Amtrak and Alicia Glen, the city’s deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, announced this week that the master planning for the Sunnyside Yard project will begin this summer. The plan is expected to bring billions of dollars in infrastructure investments to western Queens and will be drafted in consultation with a committee that will include community leaders, elected officials and planning experts.
Plans are expected to include decking over active rail and facilities currently at the site to make way for thousands of new affordable housing units, retail space, parks, a number of new schools, community facilities, parking spots and additional transportation options for the neighborhood.
James Patchett, the CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, called Sunnyside Yard a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring good jobs, affordable homes, open space and improved public transit to western Queens.”
For far too long, Queens has been an overburdened borough, from its overcrowded schools and lack of affordable housing to a transportation system that is bursting at the seams in some communities and virtually nonexistent in others.
Queens and city leaders are in the process of exploring options to address these issues via large-scale projects—such as the long-gestating redevelopment of Willets Point and the plan to develop Sunnyside Yard. We are encouraged that many of the proposals in the Sunnyside Yard project are aimed at alleviation as opposed to unnecessary development—such as the now-defunct plan to build a shopping mall at Willets Point.
Sunnyside Yard has also been listed among several city sites as a possible locale for Amazon’s new headquarters. We believe the new amenities that are proposed for the site could be an incentive for businesses to relocate to Queens and bring jobs with them.
The Sunnyside Yard project is only in its beginning stages—and we hope that the steering committee will take residents’ needs into consideration when it holds public meetings and workshops in the months ahead. But from what we’ve heard of the project so far, it sounds like a win for western Queens.