Regional Plan Association

Policy, Transportation, Urban Design

BQE, DOT, Brooklyn heights promenade, Regional Plan association, bqe redesign

Image: Wikimedia cc.

A report released today by civic think tank Regional Plan Organization highlights options for the impending Brooklyn-Queens Expressway reconstruction that would appear to upend conventional highway reconstruction policy. The new report suggests that the DOT could actually reduce the number of lanes needed when redesigning the expressway’s 1.5-mile “Triple Cantilever” under the historic Brooklyn Heights Promenade, in addition to looking at congestion pricing, HOV restrictions and two-way tolling for the Verrazano Bridge. The demand management policies outlined contain both immediate benefits–like eliminating the need to block access to the historic Brooklyn Heights Promenade–and long-term rewards like reducing pollution.

Fewer highways, less traffic?

Policy, Transportation

gateway program, hudson river tunnel, amtrak

Via Amtrak

If the only rail link between New Jersey and Manhattan shuttered, homes in the region would see a drop in home value by $22 billion, according to a report released on Tuesday. An analysis from the Regional Plan Association highlights the economic effects of a partial shutdown of the Hudson River tunnel, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy and carries 200,000 daily passengers via Amtrak and NJ Transit. To make repairs to the 110-year-old tunnels, officials have called for a $13 billion project that would construct a second tunnel to keep service operating while the existing tunnel is restored. But President Donald Trump’s administration said it will not support the Gateway tunnel project, making a partial shutdown of the tunnel more likely, according to the RPA (h/t Crain’s).

Get the details

Green Design, New Jersey, Policy, Urban Design

Via ORG Permanent Modernity/Regional Plan Association

Released last fall, the Regional Plan Association’s (RPA) Fourth Plan includes 61 recommendations focused on improving and expanding the area’s deteriorating infrastructure, transportation, and affordability, much of which revolves around climate change and its transformation of the region. According to the report, more than one million people and 650,000 jobs are at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. In the plan, the RPA ambitiously recommends that the New Jersey Meadowlands, 21,000 acres of low-lying wetlands, becomes a national park as a way to mitigate impacts of climate change (h/t Curbed). Designating the region’s largest wetland as a national park would restore the natural habits, protect nearby communities, and create a recreational space, becoming, the report says, a “Climate Change National Park.” The Meadowlands National Park would adapt and grow with climate change by drawing and redrawing the boundaries of the park as coastlines change.

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Policy, Transportation

Construction workers giving a tour of the Second Avenue subway; photo via the MTA on Flickr

The exorbitant construction costs of building transit projects, coupled with project delays, could make the New York region lose jobs and businesses to other global cities that are completing transit projects in a more timely, and economical, fashion. A report released on Tuesday from the Regional Plan Association (RPA) says high-costs and delays are ingrained in every part of the public-project delivery, including too-long environmental reviews, inaccurate project budgets and timelines and a lack of communication with labor unions. In their report, the RPA analyzed three projects and their costs and delivery issues: the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and the extension of the 7-train.

More this way

affordable housing, Policy

Map courtesy of RPA

To solve New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis, more affordable housing should be built in high-rise neighborhoods which have the infrastructure and amenities to support it, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) said in a report released Monday. In order to build more developments in areas of all incomes, RPA says a 67-year-old state law that prohibits residential buildings larger than 12 times their lot size needs to be repealed. Passed by the state in 1961, the law caps residential floor area ratio (FAR) at 12.0. The report calls for lifting the cap to give communities more of a voice in the creation of mixed-income housing, as well as allow for expensive neighborhoods to diversify and expand affordability.

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maps, Policy

Density of population and infrastructure in the projected 2050 floodplain. Image: RPA.

Hurricane season is impossible to ignore, and as the October 29th anniversary date of Superstorm Sandy approaches, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has released a report titled “Coastal Adaptation: A Framework for Governance and Funding to Address Climate Change” that warns of the imminent threat of rising sea levels and outlines a strategy to protect the many vulnerable stretches of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to the report, 59 percent of the region’s energy capacity, four major airports, 21 percent of public housing units, and 12 percent of hospital beds will be in areas at risk of flooding over the next 30 years. RPA research found that even in light of these projections, the region’s climate change planning tends to be reactive and local rather than pro-active and regional–and it’s not nearly enough.

Find out more about who’s at risk and what can be done

City Living, Getting Away, Policy

Pochuck Creek, tri-state trails, RPA

Pochuck Creek, photo via Pixabay

The NY-NJ-CT region features hundreds of parks and landscapes, from the Catskills and Pinelands to the beaches of Jersey and Long Island. Despite all of this open space, these recreational spots are disjointed from each other and from the communities that would use them. To better connect the parks to one another and to residents, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has released a new proposal that calls for a Tri-State Trail network, linking 1,650 miles of biking, hiking, and walking trails in the greater New York region. The trail network would put over 8 million of the area’s residents within a half-mile of a trail, increasing access by 25 percent. It would put over 80 percent of today’s residents, or roughly 18.6 million, within just two miles of a trail.

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City Living, Midtown West, Transportation

Javits Center expansion, Governor Cuomo, FXFOWLE

Image via Office of Gov. Cuomo depicting the Javits’ upcoming expansion 

As the “summer of hell” days of emergency repairs to Penn Station’s rail system roll by, the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit transportation advocacy group, is intent on tackling the transit system’s biggest messes; specifically, the association warned that “public transportation across the Hudson River is in crisis,” and is in the process of updating its regional plan to address that issue and other transportation snarls. Among the group’s suggestions: building a terminal for intercity buses underneath the Jacob K. Javits center on Manhattan’s West Side, the New York Times reports.

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Transportation

Regional Plan Association Lab, NYC subway, Building Big for Less

As the nation’s largest transit system, the New York City subway helps connect millions of people to its five far-reaching boroughs each day. While it has helped shaped the city’s indisputable wealth, density and culture, the cost of subway construction remains incredibly expensive, with the time of projects taking much longer than they should. According to a study, “Building Big for Less,” by the Regional Plan Association Lab (RPA), with the exception of a few minor projects, New York’s subway system peak performance was in 1937. Since the 1930s, there has been little increase in system capacity and today there are fewer miles of track and commuter rail than in 1937. RPA’s study focused on NYC and other world capitals in order to compare transit data on a large scale.

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affordable housing, Bronx

A new report from the Regional Plan Association finds that residents of the Bronx are at highest risk of being pushed out due to gentrification compared to other New Yorkers, according to DNAinfo. The report, titled “Pushed Out: Housing Displacement in an Unaffordable Region,” looks at the effect of rising housing costs in New York City and addresses what it names “A Crisis of Affordability.” The report found the threat of being pushed out due to lack of affordable housing was a threat in 71 percent of census tracts in the Bronx. Following in displacement risk was Brooklyn at 55 percent, Manhattan and Queens at 31 percent each and Staten Island at 15 percent.

People moving out, people moving in

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