On May 3, 2018, the City of New York and Amtrak announced the Sunnyside Yard master planning process will begin in summer 2018 with a newly formed steering committee that includes community leaders, regional thought leaders, and planning experts.
Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) has been selected to lead a multidisciplinary consultant team to conduct the technical analysis and develop the plan in coordination with the members of the Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee and the broader community.
What is Sunnyside Yard?
Sunnyside Yard is one of the busiest rail yards in the country and a key train storage yard and maintenance hub for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. It also serves New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road, which is developing storage tracks and maintenance facilities there as part of its East Side Access Project.
Sunnyside Yard has been the focus of many conceptual overbuild proposals since it was first opened by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1910. With Amtrak and MTA currently undertaking critical capital investments in its rail infrastructure, this is a unique moment for the City to coordinate long-term planning for the future of the yard.
Over the next 20 years, New York City is expected to add more than half a million people—including over 80,000 in Queens alone.
That growth will put additional strain on schools, parks, mass transit, and housing that current residents rely upon. Sunnyside Yard presents an opportunity to address these challenges head-on in a way that integrates new development into the established fabric of surrounding communities.
Through the drafting of a Master Plan, the City and Amtrak will work with local and regional stakeholders to develop a vision and framework to guide investments and address the needs of the adjacent growing neighborhoods, borough, city, and region.
The Master Planning process will focus on developing a vision and planning framework that will guide the incremental steps of a potential long-term overbuild development. While it will build on the technical findings of the feasibility study released early last year, the master planning process is an opportunity for stakeholders to take a fresh look at opportunities.
Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee, hosted by Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia:
- Sharon Greenberger – President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York
- Elizabeth Lusskin – President of the Long Island City Partnership
- Angela Pinsky – Executive Director, Association for Better New York
- April Simpson – President, Queensbridge NYCHA Tenants Association
- Bob LaCroix – Retired, Amtrak
- Carlo Scissura – President and CEO, Building Congress
- Dean Devita- Secretary-Treasurer, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers
- Deborah Alexander – Co-President, Community Education Council 30
- Denise Keehan-Smith – Chair, Community Board 2
- Elizabeth Erion and Gerry Caliendo – Land Use Committee Chairs, Community Board 1
- Felix Ciampa – Executive Director, Urban Land Institute New York
- Gail Mellow – President, LaGuardia Community College
- Gary LaBarbera – President, Building and Construction Trades Council
- Holly Leicht - EVP, Real Estate and Planning, Empire State Development
- Janno N. Lieber – Chief Development Officer, MTA
- Jonathan Bowles – Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future
- Judy Zangwill – Executive Director, Sunnyside Community Services
- Lisa Deller – Land Use Committee Chair, Community Board 2
- Lynne Sagalyn – Professor, Columbia University
- Melissa Orlando – Executive Director and Founder, Access Queens
- Mitchell Moss – Director of Rudin Center, NYU
- Pedro Gomez – President, Court Square Civic
- Sheila Lewandowski – Member, LIC Cultural Alliance
- Sylvia White – Co-Chair, Justice for All Coalition
- Thomas J. Grech – President & Chief Executive Officer, Queens Chamber of Commerce
- Tom Wright – President, Regional Plan Association
Master Planning Consultant Team:
Led by Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), the multidisciplinary consultant team includes:
- Thornton Tomasetti (Structural Engineering)
- HNTB (Rail Engineering)
- Sam Schwartz Engineering (Mobility Planning & Engineering)
- Langan (Environmental Planning, Geotech, & Civil Engineering)
- Nelson Byrd Woltz (Landscape Architecture)
- Assess+RE (Financial Modeling)
- CBRE (Market Analysis)
- Dharam (Costing & Risk)
- Municap (Public Finance)
- Urbane (Stakeholder Engagement)
- Carlo Ratti Associati (Futurist)
2017 Feasibility Study: Is it technically feasible to deck over Sunnyside Yard?
The Sunnyside Yard Feasibility Study, released in February 2017, was the first comprehensive analysis to understand the technical feasibility of decking over active rail and related facilities in Sunnyside Yard. The study found that decking and construction is feasible in the majority of the yard, with approximately 15 to 20 percent infeasible, predominantly over the highly trafficked Main Line. The study tested several hypothetical scenarios and identified certain sections of the yard that are ideal for different types of buildings and others for a range of parks, roads, and open spaces.