Chapter 3: Citywide Strategies

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Text of Chapter 3: Citywide Strategies


    Vision 2020 Citywide StrategiesCHAPTER 3

    With the citys waterfront much improvedand with the publics interest in a productive and accessible waterfront at an all-time highit became necessary to develop a new master plan for the shoreline. In 2008 the New York City Council passed Local Law 49 requiring that the Department of City Planning complete a comprehensive waterfront plan drafted in consultation with city, state, and federal agencies and with input from the public. The legislation called for the new plan to be submitted to the Mayor, the Council, the Public Advocate, each Borough President, and each community board. Vision 2020 satisfies the City Council mandate and represents what the City seeks to accomplish on the waterfront and in the waterways over the next 10 years and beyond.

    Vision 2020 is the result of a major planning effort involving thousands of people who are engaged in, and passionate about, the water-front and waterways. In developing the plan, the Department of City Planning reached out to government agencies, independent groups, and members of the public for their ideas and recommendations.

    Within city government, a Technical Advi-sory Committee was formed in 2009 and met monthly throughout the planning process. This steering committee was comprised of staff from the Mayors Office, the Department of City Planning, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Emergency Manage-

    ment, the Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

    In addition, City Planning formed a Water-front Planning Working Group to advise it and the other agencies involved in formulating the plan. The Working Groupcomposed of civic, environmental, recreational, and industrial lead-ers (see Acknowledgments for Working Group members)met monthly starting in March 2010 to discuss the plan and vet recommenda-tions.

    Engaging members of the broader public was a priority as well. City Planning conducted an extensive outreach campaign to solicit input from waterfront enthusiasts, waterfront prop-erty owners, community boards, recreational boaters, and other interested members of the public. The agency held a series of public meet-


    The mouth of the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan.





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    ings, beginning with a citywide presentation on April 8, 2010, at which staff introduced preliminary goals and issues. Over the spring and summer, City Planning held seven public workshopsone in each borough, to ex-plore issues on a local level and discuss spe-cific reaches, and two additional workshops devoted to the Blue Network organized around the themes of Use of the Waterways, Urban Ecology, and Climate Resilience.

    In addition to the public workshops, City Planning gave presentations on Vision 2020 at meetings organized by the Metropolitan Wa-terfront Alliance (MWA), a non-profit umbrel-la group dedicated to making the waterfront and waters of the New York Harbor clean and accessible spaces for education, work, and play. These sessions helped bring out the more than 400 member organizations of the MWA to comment and make recommenda-tions on issues related to their areas of ex-pertise, which include everything from mass water transit and the working waterfront to water recreation.

    While face-to-face meetings and public presentations were taking place, City Planning maintained a website to provide information about Vision 2020 and give notice about up-coming public meetings. People could also send in ideas and questions through the web-site and by e-mailand they did. Over the course of the year more than 500 comments were submitted electronically, including sug-

    gestions for environmental education centers, waterfront parks, improved maritime infrastruc-ture, and emergency evacuation routes. In Sep-tember, preliminary draft recommendations of the plan were posted on the website, and the public was invited to comment.

    As comments flowed in, City Planning orga-nized its second citywide public meeting, held on October 12, to present the draft recom-mendations and solicit feedback. The agency continued to compile a list of the proposals made over the preceding months, both for city-wide policy changes as well as detailed site-spe-cific improvements. In consultation with partner agencies and the public, City Planning assessed each proposal for its ability to meet the goals and address the issues identified in the plan. Each proposal was also examined for whether it could be implemented within the 10-year time frame of the plan. From this list came the hun-dreds of recommendations for improving the waterfront contained in Vision 2020.

    The first part of the plan addresses the eight broad goals and offers citywide strategies for achieving these goals. The second part con-tains neighborhood strategies. It is organized by reaches and specifies recommendations for individual sites along the waterfront.

    Vision 2020 is the result of an active, participatory planning process. Above left: Public workshop on the Blue Network. Above right: The second citywide meeting, held in October 2010.

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    Expand public access to the waterfront and waterways on public and private property for all New Yorkers and visitors alike.

    Support economic development activity on the working waterfront.

    Improve water quality through measures that benefit natural habitats, support public recreation, and enhance waterfront and upland communities.

    Enliven the waterfront with a range of attractive uses integrated with adjacent upland communities.

    Parks, piers, esplanades, beaches, and other kinds of publicly accessible spaces on the shoreline provide opportunities for recre-ation, relaxation, sightseeing, and waterfront events. The City has dramatically expanded publicly accessible waterfront space since 1992, and it plans to secure even more waterfront access, taking fuller advantage of New Yorks unique geography and allowing residents and visitors to experience our city as a waterfront metropolis. Not only do we want more places where people can reach the waters edge, we also seek additional spots where people can gain access to the water itself.

    Port and maritime industries are valuable economic assetscrucial to New Yorks prosperity. They provide thousands of jobs and generate more than one billion in tax revenue. Looming maritime developmentssuch as the expansion of the Panama Canalcreate both opportunities and challenges for New Yorks commercial shipping industry. By addressing issues such as the air draft of bridges along major shipping channels within the Port of New York and New Jersey and by exploring targeted incen-tives, recruitment, and coordinated regulatory policies, the City can help the working waterfront adapt and prosper.

    New Yorks waterways are the cleanest they have been in more than a century. Addressing ongoing sources of water pollutionsuch as stormwater run-off, combined sewer overflows, and contaminated sedimentcan further improve the conditions of our waterways. Continuing to invest in water infrastructure, upgrade wastewater treatment facilities, and find sustainable solutions to manage stormwater will ensure that New York Harbor remains a vital resource for recreation, commerce, and natural habitat.

    The reclamation of the waterfront is not complete without uses that make it a desirable destination. Well-designed areasinclud-ing housing, stores, and parksdraw people to the waterfront and increase the publics awareness and enjoyment of the waters edge. Integrating waterfront spaces with upland communities through wayfinding and transportation improvements can connect more people with the coastline, promoting the role of the waterfront in the everyday lives of all New Yorkers.



    GOAL 1

    GOAL 2

    GOAL 3

    GOAL 4



    Enhance the public experience of the waterways that surround New Yorkour Blue Network.

    Improve governmental regulation, coordination, and oversight of the waterfront and waterways.

    Restore degraded natural waterfront areas, and protect wetlands and shorefront habitats.

    Identify and pursue strategies to increase the citys resilience to climate change and sea level rise.

    Our waterways are a great resource, and Vision 2020 proposes to better connect people with themphysically, visually, and cul-turally. Increasing waterborne transportation, promoting water recreation, and creating the waterfront infrastructure needed for events, cultural activities, and educational programs will allow residents and visitors to engage more fully with the Blue Network and help New York realize its potential as a great waterfront city.

    The waterfront is dynamic, requiring constant maintenance, repair, and oversight. Today many governmental entitieseach with a different mandatehave jurisdiction over the shoreline. The complex regulatory process for in-water construction makes it dif-ficult for private and public owners of waterfront property to build and maintain necessary structures. To enhance the shoreline with the parks, housing, and commercial and recreational activity envisioned in this plan, we need clearer procedures and better coordination at all levels of government.

    Natural waterfront areas are diverse and valuable assets, providing habitat for an astonishing variety o