A Different Idea for LaGuardia Airport

It may be too late to pivot on the recently announced rebuilding of New York City's LaGuardia Airport, but Jim Venturi has some ideas about how New York can solve two critical problems—one infrastructural, one humanitarian—at the same time.

Read Time: 2 minutes

July 29, 2015, 11:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310

LaGuardia Airport


To many air travelers, New York's LaGuardia Airport feels like a prison. It suffers notorious delays, is difficult to get to, and, according to surveys, is as unpleasant as airports get. But most LaGuardia customers can only imagine what goes on a few hundred meters outside of LaGuardia's boundaries at the city's Rikers Island prison complex. 

This week federal, city, and state officials announced that LaGuardia would be torn down and replaced with a brand-new terminal, to the tune of $4 billion. Writing for The Architect's Newspaper, Jim Venturi argues that the redesign of LaGuardia should think bigger: it should also include the demolition of Rikers. 

Rikers' ten jails house between 12,000 and 15,000 prisoners in any given day. Many of these jails are in ghastly shape, with abuse and mismanagement fairly well documented. Venturi proposes that Rikers' jails be relocated and spread out among the five boroughs, in part to make them more accessible and therefore more human. "Any jail on an island will be toxic," writes Venturi. In Rikers' place, Venturi proposes that LaGuardia absorb the island (via landfill) and replace it with a vast runway complex that could make it "the world's leading airport....By adding this infrastructure and increasing airport capacity, we would gain a significant opportunity to expand New York City’s economy beyond Manhattan."

Not only that, Venturi has a plan for transportation to the airport, proposing a new train station in the Bronx that would take pressure off Manhattan's notorious Penn Station and serve as a high-capacity transfer point for the new LaGuardia. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 in The Architect's Newspaper

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

View of Tacoma, Washington with Mount Rainier in background

Tacoma Developing New Housing Policy

The city’s Home in Tacoma plan is designed to address the region’s growth and rising housing prices, but faces local backlash over density and affordability concerns.

February 2 - The Urbanist

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2 - Curbed

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

February 2 - Orange County Register