Annual Development Reports
Environment & Open Space
Protecting Our Environment
Guided by the principles of environmental justice and sustainable development, Borough President Diaz has supported innovative initiatives to create a greener and more environmentally sustainable Bronx.
Promoting Green & Sustainable Development
Borough President Diaz has advocated for the incorporation of environmentally sustainable design in development projects and now requires certified sustainable design for any housing development receiving Borough President capital funding. Through the Bronx Initiative for Energy & Environment at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Borough President has also supported the construction of green roofs, green school yards, cleaner transportation, and increased energy efficiency.
Cleaning Up the Environment
Borough President Diaz is engaged in efforts to reduce pollution. Through his participation on the Hunts Point Monitoring Committee, the Bronx Borough President’s Office has promoted community oversight for the waste water treatment plant upgrade project in Hunts Point. This resulted in improved environmental outcomes and a $20 million community benefits commitment from DEP that will fund public spaces and recreational areas. The Borough President also participates in the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program, which helps communities develop plans to clean up polluted land for beneficial development.
Improving Waterfront Access and Green Spaces
By funding and participating in the planning of new park initiatives, Borough President Diaz is working to ensure that all Bronxites have access to open spaces and waterfronts. Parks provide recreation facilities, the opportunity to explore natural resources, and enhance the quality of life in the borough.
Greenways are linear parks that provide pathways for recreation and transportation. They can serve as links between neighborhoods and larger parks. To improve The Bronx’s greenways, the Borough President’s office convened a Greenway Task Force with government and community partners. The Greenway Task Force’s recommendations included more than doubling the 40 miles of existing greenways and bike routes.
One of The Bronx’s greatest assets is its 75 miles of waterfront. The Borough President’s Waterfront Task Force developed a Waterfront Plan to improve public access, protect natural habitats and support maritime industry. The Borough President’s Office has dedicated funds to waterfront projects including Belden Point, Castle Avenue Outlook, Concrete Plant Park and the Harlem River.
The Bronx is a borough of parks with 7,000 acres of parkland covering about 25 percent of its total area. The Bronx is experiencing the largest investment in parks since the 1930’s. Borough President Diaz has been working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to implement a Bronx-wide park capital reconstruction plan. These plans include new parks (Barretto Point and Riverside Parks in Hunts Point, Grant Avenue Park in the Mt. Eden area); park reconstruction (Story Park and Playground, St. James Park on Jerome Avenue, Sachkerah Woods in Van Cortlandt Park, Ambrosini Field on City Island, Seton Falls Park); and the restoration of Croton Park’s Indian Lake.
The Borough President’s Office has been working with the Parks Department to identify locations for over 80,000 new trees across the Bronx, as part of the PLANYC Million Trees Initiative, the Yankee Stadium Tree Replacement Project and the Croton Water Filtration Project.
Housing & Community Development
The Bronx is experiencing a wave of development not seen in decades. Since 2002 almost $4 billion has been invested in housing, creating over 35,000 dwelling units. The Borough President has focused on promoting mixed-use and mixed-income development, and increasing homeownership.
The Borough President’s Office issued two housing reports in 2009. Download the reports here:
Investment in affordable housing has been a key focus the of Borough President. Through various partnerships, the Borough President’s Office has facilitated over 5,000 affordable housing units by allocating $43 million to 57 housing developments.
Preserving Mitchell Lama Housing
In recent years the number of affordable, middle income rental apartments provided by the Mitchell Lama Program has decreased as owners have increasingly sold units at market rates to realize the higher profits allowed when government benefits expire. In response, the Borough President formed the Bronx Mitchell Lama Task Force to educate and empower residents to lobby for fair housing legislation, hold owners and oversight agencies accountable, and encourage residents to organize tenant associations and work with housing advocates.
Promoting Affordable Housing Development
New York City is experiencing unprecedented levels of affordable housing development, but with the shortage of available land and rising construction costs the city must seek new types of partnerships with private developers. In 2006, the Borough President’s Office hosted Market Approaches to Affordable Housing. This three day event, aimed at the private development community, focused on critical issues for creating and preserving affordable housing.
Homeownership helps stabilize neighborhoods and strengthen communities. The Borough President’s Office has worked to increase the number of homeowners, by empowering residents with greater resources and financial education.
To provide greater financial education to potential and current homeowners, the Borough President created the Annual Homebuyers/Homeowners Fair. This annual fair is the largest fair of its kind in the city. It brings together financial institutions, real estate professionals, government agencies and non-profits to educate consumers on the home-buying process and how to retain their homes.
In response to the nation’s mortgage foreclosure and sub-prime crisis, the Borough President convened a Foreclosure Prevention Summit in February 2008 with officials from housing, regulatory and government institutions to identify financial and educational resources for helping affected homeowners. Subsequent to the Summit, the Borough President’s Office created a Foreclosure Prevention Resource Guide to assist residents who have either fallen behind in mortgage payments or who are at risk of losing their homes.
Housing for Seniors
The Bronx’s senior population is expected to increase 30% by 2030; the borough and the City must increase the housing options for older residents. In March 2008, the Borough President’s Office held a Senior Housing Development Workshop with professionals from government, private lending institutions and not-for-profit developers to discuss the processes, capital needs, common pitfalls and available resources for producing senior housing. The event’s two workshops, Rehabilitation and Refinancing of Senior Housing, and 202 Housing and New Construction Senior Housing, focused on preserving current supply and producing new senior housing stock. Borough President Carrion is dedicated to assuring that the borough’s seniors have safe, comfortable homes, and accordingly has invested over $20 million in 1,600 new housing units for seniors.
A good transportation network is critical for strengthening the economy and reducing pollution. Borough President Diaz Jr. is working to create new transportation options; upgrade subways, roads and bridges; and enhance public plazas. These initiatives will improve travel time in and out of The Bronx and also produce more environmentally sustainable methods of transportation.
Increasing Public Transportation
Creating New Metro North Stations
New Metro-North Railroad service between Co-Op City, Parkchester and Hunts Point in the Bronx and Penn Station is Borough President Diaz Jr.’s highest mass transportation priority. These stations, with a combined ridership base of over 250,000 Bronxites, would also afford reverse commuting opportunities to employment centers in Westchester and Lower Fairfield counties. Railroad service to Co-Op City, Parkchester and Hunts Point has been endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and MTA Chair Elliot Sander in the context of PLANNYC 2030.
The Borough President’s Office championed efforts to fund $94 million for the creation of the new Yankee Stadium Station, which will open in 2009 to serve Yankee fans and the surrounding community year round. The Borough President’s staff actively participated in selecting artwork pursuant to the MTA’s Arts for Transit Program in conjunction with the construction of this station.
Repairing Subway Stops
With the support of the Borough President’s Office, most elevated Bronx subway station platforms and mezzanines have been rebuilt. Reconstructed subway stations are now cleaner and safer but still lack sufficient handicap access. Subterranean station reconstruction remains a top priority of the Borough President. In conjunction with this effort improvement of handicap access is needed, especially on the D line at Fordham Road and the 2, 4 and 5 lines at 149th Street/Grand Concourse.
Introducing Select Bus Service
The Borough President’s Office has worked to bring Select Bus Service between West 207th Street in Manhattan and Co-Op City. This new service, begun in June 2008, provides express bus service on Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway with reduced travel time for riders.
Improving Bridges & Roads
Improving Roads, Parkways & Bridges
The Borough President’s Office has guided to completion the installation of the redesigned Grand Concourse from 161st to 166th Street, originally initiated by the Bronx Borough President in the 1990’s with support from Congressman Jose Serrano. The Borough President’s Office continues to seek funding to continue the new design north of 166th Street. Simultaneous to the Grand Concourse reconstruction, the Borough President’s Office initiated the transformation of Lou Gehrig Plaza on 161st Street from a parking lot into an inviting public space.
Another critical reconstruction project promoted by the Borough President is Pelham Parkway. The scope of this project includes installation of resurfaced roadways, curbs and curb cuts, and improved drainage to minimize ponding and erosion of parkland.
With the support of the Borough President’s Office,, all Harlem River bridges connecting the Bronx with Manhattan are being either replaced or restored. In 2009, construction will begin on a new and dramatic cable stay bridge to replace the deteriorating old City Island Bridge. To the Borough President’s regret, the NYC Department of Transportation has delayed the construction of the E. 153rd Street Bridge between the Grand Concourse and Morris Avenue. Construction of this bridge remains an urgent priority of the Borough President and Community Board 4, to establish an east-west route for an already heavily congested section of the Bronx which is experiencing major new development.
Creating New Public Plazas
Public Plazas provide locations for people to gather and relax, and improve streetscapes. The Borough President’s Office has collaborated on and funded new plazas at the Parkchester Malls, E. 149th Street (Roberto Clemente Plaza) in the Hub, Bryan Park on Fordham and Kingsbridge Roads, and University Avenue in the University Heights community. Bronx’s premier shopping district on Fordham Road, the Borough President’s Office funded the local match for the BID’s first major streetscape enhancement project, the installation of decorative street lighting.
Meeting the Needs of the Future
Improving Interstate Highways
Plans are in formation to redesign and reconstruct all the major interstate highways serving the Bronx by the year 2030. These efforts seek to increase vehicular capacity, reduce congestion by eliminating traffic weaving and sharp curves, and improve access to business centers across the borough. Borough President Diaz Jr., in partnership with community groups, is overseeing these designs to ensure that benefits to Bronx neighborhoods are maximized.
Developing Light Rail Service
Light Rail Transit systems can help reduce congestion and pollution. Such systems are less expensive to construct than conventional railroads and subways. The Borough President’s Office has proposed consideration of Light Rail Transit along the Cross Bronx Expressway corridor, between Manhattan and Queens.
The overall intent of New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is to provide citizens and elected officials an opportunity to comment on pending land use matters. In 1975 and again in 1989, the City Charter was amended and Section 197-c established ULURP. It is administered by the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the City Planning Commission (CPC). ULURP is also one of the specifically noted Charter mandated responsibilities of the Borough President, who under the City Charter must maintain a Bureau of Planning.
In the context of ULURP the Borough President (BP) offers recommendations and commentary pursuant to the specific application only after the Community Board in which the matter is located has taken action on the proposal. The BP may recommend approving the application, approve it with modifications, or disapprove the application. Like the Community Board, the Borough President tenders a recommendation to the City Planning Commission which may concur with the Community Board or may not. Likewise, the City Planning Commission may concur or not with either the Community Board or the Borough President.