NYC Has Big Plans For Its Waterfront


Brooklyn Waterfront from the Ikea Ferry photo by Bonnie Hulkower

One month ago, Mayor Bloomberg released his $3.3 billion, new waterfront plan for New York City, called "Vision 2020". The plan is the city's first comprehensive waterfront plan and it aims to integrate the waterfront into New Yorker's lives. New York City has 520 miles of waterfront, more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland. The city's goal is to get New Yorkers out to the water's edge, and in some cases, even in the water. The roughly 200 page plan encompasses everything from protecting water quality to supporting the working waterfront. Vision 2020 envisions a New York where residents can commute via ferry using their Metrocards and canoe, kayak, and swim in the Hudson and East Rivers.Working Waterfront
People often forget that even though New Jersey has the large container terminals, New York City's working waterfront helps support 13,000 jobs. Waterfront commerce also reduces truck traffic, which improves air quality.

Water Quality
$2.57 billion will go towards funding improvements to the city's wastewater treatment plants, this will help reduce pollution in the waterways.

Many of the projects in the plan are either already under way or proposed. Vision 2020, the decade blueprint for the waterfront, synthesizes and provides an umbrella for the individual projects that protects them from cost-cutting. The projects are funded by $700 million from the city's capitol budget.

In addition to Vision 2020, there is also a waterfront action agenda, which highlights 130 projects to be completed over the next three years, including new acres of parks, esplanades and a pilot inter-borough commuter ferry service on the east river. Bloomberg said that the goal was to increase New Yorker's access to the water, "right here, right now".

Some of the plans projects include: a plan to restore Battery Park's historic Pier A; a new hotel and restaurant in the Battery Maritime Building; a new public market, art gallery and rooftop park at Pier 57; a restaurant and snack bar at the Dyckman Street Marina, and the activation of the boat pier in West Harlem Piers Park.

These projects serve to enhance the "blue network" and the public's experience of the waterways. Waterways are explored for recreation, as well as for emergency evacuation and as sites for renewable energy opportunities.

The plan will hopefully provide the framework for the city to reclaim its standing as a waterfront city.

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