FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2022
CONTACT: Kevin Montalvo, 347-884-7803, email@example.com
Three new laws, introduced by Parks Chair Shekar Krishnan, require NYC Parks to reduce construction times, expand public information on parks projects, and study some city-owned lands for conversion to microparks.
New York, NY – Today, the New York City Council passed a package of bills sponsored by Parks Committee Chair Shekar Krishnan which will accelerate the parks construction process and expand green space on certain city-owned vacant lands:
- Introduction 842-A requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to create a blueprint for reducing project timelines by 25% — an average of 2 years.
- Introduction No. 174-A requires the Department to expand its capital projects tracker to include more detailed information regarding its projects, including the reasons for delays, projected and actual cost overruns, and the length of time it took to complete each project, among other information.
- Introduction 680-A requires the City to conduct a survey of dead end streets, vacant City-owned land, and land alongside highway ramps to examine feasibility for planting of trees, installation of bioswales, or conversion into microparks.
The passage of these bills is a landmark first step in creating a citywide blueprint to reform the capital process across all relevant agencies in NYC and increase transparency in the City’s arcane capital process. Currently, the average timeline of basic capital projects like park and library improvements is 7 to 8 years. Capital process reform is critical for NYC to more effectively build housing, parks, schools, public transportation, and resilient infrastructure.
“As the pandemic pushed us indoors, it also revealed the life-saving, restorative value of public spaces,” said Shekar Krishnan, NYC Council Member for District 25 and NYC Council Parks Committee Chair. “If we are to meet the challenges of public health, public safety, & climate change in NYC, our parks will be critical. The bills passed by the Council today will empower us to build more parks, have more transparency in the capital process and expand green space in communities that desperately need it.”
“This is the type of comprehensive legislation that can save our city money, get our projects built faster, and more importantly, provide safe and green parks for our citizens faster. Parks are our backyards; let’s make them better, and build them back faster,” said Adam Ganser, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Parks. “This is just the start– we need the same legislation from the New York City Council to galvanize all the agencies and entities in our city’s government that delay capital projects.”
“We see this as being an issue of equity; it’s not the well resourced parks that aren’t being built up. It’s the poorer, Black and brown communities that are not receiving the attention and resources they need,” said Keisha Sutton-James, Deputy Manhattan Borough President. “This is also an issue of sustainability. 30% of our coastline is parks, so we must strengthen them in order to ensure that our city has the resiliency it needs to sustain future environmental impact.”
“Public space can be used to uplift our neighborhoods — such as through parkland to boost mental and physical health, public benches to provide mobility ease for older residents, and trees to shade and clean the air,” said Juan Restrepo, Senior Organizer, Transportation Alternatives. “Intro 680 provides a pathway for the City of New York to build a more resilient and green city by putting streets to better use, as we’ve outlined in NYC 25×25. Thank you to Council Member Krishnan for passing this legislation.”
“We applaud Chair Krishnan and other Councilmembers present for their leadership in passing legislation to increase efficiency, reduce delays and bring down costs of Parks Capital Projects,” said Lowell Barton, Vice President, Laborers Local 1010. “Members of Laborers Local 1010 are ready, willing and able to perform this work, having received the necessary skills training to complete the job on time and on budget.”
The “Build Back Faster” campaign, supported by elected officials and advocates across NYC, aims to reduce project timelines citywide by 25%. Holding agencies more broadly accountable for addressing inefficiencies would lead to
over $800 million in savings for the City over the next five years.