The Trust for Public Land is requesting proposals to provide design, planning and engineering services for a feasibility study, framework plan, and conceptual design for the QueensWay , an abandoned, largely elevated rail corridor in Queens, New York. This project is intended as a starting point, to build support for what we hope will ultimately be the phased final design and construction of a 3 ½ mile linear park featuring pedestrian and bicycle paths and highlighting the cultural diversity of Queens.
The QueensWay will transform an abandoned eyesore — a 3.5-mile former rail line through the heart of Queens — into a community asset, providing recreational opportunities and highlighting the extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens. This new pedestrian walkway and bikeway will connect the dense and diverse neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park to each other and to Forest Park — the borough’s third largest park. The proposed park runs adjacent to two little league fields, a number of school complexes and various commercial and residential areas. It will serve about 250,000 residents living within one mile of the park.
Until 1962, this corridor (running south from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Main Line just west of the Forest Hills Station, to Rockaway Boulevard) was part of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch (RBB). The southern portion of the RBB, south of Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park (and not part of this scope) became part of the MTA subway system (the A line to the Rockaways). The corridor north of Rockaway Boulevard is now controlled by the City of New York, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, withthe exception of the roughly one mile that passes through Forest Park, which was transferred to the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks). NYC Parks has expressed support for this study, and transfer of the full corridor to this agency is possible.
In the Spring of 2011, The Trust for Public Land embarked on a partnership with an emerging “Friends of the QueensWay” group (FQW) made up of residents living along the QueensWay. FQW (www.thequeensway.org) which has received support, for the construction of the QueensWay, from thousands of people mainly living in the Borough of Queens, has been active in building community and elected official awareness and support for this project, and is available to assist the Consultant and TPL in outreach efforts related to this project.
PROJECT GOALS AND DESIRED OUTCOMES
Most of the QueensWay corridor remains largely untouched since the last train ran on the Rockaway Line 50 years ago. Despite the deteriorated and overgrown nature of the corridor, many if not most, of the rails and trestles remain, along with some platforms and other rail infrastructure. One bridge (over an active LIRR freight line) collapsed and was removed, some encroachments exist, some properties have been leased by the City; but no permanent structures blocking the center of the right of way exist.
Since its closure in 1962, there have been a number of feasibility studies conducted on the possibility of reactivating the RBB for rail use by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In each instance, these studies have concluded rail reactivation to be infeasible because of cost and environmental concerns.
There has also been significant community opposition to reactivating this property for rail use. Recently, there has been significant community interest in reclaiming the corridor as a linear park, which has undoubtedly been spurred by the success of The High Line. Supporters of the QueensWay, argue that, unlike The High Line, this project would connect neighborhoods, activating abandoned and unsafe property and accommodating bicycles — all
with the goal of improving quality of life in the neighborhoods next to the QueensWay and boosting the local economy.
While receiving significant public sector support, this project is an effort of two nongovernmental entities — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and FQW (with TPL being the recipient of public funds and the client/project director). The key goals of the project are:
a. To build broad support within adjacent communities and among the full range of public officials, agencies, business leaders, and other key stakeholders.
b. To provide cost estimates, a framework plan, and a conceptual design that (combined with broad support) provides a platform for obtaining funds for the phased final design and construction of the QueensWay.
To help us achieve these goals, the selected Consultant team must provide expertise and leadership in a variety of areas including community engagement, technical analysis, and innovative planning and design.
Mandatory Pre-Submittal Meeting — March 28, 2013
Proposal Submittal Deadline — April 23, 2013
Download the RFP here: http://www.tpl.org/what-we-do/where-we-work/new-york/queensway-project.html