Design / Architecture / Urbanism / Research by Despo Thoma.
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Fourth Regional Plan: Triboro Corridor / ONE



Triboro Corridor

Regional Planning Association’s Fourth Regional Plan
One Architecture & Urbanism, Only If–
New York, 2017


The Architect’s Newspaper 01/31/2018 (online) & 01/03/2018 (print)

The Architect’s Newspaper 08/09/2017

6sqft 08/08/2017

Curbed 06/28/2017

The Architect’s Newspaper 06/28/2017

6sqft 06/28/2017

Route Fifty 03/05/2017

The Architect’s Newspaper 03/03/2017


Urban Designer for ONE. Read more:

A Kit of Urban Parts for the Outer Boroughs

The Triboro Corridor, extending from Brooklyn to Queens to the Bronx, is over 24 miles in length with 2.6 million current residents. By 2040, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) anticipates that its population will increase by 400,000 people. This often-overlooked territory, the outer boroughs, must play an important role in the future of the region, particularly given the increasing unaffordability and finite space of Manhattan and New York City’s core.

In envisioning the future of the Triboro Corridor, certain questions must be answered: who will benefit from the improved connectivity, the enhanced livability of neighborhoods, and the catalytic development opportunities? Can we make sure that value creation remains local? Can we transform the area to become even more important as an emancipation and empowerment engine, while keeping its existing and diverse communities intact? We think the answer is yes, but a new commitment to city making must be affirmed.

Existing conditions along the proposed Triboro line.

Existing conditions along the proposed Triboro line.

Rotating the map produces an unexpected and non- Manhattan-centric view of the corridor and brings into focus the outer boroughs and their importance for the City.




Strengthening the Outer Boroughs

In the past 20 years, New York City’s prosperity has unequally benefited populations nearest to Manhattan. Seemingly, new infrastructure and innovations in mobility have followed-- or perhaps even facilitated-- this trend, like the High Line, CitiBike, and the Second Avenue Subway extension.

Through the repurposing of existing underutilized freight and intercity train lines, the Triboro Line will connect the outer boroughs and provide new passenger train service. The Triboro Line will provide redundancy and resiliency in the city’s transit network, as first envisioned in the RPA’s 1929 First Regional Plan. Where the region’s subway and train service now radiates from Manhattan, the Triboro Line will create a circumferential connection and new spatial relationships between amenities, people, and jobs.



As proposed, the Triboro is the dual-purposing of existing freight and intercity train lines to connect Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx via the Triboro Line, linking the outer boroughs with a new passenger train service. Where the region’s subway and train service now radiates from Manhattan, the Triboro Line will create a circumferential connection and new spatial relationships between diverse communities, people, and jobs.



A corridor that uses the right-of-way and other adjoining green space including demapped streets for a signature linear park that paves the way for a “bicycle superhighway” for commuters and recreational users, and enhances open space to mitigate negative health and climate change impacts.


Establish processes for the next economies by creating new relationships and proximities between the workforce and workplaces, particularly for economic sectors which are not necessarily centered in Manhattan, such as education, health care, logistics, manufacturing, and food, and by investing in workforce development for the circular economy.



Optimizing catalytic projects by introducing new programs for equitable development that facilitate intermodal links and generate positive impacts along the corridor.

Measuring and communicating local and regional benefits becomes central to success. Metrics indicate measured outcomes and projected targets along the corridor and citywide. By 2040, it is projected that 39% of New York City’s population will reside along the corridor, there will be a 26% increase in jobs, and a concerted effort in pushing standards beyond the 20% requirement for affordable housing units. Overall, a plan must enable more and smarter growth that also promotes affordability, increase quality access to jobs and services, promote greener energy efficient neighborhoods and healthier lifestyles, all while reducing climate change impacts.