Bronx Metro-North Station Area Study

Illustration of Bron Metro North Area

What is the Plan?

As we build the Bronx Metro-North plan together, the study team wants your continued input!  A  plan is an important step in any planning process and developing the Bronx Metro-North plan is an on-going process. This plan is a work-in-progress that summarizes a vision for the Bronx Metro-North station areas, and objectives and recommendations to achieve that vision. The recommendations were developed based on input, ideas, and priorities gathered through a series of in-person and remote workshops, open houses, surveys, and small-group discussions from 2018 through 2021. The planning process provided an opportunity for further feedback to shape the final Bronx Metro-North plan, which will memorialize the multi-year community process and serve as a roadmap for bringing the study goals and objectives to life. The final plan is anticipated in 2022 and will allow the City to begin implementation to keep pace with Metro-North as it works to launch service at the new stations in 2026 (estimated).

Message from the Chair

Learn about the importance of planning work around these new stations from the Chair of the City Planning Commission, Anita Laremont.

Project Timeline

The Bronx Metro-North Station Area Study launched in the summer of 2018 with a convening of a Working Group of elected officials, agencies, community organizations, and institutions who understood the importance of adding new Metro-North service to the East Bronx and the need to plan for its arrival.

Starting in Fall 2018 through Spring 2019, the study team worked station-by-station to hold public workshops and small group conversations for participants to share their local expertise, hear from their neighbors, and contribute their ideas to improve the station areas. Following the workshops, the study team sponsored station-specific open houses to reflect what had been heard and solicit further feedback. From Spring to Fall 2021, the study team sponsored a Remote Open House with online small-group sessions to share draft recommendations for each station area and continue engagement during COVID.

The plan continues to evolve and provides an opportunity for further feedback to shape the final plan, which is anticipated in 2022.

 

              Project
              Launch
              2018

    Station Area
    Workshops
    2018-2019

Open House
1st draft of
Recommendations
Shared, 2019

    Remote
    Open
    House
    2021

        Building
        the plan
        (where
        we are)

Final plan and Implementation
2022 -

Streetscape with storefronts and people crossing a crosswalk

What’s next?

  • Continued input to build the plan with you!
  • Release of a final plan in 2022
  • Ongoing implementation

 

What We Heard

Public engagement has been central to the Bronx Metro-North Station-Area Study since the start of study work in 2018. Ensuring public perspectives and priorities are reflected in the work is key to the success of the study and will be critical to the success of the stations in the future. Below you will find information on how that work has been incorporated and how it will continue to be incorporated moving forward.

How does your voice become part of the plan?

Since the launch of the Bronx Metro-North Station Area Study in July 2018, the study team has been working closely with community members and organizations, agency partners, and other community stakeholders to develop a series of recommendations touching on everything from housing and retail to jobs, to sidewalks and streets and much more.  These recommendations were developed based on input, ideas, and priorities gathered through a series of in-person and remote open houses, surveys, and small-group discussions over 2018 through 2020.  The input gathered during the planning process was essential to shaping the recommendations released in spring and summer 2021 as part of the Remote Open House series and presented as a part of this in-progress plan.

The process to develop the plan is ongoing. Through the Remote Open House and other conversations in 2021, stakeholders provided feedback on recommendations for each of the proposed stations. Continued feedback will shape the final BMNS station-area plan, anticipated in 2022.  The final plan will memorialize the multi-year community process carried out since the study launch in July 2018 and guide implementation. 

Below are a few examples of how community output has already shaped the planning work and has been incorporated into the recommendations.

Example 1 - Co-op City

Buildings in the SoHo-NoHo Neighborhood

Many residents have expressed concern about the location of the Co-op City station at the intersection of Erskine Ave and De Reimer Ave. Today this area lacks the infrastructure needed to support a new station, such as sidewalks and pedestrian lighting. The study team heard numerous concerns from area residents about the kinds of changes that would be needed to make them feel safe going to and from the station. The accompanying image, which was shared as part of the remote open house, shows some of these potential improvements.

 

Example 2 - Morris Park

Buildings in the SoHo-NoHo Neighborhood

Early in the public process, the lack of public space near the planned station at Morris Park rose to the top of the list of needs if the station area is to become a center for the community. In consultation with the public, area institutions, and partners at the NYC Department of Transportation and NYC Parks & Recreation, the study team began to pursue the idea of providing a public open space near the station entrance. The accompanying image represents and idea of what such an open space might look like in the future. The study team will continue to work with the public, area institutions, city agencies, and the MTA to refine and bring to life this vision.

 

Example 3 - Parkchester/Van Nest

Buildings in the SoHo-NoHo Neighborhood

Many community members expressed concern about the lack of sidewalks and pedestrian crossings that would allow residents to safely and comfortably access the future station. The BMNS draft recommendations call for a plan to improve safety, pedestrian amenities, and in general beautify the East Tremont Avenue corridor. The streetscape plan will be developed and implemented over time. The accompanying image  represents a vision of some of the potential future improvements.

 

Example 4 - Hunts Point

Buildings in the SoHo-NoHo Neighborhood

Residents have long expressed the Bruckner serves as a barrier for those crossing from the 6 train at Del Valle Square to the Hunts Point peninsula. With new Metro-North service, this crossing will only become more important. Based on community comments, the study team has worked with City agencies and the MTA to identify options for improving conditions under the Bruckner while also providing easier access to the station. The accompanying image shows a vision for what some of these improvements might look like, from shortened crossing distances to an additional entrance on the side of the station facing Del Valle Square.

 

Plan Topic Areas

Throughout the study, we have taken a holistic approach to planning around each station area to ensure that the unique needs of the surrounding communities are met, and they see the most benefit from the new service. Over the course of our conversations with the community some major themes have become clear including: access to jobs and the creation of new jobs; balanced growth that supports existing residents with new housing, shopping and services; and ensuring the station are connected to their communities. To highlight these themes the recommendations are organized under three categories:

  • Working Communities. We need to take full advantage of the stations and service to grow jobs centers in the Bronx while helping to connect Bronxites to jobs in the borough, the city and the region
  • Vibrant Communities. Our plans for the future must honor who we are as communities today
  • Connected Communities. We need to use the opportunity of the new service to enhance how we get around our neighborhoods, the borough, the city, and the region

Read below for more detail on how the study addresses each of these topic areas.

Streetscape with storefronts and people crossing a crosswalk

 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.

Streetscape with storefronts and people crossing a crosswalk

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:

  • Parks, open space and public realm improvements
  • Community services, such as schools
  • Health, including addressing health inequities and promoting healthy food options
  • Arts, culture and history
  •  Emerging immigrant communities
  • Equitable neighborhoods
  • Existing housing needs and new housing opportunities Land use and placemaking to support transit-oriented development in Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest

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.

Housing
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.

Streetscape with storefronts and people crossing a crosswalk

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:

  • Pedestrian realm
  • Vehicular circulation
  • Intermodal connectivity
  • Improved regional connections

Pedestrian Realm
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.

Vehicular Circulation
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.

Intermodal Connections
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.

 

Illustration of intersection with retail and  apartments. Text reads: “Vision for Erskine Pl. with pedestrian/streetscape improvements”
Buildings and station near Erskine Pl.  Text reads “Current view of Erskine Pl. near station

 

Station Areas

 

Have questions?

For additional questions or inquiries, please email BMNS@planning.nyc.gov or call (718) 220-8504.