An ambitious new plan for the Tri-State area aims to provide some relief to the transit-lacking “deserts” of Queens.
Experts at the urban research organization the Regional Plan Association released their ambitious “Fourth Regional Plan” for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region on Thursday. The plan is filled with proposals to reinvent the region. Among them are ideas to expand transit options in Queens that lack public transportation—often referred to as “transit deserts.”
The plan proposes two new subway lines. The 3.7-mile Northern Boulevard Line would run from 36th Street along Northern Boulevard through Jackson Heights and Willets Point, and then either continue northeast to serve the North Flushing and Mitchell Linden area or run north under Flushing Bay to College Point.
The Jewel Avenue Line would run 5.7 miles from the Queens Boulevard line to Pomonok and Fresh Meadows and through Alley Pond Park to Bell Boulevard.
The plan also proposes extending the Astoria line to bring it within walking distance of Astoria Park, while turning west to reach areas closer to the East River. A new train yard would be constructed on the northern side of Ditmars Boulevard along 20th Street.
Other proposals would increase service in Queens as well, the association said. The plan aims to integrate all of the region’s commuter rail lines, such as the Long Island Railroad and Metro North, under one system known as the Trans-Regional Express, or T-REX. The association believes that the T-REX will increase quality of service and allow for more options. Queens residents who now rely on the Long Island Rail Road would see more frequent “subway-like” service and new stations in Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Rochdale, Laurelton and South Jamaica.
Another proposal, known as the Triboro Line, would run from north to south, connecting the Bronx to Queens and Brooklyn, and provide additional service in Middle Village and Glendale, allowing those neighborhoods to connect to a new Crosstown T-REX line, which runs from New Jersey to Long Island.
The association suggested paying for the new subway lines through state and federal grants and revenue-backed financing.
“The MTA should also take advantage of opportunities to capture some of the value of real estate development that could occur along the corridors as a result of the new subway service,” the association’s report reads.
The regional plan is filled with proposals—many of which could face significant pushback. Among them is a proposal to end New York City’s 24/7 subway service that aims to help the system run more smoothly.