About our team
The MTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Team collaborates with property owners and municipalities across the region to promote development around transit stations that increase accessibility and provide housing, retail shops, office and public improvements. Please contact us at TOD@mtacd.org to discuss transit requirements of the New York City Zoning resolution, MTA property interests, or planning for the creation of new zoning districts that promote TOD.
Zoning for Accessibility
Zoning for Accessibility (ZFA) is a citywide zoning initiative that leverages public-private partnerships, in tandem with the MTA’s planned capital construction projects, to upgrade our more-than-a-century old transit system and deliver accessibility more quickly and with fewer costs to taxpayers. For more information, read the first annual report below or click here to download a pdf version.
New York City Transit Requirements and Bonuses
The MTA’s TOD Team provides guidance to property owners to conform with the New York City Zoning Resolution's transit provisions, which require certain development projects to relocate subway stairs and provide opportunities for floor-area bonuses for subway entrance improvements. The TOD team helps developers to find solutions that balance commercial goals with public benefits - better transit access, visibility, and safety - and coordinates with the MTA External Partner Program on the technical details of getting project plans approved and construction implemented.
Bank of China Building: This Sixth Avenue site required a subway stair relocation into the building footprint. The MTA TOD Team, working with the developer, determined that both subway customers and the building would be better served with a subway entrance on 39th Street, rather than 40th Street, enabling the new building to put its main entrance facing Bryant Park, while providing subway customers a more conveniently located, spacious, and accessible new entrance on 39th Street.
One Vanderbilt: This new tower just west of Grand Central Terminal utilized the 2015 Vanderbilt corridor zoning provisions to be taller in exchange for transit improvements. The TOD Team worked with the developer and city officials to design an extensive below-grade concourse system into Grand Central with express escalators and elevators that were constructed and will be maintained by the developer.
Zoning Easement Requirements
The New York City Zoning Resolution, including Sections 66-20 (Zoning for Accessibility) and 95-00 (Special Transit Land Use District), requires developers of applicable zoning lots to consult with MTA to determine whether a transit easement is needed on their zoning lot for future transit access. This determination must be obtained prior to any application with the Department of Buildings for an excavation permit, foundation permit, new building permit or alteration permit.
Owners/developers of sites in New York City subject to such zoning provisions must apply for an easement determination through an online application should submit an application for an easement determination.
Additional information on zoning easement requirements can be found by consulting Sections 66-20 and 95-00 of the New York City Zoning Resolution. Zoning applicability maps for Section 66-20 can be found on the Department of City Planning’s website.
Disposition of MTA Development Rights
Most MTA‐controlled properties are in active use for transportation‐related functions, but occasionally, property interests — land or air rights — are available and offered through competitive Requests for Proposals (RFP). Developers who wish to acquire interests uniquely available only to an adjacent property such as easements should contact the TOD team.
Westbury: The MTA selected Mill Creek through a competitive RFP for a new mixed-use development, including open space, on the LIRR-owned commuter parking lot south of the LIRR Westbury Station in conformance with the recently enacted Village of Westbury rezoning. This offering was made possible by MTA’s investment in reconstructing the Westbury Station as part of the LIRR Main Line improvement (which is expected to be completed by Q4 2022).
Dey Street Headhouse: The TOD Team negotiated the sale of 65,000 SF of development rights from MTA’s Dey Street transit entrance “headhouse” to an adjacent mixed-use development. The complex transaction included a light and air easement, an easement to allow the new building to partially cantilever over the transit entrance, and the right for MTA to transfer excess development rights from the Fulton Transit Center "through" the private property to other receiver sites.
Queens Plaza: The TOD Team negotiated the sale of 400,000 SF of development rights made available from an East Side Access construction site for a new residential building on Northern Boulevard in exchange for $56 million, an improved entrance to the Queens Plaza subway station and a new public park. The MTA Team facilitated coordination with the developer and MTA’s ongoing adjacent construction activities.
Harrison: The MTA, The Town/Village of Harrison, and a private developer have joined forces to create a new transit-oriented neighborhood adjacent to Metro-North’s Harrison Station where a 3+ acre surface parking lot used to be. New pedestrian-oriented four-story residential buildings lined with retail stores on the ground floor, pedestrian plazas, and a new parking structure will create a better experience for our customers and catalyze the redevelopment of downtown Harrison.
Port Chester: MTA TOD released an RFP to develop a Metro-North Railroad customer parking lot on King Street in downtown Port Chester. The RFP is intended to enhance customer access to Port Chester Station’s southbound platform, improve pedestrian connectivity between the Station and the downtown, and generate revenue for MTA’s capital program. TOD is currently reviewing proposals submitted in response to the RFP.
Creation or Improvement of Transit-Oriented Districts
Train stations are terrific amenities for communities, but all too often the land around stations is not optimally used. Warehouses no longer served by trains could be redeveloped with housing, shops and other neighborhood amenities. Parking lots can be reconfigured to combine parking with uses that can benefit from transit access. Municipalities and community groups wanting to improve neighborhoods around MTA train stations should contact our TOD team.
Wyandanch: The MTA’s TOD Team was an active partner in the Town of Babylon’s multi-year initiative to create a new 40-acre mixed-use downtown that capitalized on the site’s access to the LIRR Wyandanch Station. To facilitate the creation of a pedestrian neighborhood of 300 residential units, a park and a YMCA, the MTA swapped land parcels with the town, constructed a parking garage and rebuilt the Wyandanch LIRR station as a focal point of the new village center.
East Midtown Rezoning: The MTA was an integral player in the rezoning of East Midtown in which increased density for new office buildings is tied to ongoing investment in new transit improvements financed either directly by private development projects or through a District Improvement Fund dedicated to area-wide pedestrian and transit improvements.
Station area planning and access
Improving customer access to and from MTA's commuter rail stations through walking, biking, shared ride, and connecting transit modes — which serves the first and last mile of the transit experience — complements transit-oriented development. New suburban access modes serve our customers' changing travel preferences resulting from flexible schedules, increased remote working, reverse commuting, and commuting to locations outside the central business district. More seamless multi-modal travel options promote sustainability by reducing the need for single occupancy vehicles and the need to build and maintain parking which allows for more productive use of scarce land near train stations.
Planning tools including station area analytics, customer demographics and industry best practices will be available to stakeholders in a web-based interactive Toolkit. Data embedded in the Toolkit is sourced from Census data, MTA ridership and station area data, and other sources. Create an account on the Toolkit website, and you'll be able to access general first-last mile information or explore the Toolkit.
The Toolkit will enable stakeholders — including counties, localities, non-profits, and other parties — to assess their local station areas, generate an access gap and propensity analysis, prepare a cost-benefit analysis, and develop pilot programs which can facilitate applications for State and Federal grant funding.
Gun Hill Road Request for Proposals (RFP)
MTA TOD released an RFP to develop an underutilized 550,000 SF property adjacent to MTA’s Gun Hill Bus Depot in the Baychester section of the Bronx. The selected developer will be required to construct the space for MTA’s first electric bus charging facility as part of a larger commercial project. The MTA is currently reviewing proposals submitted in response to the RFP with the intention of selecting a developer by Q4 2022.
Leasing opportunities on MTA property
The MTA’s Real Estate team leases retail spaces on MTA property. Spaces range from newsstands and cafés to bookstores and full-service restaurants, in locations from Grand Central Terminal to subway stations and commuter rail stops. The Real Estate team also leases and licenses parking lots and industrial space, as well as rights-of-way for telecommunications and other utility installations. To learn more, click here.