Help RIRA Plan for Electric Cars

In December 2015, world leaders gathered in Paris and adopted the most far-reaching environmental protection agreement in history, pledging to scale back greenhouse emissions in an effort to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Although President Donald J. Trump announced soon after his election that the United States would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Bill De Blasio has pledged that New York City would, in fact, adhere to the Paris treaty and accelerate its own actions to reach an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.

The Planning Committee of the Roosevelt Island Residents’ Association needs your input to ensure that we are doing our part to make this ambitious goal a reality.

Transportation in New York City accounts for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – but 90 percent of those emissions come from private cars or trucks.

On September 20, as part of the City’s goal to have 20 percent of motor vehicle registrations be for electric vehicles by 2025, Mayor De Blasio released a $10 million plan to expand the City’s existing 307 charging sites to 1,000 stations by 2020.

In March, Governor Cuomo unveiled a $70 million electric car rebate and outreach initiative to encourage the growth of clean and non-polluting electric car use in New York and promote the reduction of carbon emissions in the transportation sector. The Drive Clean rebates are now available to all New York residents who buy eligible cars through participating new car dealers. This initiative should help the State achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, ahead of the 2050 goal. These combined efforts by the City and State administrations should boost electric vehicle purchases across the city.

As the cost of electric cars and trucks becomes more affordable, ensuring the infrastructure is in place to help New Yorkers make the switch to cleaner vehicles is essential. Electric vehicles release no tailpipe emissions, require less maintenance, and are ideal for city driving.

The RIRA Planning Committee has discussed the matter and agrees that providing an electric charging station accessible to Island residents should be a priority of its public health and environmental protection agenda.

An electric charging station already exists on the Island for use with Red Buses and small “golf type” official vehicles. The Planning Committee suggested taking immediate action in gathering data about the number of Roosevelt Island residents interested in purchasing an electric car in the near future.

At RIRA, protecting Roosevelt Islanders’ health and improving air quality is a long-term, ongoing priority. For years, RIRA has advocated and made recommendations to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) for public health and environmental protection on Roosevelt Island. And we believe we must encourage Roosevelt Islanders, like other New Yorkers, to adopt sustainable green habits, including driving electric vehicles.

RIOC, working in partnership with the City and State authorities and Cornell Tech, should help place Roosevelt Island at the forefront of this futuristic endeavor.

To help us move forward in this initiative, we need to hear from you.

If you are a Roosevelt Island resident, whether or not you are the owner of a car, and whether or not you are planning on purchasing an electric vehicle in the near future, your opinion matters. We need your help to plan for the Island’s future.

Kindly take a moment and complete our anonymous two-question survey at or send an email to if you are likely to purchase an electric vehicle within the next 12 months. Thank you.

David Lawson,

Chair of the RIRA Planning Committee

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