NYC Green Infrastructure Plan: A strategy for clean waterways
In September 2010, New York City released the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan which presents an alternative approach to improving water quality that integrates “green infrastructure,” such as swales and green roofs, with investments to optimize the existing system and to build targeted, cost-effective “grey” or traditional infrastructure.
“Cleaning up New York City’s rivers, creeks, and coastal waters has been a top priority for our Administration,” writes New York City Mayor Michael R. Boomberg in the beginning of the report, “and the pace of progress has increased dramatically over the past several years.”
He promises that the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan will be be effective and affordable, and the 8.4 million New Yorkers who will pay for it will see and feel its benefits
“Since 2002, the City has invested more than $6 billion in water quality, and key indicators show that New York Harbor is the cleanest and healthiest it’s been in more than a century. But to open as much of our waterfront as possible to recreation and development, we need a long-term plan to manage the stormwater that can overwhelm our combined sewer system when it rains, impairing water quality in the harbor and its tributaries.”
Green infrastructure — advanced street-tree pits, porous pavements and streets, green and blue roofs, and many other stormwater controls — can improve water and air quality, help to cool the city, reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions, increase property values, and beautify our communities, the letter says.
“And we can achieve all of these benefits for billions of dollars less than the cost of the traditional tanks and tunnels that are useful only when it rains.”
The NYC Green Infrastructure Plan continues the implementation of PlaNYC, not only by improving water quality, but by helping the City achieve cleaner air and greener streets, and we look forward to working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make our plan a reality. The unprecedented scale of this plan and our commitment to implement it will put the City at the forefront of stormwater management, and ensure our progress toward a greener, greater New York.