The Bronx Metro-North Station Area plan is a work in progress that reflects the community’s vision to ensure Bronxites see the most benefit from the coming stations. The plan would support public and private investments in housing, jobs, programming and more to bring the community’s vision to life.
Recommendations for the station areas (see Read the Plan) were developed with input, ideas, and priorities discussed at a series of public meetings, surveys, and small-group discussions from 2018 through 2022.
Land use recommendations are expected to enter a formal public review process in the second half of 2023. The MTA anticipates to open the new stations in 2027.
Working Communities: How do we plan to grow jobs and connect Bronxites to them?
New Metro-North service in the East Bronx provides an unprecedented economic opportunity, and the City’s station-area planning can leverage the new service to grow new jobs, bolster significant job centers in the borough, and connect residents to jobs in the city and the region. The Bronx Metro-North station area plan can also play an important role in the city and borough’s recovery from COVID by growing jobs and investing in infrastructure.
Working Communities focuses on three areas: strengthening and growing existing job centers; increasing access to jobs in region; and connecting Bronxites to good jobs.
Strengthen and grow job centers around new stations
Today, Morris Park and Hunts Point are two of the most important job centers in the city and include essential workers in both the healthcare and life sciences sectors and food distribution industry. Despite being one of the largest job centers in the borough with 23,000 jobs, Morris Park faces limitations on its growth including inadequate transit, lack of new housing and neighborhood amenities, and poor vehicular and pedestrian circulation. The plan seeks to address these limitations to support job growth, create a center of activity, and support new housing needed for a more balanced job center. The Hunts Point Peninsula has over 700 businesses and 20,000 jobs including 8,400 jobs at one of the world’s largest food distribution centers which is a lifeblood of the city. The new service will provide an opportunity to increase connectivity that will provide access to a broader workforce and connect it to the region. The plan includes a set of recommendations that support important these crucial job centers and will continue to be developed with agency and community partners.
Increase regional access to jobs
New regional rail service will not only significantly reduce travel times into Midtown Manhattan by up more than 60 minutes, but it will also create new connections for Bronxites to the entire region. The new regional rail service will make accessible the entire New Haven line transit corridor which has more than 175,000 jobs, comparable to a mid-size city like St. Louis. Through the planning process the city has coordinated with regional partners to understand employer and employee needs so the new service can strengthen the regional job ecosystem.
Connect Bronx residents to good jobs
Job growth in the Bronx has been strong, workforce education and training have expanded, and unemployment was near an all-time low prior to the pandemic. However, there are still many barriers for Bronx residents to access jobs. Throughout the planning process the City has been working with employers, residents and job networks to understand gaps and barriers to entry and identify opportunities to ensure new service provides the greatest benefit to Bronx residents. More than 500,000 residents, a third of the Bronx, live within a mile of the proposed stations, and can benefit from improved access to jobs with the new service. Through the plan and during implementation, the City will seek opportunities to understand the needs of residents and employers and work to address them.
The new Metro-North service creates a unique opportunity to improve access and grow jobs now and into the future. The plan will present data, document community and stakeholder feedback, and present a set of recommendations to continue a longer-term conversation to ensure the Bronx, the city and the region to see maximum benefits from the new stations.
Vibrant Communities: How do we plan for growth while celebrating who we are?
For service to be successful, the communities and residents need to have the opportunities and resources to access this amenity. The study offers an opportunity to think holistically about how best to weave the new stations into the fabric of existing communities, identify needed improvements in surrounding communities, and plan where new housing, jobs and retail might be appropriate near the new stations.
The Vibrant Communities section of the plan focuses on seven areas:
Land use and placemaking
To understand where communities should grow around new transit, it’s important to understand how they have grown historically. The population of the Bronx has seen historic growth in recent years and has now reached its peak population of over 1.4 million residents. However, the areas directly around the proposed stations have seen not seen significant new housing or retail. This can be attributed to a few things: the rail line itself has traditionally served as a physical barrier, which runs at different grades throughout the corridor; it has created atypical lots that are more difficult to develop; and with no commuter rail service today, many of these areas do not have great access to mass transit. Additionally, the zoning around some of the stations, most of which has been in place for over fifty years, has locked in this pattern by not permitting residential development.
The new stations provide an opportunity to promote equitable transit-oriented development that benefits all residents regardless of income, race, ethnicity, age, gender, immigration status, or ability. The Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest stations have the most opportunity for growth, and the plan includes land use recommendations to support transit-oriented development to meet existing community needs around these stations. These recommendations are focused around the station areas themselves and provide an opportunity to rethink corridors and create places around the stations. For example, East Tremont Avenue has long served as a backdoor to the Parkchester and Van Nest communities, and a new station provides an opportunity to redesign East Tremont Avenue as a pedestrian-friendly transit corridor that supports the surrounding communities. For its part, the area around the Morris Park station has an outdated manufacturing district that sits in the middle of the growing jobs center, one of the largest in the borough. Changes to the underlying zoning will allow for the job center to grow and create new housing and a center for the neighborhood. Detailed recommendations are included in the Vibrant Communities section of the plan.
The housing around each of the stations today is varied and diverse, therefore each station area has unique needs. The station areas include the world’s largest co-op and a stable residential center at Co-op City; the historic Parkchester Planned Community and the one-and two-family homes in the Van-Nest neighborhood; the Morris Park jobs center, which today lacks housing, and its surrounding stable low-scale neighborhoods; and the Hunts Point residential core. As the city continues to face historic demand for housing, understanding the existing housing stock and needs of residents is a critical first step towards protecting existing communities, addressing housing needs, and planning for thoughtful growth oriented around the new stations, particularly at Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest.
Connected Communities: How do we plan to help people get around the neighborhood, the city, and the region?
While getting riders to places north and south of the Bronx along the new line is important, just as important is making sure Bronxites and future riders can comfortably get to and from the new stations. This work involves finding a balanced approach that allows for a mix of transportation options. The Connected Communities section of the plan focuses on pedestrians, vehicles, and transit connections. Recommendations include pedestrian improvements to ensure residents can safely and efficiently access the stations, changes to vehicular circulation to allow safe pick-up/drop-off of passengers , intermodal connections to the greater mass transit network, and last mile needs to ensure residents can easily access job and commercial centers in the area.
The Connected Communities section of the plan focuses on four areas:
Because the new service will utilize an existing rail line , the new station areas are often disconnected from residential, retail, and activity centers. Throughout the planning process, pedestrian safety and access were consistent themes. The plan will include recommendations and illustrations depicting improvements to ensure that major corridors are safe, well-lit, and offer pleasant pedestrian experiences; strengthen bike and walking connections to the station, transit, retail, and area campuses; and improve wayfinding to local retail corridors, neighborhoods, and amenities.
The new stations and new transit-oriented development will change vehicular circulation patterns and create traffic needs. In some areas, new infrastructure will be needed to support this, and in others the recommendations may include improvements to ensure efficient pick-up and drop-off or to create a safe pedestrian environment. The City has taken a comprehensive look at the vehicular circulation network around each station area and the plan will identify and prioritize these needs.
The new service must operate as an integrated part of the larger mass transit network to be successful. Identifying opportunities for seamless intermodal connections has been an important part of the planning process. This includes not only improved pedestrian connections between buses and subways but also bikes, rideshares and emerging modes of transportation like e-bikes and scooters. Wayfinding signage and the incorporation of new technologies will help streamline transfers, which are more likely with commuter rail stations. In addition, we are working with our regional partners to address “last mile” needs and ensure that when Bronxites travel to new destinations along the corridor, they will be able to seamlessly continue to their destination.
A more connected region
For an overview of what new service will mean for the borough, the city, and the region, the following before-and-after maps highlight the extent to which Bronxites will be better and more quickly connected to places north and south of the borough than ever before.
The accompanying image shows how far Bronxites will be able to travel within 90 minutes taking the new service from the Morris Park or Parkchester/Van Nest stations. Move the slider back and forth to compare how far residents can travel today versus how far they will be able to travel with new service.
The Bronx Metro-North Station Area Plan includes recommendations for housing, jobs, services, and other improvements identified by the community. Bringing the community’s vision to life will mean:
In the coming year the NYC Planning will submit an application to the City Planning Commission to change existing zoning rules to allow for new housing and jobs. A first and critical step in this project is analyzing how potential changes would impact parks and open to space, to schools, to roads and more.
In January of 2023 NYC Planning will host a scoping meeting to share the parameters of the analysis and collect any public comments.
The new public transit service will make jobs across the city and region more accessible to local communities. NYC Planning will hold conversations over the next year focused on ensuring Bronx residents are prepared for the new job opportunities.
It’s critical that residents, workers, and visitors feel comfortable accessing the stations and the surrounding neighborhoods. We will continue to work towards: