try some new things and see how they work." While specifics have yet to surface, the mayor and his deputies hinted at a shift that could transform New York City's traffic-inducing parking policies."
Do tell-and if you are telling, tell it to the overdeveloped Queens neighborhoods who are being inundated by traffic generated from all of EDC's car dependent projects. But listen to the words of wisdom from EDC's own Seth Pinsky: "The most detailed commitments came from EDC's Pinsky, who said he'd ordered a top-to-bottom review of his agency's commercial development strategies. "In the last year or so we've seen evidence that the regional shopping destinations EDC has helped to finance really aren't leveraging investment in an optimal manner," he said. "A lot of valuable real estate has been wasted on parking and retailers are failing to draw potential customers who would come by transit, walking, or bicycling."
What, did someone hit these folks on the head? And while they are at it, someone should inform them that Willets Point is all that EDC has done wrong-on steroids; complete with the largest auto dependent shopping mall and a bogus traffic study that says-straight faced-that only 30% or so of the folks in the proposed development will use cars.
Pinsky went on to say that his agency would no longer only rely on economic considerations alone in its planning: "The days of bean counters designing this city are over," he said. "You can take that to the bank."
Where that leaves the massive Willets Point mess is anyone's guess-but our guess is that, like in so much else the Bloombergistas do, they will continue to simply talk the talk-and make the environmental traffic nightmare of that development an exception to the planning they say they will be doing in the future. But bookmark these mayoral assertions for future reference of credibility.