Bloomberg, Burden, and Pinsky Vow to “Finish the Job” on PlaNYC

Please note: This was an April Fool’s Day post…

Planning commissioner Amanda Burden and NYCEDC chief Seth Pinsky joined Mayor Bloomberg this morning at City Planning HQ to preview a major announcement scheduled for Earth Day, the third anniversary of the official launch of PlaNYC 2030.

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The mayor indicated that the city is preparing to adjust the way it shapes real estate development, in an effort to address what he called "unfinished business" in the PlaNYC agenda.

"We realized that a lot of our development policies were working at cross-purposes with our sustainability goals," said Bloomberg, "so, we’re going to try some new things and see how they work." While specifics have yet to surface, the mayor and his deputies hinted at a shift that could transform New York City’s traffic-inducing parking policies.

Burden announced that the planning department is putting the finishing touches on revisions to the zoning code that will lower housing costs, enhance the walking environment and reduce traffic, telling reporters that everyone would have to wait til Earth Day for the big reveal.

"Affordable housing and walkable, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes have always been top priorities for us," she said. "These changes are the next step in City Planning’s commitment to a sustainable New York." When Streetsblog asked if the zoning revision would eliminate New York City’s Eisenhower-era minimum parking requirements, Burden said, "No comment," then winked.

The most detailed commitments came from EDC’s Pinsky, who said he’d ordered a top-to-bottom review of his agency’s commercial development strategies. "In the last year or so we’ve seen evidence that the regional shopping destinations EDC has helped to finance really aren’t leveraging investment in an optimal manner," he said. "A lot of valuable real estate has been wasted on parking and retailers are failing to draw potential customers who would come by transit, walking, or bicycling."

After describing a package of aggressive new tax incentives EDC will make available to developers who build mixed-use, infill projects without curb cuts, Pinsky loosened his tie, removed his glasses, and surveyed the gaggle of reporters. "The days of bean counters designing this city are over," he said. "You can take that to the bank."

In a short Q&A after the announcement, Bloomberg said he was captivated by the parking census underway in San Francisco and floored by the realization that New York City had never collected such basic information to guide its parking policies. "These are important decisions that shape the city for generations," he said. "We have to base them in real data, not junk science or irrational fears. That’s how we’re going to finish the job of PlaNYC."

  • fdr

    When Burden winked, did she also say “You betcha”?

  • Mike

    I wish I found this funny. But it just makes me sad.

  • LN

    Community Gardens and Urban Farms are not mentioned anywhere in PlaNYC.

  • Boogiedown

    April fools.

  • J

    It’s sad because we’re actually pretty close to this happening. I’d prefer something far less likely: “NYPD announces new safe streets initiative” or “Sheldon Silver to push for Bus Cams, Congestion Pricing”.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    “Community Gardens and Urban Farms are not mentioned anywhere in PlaNYC.”

    Neither is freight.

  • I think my favorite April Fools Headlines have been:

    * Sen. Espada now favors bridge tolls

    * NYC Students figure out that grandstanding politicians are to blame for MTA cuts, not MTA board

    * TLC drivers actually ticketed for blocking bus lane

    Oh wait, those were true!

    And JSK came in right after this 2007 April Fool’s Day http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/04/01/breaking-news-frieden-tapped-as-dot-commish/

    May all your livable streets dreams come true!

  • Larry Littlefield

    The parking census is a good idea, but they should go one further — estimate the total amount of public street space devoted to motor vehicles and other things, such as sidewalks, parks, etc.

    With Sanborne Maps and GPS, it should be possible to calculate the acreage in limited access highways and parking spaces. That is exclusive motor vehicle space.

    Essentially, the city would have to build a street by street inventory of non-lot area equivalent to the inventory it has of lot area for tax purposes. If they have digitized information on below ground infrastructure, I’ll bet a lot of that is already there.

  • If only they did this prior to the Gateway Center (Bronx), Skyview Parc and Flushing Commons (Queens). Although I highly doubt EDC and DCP are in for real change…but if they do make it retroactive to current projects started under the Bloomberg administration, I know a lot of people would be overjoyed.

  • Fool me once, shame on you. Three fools — can’t get fooled again.

  • JamesR

    I was all like “hell yes!” until I realized that I had been punked. The bad photoshop job around the podium gave it away.

    It sure felt warm and fuzzy for those 26 seconds, though.

  • fdr

    This is for real.

    The Post is reporting that Rohit Aggarwala, the head of the PlaNYC program, is leaving City government and moving to California.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/knickerbocker/exclusive_second_official_to_leave_o4jvOjdk6yDgqvzi8QUgBO

  • momos

    This dream underscores one major point: NYC’s transportation activists need to make parking reform the NUMBER ONE priority. All hands on deck!

  • Wow, Streetsblog, you REALLY got me-I thought this was real until JamesR commented…haha
    It would be even better if a Bloomberg aide read it and showed it to the Mayor-then he would be “What! By golly they’re right!” Pinsky would say, “Less parking? I’ll die before that comes to NYC.” Burden would remark, “I thought we zoned to favor developers!”
    I assumed that the pic was a model of what a soon to be real press conf would look like.

  • The city caring about affordable housing is an April’s Fools giveaway.

  • April Fool!

    Oh my goodness – I’ve been waiting patiently until today for this announcement to come true. Wow – maybe I should write a letter to EDC about parking.

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