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Reducing Emissions in NYC

Daniel Doctoroff, the CEO of Bloomberg LP and former deputy mayor of New York, discusses the successes and lessons learned from PlaNYC, an effort to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 30 percent over two decades.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 13:00 EST | 9
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piratejulie
piratejulie  
11/23/2012 7:53:06 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Very heartening news
What are your hopes for mobile technology Nicole?

piratejulie
piratejulie  
11/23/2012 7:03:40 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Very heartening news
Thank you for putting those truths out there for all of us to reflect upon.  Indeed, the bottom-line 21st Century Challenge is turning inward and asking the questions your comment invites. 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/8/2012 2:27:35 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Very heartening news
That appears to be the theory that more and more people won't be traveling to work because of the emergence of telework options and mobile technologies. If this really does become the norm for a vast number of workers, it'll have transformative effects on our cities and the way they're designed. Obviously this could have negative repercussions too -- if this trend really picks up and businesses someday don't find it's necessary to spend their resources on leasing expensive office spaces anymore, that will hit cities hard.

Toby
Toby  
11/8/2012 11:16:34 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Very heartening news
Nicole, Mary, there is an additional factor at work here that needs to be considered. Consider the emergence of a vast number of home and remote office workers which has largely been driven by the need for the workplace to accomodate women in the workforce (thank you) and the additional benefit of driving down office real-estate costs and the carbon footprnt associated.

In my view these changes will have the effect of reversing the growth on public transport systems at rush hour allowing for a more evan load throughout the day and less of a fight for space on the downtown 4,5,6.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/8/2012 9:48:55 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Very heartening news
Yes, we do have to bite the bullet in many ways these days, since we are reaching the end of usefulness for so many elements of daily life. It was a great run, but not for the environment. The last 50 years of gasoline use have nearly killed the planet.

Agreed too that resistance to congestion pricing based on the overloaded train scenario doesn't quite ring true. I don't live in NYC, but when visiting it's clear that many people simply walk instead of taking the train.

That said, I have been packed like a sardine on the subway at rush hour; so I can understand the fear somewhat.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/7/2012 8:03:59 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Very heartening news
Another concern I've heard about, related to this program, is that the subways wouldn't be equipped to handle the surge in people if congestion pricing worked the way it was intended to and moved people from their cars to mass transit.

I can't help but roll my eyes at that one. That's also been a concern of those who don't want to see the mayor's plan go through for higher skyscrapers in midtown: If midtown east attracts more business, that's more people on the already overloaded trains. There are reasons to worry about ever-taller skyscrapers (like, uh, people getting trapped in them during a week-long blackout). But not attracting more business to midtown because the subways will get too crowded seems kind of ridiculous to me.

Something's gotta give. It seems people are no longer of the mindset that we have to live through harder times in order to see new ideas prosper. Maybe congestion pricing would cause even more overcrowding on the subways, but maybe the revenue the city earned from people who paid the high congestion prices in order to drive in could go toward expanding the subway systems and making them more efficient. We can't just do nothing because it's easier to maintain the status quo. People have to be willing to suffer a little in order to get to a better place, and in order to leave behind a better world for all who come next.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/7/2012 5:57:53 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Very heartening news
Surely, a great argument could be made about the unfair aspects of congestion pricing. Still, at some point we'll have to take some uncomfortable measures to preserve urban quality of life. Maybe we need to get used to ideas like that.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/7/2012 5:56:05 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Very heartening news
Doctoroff was a huge proponent of introducing congestion pricing in NYC -- essentially a plan to make it more expensive for drivers in high-congestion areas of the city at high-traffic times of day. The idea was to discourage driving and encourage mass transit (which would, of course, help toward the goal of cutting emissions). As he says here, it failed. NYS legislators felt it was unfair to those who don't live in the city and don't have access to mass transit to have to pay a fee to get into the city.

It kind of brings us back to the discussion we were having about cities and suburbs. I think congestion pricing, and anything that discourages cars in cities, is a great idea. I do hope Doctoroff is right about it getting a second chance someday.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/7/2012 5:16:14 PM
User Rank Staff
Very heartening news
What great photos and what heartening news that NYC is on track to cut its carbon emissions by nearly a third! It seems that trees, bicycle lanes, and walkways have contributed.

I am not sure about the funding issue brought up at the end of the video. It seems that a lack of state-level support hasn't hindered the project, though.

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