In January 2021, Mayor de Blasio highlighted the following State of the City priorities to build a recovery for all of us.
The foundation of a recovery for all of us is a massive vaccination effort. In 2021, New York City will lead the largest vaccination effort in our history to defeat COVID-19 and supercharge our recovery.
New York City’s Vaccine for All campaign has already vaccinated more than half a million New Yorkers and has reached a pace of one New Yorker every three seconds. Last week alone, New York City vaccinated more people than the equivalent of six sold-out crowds at the next World Series game in Citi Field. With 412 vaccination sites spread across the city, from 24/7 mega vaccination sites to dozens of community health clinics, New York City will meet our aggressive goals if we receive enough supply and the freedom to vaccinate.
New York City’s vaccination effort is the foundation of a recovery for all of us. With every vaccine shot, New York City moves closer and closer to fully reopening our economy, restoring the jobs we lost and ensuring equality in our comeback.
New York City is staking out a radical new goal to supercharge that recovery. We will reach a high level of immunity by achieving the 5 million New Yorkers vaccinated milestone in June. That is the pace we must meet to drive a recovery that works for all of us.
The City of New York’s diverse workforce will lead the way in driving a recovery for all of us. While tens of thousands of City workers have been working on the frontlines during the pandemic, thousands of City workers, just like private sector workers, have been working remotely in response to COVID-19.
With multiple workforce sites vaccinating over 3,000 workers a day, New York City is announcing a new goal: We will begin to bring back the rest of our City workforce in May.
The return of City workers across the five boroughs will be a signal to the world that the comeback is happening right here, right now, as New York City vaccinates millions of New Yorkers.
New York City will reach our new vaccination goals because of the workers ready to staff and vaccinate at the City’s vaccination sites. To reach these new heights, New York City will immediately recruit 2,000 new Vaccine for All Corps members.
Recruitment of these new workers will be focused in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. Working within partnerships already established with local nonprofits, the City will aim to recruit workers to serve their own neighborhoods. This will not only ensure there are familiar, friendly faces greeting New Yorkers at their local vaccination site—it will help drive trust and combat hesitancy.
These new Vaccine for All Corps members will join over 3,900 current vaccination workers at NYC Department of Health sites across the city. The new Vaccine for All Corps members will serve as vaccinators as well as general staff at vaccination sites. The NYC Vaccine Command Center will oversee staffing needs by sites in real-time, shifting and adjusting staff levels to meet demand.
A recovery for all of us means reimaging what New York City government can do to confront the inequalities and systemic racism that pervade America. This year, we will enact real structural reforms to change the nature of government and ensure the Office of the Mayor of New York City is permanently positioned to combat racism and inequality.
Established during an historic nationwide push for racial justice in 2020, the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity quickly became a force for equality. The Taskforce is comprised of leaders of color from across city government who identify new opportunities to push for progress and address inequality.
In the short time the Taskforce has existed, it has identified the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and driven new investments and initiatives in these neighborhoods, including new COVID-19 Centers of Excellence to increase access to primary care in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The Taskforce has also launched the Landlord-Tenant Mediation project to keep people in their homes, announced a $2.3 Million One Fair Wage Award to restaurants that kept working New Yorkers employed in tough times and expanded mental health support for students in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods.
With the stroke of a pen this year, Mayor de Blasio will make the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity a permanent part of New York City’s government. For years to come, the Taskforce will continue to push forward new reforms across the city to bring about racial, social, economic and climate justice.
In order to build a recovery for all of us in New York City’s future, we must also address the pain of the past. Starting this year, Mayor de Blasio is naming a Charter Revision Commission that will focus on racial justice and reconciliation.
The commission will have a two-year mandate to identify areas of structural racism in New York City and recommend changes that will root out this systemic rot. With the new commission, New York City can lead the way in America by speaking openly of the wrongs of the past, creating new approaches to right those wrongs, and enshrining this progress into law.
To achieve a recovery for all of us, New York City must confront the unemployment crisis by building a new economy that establishes New York as the Public Health Capital of the World and drives job creation.
As recent as February 2020, New York City had record employment levels. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leading to a global economic crisis and the loss of 900,000 jobs in New York City. By the end of 2020, New York City recovered nearly one third of those jobs, including saving over 100,000 jobs through Mayor de Blasio’s Open Restaurants program.
We still have much more to do.
A recovery for all of us means not only restoring the jobs lost during the pandemic but surpassing those record jobs numbers of early 2020. With our massive vaccination effort, New York City will be on the path to restore 400,000 more jobs by the end of the year.
New York City’s most direct impact on job growth will be our massive vaccination effort. By vaccinating millions of people to reach high levels of immunity, New York City will drive the return of jobs in professional services, which could account for over 25% of all restored jobs in the next two years. New York City will also see 125,000 jobs coming back in its hospitality sector, which can be achieved by leading the country in vaccinations, launching marketing campaigns and promoting the return of arts and cultural centers.
In addition, New York City will further spark the recovery of jobs with investments to grow our life sciences ecosystem, build out our public health corps, and support hiring by small businesses.
A recovery for all of us means job growth to lift-up the communities that were hit hardest by COVID-19. The Community Hiring First plan would provide thousands of construction jobs for low-income communities leading to an estimated $1 billion in wages and benefits for target communities during the first full year of the program. In addition to the City’s project labor agreement to require City construction projects to hire within the surrounding community, the City will push state lawmakers to pass legislation that requires more contractors and businesses to hire low-income New Yorkers and New Yorkers from high poverty communities.
We must also ensure job growth is fueled by minority and women owned businesses. Building off the City’s new equitable ownership requirement established in 2020, the City announced that the New York City Acquisition Fund, a $210 million public-private affordable housing loan fund, will only finance projects led by a minority-owned developer, women-owned developer or non-profit developer with a minimum 51 percent ownership stake in the project.
When an economic crisis like no other hit working people across the country, President – and New Yorker – Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide good-paying jobs to people in need and improve the country’s infrastructure.
The massive job loss in New York City caused by the pandemic-driven global economic crisis calls for a similar program to create jobs and improve our city. This year, if the government provides ample direct stimulus support, New York City will be able to create our own CCC: the City Cleanup Corps.
The City Cleanup Corps will employ 10,000 New Yorkers for beautification across our city. NYC CCC workers will wipe away graffiti, powerwash sidewalks, create community murals, tend to community gardens, beautify public spaces, and work with community organizations to clean their neighborhoods.
While the jobs will be temporary for 2021, the work done will help drive tourism and confidence, and the wages earned will help drive a recovery for all of us.
During the pandemic, 120 New York billionaires grew their net worth by $77 billion. There is clearly enough money in New York to invest in a fair and fast recovery – it’s just in the wrong hands.
Simply put, this is about redistribution. So far in his tenure, Mayor de Blasio has redistributed over $20 billion to New York City’s working families through programs like Pre-K for All and NYC Care, and we must grow that number. The pandemic has laid bare the drastic disparities we all knew existed in New York City long before COVID-19.
Washington must deliver a true stimulus to allow New York City to immediately recover this year. But a recovery for all of us will take investments in working families far into the future. In order to drive this recovery for years to come, New York City will join the thousands of grassroots advocates organizing in Albany demanding we tax the wealthy and invest those funds into working people and their neighborhoods.
New York City will fight for new progressive income taxes that establish brackets with increased tax rates for high earners and the ultra-wealthy. And with more billionaires than any other city in America, New York City will push for a billionaires’ tax. The billions of dollars raised from these progressive taxes will go into investing in New York City’s schools, working families, and a recovery for all of us.
When the pandemic hit and the federal government failed to invest in the testing we needed, New York City took the unprecedented step of building our own testing lab. The lab’s success proved that the next tests, treatments and cures can be made right here in New York City. To accomplish that goal, New York City is building on its success with the Pandemic Response Lab and co-locating a new NYC Pandemic Response Institute at the Alexandria Center for Life Science.
In the next decade, the City will drive life sciences innovation, create job opportunities and position New York City as a leader in the development and delivery of cutting-edge healthcare treatments. This includes launching more than 3 million square feet of additional life sciences innovation space, supporting 100 new startup companies and hundreds of new cures and treatments. With this support, over this new decade, the city’s institutions and companies will attract $20 billion in federal funding and $10 billion in venture investment to further grow the City’s life science capabilities. Investing in public health won’t just create 25,000 permanent jobs in labs and offices, it would create over 26,000 construction jobs as we build new infrastructure across the city.
In order to establish New York City as the Public Health Capital of the World, we will continue to build out research and development to establish LifeSci Avenue – stretching from the Pandemic Response Institute in Kips Bay in the South through East Harlem in the North. This corridor will anchor the City’s public health vision with neighborhood clusters across the City –Long Island City, Sunset Park, Central Brooklyn, Hudson Square, Manhattan’s West Side, West Harlem, Upper Manhattan, and Morris Park – to build a complete network of life science innovation.
New York City’s public Health + Hospitals stood up the Test & Trace Corps during the height of the pandemic and grew it into the most successful contact tracing program in the country. When the pandemic is over, we’ll carry on this work and permanently transform it into the NYC Public Health Corps.
The NYC Public Health Corps, with federal funding, will create 4,000 permanent, good-paying jobs in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. The public health corps will partner with existing community organizations to connect New Yorkers to health care resources and promote healthier neighborhoods. Together with NYC Care, New York City’s public health care program to guarantee low-cost and no-cost health care to New Yorkers who cannot afford health insurance, the NYC Public Health Corps will help guarantee health care as a human right for all New Yorkers, a fundamental piece of a recovery for all of us.
e are creating next-generation health care jobs in New York City, but need to make sure people are trained and ready to take these jobs. To do that, we’ll invest in Medgar Evers College, New York City’s historically Black college, to create a health care career hub at Medgar Evers.
In partnership with CUNY leadership and the Central Brooklyn community, New York City will strengthen academic supports for incoming students, fully integrate career readiness and work-based learning into the classroom, and launch wide-ranging employer partnerships, with a particular focus on New York City’s health care and tech sectors.
The City will lead a comeback marketing campaign to rally New Yorkers’ confidence that a stronger, fairer New York is emerging. This comeback marketing campaign will be targeted to all New Yorkers, as well as outside the city, to drive a larger cultural sense of positivity and optimism. In addition, the City will continue to support the AllIn NYC tourism and hospitality marketing campaign, to boost job growth in one of the hardest-hit industries. Altogether, the marketing campaigns will make clear that New York City is the place to live, work, and grow.
While Wall Street made record profits this year, countless small businesses had to close their doors or downsize – or are hanging on for dear life. New York City reacted quickly during the heights of the pandemic with in-the-moment innovations like the Open Restaurants program to save 100,000 jobs. Adding to this support, New York City made the Open Restaurants program permanent and opened up outdoor opportunity to small retail businesses with the Open Storefronts program. And with more New Yorkers getting vaccinated, there is more we can do to directly support our small businesses.
New York City will provide direct support to our city’s small businesses to boost our recovery and put New Yorkers back to work. The NYC Small Business Recovery Tax Credit will be a $50 million rental assistance program for up to 17,000 small businesses in the arts, entertainment, recreation, food services, and accommodation sectors that have experienced hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses in these sectors with gross revenue below $1 million will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 6% of their calendar year 2021 rent, up to maximum credit of $10,000. Businesses will need to retain their current workforce to be eligible, driving job retention in our neighborhoods.
The new tax credit program will require State legislation, and New York City will expand it if Washington provides a robust stimulus with direct local aid for cities. The City would look to expand the program to additional small businesses and increase the value of the credit to incentivize hiring more New Yorkers, saving and creating over 10,000 jobs.
In addition to expanding the Recovery Tax Credit with stimulus funds, New York City will also establish the NYC Small Business Recovery Loan program to help shops keep their doors open and recover. New York City will provide low-interest loans of up to $100,000 to over 2,000 small businesses in the communities hit hardest by COVID-19 to drive a recovery for all of us.
Small businesses will be able to apply for loans from a $100 million fund built from City funds that leverage outside lenders. The loans will go to small businesses that have experienced hardship due to the pandemic and have submitted a recovery plan to rebuild their business and bring our city back.
The Open Restaurants program saved 100,000 jobs during the height of the pandemic by quickly cutting red tape and embracing entrepreneurial creativity. New York City will jumpstart our economic recovery by embracing the lessons we learned from Open Restaurants’ success. Working with agencies across the government, the Department of Small Business Services will cut first time fines to small businesses, expand the number of self-certify permits and inspection applications, establish no-fine visits from regulators, and produce plain language compliance guides in multiple languages. Thousands of new jobs will be created by making it easier to do business in New York City.
Every New Yorker must have affordable broadband access to truly achieve a recovery for all of us. New York City will make leaps and bounds in 2021 to bridge the digital divide with a massive effort across the city.
Working with community organizations and both new and existing internet providers, New York City will make historic changes to open up the broadband market and support the City’s affordable internet goals, provide new opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Businesses, and create quality local jobs. The City will leverage its infrastructure in every borough – rooftops, poles, buildings and street furniture – to create new broadband networks reaching more than 600,000 New Yorkers with affordable service this year. That includes incentivizing companies to provide new low-cost broadband options to over 200,000 NYCHA public housing residents.
The City will further drive competition by putting in place new franchises this year to facilitate creation of new low-cost internet options from new companies across all five boroughs. In addition, under terms of a new agreement with Verizon, 500,000 more households will have access to FIOS service by 2023.
The City will further drive competition by putting in place new franchises this year to facilitate creation of new low-cost internet options from new companies across all five boroughs. In addition, under terms of a new agreement with Verizon, 500,000 more households will have access to FIOS service by 2023.
The next generation of economic growth demands that new broadband connections, including 5G, are built equitably. 2021 will be the year of 5G in New York City. The City will aggressively expand 5G infrastructure across the City, by offering up 7,500 pole tops starting this year to build new 5G networks, particularly in boroughs outside of Manhattan, with a priority focus on underserved neighborhoods to ensure that New York City has the connectivity foundation to support a recovery for all of us.
The global economic downturn fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people being faced with homelessness. In response, New York City is expanding on the Journey Home Action Plan to End Long-Term Street Homelessness. New York City will establish an additional 1,000 new Safe Haven beds in 2021, on top of the more than 1,000 additional beds opened in 2020. In addition, in 2021, the City will end the decades-long cluster shelter program put in place during the Giuliani administration and achieve our goal of siting 90 new borough-based shelters. All of these polices share the same goal: Ensuing every New Yorker has the quality services they need to get back on their feet and be lifted up by our economic recovery.
A recovery for all of us has already started in our public schools. New York City schools will reach every child – academically and emotionally – to close the COVID Achievement Gap.
The key to jumpstarting a recovery for all of us is opening our schools to all students, safely and on-time, to start the next school year. This will not only give our students the time in classrooms they’ve been desperately missing, it will help jump start our recovery in working class neighborhoods. New York City established the gold standard in school safety protocols during the pandemic, with increased ventilation, social distancing, mandatory masks for all, and a robust testing regimen leading our schools to be some of the healthiest spaces in the entire city during the pandemic. That model will be repeated until our vaccination effort drives our city to full community immunity.
Students faced unprecedented challenges last school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were shutdown, classrooms became virtual and many grades have yet to fully reopen. The 2021 Student Achievement plan is constructed to help our students recover and continue their education.
The 2021 Student Achievement plan will help our students by getting a baseline of what ground we lost, increase the amount of high quality digital curriculum available for every single school, launch a one-stop digital learning hub, deepen professional development, expand “Parent University,” and confront the trauma and mental health crisis faced by our students.
Building on ThriveNYC’s years of investments in the social emotional wellbeing of students, the 2021 Student Achievement plan includes a three-pronged approach to confront the trauma and mental health crisis faced by our students. Beginning in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19, the DOE will make social, emotional, and academic behavior screeners available for all students K-12, hire 150 additional social workers, and add a community school in each of these hardest hit neighborhoods. This first phase will serve approximately 380,000 students across approximately 830 schools.
This plan includes partnerships with community-based organizations and builds on the administration’s significant investments in the social and emotional wellbeing of young people, including through our Resilient Kids, Safer Schools initiative that expanded social-emotional learning and restorative justice approaches citywide. Social workers will work in partnership with educators and Health + Hospitals clinicians, through the previously announced Pathways to Care initiative, to target resources, clinical supports, and interventions to students based on their unique needs.
A true recovery requires that every child across New York City, no matter their family’s income level or zip code, has a high-quality education. This year, the City will take concrete steps forward to continue to desegregate our schools to truly reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods. The Department of Education will support five additional districts in implementing District Diversity Plans to foster greater integration in their classrooms. Middle Schools screens have been postponed in 2021 and district priorities for high school admissions, and all other geographic priorities, will be eliminated in 2021. We will develop a new system for identifying and serving gifted and talented students and implement it later this year.
School leaders have done more than just keep students and staff safe this year. They have innovated at every turn. The Department of Education will recommit to nurturing the incomparable talent in our public school system with the Aspiring Superintendents Academy.
Launching this spring, the Aspiring Superintendents Academy will be a highly selective, rigorous 10-month Superintendent preparation program. The Academy will train tenured principals with a track record of driving student achievement and serving our diverse learners and communities. These talented educators are the future of New York City schools and giving them pathways to success is an investment in every one of our learners.
A true recovery will be fueled not just by economic growth – it will also be driven by safe neighborhoods and increased power of community members in policing. This year, New York City will put in place new, comprehensive reforms to strengthen neighborhood policing, further decrease crime, deepen the bonds between police and community, and bring our city together as we all rebuild and recover.
Overall crime decreased in 2020 in New York City, but the national surge in gun violence was felt in far too many of our neighborhoods. The majority of perpetrators make up a small group of people, and New York City will be focused on addressing these individuals specifically to prevent violence and keep people safe.
To achieve this goal, we will launch the NYC Joint Force to End Gun Violence to maintain a sustained focus on likely shooters. The Joint Force will be comprised of members of NYPD, Cure Violence groups, District Attorney offices, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, City agencies, and additional local community groups and law enforcement organizations.
The Joint Force to End Gun Violence will implement citywide shooting reviews across different agencies, systematically identify those involved and address underlying dynamics, and create cleaner lines of communications between anti-gun violence groups and police. The Joint Force will also re-energize the NYPD’s Ceasefire program, which was first launched by the NYPD, state and federal law enforcement agencies, clergy, community leaders, and social service providers in 2014.
Ceasefire, which has been shown to lower homicides and shootings dramatically in multiple major cities, provides direct engagement with the most at-risk individuals in our communities to provide a legitimate offer of help and assistance to keep them safe, alive, and out of prison. Ceasefire relies on a robust partnership between law enforcement, service providers, and community partners, and has effectively reduced criminal justice engagement while achieving our paramount objective: To stop the shootings.
New York City will bolster the Joint Force effort by launching the “Top 100” strategy. The Top 100 focuses on the 100 blocks that have the highest numbers of shootings, which also have disproportionate numbers of 311 and 911 calls. Working with community partners, neighborhood-based organizations, NYPD and other City agencies, we will use a collaborative, problem-solving approach to promote safety.
A true New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) had been an idea for decades before Mayor David Dinkins made it a reality in 1993. Since then, CCRB has been strengthened, but more work is left to fully realize a vision first championed by leaders like Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year, Mayor de Blasio will implement the David Dinkins Plan, the single largest expansion and strengthening of the CCRB since it was established. The Dinkins Plan will:
The Dinkins Plan expands what the CCRB can access and what they can investigate. Most importantly, it grants CCRB the power to initiate their own investigations. The Dinkins Plan will:
- Allow CCRB to initiate individual case investigations on its own, without an individual complainant.
- Guarantee timely access to body worn camera footage.
- Grant CCRB full access to officers’ disciplinary and employment histories for substantiated cases.
- Give CCRB authority to investigate individual instances of “biased-based policing” misconduct.
The Dinkins Plan will establish a Patrol Guide Review Committee to examine situations where no misconduct was found because the actions were within policy, but the policy itself was problematic. This will allow those in NYPD oversight to drive forward policy and promote further reforms directly in the NYPD.
In the single largest structural change since the CCRB was formed, the Dinkins Plan will consolidate the Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) and the NYPD Office of the Inspector General (OIG) under the CCRB. Police oversight will be greatly strengthened by consolidating these existing oversight functions into a single body. The newly strengthened CCRB will have the combined authority to:
- Investigate complaints from the public and recommend discipline of officers.
- Conduct regular audits of policing, internal discipline and anti-corruption practices.
- Conduct systemic reviews of NYPD policy and practices, including racially biased policing, and make recommendations for reform, including publishing regular public reports about complaint statistics and public tracking of progress on recommendations.
The Cure Violence movement and the Crisis Management System (CMS) has worked across New York City to bring communities closer together and stop violence. Teams of credible messengers—community members whose backgrounds allow them to connect with and motivate those at-risk—mediate conflicts on the street and connect high-risk individuals to services. These services include a year-round employment program, mental health services, and trauma counselling.
In 2020, in the face of a pandemic threatening to tear our social fabric apart, New York City expanded the Cure Violence workforce, bringing this neighborhood-based violence reduction approach to the 20 precincts with the highest rates of gun violence. This year, New York City will again expand CMS and double the number of New Yorkers employed in the Cure Violence movement.
The mission of neighborhood policing is to strengthen the bonds between community and police, and New York City is taking historic steps to deepen those bonds in 2021. Beginning this year, communities will have a direct role in selecting the NYPD precinct commanders.
New York City will empower local community members to not only perform annual evaluations of commanding officers’ performances, but also help select precinct commanders from the start. Precinct Councils will hold interviews of NYPD’s proposed candidates for precinct commanders and provide the NYPD with feedback on the candidates.
Following the selection of a new Precinct Commander, the panel will have an ongoing relationship with the commanding officer, and will evaluate their general effectiveness, engagement with the larger community and responsiveness to issues raised by the community.
In September 2020, NYPD launched a customer service pilot in the 25th and 113th Precincts that encouraged New Yorkers to provide direct feedback about the services they received or requested. This month, New York City will expand this citywide.
To further deepen this commitment responding to community feedback, NYPD commanding officers will be required to begin reporting customer service and community-focused metrics to strengthen and improve bonds of their communities and precincts. This is consistent with the approach to crime statistics already reported at CompStat, which drives the Department to commit time and resources to fighting crime.
Community engagement that genuinely gives people a voice in determining what public safety means to their community will be a top priority of the NYPD in 2021, and the training officers receive must reflect that. Beginning this Spring, New York City will expand the People’s Police Academy, a community-led training program for local precinct personnel. Learning what public safety means to residents is integral to serving that community.
Additionally, when an officer starts working in a new precinct, they will undergo an intensive course, including field training, to better understand the neighborhood. They’ll meet community leaders, service providers, local small business owners and youth organizations so they can be truly embedded in the community from the start and best help their new neighbors.
New York City will lead by example in fighting the climate crisis by making historic green investments and reducing our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, while deepening Vision Zero.
We must take the future in our own hands to truly fight the climate crisis. That means taking on the work ourselves to connect to clean, renewable energy. New York City will seize the opportunity in front of us to connect to large-scale renewables like clean hydroelectric power from Canada. This year, we will secure a deal to bring construction of a transmission line directly connecting NYC to Canadian hydropower and other renewable electricity sources. This will be the most dramatic step forward to reach our goal to power New York City’s government with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
New York City’s Green New Deal is leading cities across the country in pressing for urgent action to fight the climate crisis and drive economic growth, but more progress must be made. Beginning this year, New York City will move forward to ban new fossil fuel connections in new construction by at least 2030. The City will establish intermediate goals in the short-term and ensure the ban does not negatively impact renters and low-income residents.
This week, three New York City pension funds made historic moves to divest from the fossil fuel industry while also making significant investments in green technology. Now it’s time to take the next aggressive step forward.
Working with the City’s pension fund trustees, New York City will set the strongest decarbonization commitments of any major pension fund in the nation. We must increase investments in climate solutions to $50 billion by 2035 and move our funds to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. To ensure this progress continues in the future, the funds should begin reporting on the carbon footprint of pension portfolios and progress towards decarbonization.
Combatting the climate crisis is deeply intertwined with New York City’s mission to drive a long-term recovery and overcome racial and class disparities. Starting next month, New York City will launch a citywide engagement effort, led by the NYC Environmental Justice Advisory Board, to publish the first-ever NYC Environmental Justice For All report. This unprecedented comprehensive study of environmental justice issues will engage the low-income communities and communities of color that have borne the brunt of environmental degradation, the climate crisis and America’s fossil fuel economy. The study will go on to inform future policies, programs and procedures to ensure future administrations also work to close environmental and health disparities, and at the same time, distribute the benefits on the City’s Green New Deal equitably to frontline communities.
As we drive a recovery for all of us, there is an opportunity – and a need – to reimagine public spaces. This year, New York City will create new spaces in more than 30 of the neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19.
These new spaces will help support local small businesses, foster community ties and provide space for arts and culture as we all come back together. Each community will have a space that best reflects their needs. Some neighborhoods will have a new pedestrian plaza or new amenities like Greenmarkets and Night Markets. Other neighborhoods will have Open Streets, Street Seats or completely newly designed open space. No matter the setting, New Yorkers will be able to gather together and begin to rebuild the city we love.
The Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge are iconic and deeply intertwined in the daily lives of countless New Yorkers. Now, it’s time to bring them into the 21st century and embrace the future with a radical new plan. On the Brooklyn Bridge, we will ban cars from the innermost lane of the Manhattan-bound side to transform it into a two-way protected bike lane and turn the existing shared promenade space into a space just for pedestrians. On the Queensboro Bridge, we will begin construction this year to convert the north outer roadway into a two-way bike-only lane and convert the south outer roadway to a two-way pedestrian-only lane.
We will reimagine our roads by installing new Bike Boulevards across the city. In 2021, New York City will begin construction on five new Bike Boulevards, streets that are designed to give bicycles travel priority and put cyclist safety first. These boulevards will have unique design elements to slow vehicle speeds and reduce volume with traffic diverters, signal timing changes, shared streets, Open Streets and gateway treatments.
When the pandemic hit, New York City embraced open space like never before. Open Streets popped up across the city, and neighborhoods embraced the new space for community building and supporting our small businesses. While we leave the rest of the pandemic behind, Open Streets will become a permanent part of our landscape. Starting this year, we will continue the Open Streets program of 2020 with many of the streets from the previous year. The Department of Transportation will also open applications for new streets, with a focus on local partner management and support. As with all parts of our economic recovery, equity and inclusion will be at the heart of the Open Streets expansion, with underserved neighborhoods getting new opportunities to participate.