Streetcar, Solar, Savings: De Blasio’s State of the City Highlight Reel

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Mayor de Blasio delivers his annual address at Lehman College,

Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor de Blasio delivers his annual address at Lehman College,

Mayor de Blasio’s third state of the city address was quickly eclipsed by events at a Bronx public-housing development and a street in Manhattan. But the speech had already generated the headlines it was likely to earn—People were reacting to the proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar hours before the mayor took the stage at Lehman College. Here’s a run-down of the major points the mayor made about his record and his plans (a full transcript of the speech is here and a video is here):

The Accomplishments

• “Because of Paid Sick Leave, half a million more New Yorkers can now take a day off to care for themselves or loved ones without worrying about their paycheck.”

• “50,000 City workers and contracted workers will be guaranteed a $15 minimum wage.”

• “And 20,000 City workers will now be able to take six weeks of fully paid leave when they have a child, adopt a child, or become a foster parent. And working with our municipal unions, we look forward to the day when we can extend a similar benefit to many more.”

• “Just over a year ago, we worked with the City Council, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, to introduce IDNYC. And today, three quarters of a million New Yorkers carry it in their pocket.”

• “I could also mention 68,500 kids in free, full-day Pre-K.”

• “Crime within our neighborhoods has gone down 5.8 percent in two years. This past month was the safest January on record. Murders went down 45 percent and shootings went down 34 percent percent compared to the same month a year ago.”

• “We’re adding 2,000 cops to the beat by the end of this year – our first increase in patrol strength since 2001. [The mayor noted later that ‘In 2015, because of the men and women of the NYPD, shootings went down almost 3 percent and gun arrests went UP almost 10 percent.]”

• “We’ve unveiled One City, Safe and Fair, Everywhere … our blueprint for real neighborhood policing—something that’s been talked about for decades and will now be achieved. I am proud to say that by summer, we will expand neighborhood policing to 11 more precincts across the city, from the 4-3 in the Bronx to the 7-2 in Brooklyn to the 1-0-9 in Queens. Eventually, this new approach will come to every one of our neighborhoods.”

• “This spring, we will introduce ‘implicit bias’ training for our [police] officers—helping them identify, understand and change unconscious behaviors that may affect their policing.”

• “Our Vision Zero Action Plan made 2015 the safest year on New York City roads for everyone—pedestrians, cyclists and motorists—since 1910. Fatalities are down 22 percent since 2013 – that’s 66 fewer New Yorkers losing their lives, or a loved one, to crashes.”

• “… we’ve filled almost a million potholes in the past two years, and repaved 2,200 lane miles of our roads, smoothing over long-neglected streets from the northern end of the FDR drive to Huguenot Avenue on the South Shore of Staten Island. That’s the most repaving that’s been done since 1991 – and as if we paved a road from here to Las Vegas.”

• ” In 2015, we made a historic $2.5 billion dollar contribution to the MTA. We expanded Staten Island Ferry service to run every 30 minutes, 24/7, and we’re investing to replace the three oldest ferry boats with stronger, storm-resistant boats.”

• “2015 itself was one of the best years ever for affordable housing in the history this city. First: We set a record for the number of new apartments financed in one year. Second: We’re ahead of pace towards our goal of 10,000 affordable apartments for our seniors. Third: the million-plus tenants living in rent-regulated apartments received their 1st ever rent freeze in City history. Fourth—and I am especially proud of this—we honored our commitment to end chronic veterans homelessness in New York City, ensuring that those who served our country weren’t left without a home.”

• ” So in 2015, we unveiled our NextGeneration NYCHA plan, which will stabilize the Authority’s finances and raise quality of life for tenants. We began work to replace leaky roofs at 67 buildings through $300 million in City funding. And we began work to bring high-speed internet to Queensbridge Houses, Red Hook Houses, and Mott Haven Houses.”

• “Today, I am proud to announce that this year we will take [high-speed internet] to two more [NYCHA] developments: Jefferson Houses in Harlem and Stapleton Houses in Staten Island. When we’re done, more than 21,000 residents at these developments will have access to the high-speed internet that is so important to getting ahead in today’s world.”

• “[W]e’ve helped many … families – over 22,000 New Yorkers – move from shelter to permanent housing. We’ve helped another 91,000 with services to stay in their homes and out of shelter. We created the first-ever shelter repair squad to immediately address poor conditions, and to make our shelters safer and cleaner. … We’ve launched HOME-STAT, the most aggressive street homelessness outreach program of any city in the United States. And we’re creating 15,000 supportive apartments over the next 15 years. Over the next three years, we are adding 300 beds in dedicated youth shelters for our young people who have nowhere else to go.”

• “[Thrive NYC] includes Mental Health First Aid training for a quarter million New Yorkers so they can identify and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use. It includes our NYC Support hotline. Anyone can make one phone call to get connected to care, and to STAY connected to care. And ThriveNYC also includes teams that pair NYPD Officers with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene clinicians to respond to calls about the severely mentally ill on our streets.”

• ” … [W]e’re bringing Advanced Placement classes to ALL our high schools, Algebra to ALL our middle schoolers, Computer Science to ALL our children at every grade level. … Today, our 94 Renewal Schools are graduating more kids and seeing higher test scores through new approaches and new leadership.”

• ” Since the 2011-2012 school year, crime in our schools has gone down 29 percent while suspensions have declined by 36 percent.”

• “In the last two years, jobs in the outer boroughs grew at more than twice the rate of those in Manhattan. And speaking of jobs, we now have over 4.2 million jobs in our city—the most in our history. And we created more than 220,000 of those in the past two years—the highest two-year gain ever. And today, small businesses are feeling major tax relief because last year we instituted the most sweeping changes and cuts in decades to our city’s outdated small business-tax code. And imagine the relief when the City issues a warning instead of a fine – something that happened thousands of times last year and collectively saved our small businesses more than $15 million dollars.”

• “Number 6 heating oil – the most polluting heating oil – has been totally eliminated from New York City buildings.”

• “We’ve increased the amount of solar power in city-owned buildings 7-fold since 2013.”

The Proposals

• ” … New York City is working to become the first city in the country to create a retirement savings program for private sector employees. Working with Speaker Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate James and Comptroller Stringer, we will introduce legislation to enable any New Yorker working at a business with ten or more employees to automatically enroll in a retirement plan.”

• ” The City of New York is investing $91 million dollars to transform Downtown Far Rockaway – the kind of investment this neighborhood has not seen in years. We’ll help businesses in commercial corridors like Beach 20th Street. Parents will be able to attend job training workshops while their kids play a pick-up game at the greatly improved Sorrentino Recreation Center. And the whole community will enjoy the new, state-of-the-art Downtown Far Rockaway Library.”

• “This year, we are launching or expanding health clinics in 14 underserved neighborhoods across the city. Within a few weeks, the people of the South Bronx will be able to walk into their new community clinic in Mott Haven to see a doctor, a dentist, or a mental health professional.”

• “We’ve already transitioned the 7-3 precinct to our new neighborhood policing strategy. This year, residents will become safer when we expand our ShotSpotter gunfire detection technology to cover more of the neighborhood. A new Neighborhood Health Action Center will open to provide the community with both primary care and critical services like maternal and child care, and SNAP benefits. And each of the 5,000 middle schoolers and high schoolers in Brownsville will experience something extraordinary when they meet their Single Shepherd for the first time. They’re a cross between a guidance counselor and a mentor.”

• “LinkNYC … is well on its way to becoming the largest, fastest, free municipal Wi-Fi system in the world. LinkNYC is replacing the City’s antiquated payphones with a state-of-the-art communications network where they can log on or make a phone call for free. We just installed the first LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan and they will be ‘turned on’ within a matter of weeks. By the end of July, there will be more than 500 kiosks across all five boroughs, on the way toward our goal of more than 7,500 in neighborhoods across the city.”

• “By the end of 2016, there will be 350 real-time countdown clocks showing riders in all five boroughs when the next bus is arriving—the same kind of clocks many straphangers already know and love underground.”

• “New Yorkers … will now be able to pay for street parking in every single one of our 85,000 metered spaces using their smartphone. No more paper receipts to put on the dashboard! No more running to the meter! Drivers will be able to buy time with a quick tap or text.”

• “… I am proud to introduce CleaNYC, a revitalized effort to keep our neighborhoods clean in all five boroughs. First, we’re going to add Sunday and holiday pick-up service for 5,000 more litter baskets in the neighborhoods of our city that see the most foot traffic. Second, we’re going to expand our cleaning of highway ramps and shoulders, which are often the first thing someone coming into the city actually sees. Every week, we will clean an additional 100 miles of highway ramps of litter and debris. Third, we’re doubling down on our work to remove graffiti in neighborhoods across the city, adding power-washing trucks that will allow us to remove 40 million square feet of graffiti every year. Fourth, we will use those same power-washing trucks to clean sidewalks along some of the busiest commercial corridors in all five boroughs …”

• “So tonight I am announcing the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, a state-of-the-art streetcar that will run from Astoria to Sunset Park, and has the potential to generate over $25 billion of economic impact for our city over 30 years. New Yorkers will be able to travel up and down a 16-mile route that links a dozen waterfront neighborhoods.”

• “Today, we pledge to make Governors Island a place where economic opportunity comes together with innovation, education, and creativity. We will revive the beautiful buildings in the Historic District that celebrate New York City’s past, and look to the future through millions of new square feet for commerce, culture, and research. This will create tens of thousands of jobs, and enable 365-day access for all New Yorkers for the first time in the Island’s history.”

• “[W]e commit to increase [the] amount [of solar power used in city-owned buildings] five times over again to 25 megawatts within three years.”