URBANISM: ReThink NYC
Rethinknyc and the search for a car optional New York metro region. Rethink studio is breaking the mold, and instead of publishing a large PDF report and handing it to some agency to sit on a shelf, they've created a website to Lobby for public opinion. They've used all the affordances technology has given them in order to persuade and inform a public about a unified infrastructure plan for the new York city region. One that rethinks Manhattan as New York and instead suggests extending the business centers into Long Island and New Jersey. But the question remains. In a world growing increasingly more interested in electric autonomous vehicles, is public transportation still useful?
Rethink's comprehensive plan focuses on one thesis. Extend the car-optional region of Manhattan to the greater New York metropolitan area, by unifying all of the different rail and transit systems in to a unified network.
What does this mean? It means running path trains like an extension of the subway, and putting them on the map as a subway. It means through running Penn Station so trains from New Jersey extend all the way through to Long Island and the Bronx and trains from Long Island extend to New Jersey. It means connecting Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports to each other, through direct line rail service. Overall it means shorter commute times for a hell of a lot of people.
The Rethink NYC proposal is daring and realistic at the same time. It considers how New York City will continue to grow, and it proposed using a number of radical organizational moves to cut through beaurocratic inefficiencies. It proposes using technology to unify a "Smart Transit" pass for the entire region, that might use RFID tags as well as our smartphones to bill us. Vastly improving overall speed and transfer times between different transit modes. It's a modern day Robert Moses plan, and it's been given to the people to create via grassroots. Rather than top down.