March 8, 2007Mayor Rides on South Miami-Dade Busway and Tours Green Building at University of Miami
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was in Miami today where he joined local officials for a trip on the South Miami-Dade Busway and later toured the University of Miami Clinical Research Center, which included green design elements. The trip is part of an ongoing process of gathering information in anticipation of the Mayor's unveiling of his PlaNYC policy initiatives next month, which will serve as the blue print ensuring the City's long-term strength and health. New York is expected to see a population increase of nearly 1 million residents by 2030. The Mayor's sustainability policy initiatives are expected to include innovative proposals for dealing with congestion on New York roadways, and reducing New York's carbon emissions from buildings. The Mayor was joined by New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall and Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Patricia Lancaster. City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, and Miami-Dade transportation officials accompanied the group on the busway ride. After touring the Clinical Research Center at the University of Miami, the delegation met with Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of UM's Miller School of Medicine, the building's architect, George Valcarcel and members of Miami's Green Commission, to discuss sustainable design and green buildings.
"New York is a leader in so many areas and we are already the most environmentally efficient big city in the country," said Mayor Bloomberg. "That doesn't mean we shouldn't look at what's going on elsewhere to see how programs are being implemented successfully, as we face the challenges of dealing with more than a million new residents in our City over the next three decades. New York is implementing a bus rapid transit pilot program and we are currently revamping our building code, so it's helpful to see how these types of innovative programs are working here in Miami. I want to thank Mayor Diaz for joining me and showing off his wonderful city."
"Mayor Bloomberg has done an excellent job in leading major environmental efforts in New York City," said Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. "We share a common vision toward positioning our two cities as national leaders in integrating economic growth and sustainability."
In the coming year, New York will introduce a bus rapid transit program, with service similar to Miami-Dade's, on five heavy traffic corridors across the city - one in each borough. The buses will travel along lanes that are reserved exclusively for them and emergency vehicles. Most of these lanes will run directly alongside the street curb. Their stops will be spaced farther apart than those for regular buses so that they can cover more ground, more quickly. Remote-controlled traffic lights will be able to read signals from approaching buses and either turn green a few seconds early, or remain green long enough for buses to pass through without slowing down. The program has the potential to reduce travel times for hundreds of thousands of daily riders and to make the bus a more attractive alternative to driving in congested areas.
"Bus rapid transit provides us with a way to improve the speed and reliability of mass transit in all five boroughs," said Iris Weinshall, DOT Commissioner. "If our buses go faster, I'm hopeful that more people will choose to ride them and that they'll leave their cars at home."
Since 2002, Mayor Bloomberg has signed over 20 pieces of legislation designed to promote sustainable standards for both public and private development in New York City. With the adoption of Local Law 86, which went into effect this year, New York was the first municipality in the country to mandate energy conservation and environmentally conscious design in certain public building projects. It is estimated that more than $12 billion in ongoing public projects and private projects that receive public funds are currently regulated by Local Law 86. The City will also encourage greater sustainable private development through a modernized building code that the Department of Buildings will submit to the City Council this spring. It will include components that will make it easier for private developers to incorporate sustainable design features as-of-right in their projects.
"Building a healthy, sustainable environment requires the adoption of innovative standards both in the outdoor environment and inside our buildings," said DOB Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster. "New York City took the first step towards legislating green building with Local Law 86 and the Department of Buildings looks forward to implementing a new Building Code that will facilitate sustainable building in the future."
In December, Mayor Bloomberg opened the New York City Office of Emergency Management's new headquarters, which became the City's first "green" agency headquarters. It was built using several environmentally conscious methods focused in the areas of sustainable site development, water and energy efficiency, green materials and resources, and improved indoor air quality. Some of the building's green features include columns and floors reused from the previous occupant, heat reflecting roof tiles made from recycled material, environmentally safe indoor building materials, water saving devices and thermal control windows. OEM recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for the new building.