The Regional Plan Association, a New York-based regional planning association, released a new report on Nov. 30 outlining 61 suggestions to improve the lives of city residents.
The nonprofit worked on “The Fourth Regional Plan” for five years, interviewing 4,000 people from the tri-state area to come up with ideas to improve economic opportunity, transportation and our response to climate change.
As part of their research, the group found that while the tri-state region has added 1.8 million jobs in the past 28 years, it is projected to add only half that number in the next 25 years. This plan aims to “achieve greater equity, shared prosperity, better health and sustainability” within that region.
In terms of transportation, the plan points out that less than two-thirds of the city’s population can walk to a train station. In Queens, fewer than four in 10 residents can walk to the subway. The plan also suggests that high-density, low-income neighborhoods like North Corona, Pomonok, Fresh Meadows and College Point should be a top priority.
A proposal dubbed the Trans-Regional Express (T-REX) would extend the Long Island Rail Road to provide more subway-like services with eight new stations in Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Rochdale, Laurelton and south Jamaica. The T-REX would connect Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit at Penn Station.
In addition, the Triboro Line would provide services to places such as Middle Village and Glendale. The new line, which would operate on existing freight rail tracks, would begin at Sunset Park in Brooklyn and end in Co-Op City in the Bronx.
The plan also suggests creating new subway lines or extending current ones. The 3.7-mile Northern Boulevard line would serve the Jackson Heights, North Corona, North Flushing and College Point neighborhoods.
The proposed 5.7-mile Jewel Avenue Line would extend the R and M trains to bring service to Pomonok and Fresh Meadows and would connect the the new T-REX Metro service along the LIRR main line in Hollis and Queens Village.
Lastly, the plan calls for a new terminus and train yard to be built on the northern side of Ditmars Boulevard and 20th Street in Astoria. The neighborhood’s population is expected to grow and the plan argues that this new yard would allow for more frequent service in the northern part of Astoria, which is under-served by transportation.
The almost 400-page plan also suggests that late night subway service be terminated so that the MTA could perform critical repairs. Instead, bus service would run more frequently late at night. The Regional Plan Association also suggests creating a Subway Reconstruction Public Benefit Corporation to overhaul and modernize the subway system within 15 years.
This modernization includes updating signal systems and train stations to bring cleaner, brighter and larger station entrances and corridors that can accommodate disabled commuters.
To read the full plan, visit the Regional Plan Association’s website.