What is Sunnyside Yard?
As one of the busiest passenger rail facilities in North America, the Yard is a critical piece of national rail infrastructure. A deck over Sunnyside Yard must support the city above, while seamlessly integrating with the daily rail operations below.
Around 780 trains run through the Yard each day via Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and LIRR’s Main Line, with more to come once MTA’s East Side Access and Penn Access projects are completed.
In 2014, Amtrak completed a once-in-a-century plan to upgrade Sunnyside Yard, creating a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to envision extending neighborhoods over the Yard.
The Master Plan comes at a rare moment of opportunity to plan responsibly for the future and support the next generation of New Yorkers.
The Master Plan is:
- 12,000 new affordable homes - half for very low-income families, and half providing homeownership opportunities through a 21st century Mitchell-Lama Program
- A new regional rail hub, Sunnyside Station, connecting Western Queens to the Greater New York City region and Northeast Corridor, to be built as the first element of the Plan (see "What Comes First" below)
- 60 acres of new public open space serving Western Queens communities, alongside new schools, libraries, and other social infrastructure
- An infrastructure-first approach that includes meeting needs like drainage, open space, and transportation, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line
- A detailed technical guide for creating new publicly controlled land by building a "deck" over the rail yard that protects rail operations while connecting neighborhoods
- A plan focused on preserving Queens' affordability and providing public benefits, rather than maximizing financial gain
- A way to protect the unique diversity of Queens for generations to come
- A framework to guide future decision-making and implementation over many decades with sustained public input
The Master Plan is NOT:
- A transaction with a developer
- A fixed plan that will be executed exactly as conceived
- Formal public approvals for development
- A replica of the overbuild projects of today
As the city grows, it is critical to plan for the future to ensure that the borough remains an inclusive home to New Yorkers.
The city is running out of publicly controlled land to address the challenges of climate change, housing affordability, and unequal economic opportunity at a meaningful scale.
The Yard’s unique location in the center of the regional rail network can connect people across the Northeast—fueling job growth and access to opportunity.
At 180 acres, Sunnyside Yard is the only centrally-located, transit-accessible site of its size remaining in the City. The Master Plan comes at a rare moment of opportunity to plan responsibly for the next generation of New Yorkers.
How do we create new types of affordable housing at scale to protect and enhance the diverse makeup of Queens?
How can we rethink and expand our transit network?
How do we grow in an environmentally sustainable way while helping communities deal with the effects of climate change?
The Sunnyside Yard Master Planning process is a different kind of large-scale planning. A diverse Steering Committee comprised of community leaders, regional thought leaders, and technical experts provided critical feedback as the Plan took shape.
Over 18 months, community engagement shaped a long-term vision that puts the public interest first.
What Comes First
The Master Plan is a long-term generational vision. However, there are concrete steps that can be taken now.
Responding to community desire for more transportation options, the City is committing to making a substantial contribution for a future Sunnyside Station.
The City and Amtrak have committed to forming a nonprofit governance entity in partnership with local elected officials, community members and citywide leaders. This entity will ensure that future decisions reflect the public priorities established by the Master Plan, including affordable housing, open space, transportation, and sustainability goals, and help coordinate early investments such as Sunnyside Station.
Coordinating with City agencies on area-wide infrastructure improvements, such as sewers, so that they are designed to accommodate the Master Plan