RPA Assembly
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How to Create the Region We Need

Sessions

Plenary Panel

 Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Fix the Subways and Tame Traffic

Delays on the subway have more than tripled over the last five years. Our bridges and roadways are in disrepair and traffic speeds continue to fall. Communities are cut off from jobs and economic opportunity. The solutions are clear if not easy. Panelists will discuss how to give commuters better options with ideas like congestion pricing, highway tolling and value capture.

SPEAKERS: Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer & President, New York City Transit Authority; Scott Rechler, Chairman & CEO, RXR Realty; Chairman, RPA


Sessions

 Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Create More Homes with the Buildings We Have

Construction is just one way to address the region’s severe housing shortage. Other less expensive and time-consuming strategies include allowing accessory dwelling units as-of-right, prioritizing primary occupancy in areas with tight housing markets, and reforming short-term-letting policies to prevent homes from being taken off the market for hotel use. Panelists will discuss how states and municipalities can release this “hidden housing” to reduce both housing costs and residential segregation in the region.

PANELISTS: Jun Choi, CEO, Menlo Realty Ventures; Deborah Gans, Principal GANSstudio; Nancy Holman, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, London School of Economics; Evonne Klein, Commissioner for the Department of Housing, State of Connecticut, Julia Watt-Rosenfeld, Director of Community Organizing & Advocacy, Cyrpess Hills Local Development Corporation


 Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Improve Transit Options in the Suburbs and Outer Boroughs

Suburban communities have long struggled with the cost of providing high quality transit in lower density areas. Neighborhoods in urban areas that are far from transit service, so-called “transit deserts," face similar challenges. New technologies like on-demand buses, car- and ride-sharing are revolutionizing what is possible in these areas. Panelists will discuss if and how these new technologies (as well as autonomous vehicles) will reshape how suburban residents live, and what role the government should play in setting rules and regulations to ensure that high quality mobility is accessible to all residents. 

PANELISTS: John Andoh, Transit Administrator, Dutchess County Public Transit; Tabitha Decker, Deputy Executive Director, TransitCenter; NYC Bus Turnaround Campaign; Margaret Newman, Principal, Integrated Planning, Arup; Eric Rothman, President, HR&A Advisors; Jason Post, Director, Public Policy & Communications, Uber Technologies, Inc. 


 Photo: BarbsImages

Photo: BarbsImages

Expand the Region’s Carbon Market

Since it was created 10 years ago, the region's carbon market, RGGI, has helped to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. But the region has yet to capture the benefits that other places around the nation including most notably, California, are reaping from expanding beyond a single-sector approach. In this region transportation accounts for close to half of regional emissions, but is not part of the carbon market. Panelists will discuss ways that transportation emissions can be dramatically reduced in ways that improve efficiency and generate valuable revenue for further community and infrastructure investments.

PANELISTSRit Aggarwala, Head of Urban Systems, Sidewalk Labs; Kate Burson, Northeast U.S. Market Development Lead, Tesla; Dale Bryk, Chief Planning & Integration Officer, NRDC; Jeanne Herb, Associate Director of Environmental Analysis & Communications Group, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy; Kathyrn Zyla, Deputy Director, Georgetown Climate Center


 Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Image: ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan

Integrate and Expand the Commuter Rail Network

Combining the region’s three commuter railroads into one integrated network would dramatically improve options for commuters, give employers a far bigger employee base to draw from, and unleash the economic potential of places from Newark to Bridgeport, Nassau County to the Bronx to Paterson and beyond. Panelists will discuss the steps involved in creating this regional rail network—from extending the proposed Gateway project to Queens, to creating more physical connections between the railroads, to reforming the way the agencies work together.

PANELISTS: Kevin Corbett, Executive Director, NJ Transit; Sarah Feinberg, former Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration; Chief of Staff, USDOT; Founder & Owner, Feinberg Strategies, LLC; Patrick Foye, President, MTA; Seth Pinsky, Executive Vice President, Fund Manager, Metro Emerging Markets & Public Affairs Director, RXR Realty; Tom Prendergrast, Chief Strategic Officer & Executive Vice President, STV; former Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MTA


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Grow the Middle Class in a Technology-Charged Economy

While economists debate technology's impacts on productivity, job growth and incomes, entire industries from transportation to retail are undergoing a wave of automation now. Meanwhile, new jobs are emerging in fields from technology to health care. Growing the region’s middle class in this economy will require a wide range of actions—supporting middle-income job creation with land use and development policies, recasting education and job training to continually upgrade skills, transitioning workers to new occupations as we modernize infrastructure and service delivery, creating new types of benefits and income supports for an increasingly mobile and insecure workforce. Panelists will discuss how reforming these policies can address the loss of existing jobs while expanding opportunity.

PANELISTS: Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation; Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, New York City Taxi Workers Alliance; Winston Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers; Co-Chair of NYC Regional Economic Development Council; Aisha Glover, President & CEO, Newark Community Economic Development Corporation; Pablo Illanes, Partner, McKinsey & Company


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Invest in the Region’s Flagship Places

The Fourth Regional Plan provides broad strategies to promote prosperity in communities across the region, but each community has their own specific needs and priorities. This session will explore what a wide range of different communities across the region are doing today to provide more  housing affordability, improve commutes, prepare for climate change, and enhance health and quality of life.

PANELISTS: Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive; Lynn Haig, Director of Planning, Office of Planning & Economic Development, City of Bridgeport; Hope Knight, President & CEO, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation; Melissa Mark-Viverito, Senior Advisor, Latino Victory Fund and former New York City Council Speaker, David Martin, Mayor of Stamford


 Photo: USACE / Mary Markos

Photo: USACE / Mary Markos

Institute and Fund a Regional Coastal Commission

More than five years after Superstorm Sandy, there are still too many communitues across our region that remain vulnerable. Efforts to improve resilience are still disjointed and have been far too limited in scope. A Regional Coastal Commission with dedicated funding would provide the institutional structure to collaborate across borders, as well as fund and advance more resilience projects more rapidly. Panelists will describe how this commission is both a continuation of existing resilience efforts and a radical upgrade in the three states’ ability to prepare for a changing coastline.

PANELISTS: Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive; Ravinder S. Bhalla, Mayor, Hoboken; Eugenie Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research & Education, University of Pennsylvania, Kate Orff, Founder & Design Director, SCAPE 


 Photo: ParticipatoryBudgeting.org

Photo: ParticipatoryBudgeting.org

Give Communities the Tools to Plan their Future

New York City’s land use review process (ULURP) provides a good example in the region of a clear and predictable timeline for evaluating proposed projects. However, it offers no clear opportunity for meaningful community engagement early enough in the process to truly influence the project.  As a result, many projects—even valuable ones—have stalled. Panelists will discuss ways to transform land use governance to be more inclusive, predictable and efficient, including revising the Charter of the City of New York. 

PANELISTS: Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Malo Hutson, Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University; Letitia James, Public Advocate for the City of New York; Mitchell Korbey, Partner & Chair of the Land Use & Zoning Group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP; Antonio Reynoso, NYC Council Member; Robert Schiffer, Managing Director, SL Green