Maritime Support Services
Existing North Shore rail line at
Vacant Historic Buildings
The study area stretches five miles along the Kill Van Kull waterfront from the New York Container Terminal to the St. George Ferry terminal and south from the waterfront to Forest Avenue. A number of historic neighborhoods are located in the study area including Arlington, Mariners Harbor, Elm Park, Port Richmond, West Brighton, New Brighton and St. George. The North Shore is twice as dense as the rest of Station Island with 67,000 residents and 25,000 housing units, and its working waterfront is home to the largest concentration of maritime support services in the New York Harbor, including businesses such as Caddell Dry Dock, Reinauer, and K-Sea Transportation.
Historically, the North Shore has been defined by its key assets – the Kill Van Kull, Richmond Terrace, the North Shore Rail (ROW) and the historic neighborhoods and maritime businesses located along these interlocking corridors. Today, these assets are not functioning to their full potential, and the study area faces several challenges:
- Limited east-west road network
- Former North Shore Rail right-of-way (ROW) conflicts with existing businesses and public space
- Underutilized, low job-producing uses on the waterfront
- Brownfields and other environmental challenges
- Deteriorated shoreline infrastructure
- Lack of public access to the waterfront
Richmond Terrace is the major east-west traffic corridor along the waterfront. As a former Indian trail, it follows the original shoreline and many older businesses and residences were built alongside. Today, this two-lane road serves commuters, maritime businesses and local residents on their daily trips, all of whom are challenged by its sharp curves and lack of turning lanes. Pedestrians and bicycles are hampered by narrow sidewalks and dangerous crossing at key locations. In coordination with the MTA’s Alternatives Analysis looking at long-term solutions, this study aims to target short-term improvements to east-west commutes.
While the North Shore contains the City’s largest concentration of maritime support services (2,200 jobs, average salary $51,000), many of these businesses are challenged by the struggle to improve or expand waterfront bulkheads and attract skilled employees. Long-term reinvestment is made difficult by the location of the former rail ROW, which runs through private properties. In addition, approximately half of the privately-owned sites on the waterfront are used for non-maritime purposes, primarily auto salvage and storage.
While the North Shore is defined by its proximity to the Kill Van Kull, many neighborhoods do not have physical or visual access to the waterfront. Currently there are only three publicly accessible locations along the waterfront: the North Shore Esplanade in St. George, and Snug Harbor and Faber Park in Port Richmond . Additional city-owned sites have been targeted for future parks, but the need to overcome environmental challenges has delayed these projects.
A number of studies have been completed or are under way that impact the North Shore, including:
- MTA North Shore Rail Right of Way Alternatives Analysis
- NYC Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan
- NYC West Shore Land Use & Transportation Study
- Goethals Bridge Replacement EIS
- Bayonne Bridge Alternatives Analysis
- PlaNYC update
The North Shore Land Use and Transportation Study is closely coordinated with these studies and builds upon their recommendations. Input has been provided from NYC Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Environmental Protection, Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), among others.
Most importantly these efforts are being coordinated with the MTA’s Alternative Analysis Study of the former North Shore Rail Right-of-Way (ROW), which is controlled by the city. The MTA’s review will assess whether the ROW can be utilized to increase transportation options and improve the quality and speed of transit service on the North Shore. The scope of the North Shore Land Use and Transportation Study is limited to the land use and transportation improvements on existing roads and will be coordinated with the MTA’s recommendations.
Additional information and North Shore research materials are available at