Thursday, April 22, 2010

Falling Way Short

The NY Daily News reports that the mayor's goals for sustainable development and a greener city have fallen short: "Mayor Bloomberg's ambitious environmental agenda fell victim to the fiscal crisis and political challenges, missing many of its 2009 goals, the Mayor's office announced Tuesday. The city completed just 51 of the 127 milestones Bloomberg laid out in 2007 when he first announced a sweeping plan to plant a million trees, lay hundreds of miles of bike lanes, build housing near mass transit and take other steps to improve the city's climate."

What a cop out! The mayor's, "ambitious environmental agenda," has really fallen short because of a leadening hypocrisy-as he and his EDC continue to pave over the borough of Queens with little apparent concern about the environmental consequences. In one quadrant of the borough alone-where Willets Point, Flushing and College Point intersect-development projects will generate well over 100,000 new car trips a day if all of the proposed developments actually get built. As we have said before-citing the traffic analysis of Brian Ketcham: ..."What I have found in my review for Willets Point United is that the FGEIS for Willets Point failed to fully account for Sky View Parc and ignored the effects of Flushing Commons. In fact, there is little evidence that the FGEIS accounted for many of the 90 new developments surrounding the Willets Point Iron Triangle. You folks approved a project--Willets Point--that vastly understated its traffic impacts and still reported gridlocked traffic conditions. Clearly, adding another 800 to 1,000 car and truck trips from Flushing Commons in the PM peak hour to an already gridlocked Main Street will simply make life for you folks that much worse."

Only 90 new projects? Imagine what the Van Wyck will soon look like-not to mention all of the surrounding streets trying to accommodate the overflow. But Bloomberg continues with the old razzle dazzle: "PlaNYC is a "20-year strategic vision," the mayor wrote in a in a report released Tuesday on the status of his plan."The long-term goals it outlines can be achieved, but they will not be met overnight."

And while we are at it, would someone let us know when this so-called plan was ever presented to the city's 59 community boards-or perhaps to the city's mythical legislative body? It is another example of the authoritarian nature of the mayor's approach to government-as was the congestion tax plan that was proffered minus any environmental review that is generally mandated for even the smallest zoning change. 

So, if it's true that the global recession dampened the environmental grandiosity that is Bloomberg, than we must say that an economic downturn can have a therapeutic function. It is high time that Speaker Quinn ask the mayor to present PlaNYC 2030 to the city council for a proper review. If she doesn't, it will be yet another example of the council abdicating its oversight role.