Hello my name is Matthew Roth and I am the Director of the NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign for Transportation Alternatives (T.A.). T.A. is a 5,500-member organization whose mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives. I wish to first thank you for your time and for holding this hearing.
T.A. is deeply troubled that the Spitzer Administration (Administration) proposes to alter the commitments identified in the November 15, 1992 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Attainment Demonstration for the New York Metropolitan Area (NYMA). The Administration argues that its proposal will not jeopardize CO attainment because ambient levels are well below the NAAQS and trending downward. Yet by permitting nearly 23,000 new and publicly-accessible parking spaces within the Manhattan Central Business District, the Administration's proposal will exacerbate traffic congestion and increase emissions of criteria air pollutants.
In its single-minded focus on CO, the Administration's SIP revision ignores other criteria pollutants such as PM 2.5 (fine particulates) and ozone, levels of which are above than the federally mandated attainment levels for the region, to the severe detriment of the health, environment, and quality of life of New Yorkers.
Further, by dismantling a policy that has reduced the incentive to drive personal vehicles on the most congested city streets -- a policy developed to achieve the goals of the Clean Air Act -- the Administration is setting itself on a collision course with the admirable long-term sustainability goals that New York City has committed to under PlaNYC 2030.
T.A. commissioned KEA to estimate the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that will result from the auto trips that will be generated by the additional 23,000 parking spaces. With a very conservative estimate of just 1 vehicle round-trip per commercial space, and accounting for residential and mixed-use spaces, the additional parking would lead to the production of an additional 129,000 annual tons of CO2. For reference, this increase in CO2 will effectively take away more than one-third of the gains promised by Mayor Bloomberg's innovative plan unveiled yesterday (May 22) to more than double the mileage efficiency of every medallion taxicab in the city.
The Administration's proposed SIP revision is patently unsustainable for the future of our City and the region. Development of the West Side of Manhattan can and should be accomplished without gutting clean air regulations and rolling back progress the city is poised to make in reducing carbon emissions.