[music playing] Janette Sadik-Kahn:
Well, on Earth Day 2007, Mayor Bloomberg announced PlaNYC, which is the city’s long-range plan
and sustainability initiative for New York. The idea was, what are we going to be able
to do to ensure that we continue to grow and thrive in the years ahead, and that had some
important implications for how we plan and design our city. Michael Bloomberg:
You know, cities have to lead by example. We are the problem. We’re where the people
live. We generate 80 percent of the greenhouse gases so we can’t just sit around and wait
for others to do it. Amanda Burden:
We are now at 8,400,000 people and we expect to grow to 9.1 million people by 2030. [Kid: Now!} Janette Sadik-Kahn:
I think that New Yorkers are really hungry for public space and so to be able to provide
that, I think, is a huge quality of life improvement for people who live, work, and play here. Amanda Burden:
So our job is to look comprehensively at land use in the city, and that means rethinking
mobility, providing alternatives to the automobile, and creating access to everyone for jobs,
housing, work through a bike-able, walkable city. Thomas Farley:
The world that we occupy every day is designed, for the most part — we’re not in the natural
world — but it hasn’t always been designed with human behavior and human health in mind. David Burney:
Actually, designers have some influence on that, and we’d always been in the business of
making things more convenient and less mobile, you know, and more elevators, and so people
had to do less. The health department worked with us, and said well, you know, we ought
to change that thinking. Let’s try and get people moving more. Thomas Farley:
Any change in the design of buildings, or streets or neighborhoods, which makes it easier
for people to simply walk, is going to be health promoting for the entire population. Janette Sadik-Kahn:
We have actually invested and put down on the streets of New York in the last three
years alone, 250 miles of on-street bike lanes, and what we’ve done is taken innovative designs
borrowed from other cities and implemented them on the streets of New York. So, for example,
on 8th and 9th Avenue in Manhattan we actually flipped the traditional bike lane and the
parking lane. That investment strategy alone has paid huge dividends alone just on the
safety front. In fact, every single time we put down a protective bike lane, we see injuries
for all users go down some 50 percent. David Burney:
One of the goals of PlaNYC was to provide recreational open space within 10 minutes
of every residence, because it’s been pretty much established that, if people have a small
park — and it doesn’t need to be large — any open recreational space within 10 minutes,
they will use it. Janette Sadik-Kahn:
We have 6,000 miles of streets in New York City, and I look at our streets as some of
the most valuable public space. So Mayor Bloomberg asked us to see what we could do to improve
traffic, and what we did was take a look at who is using these streets, and how are they
using them? And as it turned out, in Times Square, 90 percent of the pedestrians that
were there were only given 10 percent of the street space, and yet 90 percent of that space
was allocated to cars. Resident:
There were a lot of tourists here before too, but there was a lot more traffic going down,
so this is very different feeling. It’s very nice. nice. Janette Sadik-Kahn:
So once we flipped that, and actually made that area safe for pedestrians, we were actually
able to improve the flow of traffic. We were able to create a world-class space for people
to enjoy the Great White Way. People don’t go to Times Square to watch the traffic. People
go to Times Square to enjoy the incredible lights, camera, action that’s there. David Burney:
Even in the 20 odd years that I’ve lived here, it’s become a much more walkable city. There
are now plazas and street trees, and bike lanes, and sidewalk cafes that have emerged
over the last decades. Amanda Burden:
The five boroughs are very different and we want to grow in those neighborhoods without
changing their character, and the goal of course is to create complete neighborhoods,
neighborhoods of choice where you have jobs, housing, open space, retail, within a walkable,
bike-able distance. Michael Bloomberg:
What works here, in many cases — not all, but in many cases — will work elsewhere.
We’d love to have people copy us in the same ways that we’d love to get their ideas and
apply them here if applicable. Janette Sadik-Kahn:
What do we need to do to insure that a 9 million-person New York City, is better than an 8 million-person
New York City is today? It’s an iterative process. We are constantly searching for the
great ideas that other cities have, and so I think it’s wonderful that cities are coming
together to say, how do we make our cities as great, and as green, and as sustainable
as they can be? Michael Bloomberg:
Sustainability is something that makes fiscal sense, and it makes sense for our lives going
forward, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the future we leave our kids. [music playing]

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