1928 Regional Plan of New York City, Tri-State Region Highways

General Plan of the Highway System for New York and Its Environs. - Main View

1928 Regional Plan of New York City, Tri-State Region Highways


Planning New York City's Highway System.


General Plan of the Highway System for New York and Its Environs.
  1928 (dated)     21 x 19 in (53.34 x 48.26 cm)     1 : 350000


A highly detailed 1928 planning map of highways in the New York City metropolitan area produced by the nonprofit organization Regional Plan of New York and Environs. It presents the ambitious scheme, partially realized, for accommodating the growth of the city and the greater use of automobiles over trains as the primary means of urban and suburban transportation.
A Closer Look
Coverage embraces the New York City metropolitan area, from the Hudson Valley in the north to Manasquan on the Jersey Shore in the south, and from Sussex and Warren County, New Jersey in the west to the tip of Long Island in the east (presented in an inset at bottom-right). This map traces existing and proposed highways. As explained in the legend at left, these included already-existing parkways and boulevards, which would be upgraded under the plan, as well as proposed roads over existing rights-of-way. Numbers and letters correspond to the text of the report which the map accompanied. A considerable amount of attention in the report is paid to the roadway marked 'A' here, called the 'Metropolitan Highway Loop,' which was mostly actualized in the following years as the 'Circumferential Parkway,' later renamed the Belt Parkway.

Other highways and major roads discussed in the report were built or upgraded in the years following its publication, including a bridge over the Hudson River to Upper Manhattan (the George Washington Bridge), the FDR Drive, and the West Side Highway / Henry Hudson Parkway. However, not all the proposed routes were completed as imagined here. For example, while the major east-west highways on Long Island seen here match the ultimate configuration of interstates and state highways, the envisaged major boulevards and parkways in the more distant parts of Long Island (Suffolk County) were not built.
The First Regional Plan for New York
The impetus for the creation of the Regional Plan of New York was driven primarily by three factors: firstly, the greater affordability and mass adoption of automobiles in the 1920s; secondly, the explosive growth of New York City's population at the turn of the 20th century; and, thirdly, the contemporaneous Modernist affinity for ambitious urban planning. Inspired by similar plans for other cities, particularly the 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago, a group of business and civic leaders led by banker Charles Dyer Norton formed an advisory committee in 1914 to propose an equivalent project for the New York City metropolitan region. Delayed by World War I (1914 - 1918) and other hurdles, the committee nevertheless made progress, adding prominent members (including future president Herbert Hoover) and forming a permanent body in 1922.

As the 1920s drew to a close, years of research and discussion resulted in maps, publications, and other media being brought to the public. Although the Regional Plan was not associated with the legendary urban planner Robert Moses, their ideas regarding highways were largely congruent, and the Regional Plan provided added momentum to the push for building highways in the city in a more deliberate and comprehensive manner. It is worth noting that although the 1930s saw a deep economic depression throughout the country, many infrastructure and urban planning projects were undertaken in New York City during these years, leaving the city with most of the bridges, tunnels, and highways that it maintains today.
Publication History and Census
This map was produced by the Regional Plan Association in 1928 to accompany its first report and comprehensive plan, published the following year. Although the report included many maps, the present map was one of four included in a pocket attached to the back cover, which is not always present in surviving examples of the report. This map is independently cataloged among the holdings of Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Joint Free Public Library in Morristown, New Jersey, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and the University of Oklahoma.


Regional Plan of New York and Environs (1922 - present), or Regional Plan Association (abbreviated as RPA), is a nonprofit advisory organization founded by urban planners and civic leaders to develop comprehensive plans for infrastructure, transportation, zoning, and other aspects of urban planning in the New York City metropolitan area. Publishing its first regional plan in 1929, three subsequent plans followed in the 1960s, 1990s, and 2010s. Although the organization's focus has changed somewhat as the city has (adding, for example, a focus on preparing for climate change in recent years), it has consistently advocated for more affordable housing, greenspace, playgrounds, and mass transit, to improve the lives of residents of the city and its surrounding region. Despite not being a government body, the organization has had an influence on multiple projects in the New York City area, including the George Washington Bridge and the revitalization of both neighborhoods and greenspace in the city. More by this mapmaker...


Committee on Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, (Philadelphia: Wm. F. Fell and Co.) 1929.    


Very good. Light wear and toning along right edge.


OCLC 60818019, 85852238.