NYC and Amtrak released the Sunnyside Yard master plan this week, a new framework that will build new public transit first and making all housing affordable, with a focus on New Yorkers earning less than $50,000 per year.
The plan includes the long-sought Sunnyside Station, 12,000 affordable homes, 60 acres of new open space, equitable homeownership opportunities, and infrastructure and other public amenities on a publicly controlled site equal in size to Roosevelt Island.
“Sunnyside Yard presents once in a generation opportunity to create a new model for affordable housing and equitable development. With a plan that delivers a new Sunnyside station along with 12,000 affordable homes, equitable homeownership opportunities, open space, schools, and more, we are fighting for a New York New Yorkers can afford,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Its central location and surrounding diverse neighborhoods present an unparalleled opportunity to plan for the next generation of New Yorkers.
The Master Plan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the City and Amtrak to coordinate long-term planning, and it is the culmination of more than 18 months of community engagement and technical analysis. The Master Plan provides a blueprint for the construction of a deck structure over the rail yards that would support streets, infrastructure, open space, and buildings.
“We’re proud to contribute to this planning process, which once realized, will have a profoundly positive impact on this city for generations to come,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
“The Sunnyside Yard Master Plan provides the framework for a project that creates thousands of good union jobs with benefits — paving pathways to middle-class careers for thousands of New Yorkers — and plans responsibility for the future of New York City.”
In addition to the design of the deck structure, the development responds to urgent priorities identified by New Yorkers during the planning process. It will ensure that public priorities drive the future of the Yard and is intended to be implemented in many phases over multiple decades, beginning with key investments in public infrastructure, proposals for a new street grid, open space network, infrastructure, and public transit options.
“After over a year of extensive community engagements and scores of conversations with a wide range of stakeholders, we developed a thoughtful framework to guide development at Sunnyside Yard for the generations to come,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “We benefitted enormously from those discussions, and the master plan responds to the feedback by putting neighborhood needs for transit, affordable housing, and open space first, to ensure that future development is responsible, inclusive, and fair.”
Amtrak board chair Tony Coscia says there are “numerous” benefits.
“We thank our partners at the city, as we continue to collaborate on the strategies that will make the best possible use of the land that meets our rail operations requirements, enhances the community, and builds new connections between Western Queens, the greater New York City region, and the Northeast.”
Over the last 15 years, Western Queens has experienced rapid growth, putting strains on infrastructure, transportation, and housing. The Sunnyside Yard Master Plan presents an opportunity to create nearly 115 acres of new public land by decking over Sunnyside Yard. The Plan provides solutions to key priorities:
- Improved public transit:A new Sunnyside Station served by regional and intercity rail services connecting Western Queens to every part of the Greater New York City region and major cities of the Northeast.
- Planning for a new Bus Rapid Transit lineconnecting Queens and Midtown Manhattan, as well as the potential for a future new Queens subway line, to connect New Yorkers with existing and emerging economic centers, fueling job growth and access to opportunity.
- More affordable housing: Approximately 12,000 affordable homes – more than Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village combined. All of the homes will be affordable and restricted to incomes that reflect the most pressing housing needs of Queens.
- Extending the built character of Western Queens:Density and building heights that reflect the existing scale of the neighborhoods surrounding the Yard.
● Connecting neighborhoods: A safe street network designed to prioritize walking and biking with wide sidewalks and shared streets, ADA-accessible pedestrian connections, and separated bus and bike lanes.
The City of New York and Amtrak began the Sunnyside Yard master planning process in Summer 2018, which comprised robust community engagement efforts and detailed technical analysis of rail and deck engineering, infrastructure, urban design, and transportation, among other topics.