(Read original story here)
By Barbara Porada
WXY Architecture + Urban Design and Dlandstudio Architecture & Landscape have been commissioned to lead a feasibility study and planning for The QueensWay, a 3.5-mile section of abandoned railway tracks in Queens, New York, that will be converted into a High Line-inspired park and recreational pathways. As we reported earlier this year, the elevated railway line has been inactive since 1962 and, if transformed into a public parkway, has the capablitiy of serving more than 250,000 residents that live alongside it.
Susannah Drake, principal of Dlandstudio, stated: “Connected ecologies – whether they are 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 opportunity for recreation, education, community gathering and ecological productivity to our great city.”
An innovator in developing green infrastructure and parks for a more sustainable New York, Dlandstudio’s leadership in this study will surely yield interesting results when paired with WXY, a firm that specializes in parks and public/private urban design projects.
“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, 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.”
WXY and Dlandstudio have initiated a 10-month process to develop and complete a strategic plan with conceptual designs for the public greenway or linear park. 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.
Employing everything from formal community workshops and surveys of residents to open forums and even discussions during local street fairs, the team will heavily engage community groups and area residents that the park will serve. About 250,000 people live within one mile of this former Long Island railway line and could benefit greatly from the economic boost sparked by the park. Through intense community engagement, the final report will reflect the views of local residents and provide the road map for a new, iconic park.
This is something many residents of Queens have long been waiting for. With the help of environmental engineers, community facilitators, physical engineers and economic analysts, WXY + Dlandstudio will now lead the way in a comprehensive study that has the potential of revitalizing the entire borough.