As recipients of a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant, the New York-Connecticut Sustainable Communities initiative will implement 16 interrelated projects that address the region's complex challenges at multiple scales--metropolitan, community, corridor and subregion--to expand economic opportunity; foster new affordable, energy-efficient housing; provide more transportation choices; strengthen existing communities; and make the region more globally competitive.
New York City
New York City's Department of City Planning (DCP) will lead three activities that will promote sustainable development within the five boroughs, improve connections to the metropolitan region and develop best practices that can be applied in other parts of the region:
- Bronx Metro-North Corridor: In close cooperation with local communities, strategic actions will be developed to fully capitalize on the Bronx Metro-North Corridor, connecting area residents to job centers in the region and maximizing access to existing and proposed commuter rail stations in the Bronx. The strategies will seek to spur investment in lively, sustainable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with new mixed-income housing, improved station visibility, pedestrian access and intermodal connections around select Bronx Metro-North Stations.
- Sustainable East New York: DCP will develop a comprehensive sustainable strategy for the Cypress Hills and East New York neighborhoods in Brooklyn in collaboration with the local community and civic partners. Capitalizing on the area's strong regional and local transit access, the initiative will identify opportunities for new mixed-income housing, improved access to transit and employment opportunities, streetscape improvements, and healthy food options to create a framework for a more vibrant, transit-oriented neighborhood.
- Climate Resilience: As our region grows around our transit network, climate change and sea level rise present real long-term challenges. DCP will build on NYC's pioneering work on climate resilience to identify strategies that can be used throughout the region to minimize damage and disruption from coastal flooding and storm surges.
On Long Island, the counties of Nassau and Suffolk and the Long Island Regional Planning Council will cooperate on three related projects to promote equitable affordable housing opportunities, develop transportation choices, improve the region's economic competitiveness, and enhance rural and suburban neighborhoods by safeguarding rural landscapes and fostering density in transit-served locations:
- Nassau Infill Redevelopment Study: The County will conduct a feasibility study of sustainable infill development and opportunities to promote transit-oriented development around up to three LIRR stations located within and surrounding the Nassau Hub Transit Study Area. Building off the County's Job Creation and Retention Plan, this study creates opportunities for serving the needs of current and future residents by: 1) rethinking land use patterns; 2) fostering transit oriented development 3) reducing auto dependence; 4) lowering carbon footprint and; 5) expanding population and tax base.
- Suffolk County Transfer of Development Rights Study: With a history of innovative open space protection programs, Suffolk County will develop recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of current transfer of development rights (TDR) programs in order to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency to better promote workforce housing, downtown revitalization, open space preservation, natural resource protection, transit-oriented and targeted economic development. Outcomes should be applicable to similar parts of the regions and growing exurban areas throughout the U.S.
- Long Island Housing Strategy: The Long Island Regional Planning Council, working with the counties of Nassau and Suffolk and other partners, will perform research, outreach and public education on the needs, benefits and impediments to increasing the availability of mixed income housing. The outcome will include an action strategy to create mixed income housing options for all distributed throughout Long Island in transit supported locations.
In Connecticut, four large-scale transit-oriented development projects at key nodes along Metro North's New Haven line will be designed to create a coastal corridor linking centers of innovation and mixed-use, mixed-income development that can provide much of the area's job and housing needs for the next generation:
- Stamford East Main Street Station: The city will explore the feasibility of constructing a new commuter rail station on its east side, acting as eastern anchor to the Urban Transitway Corridor opposite the city's main station and catalyzing redevelopment of several hundred acres in this transit-rich corridor. The project is part of a comprehensive, citizen-driven action strategy to lay a foundation for long-term economic growth, environmental quality and reduced economic disparity.
- South Norwalk TOD: Norwalk will take the first steps towards implementing a recently completed transit-oriented development master plan for the neighborhood of South Norwalk, attracting new investment while retaining quality of life for existing residents and businesses. Outcomes will include increased economic opportunity and mixed-income housing within the South Norwalk neighborhoods, and improved public transit/circulator, pedestrian and bike access to the South Norwalk train station
- Bridgeport Barnum Station: Bridgeport will explore the feasibility of constructing a new commuter rail station on its east side, acting as a central anchor to the city's east side redevelopment opportunities totaling over 700 acres. The project will provide a regionally-critical second Northeast Corridor rail access point for Connecticut's largest city and promote mixed-use, transit-oriented development and affordable housing around the distressed East End and East Side neighborhoods.
- New Haven Union Station: The project is intended to convert the existing historic Union Station into a new mixed use intermodal transit-oriented community. As part of a larger plan, the city will move conceptual plans to the implementation phase for structuring parking near the commuter and inter-city rail station to free up land that is currently being used as surface parking for new transit-oriented development.
In the lower Hudson Valley, three initiatives will strengthen connections between Westchester's largest cities and neighboring areas in Rockland, Connecticut and New York City:
- New Rochelle Smart Growth Initiative: New Rochelle will implement a comprehensive strategy to promote commercial and residential development in proximity to the New Rochelle Transit Center as outlined in the City's draft Sustainability Plan. The resulting Transit Oriented Development Zone will help residents lead healthy, safe, affordable, and productive lives and connect to the Connecticut projects along the New Haven line and Yonkers and Mt. Vernon in the Cross County Corridor.
- Cross County Parkway Corridor Action Plan: The cities of Yonkers, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, in collaboration with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, will define sustainable communities issues and planning needs in the east-west Cross County Parkway corridor which connects these lower Hudson Valley cities. A corridor profile will be developed for use in the development of NYMTC's next Regional Transportation Plan.
- I-287/Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor Action Plan: The City of White Plains, in collaboration with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, and in consultation with other I-287 corridor communities, will define sustainable communities issues and planning needs in the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor, including connections to railway and other transit hubs, existing and planned. A corridor profile will be developed for use in the development of NYMTC's next Regional Transportation Plan.
Region-wide activities will synthesize the different activities of the grant and provide a planning framework to guide sustainability planning at both regional and local levels. All Sustainable Community partners will participate, with Regional Plan Association and the four participating metropolitan planning organizations--NYMTC, SWRPA, GBVMPO and SCRCOG--leading these activities.
- Sustainability Plan Enhancement: The region has several comprehensive plans, from regional transportation-land use plans to county master plans to award-winning municipal sustainability plans. The activity will identify ways to better align the plans with each other and with federal and state regulations, and link them with an execution plan to overcome geographic and functional silos that impede putting them into action.
- Knowledge Sharing: To sustain and grow the effort, the initiative will create a network of engaged government officials, civic and community leaders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, planners and private citizens that cuts across geographic, racial, ethnic, income and programmatic boundaries. Activities will be organized around two committees, a Northern Sector committee for communities in the Metro North service area and an Eastern Sector committee for the LIRR service area.
- Regional Housing Analysis: Regional Plan Association will analyze the impediments for residents of the region to take advantage of housing opportunities throughout the region without regard to race, ethnicity, family status and other characteristics. It will identify opportunities to link transportation, employment and housing resources into promote fair and affordable housing in high opportunity areas.