2008-05-15 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

New Steps Forward For A Greener, Greater City

Over the past year, I've met with mayors from Seattle to Shanghai to share strategies about the environmental problems that are facing all of us. The one commonality I've found in the mayors of the world's cities is that they're more interested in results than ideology. That was clear to me again when I met with the new mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Today, great cities like London and New York not only compete with each other in the global economy - we also learn from each other. In that spirit, I was happy to share with Mayor Johnson my experiences leading New York, and also discuss with him some of the things we're doing to create a greener, greater city.

We had a lot to talk about because recently, New York City has made great headway on two key elements of our PlaNYC environmental agenda - reforesting City parkland, and improving mass transit options. Coincidentally, the first of these initiatives is now benefiting from the support of a British group. The legendary rock trio, The Police, joined me in Times Square to announce that they are holding their final concert ever in the Big Apple later this summer. On top of that, the members of The Police - Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers - have generously agreed to contribute $1 million to MillionTreesNYC, our effort to plant a million trees across the city by the year 2017.

The money that The Police are donating will be matched by another million in public dollars. That $2 million will help launch the first phase of a major reforestation effort and allow us to plant 10,000 new trees in parks throughout the five boroughs - that's nearly half the number of trees in Central Park. Not only will those trees help fight global warming by absorbing greenhouse gases, they will also filter air pollutants, beautify our parks, and help improve the general quality of life. Mayor Johnson understands all of these benefits, and is moving ahead on his own plan to add 10,000 trees to the streets of London.

New York and London also suffer from the same "problems of success," including having millions of people commute into our central business districts each day, causing gridlock and air pollution. To address these issues, London and New York are both committed to developing convenient and reliable mass transit options that convince people to leave their cars at home.

We made mass transit in New York even more attractive by announcing new ferry service for the Rockaways, and resumed service for Brooklyn. In addition, New York Water Taxi is operating a line that travels from Riis Landing in Queens to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, with a stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. The ferry costs $6 a ride and cuts about 30 minutes off of each leg of the commute between the Rockaways and Wall Street, making it a faster, more affordable alternative to driving.

These new ferries are just the first phase of a long-term effort to bring new service to all five boroughs. Together with Speaker Quinn and the City Council, and New York's Congressional Delegation, we're working to make ferries a greater part of our city's transportation network. That effort, combined with MillionTreesNYC and the more than 100 other items in the PlaNYC agenda, will allow us to pass on to our children the kind of thriving, green city we can be proud of.

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