De Blasio Administration And City Council Convene Waterfront Management Advisory Board

September 20, 2018

Board kicks off planning efforts for the NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan to be released in 2020; NYC’s 520 Miles of diverse shoreline are home to maritime and industrial businesses, residential neighborhoods and parks

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the Waterfront Management Advisory Board held its first meeting today and formally launched the start of the planning process for the next Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, due to be published in 2020.

“New Yorkers are turning to the water in ways we haven’t seen in a century. With the ongoing success of NYC Ferry, new businesses and homes, it’s critical that we create a comprehensive plan that helps us build a more fair and resilient city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The board members will advise the administration on matters related to New York City waterfront and waterways, and provide guidance to the Department of City Planning (DCP) on the development of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. This plan, published every 10 years, provides a vision for the city’s waterfront for the next decade and beyond. DCP anticipates beginning broader public engagement on the plan in early 2019.

New York City has approximately 520 miles of waterfront, ranging from the wetlands of Jamaica Bay to the Port facilities on the North Shore of Staten Island and the urbanized waterfront edges of the Bronx, Queens and Lower Manhattan. The City’s waterfront renewal has been remarkable, including for the creation of housing, new businesses and jobs, parks and, with NYC Ferry, transportation.

New Yorkers are turning to the water in ways we haven’t seen in a century. With the ongoing success of NYC Ferry, new businesses and homes, it’s critical that we create a comprehensive plan that helps us a build a more fair and resilient city.

“With the launch of the Soundview ferry and new city and state plans to increase access to the Bronx River and waterfront green spaces, it’s a critical time for The Bronx and all boroughs to delve into a comprehensive waterfront plan,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “We need to prepare our city, vulnerable coastline and waterfronts for climate change threats and natural disasters. I’m excited to join this Advisory Board, and work collaboratively and creatively with the other esteemed members.”

“We have the biggest, busiest, and arguably most beautiful harbor in the world, one that serves businesses, ferry riders, boaters, fishers, kayakers and more, while serving as a defense against natural disasters. To ensure that we are harnessing the full value of this asset, my colleague Councilmember Ben Kallos, and I introduced a bill in the last term to reconstitute our Waterfront Management Advisory Board. As former chair of the Waterfronts Committee and a member of the board, I joined government, commercial and environmental stakeholders today to begin work on a comprehensive plan for our waterfront. My hope is that this is the beginning of a process that will engage all New Yorkers to develop a plan that will utilize the full potential of our waterfront for recreation, transportation, commerce and resilience,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

“Even though it’s been nearly six years since Sandy, the lessons of that deadly storm are front and center in our hearts and minds as we focus on crafting a plan that protects and reflects the distinctiveness of New York City’s amazing waterfront,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago. “We’re excited to tap into the expertise and enthusiasm of the members of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board as we tackle the wide variety of issues facing the city’s waterfront today and into the future.”

“The city’s 520 miles of waterfront is simultaneously one of the City’s greatest resources and challenges. I’m excited to tap the expertise of the Board members and engage the Board on how to increase equity of access, job opportunities, public safety and resiliency along the waterfront.  By tackling these questions with the Waterfront Management Advisory Board and the larger public, we’ll craft a Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that keeps our shores strong for years to come,” said Michael L. Marrella, DCP Director of Waterfront and Open Space and Chair of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board

“New York City’s vast waterfront is a unique asset that deserves careful stewardship. The next Comprehensive Waterfront Plan is an critical opportunity to integrate resilience with other important waterfront functions, such as recreation, transportation, housing, and jobs,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “I look forward to engaging with the Waterfront Management Advisory Board to craft a plan that benefits neighborhoods, businesses, and all New Yorkers while strengthening the city’s 520 miles of waterfront.”

The members include:

  • Eric Johansson, SUNY Maritime
  • Mychal Johnson, South Bronx Unite
  • Katina Johnstone, Staten Island Kayak
  • Edward Kelly, Maritime Association of NY/NJ Harbor
  • Aaron Koffman, The Hudson Company
  • Roland Lewis, Waterfront Alliance
  • Pete Malinowski, Billion Oyster Project
  • Geeta Mehta, Columbia University Professor
  • Michael Northrop, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Kate Orff, SCAPE Landscape Architects
  • Kelly Vilar, Staten Island Urban Center
  • Peggy Shepard, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
  • Mandu Sen, Regional Plan Association
  • Kellie Terry, Surdna Foundation
  • Gerald "Jay" Valgora, Studio V Architects
  • Henry Wan, NY Dragon Boat Festival
  • Judith Weis, Rutgers University

“The relaunch of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board is well timed and much needed. Opportunities abound in dozens of New York neighborhoods for transportation, recreation, education and jobs at the water’s edge. At the same time, we must adapt our coastal city to the existential challenge presented by climate change. The waterfront experts and activists on the WMAB will provide government with guidance and new ideas to address these issues and help the City develop a new Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,” said Roland Lewis, President and CEO of Waterfront Alliance.

“I am excited to serve on the WMAB with such a talented and accomplished group. I'm hopeful that we can work together to advise towards a clean, abundant, diverse New York Harbor that is well used and accessible to all,” said Pete Malinowski, Executive Director of the Billion Oyster Project.

“I expect that the convening of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board will lead to further city investment in improving access of underserved communities to the waterfront as well as an emphasis on waterfront jobs and resilience,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice.

“I’m proud to be able to serve on the Waterfront Management Advisory Board and help foster a more resilient, accessible and biodiverse shoreline,” said Kate Orff, Founder of SCAPE Landscape Architects.

"It is an exciting time in New York City waterfront development, we know that the water quality in our waterway is improving, and I am looking forward to work with the advisory board and DCP to develop more sites for recreation uses. Which will in turn enhance the value of waterfront property, a key element in promoting affordable housing for New York City, one of the top priority on Mayor's agenda,” said Henry Wan, Chairman of the NY Dragon Boat Festival.

“I look forward to serving on the Waterfront Management Advisory Board so I can help to lift the voices on community needs, highlight untapped opportunities and help NYC embrace our treasure - our waterways,” said Kelly Vilar, founder and CEO of the Staten Island Urban Center.

“I am excited for the convening of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board. NYC’s waterfront is more people oriented than ever before, and a new plan is an opportunity to promote equitable access, climate change resiliency and a more harmonious relationship with nature,” said Mandu Sen, Program Manager at the Regional Plan Association.

“Our waterways and shorelines add special beauty, character and are a grand resource to life in the City.  I am honored to be a member of WMAB to help increase opportunities for New Yorkers to be in and on the water,” said Katina Johnstone, co-founder of Kayak Staten Island.

"I am excited to be a part of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board," said Mychal Johnson, co-founder of South Bronx Unite. "And I look forward to discussing the important issues related to zoning, climate resiliency and public access, particularly in underserved communities of color throughout the city." 

“With record cargo volumes, expanding population, and restricted land transportation the time for a  strong Waterfront Management Advisory Board is now.  I am honored to be selected and truly look forward to working with my fellow board members to tackle water-borne transportation needs for a safer, cleaner, and environmentally sound solutions supporting the City and the region,” said Eric Johansson, Professor of Marine Transportation at SUNY Maritime.

“Future facing, fun, socially and ecologically resilient - this is how I envision the transformation of New York's waterfront, and am delighted to have an opportunity to be part of this dynamic journey by serving on the Waterfront Management Advisory Board,” said Geeta Mehta, adjunct professor of architecture and urban design at Columbia University.

“The waterfront intensifies the conditions that make New York the most remarkable and challenging city in the world:  equity, resiliency, housing, jobs, the environment.  Because the waterfront belongs to everyone, it must be designed to serve the needs of everyone,” said Jay Valgora, founder of STUDIO V Architecture.

"With 520 miles of waterfront, now more than ever, it is important to have an advisory board in place to assist the City in making strategic decisions regarding one of our most treasured resources. I want to thank Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Johnson and the City Council in convening this Board and applaud them for choosing such a capable Board Chair in Michael Marrella," said Aaron Koffman, principal at the Hudson Companies Incorporated.

Also on the Board are representatives from DCP, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the Department of Small Business Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and Councilmembers Debi Rose and Rafael Salamanca.

The Board also assisted in the preparation of the previous Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, released in 2011.

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