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Getting to 80×50: Creating Sustainable Mobility for New York City

Rich Kassel on Getting to 80x50: Creating Sustainable Mobility for New York City

Executive Vice President Rich Kassel

On June 15, Capalino+Company Executive Vice President Rich Kassel moderated a panel on promoting sustainable transportation in the outer boroughs at Getting NYC to 80×50, the first in a series of policy forums being organized this summer by the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.  Over the course of the summer, the forums will discuss policy solutions to reduce emissions from transportation, buildings, energy, and solid waste—the primary strategies to reach Mayor de Blasio’s goal to reduce the City’s greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050 (“80×50”).

 “It’s an exciting time to be thinking about sustainable mobility in the outer boroughs, and the discussion about how to achieve the City’s goals is just beginning.”

The panelists included:

  • Eric Beaton, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Transportation and Management, New York City Department of Transportation
  • Tabitha Decker, Director of Research and NYC Program Director, Transit Center
  • Denise Richardson, Executive Director, General Contractors Association of New York
  • Dani Simons, Director of Communications and External Affairs, Motivate
  • James Wong, Director of Passenger Transportation and Ferries, New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Thanks to our population density and transit system, the City’s transportation-related per capita GHG emissions are already the lowest of any major city in the nation.  Because of the higher car ownership and lower transit availability in many communities of the outer boroughs, the transportation challenges of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx are much different than in Manhattan.

“The biggest opportunities to reduce per capita GHGs are in the outer boroughs,” noted Kassel in his opening remarks.  “All of the new development that is happening in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx is creating opportunities to implement low-carbon strategies now that will pay dividends for years to come.”

Panelists discussed how reaching the 80×50 goal would require steps to increase transit options for commuters in the outer boroughs, enhance new options like bike sharing and ferries, and make walking safer. They also discussed the importance of investing in ongoing maintenance to enhance the roads, bridges, and transit infrastructure that already exists.

All of the panelists agreed that the outer boroughs need more low-carbon transportation modes.  The lack of adequate transit is part of the reason why most households across Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx own at least one car.  Part of the challenge will be solving what is called the “last-mile” challenge:  how to get people to or from a transit station or ferry terminal.

Panelists raised a number of important ideas that will help promote more sustainable mobility and solve the last-mile problem outside of Manhattan, including increased use of dedicated bus and bicycle lanes, increasing bus travel times through improved boarding and fare-paying approaches, expanding Citibike’s geographic reach and introducing pedal-assist bike technologies, and providing more ferry access for waterfront communities.

An accelerated approach to introducing ZEVs should be a major component of how we get to 80x50, especially in NYC's outer boroughs.

The panel also discussed the need to electrify the vehicles that will be on City streets in years to come.  Whether operating on batteries, fuel cells, or other emerging fuels and  technologies, it was clear that policies to increase the use of zero-emission and other low-carbon fuels and vehicles will be an important a part of the City’s 80×50 future.

“In addition to providing more transit, bike, walking, and ferry options, an accelerated approach to introducing ZEVs should be a major component of how we get to 80×50, especially in the outer boroughs.”

In wrapping up, Kassel concluded, “It’s an exciting time to be thinking about sustainable mobility in the outer boroughs, and the discussion about how to achieve the City’s goals is just beginning.”

Capalino+Company works with clients to implement strategies that encourage the adoption of innovative energy, transportation, waste and water technologies, products or projects. For more information on our Energy, Environment + Sustainability Services, visit http://www.capalino.com/services/energy-environment-sustainability/.

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