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Community Op-Ed: Investing in clean, green public space for all New Yorkers

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So much of New York City’s history was about changing the natural environment – cutting it down, clearing it out, paving it over.

But going forward, we know that the future is about working with nature, building a greener, cleaner, safer city for all. From parks and playgrounds to streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and even beaches, our Administration is committed to investing in the quality and cleanliness of our public spaces all across the five boroughs.

This past week, we announced two major initiatives that will transform what it feels like be outside in New York City: A historic expansion of our greenway network, and an ambitious citywide trash containerization effort that will revolutionize the way we keep our streets clean.

For far too long, New Yorkers in the outer boroughs have not had the same level of access to bike lanes and greenways that people in Manhattan have, and our Administration is determined to change that.

That is why we have announced a historic expansion of New York City’s greenway corridors in our outer boroughs. We will be adding over 60 miles of bikeways and walkways that will connect every corner of our city with new transportation options and transform the ways New Yorkers live, work, and get around.

These greenways will ultimately cover 16 miles of Queens waterfront, connect Coney Island to Highland Park and Randall’s Island Park to SUNY Maritime, as well as linking the Goethals Bridge to the Verrazzano on Staten Island. It will also connect the Spring Creek Park to Brookville Park in Southern Queens and JFK Airport.

This expansion of our existing greenway network will begin with a collaborative, community-driven process – so that every New Yorker can have a say in the future of our city. And it will build on the improvements we are already making in cycling infrastructure all over our city, including double-wide bike lanes on Third and Tenth Avenues in Manhattan, new protected bike infrastructure in the Bronx on Soundview and Lafayette Avenues; the longest-ever protected bike lanes in East New York, and the expansion of our protected bike lane network in Long Island City.

Cycling ridership in New York City has reached an all-time high, with 2 million annual trips taken by bike this year. We want to make sure people who want to ride can get around this city safely and smoothly.

We also want to make sure that our city streets are as clean as possible – and that means changing the way to put out and pick up our trash.

Earlier this year, we mandated later set out times for residential trash pickup, and beginning in 2024, we will be implementing a citywide containerization program that will get trash bags off the streets and into specially designed wheelie bins. No more piles of black bags that impede sidewalks and attract rats – we are taking our trash directly into the future. This program is modeled after systems that have been successfully implemented in so many global cities – and will now improve life in our city, too.

More bikes, more paths, more parks – and less trash and garbage. That is what we want for our city – and what our administration is working hard to deliver. Working together, we can clear the way to a more equitable, beautiful, and connected city.

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