The vision42 initiative was launched in July 1999 under the auspices of the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, Inc. Presentations of the plan to more than 400 of the City’s decision makers and constituencies have received largely positive responses and led to a growing list of elected officials in support of the proposal. Clearly, a project of this magnitude will require the successful completion of a comprehensive environmental impact analysis and careful consultation with the communities affected, in order for elected officials to fully support the proposal.
Presentations of the vision42 proposal have also led to formation of an Advisory Committee of 42 distinguished individuals:
The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, Inc. (IRUM), was incorporated as a New York not-for-profit corporation in 1997 to study and promote the enhanced livability and increased economic competitiveness of New York City and other dense urban areas through a program of innovative transport reforms. IRUM serves as host of the vision42 initiative, as well as of the Regional Rail Working Group, a consortium of transit advocacy organizations. IRUM’s six-member Board includes George Haikalis, President, Jeffrey Gold, Vice President, William K. Guild, III, Esq., Secretary/Treasurer, Anthony Callender, Jill Greenberg, and John West, III.
Roxanne Warren, AIA, Chair of vision42, is an architect and author. Prior to opening her office in 1984, her experience covered 13 years in other NYC firms, including I. M. Pei & Partners. Her firm designed projects for both private and public clients, including two very large projects for NYC Transit. Ms. Warren has been active over three decades in research and writing on transportation/land use issues, and has been a speaker and moderator at conferences on the subject in the U.S. and Europe. Her work includes two books, The Urban Oasis: Guideways and Greenways in the Human Environment (McGraw-Hill, 1997), and Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint, while Reimagining Urban Space (MIT Press 2014), as well as articles published in several professional journals. She was drawn to initiate the vision42 project because of a compelling interest in humanizing cities, and because of rail’s potential role in curbing climate change. Excerpts from MIT review of Rail and the City serve to clarify these values of rail. A Fellow of the Forum for Urban Design, Ms. Warren is a member of the American Institute of Architects NYC Planning & Urban Design and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees; of the American Planning Association; of the Transportation Research Board; and of the Advanced Transit Association.
George Haikalis, ASCE, Co-Chair of vision42, is a civil engineer and transportation planner. He is President of the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, Inc., (IRUM), a not-for-profit research entity focusing on market-based strategies to reduce motor vehicle traffic congestion in New York. Mr. Haikalis was with the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission for nineteen years, serving as its Director of Research. At Tri-State he prepared the region’s first comprehensive transportation plan, participated in numerous studies of rail and highway projects, and developed plans for improved pedestrian access in the region’s core. Mr. Haikalis served for two years as NYC Transit’s Director of Revenue Budget and Fare Analysis, where he established the methodology that eventually led to the MTA’s successful MetroCard program. More recently he has served as a transportation consultant to a number of civic and environmental organizations.
Foundation and Other Support
In 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2015 substantial grants have been received from the New York Community Trust, which have enabled the vision42 team to commission interrelated technical studies of vision42 by highly regarded independent firms on: 1) its economic implications, 2) traffic and goods delivery analyses, 3) detailed cost estimates, 4) an analysis of construction phasing, and a study of financing mechanisms. The first round of studies was completed and posted on this website in mid-April 2005. The second round of studies was released in October 2006. An update of the cost estimate and a financing study were undertaken in July and September 2007, respectively, and a major update of the project’s economic implications is being performed in 2015.
Additional financial support for the advocacy of vision42 has been received from some of 42nd Street’s major real estate developers and managers. MTA/NYC Transit Capital Program officials have said that they would be fully prepared to construct the light rail line, should the MTA Board give its approval. Letters have been sent by seven of NYC’s elected officials to the MTA Chairman and to the City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, urging that the proposal and its implications be seriously considered in their plans for the development of Far West Midtown.
The Transportation Committee of Community Board Five sent a formal resolution to the Mayor and Governor in December 2003, requesting that they and other appropriate officials authorize the coordination and integration of the environmental impact studies of the three major developments planned along the 42nd Street corridor — currently three discreet studies being performed by separate agencies — “into a comprehensive review of a wide range of cross-town surface transit options along the full length of 42nd Street, including surface light rail and bus rapid transit coupled with a variety of pedestrian enhancements.”
The officers of IRUM, William Guild and Jeffrey Gold, and a working group of talented volunteers have contributed many pro bono hours of much appreciated time to the vision42 advocacy effort. They include Mathieu Delorme and Maria Teresa Facchinetti (both of whose computer images appear on this website), Adam Horwitch, for his invaluable ongoing help with the website, Gabrielle Breslow, for creating the earliest version of the website, John West, Peter Brassard, Jill Greenberg, Dave Lowe, Alessandro Fargnoli, Ian Sacs, Paul DiMaria, Joe Clift, Jeffrey Gerlach, Stéphane LeBlanc, Alexis Goldman, Raymond Howell, Jeff Prant, Shana Lev, Sandy Hecker, Laura Stockstill, Alan Ginsberg, Paul Rivey, Alan Fox, Zack Barowitz, Carolyn Hodge, Pablo DeGiosa, Chris Davis, Amy Larkin, and Michael Penney.