2010-04-16 / Top Stories

Bloomberg Launches Waterfront Strategy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg Mayor Michael Bloomberg Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn have launched the New York City Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a citywide initiative that will create a new sustainable blueprint for the City’s 578 miles of shoreline.

It is widely expected that the plan will have an impact on the Rockaway shoreline on Jamaica Bay, a long stretch of land that many locals believe could be used for waterfront recreation as well as for a commuter base for ferry service.

The WAVES strategy – to be developed over the next nine months – will include two core components: the Vision 2020 – The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that will establish long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda that will set forth priority initiatives to be implemented within three years.

Together, the initiatives will provide a blueprint for the City’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories: open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation.

A series of public workshops in all five boroughs to discuss the waterfront strategy will begin this spring.

“New York City is known for its unparalleled skyline, beautiful parks, famous bridges and grand boulevards, but it’s 578 miles of waterfront may be its greatest physical asset and certainly the one most important throughout its history,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “After decades of abandonment and neglect, our Administration made it a priority to increase access to and jobs on the waterfront, and from the construction of Barretto Point Park in The Bronx to the expansion of Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island, we’ve made enormous headway over the past eight years.

Now, the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy – or WAVES – we’re launching today will create a new framework that will drive our efforts to restore New York City’s waterfront to a vibrancy not seen in generations.”

“Before the Brooklyn Bridge, before Robert Moses, and before Fiorello La Guardia, New York City’s waterfronts were integral to its bustling blue highways,” said Speaker Quinn. “Hundreds of years later, we are standing on these same shores, launching a long-term collaborative initiative to reclaim our waterfronts and bring them into the 21st century. The City Council is proud to have passed the visionary legislation that requires City government to come up with an effective and responsible waterfronts plan, not once, but every ten years. Through this law, we will never turn our backs on our city’s 578 miles of waterfront.”

Led by the Department of City Planning, Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan will set forth long-range goals for a 21st century waterfront.

It will serve as a guide for future land-use decisions along the City’s shoreline, recognizing the diversity of the waterfront and balancing the needs of environmentally sensitive natural areas, the working waterfront, public access, open space, housing and commercial activity. The plan will also seek to address the City’s “Blue Network” – the waterways themselves – from the expansion of water transport to climate resilience.

Vision 2020 is mandated by City Council legislation that requires a waterfront report be submitted to the Mayor, the City Council, the Public Advocate, Borough Presidents, Community Boards and the public at the end of 2010.

The New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) will lead a complimentary effort to create the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, a set of high-priority initiatives that can be implemented during the next three years. Priority initiatives could include programs such as piloting the City’s first wetlands mitigation bank to incorporating new ecological designs into the repair and restoration of waterfront infrastructure.

For each initiative, the Action Agenda will identify current conditions and desired outcomes, specific steps to achieve goals, benchmarks to measure its success, agency responsibilities and funding sources.

In addition to City, State and Federal agencies, the City has engaged a vast array of waterfront stakeholders to help craft the strategy, including the shipping industry, open space advocates, labor unions, environmental groups, waterfront restoration advocates, and planning organizations.

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