New York City is ramping up its fight against climate change with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from high-rise buildings by 40 percent over the next decade. The City Council is expected to pass on Thursday an eight-bill legislative package that has been called its own version of the Green New Deal. The most ambitious bill of the lot requires NYC buildings 25,000 square feet or bigger to meet new standards to reduce greenhouse gas outputs by upgrading them with energy-efficient technology.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off a new lead-based paint testing program today, to be implemented in NYCHA apartments. 135,000 apartments will be tested with portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers as part of the mayor’s LeadFreeNYC plan to eliminate childhood lead exposure. The effort will determine whether lead paint is present and abate any hazards found in the tested units, which were built before the federal ban on lead paint in 1978.
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Last June, the city committed $500 million toward a plan to construct 1,000 new apartments for low-income senior citizens, but now almost a year later those plans are moving forward much slower than expected, Politico reports. The plan had identified six potential sites—two at New York City Housing Authority properties Kingsborough Houses in Brooklyn and Morris Houses in the Bronx, and four on other city-owned lots—but so far the city has only requested developer proposals for one of those sites.
Rendering courtesy of Binyan Studios/ Snøhetta
Following a revised design and review by the FDNY, developer Extell has been granted permission to proceed with plans for the Snøhetta-designed tower at 50 West 66th Street, Gothamist reports. This comes a few months after the Department of Buildings threatened to pull the building’s permits over concerns that the project was misusing mechanical voids in order to boost the overall height of units in the building. The DOB approved Extell’s revised plans last Thursday, allowing the project to go forward despite a 12-to-1 City Planning Commission vote yesterday to crack down on the mechanical void loophole.
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The New York & Atlantic Railway, a little-known freight line that runs through Brooklyn and Queens, is set to receive a significant investment as part of ongoing strategies to relieve congestion in the city, the New York Times reports. Currently, the city’s rail lines only transport two percent of New York’s cargo, while trucks carry about 90 percent. One rail car can carry the equivalent of four trucks, so they could represent a previously “unsung” key to diverting truck traffic, a major contributor to the city’s ongoing battle with gridlock.
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A study examining the feasibility of extending Brooklyn’s Utica Avenue subway line has finally launched, NY1 reported. As part of the Utica Avenue Transit Improvement Study, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city will look into extending the 3 and 4 train south of Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights to neighborhoods like East Flatbush and Marine Park. Funding for the study has been in place since 2015 when Mayor Bill de Blasio designated $5 million for it as part of his One NYC plan.
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As details like discounts and transit perks are discussed in the wake of New York’s newly approved plan to levy a congestion fee on vehicles entering Manhattan’s business district south of 61st Street, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has voiced objections to the plan, saying it it could be unfair to New Jersey residents, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the New York Post, commuter rail discounts are on the way for New York City residents coming from areas–such as some in northeast Queens–not served by subways, where the MTA agreed to knock 20 percent–$45–off monthly passes for LIRR commuters entering and leaving Penn Station. The MTA will also invest $3 million for express bus service from Queens to Midtown.
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Hoboken’s Transportation Director Ryan Sharp; Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken
Hoboken is set to launch an electric scooter sharing program, the first in the state of New Jersey and one of the first in the tri-state area. The city’s transportation department on Wednesday night passed an ordinance that allows for a six-month pilot program with companies Lime and P3GM to roll out next month. According to the law, the scooters can travel up to 20 miles per hour in bike lanes, but will not be allowed on sidewalks.
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Comfort station of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s’ Kitchen; via Wikimedia
Bathrooms in the city’s parks are flush with cash. The average comfort station built by the New York City Parks Department costs taxpayers just under $3.6 million, according to a report by Yoav Gonen of THE CITY. The Parks Department spent $1.3 million on average for bathrooms in 2011. Last year, the city finished its most expensive park bathroom to date, a $4.7 million station at the Bronx’s Ferry Point Park West.
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Apartment hunting in New York City is not easy. Figuring out who qualifies for the city’s hundreds of income-restricted units (what even is AMI?) is another challenge entirely. In an attempt to streamline the process of finding affordable housing lotteries, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development this week unveiled a new tool that allows users to search by borough, household size, and income to find lotteries currently accepting applications.
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