The North Shore Land Use and Transportation Study was initiated at the recommendation of the Mayor’s Growth Management Task Force in 2008 as part of the city’s continuing efforts to preserve the neighborhood character of the borough’s lower density neighborhoods while balancing the needs of the working waterfront. The Kill Van Kull waterfront is home to many historic communities and also the largest concentration of tugboats, dry docks and barges serving all of New York Harbor.
City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation have partnered to conduct a comprehensive land use and transportation study to identify opportunities for expanding maritime businesses and job creation, strengthening neighborhood centers, improving transportation connections, providing waterfront public access and addressing environmental challenges. Through extensive public engagement and partnerships with City and State agencies, local elected officials and civic representatives, the study will create a consensus framework to guide public and private land use and capital investment decisions for the next 20 years.
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:
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:
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 www.nycedc.com/northshore.
North Shore 2030 is the result of an extensive, two-year community engagement effort. The vision and implementation framework relied upon the input of a broad and diverse group of individuals, including North Shore residents and business owners who participated in public workshops, listening sessions and civic organizations, as well as elected officials and public agencies who lent their expertise to the study’s Community and Technical Advisory Committees.
NYCDCP and NYCEDC held two public meetings in November 2010 to present the draft recommendations, get feedback, and establish priorities for implementation. Following the presentation, participants were broken into discussion groups based on neighborhoods. The groups, after discussing the draft recommendations and overall vision, focused on identifying key short term priorities which could be implemented in the next 3-5 years.
Feedback from the public meetings was utilized to finalize North Shore 2030 and identify key short-term commitments to kick-start the vision.
Two rounds of public Open Houses and Visioning sessions were held on April and November 2009 to gain an understanding of the community’s needs a vision for the North Shore for over the next 20 years. In addition, NYCEDC and NYCDCP held numerous listening sessions with local stakeholders, including representatives of North Shore neighborhood groups, the maritime industry, environmental groups, local civic organizations and Community Board 1. These meetings helped identify potential future land uses and infrastructure investments, and suggestions gathered from the public were incorporated into the draft recommendations presented in November 2010.
The presentations from these early public meetings may be viewed at NYCEDC’s website.
At the November 2009 Open House and Visioning session, the community was invited to participate in the Budget Game, an exercise developed to help prioritize infrastructure, investments, and land use decisions on the North Shore. Presented with an imaginary budget of $500 and a list of possible projects, participants were asked to decide how to spend their budget. The main categories featured proposed improvements in mobility, the creation and retention of jobs, the revitalization of commercial centers, and the restoration and provision of open space, all of which addressed issues raised by stakeholders in previous meetings. The projects varied from short-term, less expensive improvements to long-term, budget intensive projects. In groups, the participants were asked to reach a consensus on how their budget would be spent. The results of the Budget Game helped identify community priorities and informed the draft recommendations presented in November 2010.
To view the Budget Game exercise and the results, please click on the links below.
The North Shore Study Advisory Committee consisted of civic organizations, elected officials, and public agencies with local perspectives and expertise in transportation, environmental, waterfront, residential and business issues. The Committee played a key role in informing the study through advisory committee meetings and one-on-one listening sessions with the project team. In addition, the Advisory Committee assisted in outreach efforts to ensure their membership and the community at large was engaged in the North Shore planning effort.
The following organizations and agencies are represented on the Committee: