PlaNYC 2.0 Reactions: Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives

Streetsblog has been calling around to transportation advocates and experts, gathering reactions to yesterday’s release of the first major update to PlaNYC 2030 since the citywide sustainability initiative was launched four years ago. Here’s our first installment, with Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely — we’ll be posting more reactions later this afternoon.

White told us he was encouraged to see the addition of a public health section in PlaNYC 2.0, and that the new plan will benefit from being less wonky than the original:

The continuation and expansion of Summer Streets and play streets bodes very well for public support. I think if there was a flaw in the first PlaNYC, it was too CO2- and policy-oriented. What this clearly does better than 1.0 is make the sustainability agenda more relevant and tactile for New Yorkers. I think the play streets in particular really jump out.

The inclusion of bike-share was also an encouraging sign that Bloomberg is serious about launching a public bike system, he said, but the mayor will need to do some serious follow-up:

They’re reiterating their commitment to roll out bike-share in 2012 and committing to keeping the yearly membership cheaper than a monthly Metrocard. As long as the state legislature doesn’t double the cost of a Metrocard, that’s a good thing.

The mayor needs to prove that he still cares. Will he attend summer streets and play street events? Will he back up bike-share when the going gets tough? Will he extend bike and ped improvements to East Harlem and other neighborhoods clamoring for their fair share of safety?

What’s lacking in the updated plan? White said the revision fails to reform the anti-urban tendency of the Economic Development Corporation and the Department of City Planning to push for excessive off-street parking:

There are parking garages sitting half empty that the city forced developers to build. Each of those parking structures represent millions of dollars that developers could have been required to upgrade local transit stations, or improve the streetscape. It’s not enough to study off-street parking policy. The city must overhaul its broken off-street parking policy before a tidal wave of new car ownership eclipses the plan’s other gains.

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