ReThinkNYC Plan

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Unused poten­tial for growth and con­nec­tiv­ity.  The lighter color on the map indi­cates our pro­posed 40-min­ute com­mute radius acces­si­ble to Penn Station, Secaucus New Jersey, Sunnyside Queens, and Port Morris Bronx.

ReThinkNYC 
toward a car-optional region

ReThinkNYC is a com­pre­hen­sive plan to expand New York City’s “car-optional” region beyond Manhattan by uni­fy­ing and recon­fig­ur­ing the City and the region’s dis­parate trans­porta­tion sys­tems into a sin­gle func­tion­ing net­work serv­ing the greater New York City area. In this new real­ity, pas­sen­gers would be able to trans­fer seam­lessly between com­muter rail, sub­way, bus or light rail sys­tems regard­less of oper­a­tor (e.g. NJ Transit, MetroNorth).

To do this, we pro­pose a new regional plan for New York that would include:

  • The NYC SmartTransit Zone: This fare zone would include NYC and adja­cent parts of Westchester, Nassau, Hudson and Bergen Counties. Unified fare col­lec­tion would be via smart­card (RFID) or smart­phone app.
  • The NYC Trunk Line would be a spinal cord of over­lap­ping inter­modal con­nec­tiv­ity along the Northeast Corridor between Secaucus, NJ and Port Morris, the Bronx that would unify the four land masses that make up the NYC area. 
    • All of the region’s 26 com­muter rail lines would be con­nected, includ­ing Metro-North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines and NJ Transit’s Bergen County Lines.
    • Secaucus, Penn Station, Sunnyside, Port Morris would be major tran­sit hubs where pas­sen­gers could trans­fer from the local scale (buses/light rail) to the city or regional scale (subways/regional rail).
  • New Local Light Rail and Bus Networks directly con­nected to the NYC Trunk Line at Secaucus (NJ), Sunnyside (Queens/Brooklyn), and Port Morris (the Bronx).  The details of this plan will be released in mid-August.

These plans would trans­form the region’s patch­work of pub­lic tran­sit sys­tems into a uni­fied web of over­lap­ping mul­ti­modal mass tran­sit con­nec­tiv­ity. The NYC Trunk Line would provide a foun­da­tion for more rail-con­nected ameni­ties, includ­ing:

  • ReThink LGA would expand LaGuardia Airport into Rikers and con­nect it to the NYC Trunk Line at Port Morris trans­form­ing it into a world-class global air­port that is eas­ily acces­si­ble to every­one who is con­nected to mass tran­sit in the region.
  • Midtown East in Queens would be a new office dis­trict the size of Midtown Manhattan directly con­nected to the NYC Trunk Line at Sunnyside, Queens. This plan would provide mil­lions of square feet of new office space that would be con­nected to the entire regional rail net­work, seven dif­fer­ent lines of the NYC sub­way net­work and the new light rail/bus net­work envi­sioned for Brooklyn/Queens.

These plans, along with the rise of smart­phone-based car shar­ing and car­pool­ing ser­vices (e.g. Zipcar and Uberpool), make it pos­si­ble to expand the car-optional area through­out the region, obvi­at­ing the need for an auto­mo­bile. In doing so, the plan would provide the New York City area the foun­da­tion it needs for the next cen­tury of eco­nomic and pop­u­la­tion growth.

 

Why we Need this Plan

 

In Manhattan and adjoin­ing parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, peo­ple live their daily lives with­out the need of an auto­mo­bile.  As New York City con­tin­ues to grow, these car-optional neigh­bor­hoods have become the most sought after and there­fore the most expen­sive. For sim­i­lar rea­sons, office rental rates at the region’s core–Midtown Manhattan–are at record highs and con­tinue to rise. These prime office spaces are valu­able because of their acces­si­bil­ity. Commercial prop­erty devel­op­ers have already started to build office dis­tricts in Jersey City and Sunnyside, Queens, but these devel­op­ments are dis­con­nected from the region’s com­muter rail net­works, which presently ter­mi­nate at Penn Station and Grand Central.

These twin real estate crises threaten the region’s com­pet­i­tive­ness and its future eco­nomic growth as work­ers and com­pa­nies are priced out. Furthermore, the new office dis­tricts out­side of the core (Manhattan) are dis­con­nected from most of the regional com­muter rail lines, mak­ing them prac­ti­cally inac­ces­si­ble to most of the region’s sub­ur­ban com­muters. Instead of build­ing toward an expanded car-optional future for New York, these dis­con­nected devel­op­ments rein­force the auto­mo­bile-friendly vision of New York that is the legacy of Robert Moses. Not only does this trend rob New York of its highly-val­ued con­nec­tiv­ity and den­sity, it also exac­er­bates many of the same con­ges­tion prob­lems that already plague other American cities, lim­its growth, rein­forces a frag­mented labor mar­ket, and threat­ens the region’s abil­ity to “work well.”

 

ReThinking “New York as Manhattan”

 

Today, the pri­mary pur­pose of all of the region’s pub­lic trans­porta­tion systems–commuter rail, sub­way, bus–is to bring work­ers into Manhattan. Only in Manhattan does the sys­tem func­tion as a trans­porta­tion net­work that dis­places the need for an auto­mo­bile. Smart growth of New York City will involve bring­ing the con­nec­tiv­ity of Manhattan to the rest of the region by look­ing beyond the “New York is Manhattan” mind­set and rethink­ing our entire approach to trans­porta­tion in the Greater New York.

Mass tran­sit in New York is divided between six dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment agencies—Amtrak, NJ Transit, Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, Port Authority, and MTA New York City Transit. Each of these enti­ties works inde­pen­dently of the oth­ers.

Passengers who hope to use these var­i­ous sys­tems (com­muter rail, sub­way, bus) together as an alter­na­tive to the auto­mo­bile face the uphill bat­tle of expen­sive fares, the com­plex­ity of mul­ti­ple fare col­lec­tion sys­tems, badly sched­uled con­nec­tions and phys­i­cal dis­con­nec­tion. This is unlike other world cities, such as Paris or London, where buses, sub­ways, com­muter and regional rail work seam­lessly together in a com­ple­men­tary fash­ion.

Commuter Rail   Fragmentation

 

Three com­muter rail sys­tems serve New York City: New Jer­sey Tran­sit (NJT), Metro-North Rail­road (MNR) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The three sys­tems are dis­con­nected, but each one pri­mar­ily fun­nels all of its trains and pas­sen­gers into Man­hat­tan, with ser­vice ter­mi­nat­ing at Penn Sta­tion for NJT and LIRR or Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion for MNR. The result is a frag­mented region with sev­eral vul­ner­a­ble bot­tle­neck points that can­not han­dle much needed addi­tional capac­ity. Fur­ther­more, there is a sev­ere lack of inte­gra­tion between Amtrak, com­muter rail, the New York City sub­way, Port Author­ity Trans-Hud­son (PATH),and all of the bus sys­tems serv­ing the region.

This dis­con­nect forces com­muters to make sev­eral trans­fers between sys­tems. For exam­ple, to travel to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. from Mount Kisco, New York, a com­muter cur­rently has to take the MNR Harlem Line to Grand Cen­tral and then ride two sub­way lines to reach Penn Sta­tion where he or she can board an Amtrak train bound for the nation’s cap­i­tal.

Instead of adding to and per­pet­u­at­ing this unten­able sit­u­a­tion, ReThink Stu­dio pro­poses a holis­tic approach for solv­ing all of these prob­lems, while lim­it­ing costs by build­ing on already-under­way projects, and incor­po­rat­ing as much unused and under-used infra­struc­ture as pos­si­ble.

RethinkNYC_Rail_Phased

The three agen­cies of New York’s pas­sen­ger rail sys­tem ser­vice only their geo­graph­i­cal divi­sions.

ReThinkNYC Trunk Line pro­posal for uni­fied ser­vice.

ReThinkNYC Proposal for Expanding LGA  into Rikers and con­nect­ing it to the NYC Trunk Line at Port Morris, the Bronx.

These com­muter heat maps show the effects of trans­porta­tion frag­men­ta­tion on the labor mar­kets.  Each map high­lights the region of a 50 min­ute com­mute from dif­fer­ent nodes.  Clockwise from upper left: Penn Station; Grand Central Terminal; Jamaica; Secaucus.

The ReThinkNYC plan chal­lenges the notion that the Midtown busi­ness dis­trict is con­fined to Manhattan. Through expanded trans­porta­tion, west­ern Queens can become an exten­sion of Midtown.

Commuter rail is New York is presently frag­mented between lines into Grand Central, Penn Station and Hoboken. 

A Case Study of Paris

 

The ReThinkNYC plan is mod­eled in part on the Réseau Express Régional (RER), pio­neered in Paris, France dur­ing the 1960’s. To solve a sim­i­lar rail dis­unity prob­lem, France built a sys­tem of “trunk-lines” tra­vers­ing the city and con­nect­ing exist­ing com­muter rail lines that pre­vi­ously ter­mi­nated on the periph­ery of Paris. Rail lines east of the city were paired with rail lines to the west and north­ern lines were paired with south­ern lines. Today, trains race across Paris and make numer­ous stops where pas­sen­gers can trans­fer to other com­muter or metro lines, reach­ing des­ti­na­tions with great effi­ciency. Furthermore, Paris’ uni­fied rail net­work makes trav­el­ing between sub­ur­ban regions much eas­ier.

The RER also brought Paris a uni­fied fare struc­ture, in which all trips made within a cer­tain geo­graphic area were priced the same.  This means that there are no penalties for using fast com­muter rail instead of the slower more local metro/subway to access dif­fer­ent parts of the city.

We want to bring both of these prin­ci­ples to New York’s future. Our advan­tage over Paris in the 1970s is that we already have most of the infra­struc­ture to do it.  We are sim­ply not using it cor­rectly and to its poten­tial, nor are we prop­erly coor­di­nat­ing our future plans.

Paris and the French Government con­nected the ter­mi­nals around the city cen­ter into a net­work of through-run­ning train lines that also ser­vice trips within the city.  This work was car­ried out in the 1970s and con­tin­ues to this day.

Making ReThinkNYC   Possible

exist­ing infra­struc­ture projects

 

The ReThinkNYC plan works because it is holis­tic. Not only does it improve com­muter rail across the region, but it is nei­ther unre­al­is­tic nor pro­hib­i­tively expen­sive. It could be con­sid­ered an exten­sion of Amtrak’s exist­ing Gateway pro­posal to build a new tun­nel between Penn Station and New Jersey and the Port Authority’s pro­posal for a new bus ter­mi­nal.  The bud­gets for these two projects alone total $35 bil­lion.

Below is a map of the var­i­ous infra­struc­ture projects that are being pro­posed or in process of being con­structed. The ReThinkNYC plan uni­fies all of these dis­parate projects together and improves upon them.

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Creating a uni­fied plan

Presently, there are a num­ber of major infra­struc­ture projects and pro­pos­als for the New York City area. While infra­struc­ture invest­ment is becom­ing increas­ingly impor­tant, approved plans are typ­i­cally devel­oped in a vac­uum, over­seen by a sin­gle gov­ern­ment agency, and designed to solve a sin­gle (some­times super­fi­cial) prob­lem. Compounding the prob­lem, most plans are designed with a Manhattan-cen­tric men­tal­ity and offer very lit­tle to move toward a more uni­fied and equi­table region. Once com­plete, each project –cost­ing bil­lions of dol­lars- impacts the region’s infra­struc­ture for gen­er­a­tions to come, which is why it is cru­cial for plan­ners to start rethink­ing how plans are devel­oped.

ReThink Studio devel­oped ReThinkNYC with the inten­tion of cre­at­ing a holis­tic regional plan to cre­ate a uni­fied “car-optional” region for New York City and the sur­round­ing area. By uni­fy­ing exist­ing projects and pro­pos­als around the com­mon pur­pose of cre­at­ing a bet­ter-con­nected region, tremen­dous economies of scale can be gained, cre­at­ing far reach­ing ben­e­fits that will help gen­er­ate addi­tional rev­enue to fund new projects.

Project

Gateway Project:  $23.9 Billion

LIRR East Side Access:  $10.8 Billion

Port Authority Bus Terminal:  $7.5 – 10.5 Billion

Sunnyside Yard:  $8 Billion

2nd Ave Subway – Phase 2:  $5.5 – 6 Billion

Closing Rikers Jail:  $5 – 7 Billion

LaGuardia Airport (Cuomo):  $4 Billion

American Dream Mall:  $3.5 Billion

HBLR Extension:  $2 – 3 Billion

Brooklyn-Queens Light Rail:  $2.5 Billion

MNR Penn Station Access:  $1.8 Billion

7 Train to Secaucus: $——–

Cuomo Administration’s Penn Station Proposal

Gov­er­nor Cuomo’s plan calls for rede­vel­op­ing Penn Sta­tion, build­ing a new train hall with shops and restau­rants at the Far­ley Build­ing (Moyni­han Sta­tion), and link­ing the two build­ings into one inter-con­nected com­plex, called “Empire State Sta­tion.” Although Penn is cer­tainly in need of a makeover, Cuomo’s “trans­for­ma­tion” is largely just an aes­thetic over­haul.

Rear­rang­ing Penn’s retail lay­out and adding nat­ural light­ing are impor­tant improve­ments that are long-over­due. How­ever, Penn’s biggest prob­lem is that it is strug­gling to han­dle cur­rent train and pas­sen­ger capac­ity lev­els, lim­it­ing the future growth of rail in the north­east region.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan goes beyond aes­thetic improve­ments by also address­ing the station’s under­ly­ing oper­a­tional prob­lems. With the imple­men­ta­tion of through-run­ning at Penn, NJ Transit trains will ter­mi­nate at a new sta­tion in Port Morris, the Bronx, and Long Island Rail Road and future Metro-North ser­vice will ter­mi­nate at an expanded rail sta­tion in Secaucus, New Jersey. To make effi­cient through-run­ning ser­vice pos­si­ble, Penn’s plat­forms will be widened and addi­tional stairs/escalators will be added to improve ver­ti­cal cir­cu­la­tion.

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Amtrak’s Gateway Project

Amtrak’s $23.9 bil­lion Gateway Project is a mul­ti­fac­eted effort to increase rail capac­ity into Penn Station and add redun­dancy, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to revamp the two exist­ing Hudson River rail tun­nels. Gateway’s com­po­nents include:

  • Constructing two new Hudson River tun­nels into Penn Station.
  • Eliminating the two-track bot­tle­neck on the Northeast Corridor between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station.
  • Constructing Penn Station South, a seven-track NJ Transit ter­mi­nal one block south of the exist­ing Penn Station.
  • Converting the his­toric James A. Farley Post Office build­ing into Moynihan Station, an expan­sion of Penn Station.
  • Constructing the Secaucus Loop, which will con­nect NJ Transit’s Hoboken-bound Bergen County rail lines and Metro-North’s Rockland and Orange County rail lines with the Northeast Corridor at Secaucus Junction.
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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

Many ele­ments of Amtrak’s Gateway Project are pre­sup­posed by the ReThinkNYC plan, includ­ing the con­struc­tion of two new Hudson River rail tun­nels and a four-track right-of-way between Newark Penn and New York Penn. In fact, ReThinkNYC is an improve­ment and exten­sion of the Gateway Project because it avoids the need to con­struct Penn Station South and lays the foun­da­tion for a mod­ern regional rail sys­tem.

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Penn Station South

Amtrak’s Gateway Project includes a pro­posal for the con­struc­tion of seven tracks served by four plat­forms in what will be a new NJ Transit ter­mi­nal annex called “Penn Sta­tion South.” For Penn Sta­tion South to be built, how­ever, Amtrak will first have to acquire an entire block of pri­vate devel­op­ment just south of the exist­ing sta­tion and demol­ish sev­eral build­ings, includ­ing St. John the Bap­tist Church, which was built in 1872.

Not only does Penn Sta­tion South demol­ish the urban fab­ric of the neigh­bor­hood, but it also destroys the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a regional rail sys­tem for New York. At a time when cities around the world are eschew­ing ter­mi­nals for through-run­ning trains, New York is mov­ing for­ward on an ill-con­ceived plan to build yet another ter­mi­nal.

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Penn-South-Zone

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan pre­serves the block south of Penn Sta­tion by imple­ment­ing through-run­ning and there­fore remov­ing the need to con­struct new stub-end tracks at Penn. Through-run­ning ser­vice at Penn will increase capac­ity while simul­ta­ne­ously reduc­ing the num­ber of tracks that are nec­es­sary to main­tain cur­rent oper­a­tions.

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Moynihan Station

Adja­cent to Penn Sta­tion, con­struc­tion is under­way to trans­form the Far­ley Build­ing into Moyni­han Sta­tion, which will actu­ally just be an exten­sion of Penn Sta­tion for Amtrak oper­a­tions. Phase one will be com­pleted in 2016 and the plan includes adding two entrances and addi­tional stair­cases to some of Amtrak’s exist­ing plat­forms at Penn Sta­tion. Phase two will con­sist of a new train hall within a fully ren­o­vated Far­ley Build­ing.

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Moynihan 1

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan max­i­mizes Moyni­han Station’s poten­tial by extend­ing all of Penn’s plat­forms west and under Moyni­han, which will allow for plat­forms 1 and 2 to be mod­i­fied in order to con­nect Penn’s stub-end tracks into the inter­lock­ing.

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Secaucus Loop

By con­struct­ing addi­tional track­age between the two lev­els of Secaucus Junction that would con­nect the Main Line and the NEC, Secaucus will become a true junc­tion sta­tion. As part of the sec­ond phase of the Gateway Project, the loop is pro­jected to be con­structed between 2024 and 2030.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

ReThinkNYC pre­sup­poses the con­struc­tion of Secaucus loop to allow NJ Transit’s Bergen County lines to be linked with the Northeast Corridor and New York Penn Station. Building this con­nec­tion will make Secaucus a stronger regional rail hub, and it will also bet­ter con­nect north­ern New Jersey res­i­dents with Manhattan, Long Island, and the Bronx.

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Port Authority Bus Terminal
The pri­mary access point for buses going to the PABT is through the Lin­coln Tun­nel, which cre­ates a direct link between Mid­town Man­hat­tan and New Jer­sey. Over the next few decades, Port Author­ity expects both rid­er­ship and bus ser­vice to increase by 30%. How­ever, the Lin­coln Tun­nel is already oper­at­ing at capac­ity and the Port Author­ity has no plans to con­struct any new tun­nels into Man­hat­tan.

In the same way that the Hud­son River rail tun­nel is a major bot­tle­neck for trains access­ing Penn Sta­tion, the Lin­coln Tun­nel is a major bot­tle­neck for the thou­sands of buses going to and from the Port Author­ity Bus Ter­mi­nal each day.

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PA Bus Terminal Plan Secaucus

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

To alle­vi­ate the choke-point and pro­vide addi­tional capac­ity to han­dle future pro­jected rid­er­ship, ReThinkNYC pro­poses that a smaller bus ter­mi­nal is con­structed in Mid­town Man­hat­tan on the exist­ing site and a new bus ter­mi­nal is built into an expanded Secau­cus Junc­tion.

With this con­fig­u­ra­tion, most buses will be redi­rected to Secau­cus with the inten­tion of reduc­ing vehic­u­lar con­ges­tion by get­ting com­muters onto rail before reach­ing Man­hat­tan. Fur­ther­more, some buses will still pro­vide direct ser­vice to Mid­town Man­hat­tan, but can also be redi­rected to Secau­cus in the event of traf­fic grid­lock at the Lin­coln Tun­nel.

At Secau­cus, bus rid­ers will be able to trans­fer onto com­muter rail, sub­way, and light rail that will con­nect to Jer­sey City, Man­hat­tan, Queens, and the Bronx.

Secaucus 1
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2nd Ave Subway – Phase 2

The plans for the Second Avenue Subway involve dig­ging 8.5 miles of new tun­nel from 125th Street in Harlem south to the Financial District. During Phase 1, which is almost com­plete, the line is to begin at the inter­sec­tion of Second Avenue and 96th Street, run­ning south to join the BMT Broadway Line via the exist­ing BMT 63rd Street Line. Phase I sta­tions will be located at 96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street. The Q ser­vice will be routed to 96th Street. The Q ser­vice will ini­tially have a rush-hour ser­vice fre­quency of 7.5 to 10 trains per hour, or one train every 6 to 8 min­utes in each direc­tion; by con­trast, the IRT Lexington Avenue Line’s express tracks (4/5 trains) have an esti­mated rush-hour fre­quency of 30 trains per hour, or one train approx­i­mately every 2 min­utes in each direc­tion. In Phase 2, Q ser­vice would be extended north to 125th Street and veer west before ter­mi­nat­ing at Lexington Avenue.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan adopts cur­rent and his­tor­i­cal sub­way pro­pos­als and mod­i­fies each one so that the sub­way is inte­grated with long-dis­tance rail, com­muter rail, and the local bus net­work. ReThink Studio pro­poses the con­struc­tion of a new branch of the A train extend­ing across 125th Street. Addi­tional sta­tions would be built to con­nect to the 2/3 at Mal­colm X blvd and at Park/Lexington to con­nect to Metro-North and the 4/5/6 lines. After this the line would con­tinue east to join with the Sec­ond Avenue Sub­way en route to the Bronx.

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LIRR East Side Access

By 2022, the MTA’s $10 bil­lion East Side Access Project will cre­ate a new Long Island Rail Road sta­tion below Grand Central, giv­ing LIRR two Manhattan ter­mi­nals and cre­at­ing a new con­nec­tion with Metro-North lines.

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lPGeJAY

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The basic prin­ci­ple of the East Side Access Project is to cre­ate a more robust trans­porta­tion sys­tem by con­struct­ing redun­dant ser­vice, so that LIRR trains can access Manhattan via Penn and Grand Central Station. The same prin­ci­ple is applied by ReThinkNYC through the pro­posed con­nec­tion of all three Metro-North lines into the Northeast Corridor so that MNR trains can ter­mi­nate at Grand Central (on the exist­ing via­duct and East Side Access) or reach Secaucus, NJ via Penn Station.

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MNR Penn Station Access

Penn Station Access is a pub­lic works project pro­posed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City. The goal of the project is to allow Metro-North Railroad com­muter trains to access Penn Station on Manhattan’s West Side, using the exist­ing Northeast Corridor tracks owned by Amtrak.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

Similar to the East Side Access Project, Penn Access is a pro­posal that will split Metro-North’s New Haven Line in the Bronx so that some trains will con­tinue to ter­mi­nate at Grand Central and the rest will fol­low the Northeast Corridor and ter­mi­nate at Penn Station. However, Penn Access does not provide redun­dant ser­vice for Metro-North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines, which will still only be able to ter­mi­nate at Grand Central. In the ReThinkNYC plan, all three Metro-North lines will be con­nected into the Northeast Corridor at Port Morris, the Bronx. MNR trains will be able to ter­mi­nate at Grand Central (via the exist­ing Park Ave via­duct or the new East Side Access) or at Secaucus Station (via the Northeast Corridor).

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LGA Expansion

Cuomo’s plan to over­haul LaGuardia’s pas­sen­ger facil­i­ties will hardly make the air­port more effi­cient if the run­ways are still dan­ger­ously short, prone to flood­ing, and are not expanded to han­dle inter­na­tional flights. Giv­ing LaGuardia’s ter­mi­nals a face-lift is a given, but it’s also a short-sighted plan that offers no solu­tion to LGA’s under­ly­ing prob­lems.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

As a major regional trans­porta­tion hub, Port Mor­ris Sta­tion will have the unique advan­tage of poten­tially trans­form­ing LaGuardia, New York City’s least acces­si­ble air­port, into one of the most acces­si­ble air­ports in the United States. Such a trans­for­ma­tion will be as easy as con­struct­ing an air­train shut­tle from Port Mor­ris Sta­tion, under the East River, and into the exist­ing LaGuardia Air­port or an expanded LaGuardia, as pro­posed in the ReThinkLGA plan.

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7 Train to Secaucus

By extend­ing the 7 Train from its present ter­mi­nus at 34th Street – Hud­son Yards to Secau­cus Junc­tion via a new tun­nel under the Hud­son River, New Jer­sey com­muters will have the abil­ity to trans­fer onto the New York City Sub­way before reach­ing the Penn Sta­tion bot­tle­neck. Extend­ing the 7 Train will not only cre­ate a stronger link between New Jer­sey, Man­hat­tan, and Queens, but it will also pro­vide a direct con­nec­tion between Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion and the North­east Cor­ri­dor at Secau­cus.

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PA Bus Terminal Plan Secaucus

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan envi­sions Secau­cus Junc­tion as a major inter­modal trans­porta­tion hub for the region. Thus, Secau­cus will become eas­ily acces­si­ble by var­i­ous tran­sit net­works of dif­fer­ing scales (long-dis­tance rail, com­muter rail, sub­way, light rail, and bus).

The 7 Train would leave for Man­hat­tan every 2 min­utes (30 depar­tures per hour) and carry tens of thou­sands of pas­sen­gers each day.

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HBLR Extension

The Hud­son-Bergen Light Rail runs between Bay­onne, Jer­sey City, Hobo­ken, and Union City. By using aban­doned rail lines, New Jersey’s light-rail sys­tem can be devel­oped into a net­work that is fully inte­grated with com­muter rail, sub­way, and bus.

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HBLR 3-min, West Shore Light Rail

The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan includes extend­ing light rail to Staten Island, Bergen County, and Secau­cus Junc­tion. There­fore, res­i­dents of North Jer­sey and Staten Island will have access to a light rail net­work that pro­vides con­nec­tions to busi­nesses dis­tricts and Secau­cus Junc­tion –the regional tran­sit hub for New Jer­sey.

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American Dream Mall

The Amer­i­can Dream Mall (open­ing in 2017), fea­tur­ing 500+ stores, an indoor ski-slope and amuse­ment park, is expected to bring 20,000 new jobs to the region. Fur­ther­more, the mega-mall will stim­u­late growth in the Mead­ow­lands area, with some plan­ners pre­dict­ing that the project will result in 6–10 new hotels being built adja­cent to the site.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

The ReThinkNYC plan calls for an exten­sion of the PATH sub­way to Secau­cus because it will pro­vide another link to Mid­town and cre­ate a new link to Lower Man­hat­tan.

Instead of infre­quent com­muter rail and bus ser­vice for the Mead­ow­lands com­plex, it makes the most sense to reac­ti­vate and re-pur­pose exist­ing infra­struc­ture to cre­ate a sub­way con­nec­tion between Man­hat­tan, Jer­sey City, Secau­cus Junc­tion, and MetLife Sta­dium.

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Sunnyside Yard Development

Mayor Bill de Blasio has pro­posed deck­ing over the 180-acre Sunnyside rail yard in order to build 11,250 new afford­able apart­ments. Not long after, Governor Cuomo put forth a dif­fer­ent pro­posal that would place a new con­ven­tion cen­ter above the tracks.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

Unlike other pro­pos­als for Sun­ny­side, the ReThinkNYC plan would not allow for com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment on top of the site itself. Instead, the exist­ing low-den­sity com­mer­cial areas adja­cent to Sun­ny­side would rede­velop over time by rezon­ing the area for high-den­sity, mixed-use devel­op­ment. Thus, an oppor­tu­nity is cre­ated to extend com­mer­cial indus­try from Mid­town Man­hat­tan across the East River and solve the hous­ing and com­mer­cial office space dual-crises.

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Brooklyn-Queens Light Rail

Mayor de Bla­sio has pro­posed a $2.5 bil­lion Brook­lyn-Queens water­front street­car that will run from Red Hook through down­town Brook­lyn and Williams­burg to Asto­ria. While build­ing new tran­sit infra­struc­ture is a good thing, any pro­posal should not be seen indi­vid­u­ally, but rather in the con­text of the whole sys­tem.

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The ReThinkNYC Alternative

As part of the ReThinkNYC pro­posal, a Brook­lyn-Queens light rail would be a net­work made up of trunk-lines on ded­i­cated rights-of-way and branch lines run­ning on-street and mixed with traf­fic. By cre­at­ing a light rail net­work for Brook­lyn and Queens, areas that are con­sid­ered to be “tran­sit deserts” can be trans­formed into highly acces­si­ble and thriv­ing neigh­bor­hoods.

ReThink Studio

ReThink Studio