This week, Ned Sullivan, the president of Scenic Hudson, is answering questions about how New York City and its residents can preserve land and promote smart growth along the Hudson River.

Readers are invited to submit their questions about preserving land and creating public parks and about environmentally friendly, sustainable development in the comments box below. Please limit your comments to questions for Mr. Sullivan.

Question:

On both sides of the Hudson, from the Verrazano Narrows on up past Beacon and beyond, there was tremendous industrial activity from most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Over the last 2 decades - especially the last 8 years - there has been been continuous wholesale conversion of those contaminated areas to residential properties.

How do you plan to manage public access to the river, work with developers to implement environmentally safe remediation strategies and also collaborate with other river communities outside of New York City (New Jersey, Westchester, etc.)?

— Posted by Paul M.

Answer:

Paul – You’re right! While there are still power plants along the river, big, polluting industrial projects generally are no longer a threat to the river and its shores. The new land rush is about residential projects. Development on the Hudson can be good, but it’s got to represent “smart growth” that complements rather than damages this great resource.

This means concentrating development in city and town centers, ideally within a half-mile of train and bus stations so people can walk and bicycle for many of their trips and use public transportation if they have to commute to their jobs or other distant destination. This is a major new thrust of Metro-North, working in partnership with the Paterson administration, and Scenic Hudson is supporting this. Good design is crucial to protect the scenic qualities that have earned the region designation by Congress as a National Heritage Area.