It was a giant yr for New York, with plenty of main coverage proposals lastly coming into focus.
The town rolled out its Fair Fares program that brings discounted MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers. Congestion pricing was adopted, although it’ll go into impact no ahead of the top of subsequent yr. The 14th Street Busway turned a actuality; the complete L train shutdown didn’t. And on the houses entrance, Albany strengthened the legal guidelines protecting rent regulated apartments and town handed its progressive mansion tax.
However the yr additionally introduced troubles, notably a surge in pedestrian and bicycle owner deaths, which the Metropolis Council’s $1.7 billion Streets Master Plan will attempt to stroll again within the years to return. New York’s homelessness disaster deepened—22,083 children have been sleeping within the metropolis’s shelters as of September 2019—making town’s homeless inhabitants sizable sufficient to be the state’s ninth largest city. And Amazon’s early 2019 announcement that it might no longer bring part of its second North American headquarters to Lengthy Island Metropolis has left individuals and pols on each side of the aisle finger-wagging.
To recap the yr that was, we requested over a dozen consultants New York’s transit, planning, housing, and activist communities to look again at 2019. Peppered amongst their reflections are just a few hopes, and calls to motion, for the brand new decade forward.
The needle moved on transit innovation…
“Passing the Streets Master Plan invoice was a large step ahead in reclaiming house for pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit customers. We’ve additionally seen a lot of different main transportation developments within the type of congestion pricing, the 14th Street busway, pedestrianizing Rockefeller Center for the vacations, business waste zones laws, and the Council’s bundle of payments cracking down on placard abuse. We after all have much more work to do to maintain constructing on these successes and guarantee congestion pricing is finished appropriately, however we’ve made a number of progress this yr and to me, that’s completely value celebrating.” —Corey Johnson, New York Metropolis Council speaker
…however New York nonetheless has a protracted option to go.
“To this point in 2019, 28 cyclists have been killed, a 180 % enhance over 2018. As well as, pedestrian fatalities have elevated, triggering a Vision Zero state of emergency. Because of the dogged activism of so many individuals in our neighborhood, metropolis leaders heard the decision and responded. Mayor [Bill] de Blasio unveiled the Inexperienced Wave plan to hurry up biking security; the Metropolis Council handed the Imaginative and prescient Zero Avenue Design Commonplace and the streets grasp plan invoice; and our campaign to create a ‘bike mayor’ place in metropolis authorities resulted within the introduction of laws to create an workplace of energetic transportation.” —Danny Harris, govt director, Transportation Alternatives
“The passage of congestion pricing in 2019 was the results of over a decade of advocacy, nevertheless it’s the implementation particulars in 2020 that may affect life within the metropolis for a lot of extra a long time to return. The costs should be structured to ship substantial reductions in site visitors, with out exemptions or loopholes.” —David Bragdon, govt director, TransitCenter
And the MTA ought to rethink its fiscal priorities.
“Whereas we’ve made progress on funding the MTA’s modernization plan, the company’s day-to-day working price range remains to be in tenuous form, with greater than $1 billion of deficit projected within the coming years. [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo must be including service to encourage transit ridership and to spice up New York’s economic system in an inclusive means that gives alternatives all through the area. As an alternative, with the MTA price range in bother, [Cuomo] and his group have threatened to chop service, the other of what our metropolis wants.”
“[Cuomo] made a misstep in proposing a brand new MTA police pressure of 500 officers, which might not solely result in overpolicing in the transit system that we all know has a disproportionate affect on low-income individuals and communities of coloration, but additionally a pressure on the MTA’s price range once we want each greenback we will get to supply higher transit service to these very same communities.” —John Raskin, govt director, Riders Alliance
The brand new hire legal guidelines are already serving to hold New Yorkers of their houses…
“It was all the time extensively understood that overhauling New York’s rent laws would have a major affect on New York Metropolis’s eviction price. Few of us thought this may occur in a single day—till we awoke one morning and, lo and behold, it did. In July, eviction filings plummeted by 61 % after which by a staggering 68 % in August from that very same time span final yr. It’s almost unprecedented for newly enacted laws to have an impact of this magnitude. It’s really unprecedented.” —Aaron Carr, founder, Housing Rights Initiative
…nevertheless it’s not clean crusing simply but.
“Whereas the hire legal guidelines have already had an incredible constructive affect, the fact is that with out simply enforcement, we anticipate that [the Division of Homes and Community Renewal] will undermine our victory. HCR is overwhelmed by the variety of case takes over a yr to resolve hire overcharges. And landlords are mobilizing in opposition to the tenant coalition and in opposition to our new rights. Fortunately, the tenant motion is powerful and newly invigorated and won’t relaxation on its laurels.” —Anita Lengthy, chief, Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA)
The town remains to be experiencing historic ranges of homelessness.
“We have now the most important inhabitants of homelessness New Yorkers in our historical past: 92,000 individuals in state shelters accounted for. 1000’s extra will not be counted, dwelling doubled and tripled up with household and pals. It’s an ethical disaster, and with out motion, the strains on the homeless inhabitants will proceed to develop. I hope the State Legislator and the Governor work collectively to place the huge assets this state has into fixing this disaster as soon as and for all.” —Charisma White, member, VOCAL-NY
Some architects and planners put their minds in direction of envisioning a extra equitable metropolis.
“It was horrifying to learn not too long ago within the Occasions that the variety of homeless kids in NYC has increased by 70 percent in the last decade, largely due to neighborhood opposition to new shelters regardless of our supposed progressivism as a metropolis. Architects must be specializing in this subject at each scale, from pushing builders and regulators in direction of new typologies, to pursuing applied sciences that decrease development prices, to difficult our communities to permit extra neighborhood housing.”
“One seemingly unrelated act of progress in 2019 was the creation of the 14th Street Busway, which not solely is a superb prototype to take care of our mobility and local weather challenges, but additionally clearly reveals that the house we reserve for roads—a couple of third of town—might go to significantly better use. With out personal automobiles, our roads might serve us with extra fairness, and floor parking could possibly be used for transitional supportive housing linked to new bus and bike methods. Architects might assist envision not solely what our metropolis might seem like with extra progressive use of our current infrastructure, but additionally assist reimagine for whom our metropolis exists, with 2020 imaginative and prescient.”—Vishaan Chakrabarti, founder, PAU
Political uncertainty continues to have an effect on the actual property market.
“With the inventory market nonetheless at historic highs and rates of interest remaining at historic lows, the 2020 market ought to come racing out of the gate. Nevertheless it almost definitely won’t, due to the political panorama at present taking part in out earlier than us. New Yorkers really feel significantly susceptible: We stay in a high-tax state that has suffered beneath the lack of deductibility of the SALT taxes and are contending with a metropolis authorities taking quite a lot of actions with detrimental repercussions for the actual property market.”
“The elevated state and metropolis switch taxes, the newly scaled mansion tax, and the prospect of an impeachment scandal adopted by a contentious presidential marketing campaign, all mix to create anxiousness within the New York Metropolis housing area. Add oversupply to that brew, and you’re looking at a gradual transferring market at the least by means of the summer time.” —Clelia Warburg Peters, president, Warburg Realty
“It’s uncommon to see the rental and gross sales market transfer in reverse instructions for very lengthy, however that’s been the fact of 2019. Uncertainty over what 2020 may maintain and quite a few enticing rental choices all through town has pushed many would-be patrons to proceed renting as an alternative regardless of dips in costs in lots of components of town. These contemplating looking for houses will discover themselves with tons to select from and a good negotiating place however must weigh the danger of an financial downtown and the coverage uncertainty across the upcoming election when evaluating whether or not 2020 is the correct to time to purchase.” —Grant Lengthy, senior economist, StreetEasy
New York Metropolis moved to guard its architectural legacy…
“We designated greater than 600 buildings and websites (25 particular person landmarks and 5 historic districts), together with six buildings important to LGBT history and 5 buildings that signify Tin Pan Alley’s contributions to American culture and common music, and the numerous achievements of songwriters and publishers of coloration. We additionally designated the primary historic districts within the Sunset Park and Bay Ridge neighborhoods. We launched new instruments to make our regulatory work extra clear, together with a storefront information, an up to date Allow Guidebook, and new kinds to make it simpler for property house owners to use and acquire a allow.” —Sarah Carroll, Landmarks Preservation Fee chair
…and obtained just a little greener, too.
“In 2019, we celebrated the completion of over 650 capital initiatives beneath this administration with almost 90% of our initiatives accomplished on price range and 85% accomplished on time. The primary challenge beneath our Anchor Parks initiative, Astoria Park’s monitor and discipline reconstruction, was accomplished seven months forward of schedule. For the primary time in 40 years, we constructed a brand new community park in Chelsea, which options play buildings, a passive play turf space, shaded seating, and extra.”
“We saluted our City Park Rangers as they commemorated 40 years of connecting New Yorkers to the pure wonders of town. In collaboration with State and Federal companies, we eradicated the Asian-long horned beetles from New York Metropolis. We additionally dived into revamping six new Cool Pool websites which brings us to a complete of 11 reworked areas citywide. And on high of all of it, we planted almost 18,000 new tree roots as we work to make our metropolis greener, more healthy, and happier.” —Mitchell Silver, Parks Division commissioner
Megaprojects are wising as much as the ivory tower impact of Hudson Yards.
“It’s noteworthy how [developments like Essex Crossing, Greenpoint Landing, and the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment] and different giant initiatives differ from their current predecessors. First, they provide a broad vary of workforce housing, from decrease revenue to full market price; second, some supply versatile business house geared in direction of the artistic economic system; and third, they supply dozens of acres of latest open house and assist restore public waterfront access to neighborhoods which have been minimize off from such entry for many years. By providing one thing for everybody, these initiatives reveal that new growth needn’t come on the expense of current communities, however quite can improve such neighborhoods.” —Felix Ciampa, govt director, Urban Land Institute New York
Outer-borough employment hubs began considering native in 2019.
“[The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s] Employment Middle linked 589 individuals to jobs on the Yard this yr, 90 % of whom are from Brooklyn and 79 % of whom haven’t any larger than a highschool diploma or GED. We additionally give attention to offering the native workforce with the abilities wanted to thrive in a contemporary manufacturing atmosphere—most notably by means of our next-generation profession and technical highschool, the Brooklyn STEAM Middle. The college radically accelerates the suggestions loop between what college students are studying and the abilities our employers are on the lookout for. Because the outer boroughs proceed to develop in inhabitants, expertise and variety, it’s incumbent on town’s major employment facilities to make sure job progress is inclusive in 2020 and past.” —David Ehrenberg, president and CEO, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation
Transit enhancements and new employment hubs might reshape New York’s neighborhoods.
“Public transit enhancements and massive workplace strikes could have a significant affect on how renters and owners expertise their neighborhoods subsequent yr. New leases signed by huge tech corporations and upgrades coming from the MTA might remodel areas like Hudson Sq., Brooklyn Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn into main commuting and dwelling locations in 2020.” —Grant Lengthy, senior economist, StreetEasy