With the success of the High Line, every city seems to be looking again at their old railroad tracks, seeing them as untapped assets instead of eyesores ready for the scrap heap. Chicago is getting ready to reveal its Bloomingdale Trail next year, while design work is moving forward with the Beltline in Atlanta. Now, a neighborhood in Queens, NYC, seeks to turn a 3.5-mile-long stretch of abandoned Long Island rail track into the foundation for a new park called the QueensWay, joining the ranks of those with major urban rails-to-trail projects. The Friends of the QueensWay and Trust for Public Land (TPL) just announced WXY architecture + urban design and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio, two New York-based firms, were selected to lead a comprehensive $1 million design and feasibility plan. These two firms beat out 29 other competitors.
The Trust for Public Land writes: “When it is finished, the QueensWay will create a 3.5 mile linear park along an old Long Island Railroad track path, stretching through central and southern Queens. It will connect multiple communities and provide green space for 250,000 people in the borough. The park will also celebrate the borough’s diversity, with art, sculpture and food from around the world.”
Susannah Drake, FASLA, AIA, Principal, dlandstudio and NY ASLA Chapter President, said: “Connected ecologies—be they natural, social or cultural—are critical in the urban environment. Where Central Park is the heart and lungs of Manhattan, QueensWay, with sensitive design, can become a critical artery of green open space for a diverse, vibrant community, offering opportunities for recreation, education, community gathering and ecological productivity to our great city.”
The plan will be financed by a $467,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, in cooperation with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council. Another $140,000 will come from NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection. City funds will be used on “environmental and green infrastructure assessments.” Additional private sector donors include Citi, the Tiger Baron Foundation, and the Booth Ferris Foundation.
Learn more about the scale of the QueensWay in this brief video:
Image credits: WXY architecture + urban design