The interwebs have been speculating on what the QueensWay could look like for months now, but we finally got to see a more solidified vision of the possible park at a community workshop this week. Friends of the QueensWay shared a bevy of new details about the project at the event, including a breakdown of how the 3.5 miles of elevated train line could be divvied up into six distinct sections. We also learned more about plans for the repurposed track, which stretches from Rego Park to Ozone Park, to feature exciting amenities like zip-lines and ping-pong tables.
At the workshop, WXY Architecture and DLand Studios showed their designs for the project, which will renovate the former Long Island Rail Road track into a new linear path surrounded by nature. Friends of the QueensWay say their project will help spur more walking by adding a safe path of travel above street level. According to the advocacy group, 123,000 residents live within a 10-minute, half-mile walk of the QueensWay, with the number expanding to 250,000 people living within one mile.
The architects also re-thought the position of the walkways and bike paths to help alleviate the public’s privacy concerns. Instead of having them near the edges, the pedestrian paths will be sunken below the surrounding ground and positioned towards the middle of the platform. What’s more, the designers hope to create a visual buffer to protect all the residents’ privacy with mounds of dirt and trees in between the passing visitors and the edge of the elevated train tracks.
The park will begin with “The Clearing” near the baseball fields at the corner of Fleet and Selfridge Streets. As one of the main entrances to the park, The Clearing could feature wide-open spaces for events, a dog park, and landscape bleachers to extend the seating areas around the baseball parks. From there, the QueensWay would continue on with off-street commuting routes along the North Passage and bike connections to the adjacent subway stations.
Further down the QueensWay, the elevated park would link up with a shopping area where the designers envision a Metropolitan Hub. This section could add easy connections to local shops and better access to Forest Park and the schools around the area. One of the QueensWay’s largest amenities will be the Forest Park Grove. Among the ideas the designers theorized for the area, zip lines could be added along with an adventure playground for kids, a canopy walk, and a giant slide that would wrap around an old railway tower.
For the other two sections, WXY and DLand architects have plans for more pedestrian paths to continue on throughout the South Passage. These bike paths and walkways would lead on all the way to an area called The Elevated which is the QueensWay’s highest point that connects to the aqueducts in Ozone Park.
While the project is starting to finally taking shape, the parties behind the QueensWay still want more community feedback on what they want from the new park and to hear their concerns.
Inhabitat spoke with one Forest Hills resident who shared his complete apathy for the project. “I think it is naïve,” Richard Taub said. “No one is going to be able to maintain it; they haven’t considered the traffic, the sanitation issues, or the parking.”
“Where are they going?” Taub continued. “This is a residential area, right now we don’t have ample parking.” Instead of seeing money go to waste on a project like the QueensWay, Taub says the group spend it where it could actually be useful like towards NYC schools.
Tim Murphy had the opposite sentiment. “I don’t see any reason not to be supportive,” Murphy said. “I live a couple of blocks away from what would be the park and I think it would be a great addition to the area.”