Some of the greatest opportunities for new housing and development within a stone’s throw of Manhattan line the East River in Astoria and Long Island City. By creating a new light rail line in those neighborhoods, we could create an enormous opportunity for new investment.

Astoria is currently served by an elevated rail line that runs along 31st Street one mile east of the East River. I propose situating a new light rail line along 21st Street, the widest thoroughfare before reaching Vernon Boulevard. A first phase would connect Astoria with the F subway stop at 21st Street and Queens Plaza. A second phase could extend the rail line across Newtown Creek and along the Brooklyn waterfront to terminate in Red Hook.

The capital cost of the new light rail line could be financed from the tax increment generated by new and renovated housing created on underutilized properties within walking distance of the new light rail line.

Alexander Garvin is President and CEO of AGA Public Realm Strategists, a planning and design firm specializing in the public realm. He is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management at Yale University. He currently serves as the President of the Forum for Urban Design.



Map: Urban Design Forum.