It's Not Easy Being Green

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Bloomberg announcing his PlaNYC yesterday. Photo: AP


Mayor Bloomberg's released PlaNYC 2030, his environmental agenda for the next quarter-century, yesterday (on Earth Day! get it?) at the Museum of Natural History (nature! get it?). It's almost too sprawling to recap, not to mention hell to pronounce ("plan-why-see twenty-thirty"?), but we know we'd be thrown out of the Bloggers' Association if we didn't do our best to take the most multifaceted matter and reduce it to five talking points. Herewith, our attempt to suss out the essence of the 127 proposed projects.

1. Massive rezoning, with an eye on adding 265,000 new homes. Basically, everything within walking distance of public transportation will be zoned residential. (Related: Clean the city's many contaminated and toxic sites, the so-called "brownfields.") Every community will have a public plaza. (Hello, New Urbanism!)
2. The greening of the city begins in earnest. One million new trees are promised, along with hundreds of acres in new parkland. Jail-like asphalt of playgrounds and schoolyards may be replaced with grass.
3. Leaning on business, but gently. Dirty power plants will be phased out. Corporations will be "encouraged" to increase efficiency (judging by the noises from the Spitzer camp, this is something that might be codified on state level). Landlords will be steered, through money and tax incentives, toward recycling non-potable water and retrofitting outdated electrical systems.
4. Small sacrifices. Oil-heat users will be forced to switch to a higher grade of oil. Electric bills will rise. Commuters who are nuts enough to drive to work in Manhattan will be slapped with an $8 fee to enter midtown; the money will go toward mass-transit initiatives.
5. What's-in-it-for-me perks: Waived city tax for hybrid vehicles. Super express buses. And, in a potential historic first, a "state of good repair" for the entirety of our creaky old transit system.

We'd remind you that these are all currently just proposals. But, then, we imagine the last bit — a subway system in good repair! — makes that pretty clear.

Bloomberg Draws a Blueprint for a Greener City [NYT]
The Plan [NYC.gov]