New York-based firms WXY Architecture + Urban Design and DLANDSTUDIO have been selected to lead a feasibility study and planning phase for the QueensWay in Queens, NY, after the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay announced the competition winners on Aug. 20. Similar to urban revival projects like the NYC High Line, the QueensWay is a linear greenway park that will replace the abandoned 3.5-mile-long railway of the former Long Island Rail Road line—which has been dormant since 1962.
Considering the high-profile projects and innovations of WXY and DLANDSTUDIO, who both specialize in green community-minded urban spaces, the QueensWay will no doubt bring major change to the railway area. WXY recently completed the WNYC Transmitter Park in Brooklyn and is currently working on the East River Blueway, the plaza at Astor Place, and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. DLANDSTUDIO is recognized for their community-centered developments in green infrastructure and parks and their use of landscape strategies to help cities adapt to the constantly evolving modern world. The firm has designed for Gowanus Sponge Park, Brooklyn Bridge & Pier 42 Pop-up parks, and Bronx/Queens HOLD stormwater management systems.
To lay the groundwork for the park's conceptual designs and strategic plan, the WXY + DLAND team will conduct the 10-month study to assess environmental conditions and to engage with local residents in-person and through social media. WXY + DLAND are working with the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay for park financial and operational planning and to continue garnering support. Additionally, the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay are sponsoring the just-launched ENYA 2014 "Queensway Connection: Elevating the Public Realm" ideas competition that you can read about here.
With phase one about to begin, WXY + DLAND—and everyone involved—have yet to discover where the QueensWay will lead them.
Below is some text from the press release we received from the architects.
"NEW YORK, N.Y., August 20, 2013 – The New York-based firms WXY Architecture + Urban Design and DLANDSTUDIO Landscape Architecture & Architecture have been selected for the commission to lead a feasibility study and planning phase for the QueensWay, a conversion of a 3.5-mile section of abandoned railway tracks and structures into parks and recreational paths.
According to the Trust for Public Land, which today announced the competition winners along with Friends of the QueensWay, the park conversion is similar to projects like the 606 (Bloomingdale Trail) in Chicago, which is turning an elevated railroad into a pedestrian and cycling greenway. The QueensWay will provide a new amenity for the adjacent neighborhoods, including Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park. It will also create a new connection between Queens’ dynamic communities so that people can access and experience the borough’s vitality.
The feasibility study will be funded through a $467,000 grant from the State of New York's Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, in cooperation with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council. The project has also received support from private donors including Citi, the Tiger Baron Foundation, and the Booth Ferris Foundation, moving the project closer to reality after two years of grassroots efforts by the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay."
"According to WXY and DLANDSTUDIO, the Trust for Public Land is an expert in planning, financing and operating sustainable parks. Friends of the QueensWay, a community group comprising thousands of Queens residents and other proponents, has been enlisting membership and donations while mobilizing local resources to encourage support among local officials and parks advocates. 'Our team is honored to work with Friends of the QueensWay and the Trust for Public Land in planning what will be a transformative new greenway and public resource,' says Claire Weisz, FAIA, principal and founding partner of WXY. 'We see this study as a vital step in reclaiming the QueensWay as both a cultural corridor and green connector.'...
With a team of architects, urban designers and planners, WXY will collaborate on the QueensWay concept study and planning investigation with DLANDSTUDIO architecture & landscape architecture, pllc, an interdisciplinary design practice focused on development of new systems of resilient urban infrastructure. Both WXY and DLANDSTUDIO are internationally renowned, award winning and women owned, and both have worked on high-profile projects in New York where grants and community involvement are essential..."
"The feasibility and planning study will set the stage for transforming the dormant 3.5-mile-long former Long Island Rail Road line in Queens into a public greenway, or linear park, according to the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay. In making public the selection of the team of WXY and DLANDSTUDIO, the groups have initiated a 10-month process to develop and complete a strategic plan with conceptual designs.
The studies will assess the elevated structures and analyze environmental conditions, including trestles, bridges and embankments. The strategic plan will also delineate recreational uses and environmental benefits of the greenway parks, as well as a process for making decisions on the QueensWay’s program and design. In this way, the final report will reflect the views of local residents and provide the road map for a new, iconic park.
This special project will benefit from deep engagement with community groups and area residents,” says WXY partner Adam Lubinsky. “From formal community workshops and surveys of residents to open forums and even discussions during local street fairs, we’ll use in-person methods as well as social media to reach a broad swath of diverse people in Queens.
According to the Trust for Public Land, many thousands of people stand to benefit from the proposed QueensWay green connector and park. About 250,000 residents live within one mile of the former Long Island Rail Road line, which has not had active rail use since 1962. The Friends of the QueensWay and the Trust for Public Land project that the new cultural and recreational amenity would provide a significant economic boost to the borough. The plan and feasibility study are the first major step..."