Vision 2020: Sea-Change for NYC Waterfront

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:35am
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Waterfront Management Advisory Board in Formation; Comprehensive Waterfront Plan Being Reworked

CWP Reaches
As a first step in understanding the existing waterfront assets and constraints, City Planning is currently completing a comprehensive survey of publicly accessible waterfront areas, both publicly and privately owned. The maps will be available on this webpage in the coming weeks. Click on this
map to get to the Vision 2020 page on the DCP web site.

New York City is on the brink of a profound transformation in the way its 578 miles of waterfront are perceived, managed and developed.

At the invitation of NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber, waterfront leaders from all sectors -- including commissioners from the Departments of City Planning, Parks & Recreation, Housing, Buildings, Design & Construction and Environmental Protection; officials from the Office of Emergency Management, Economic Development Corp., Empire State Development Corporation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other agencies; and presidents of civic organizations -- gathered on March 17 for an unprecedented meeting to plan the formation of the City's Waterfront Management Advisory Board and discuss Vision 2020, the new Comprehensive Waterfront Plan.

Kudos came in from all over.

"It's great to see the City taking a hard look at the waterfront and the immense opportunities and challenges we have there. I'd like to help make sure it's a resource for all New Yorkers," said Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance.

"Vision 2020 is an incredibly exciting opportunity to implement a smart, well-crafted and multi-faceted plan for New York City's waterfront," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "The health of this critical natural resource has improved dramatically in recent decades but there is much more work to be done. By convening all stakeholders and adopting a comprehensive approach, Vision 2020 will set the stage for a vibrant and healthy waterfront."

Meanwhile, representatives from the Department of City Planning (DCP) are visiting Community Boards around the city, priming New Yorkers to be ready to contribute to a major public meeting on April 8 about Vision 2020, which will develop new policy on waterfront use and development for the next ten years.

Vision 2020 coverVision 2020 builds on the original Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that dates from 1992. (Click on the image at right for an overview of Vision 2020). A new local law requires the new waterfront plan to be completed by December 31, 2010, and revised every 10 years thereafter.

Over the last 18 years, many NYC waterfront neighborhoods have seen their shorelines transformed, with greater access, a cleaner environment and more ferry service. With the improvements, however, have come new challenges and new opportunities. Vision 2020 will continue to use the framework of the original CWP -- which framed land-use decisions in terms of the categories of the Natural Waterfront, the Public Waterfront, the Working Waterfront and the Redeveloping Waterfront -- and will add a fifth category, the Blue Network.

The Blue Network will focus on use of waterways for transportation, address improvement of water quality and articulate a general strategy for creating "a more climate-resilient city."

Andy Stone, NYC Program Director for the Trust for Public Land, was struck by the addition of the Blue Network to the plan. This "includes getting people out onto the water, for transportation, recreation and environmental education," he said. "In 1992, the focus was getting people to the edge. Thanks in large part to MWA and its member groups, the City is now going beyond the edge."

Go beyond the edge and help plan the next ten years of waterfront development. A citywide public meeting to discuss the process and solicit feedback will be held April 8 at Murry Bergtraum High School, 411 Pearl Street, from 6pm to 8:30pm.

"This is the start of a large public process, a chance to re-envision the New York City waterfront for the 21st century," said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. He encouraged Alliance Partners and all waterfront advocates to participate in the Vision 2020 planning. "The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is honored to be working closely with the Department of City Planning to bring together voices from all aspects of the maritime world, to create a blueprint for a great waterfront."

CWP Timeline

Subscribe to the Vision 2020 newsletter here. Send your ideas and comments about the City's shoreline to the DCP here. Put the April 8 meeting on your calendar -- and stay tuned to WaterWire for updates about Vision 2020, the new Comprehensive Waterfront Plan!

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