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The Sunnyside Yard Planning Process is a once-in-a-century opportunity to collaboratively design and plan the future of New York City—by the public, for the public. We’re seizing this opportunity and imagining a future on top of Sunnyside Yard.

Sunnyside Skyline, Photo by David Sundberg

What is Sunnyside Yard?

Before we get into what’s happening at Sunnyside Yard, let’s cover the yard itself. Sunnyside Yard is:

  • An active rail yard owned primarily by Amtrak, MTA and the City of New York, stretching over a mile and a half from east to west, surrounded by eight neighborhoods in western Queens each with a different character, history, and scale.
  • One of the busiest railroad facilities in the country and a key train storage and maintenance yard serving Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, NJ Transit, and Long Island Railroad (LIRR).

Built in 1910 by Pennsylvania Railroad, the Yard has been a critical piece of railroad infrastructure for over a century.

Sunnyside Yard Nuts and Bolts

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Seizing a Rare Opportunity

That’s what Sunnyside Yard is right now, but what could it be in the future? That’s a question we’re asking—and working with Amtrak, the MTA, and Queens communities to answer—this very moment, as part of a master planning process to create a new vision for Sunnyside Yard.

 

Sunnyside Yard. Photo by David Sundberg/NYCEDC.

Throughout the process we’ve been asking:

  1. How could this area better connect to and serve adjacent neighborhoods?
  2. What opportunities are available to leverage the existing rail lines in the Yard in ways that serve the region better?
  3. What are the values that should be embedded in a planning process meant to serve future generations of Queens residents?
Sunnyside Yard Meeting Video.

This is a planning process that will lead to a vision for what could go on top of the yard, integrated with the rail activities that would continue below. A 2017 feasibility study found that this is technically possible and laid the foundation for a future plan. The master planning process, expected to last 18 months, started in summer 2018 and is led by a diverse steering committee of community leaders, regional thought leaders, and planning experts, in close collaboration with the rail agencies.

City and Amtrak Take Major Step Toward Transformative Vision for Sunnyside Yard

See Press Release
Sunnyside Yard Meeting. Photo by Kreg Holt/NYCEDC.

What’s in a Master Plan?

Through the drafting of a master plan, the City and Amtrak are working with local and regional stakeholders to develop a vision and framework to guide investments and address the needs of nearby neighborhoods, as well as the borough, city, and region.

The master planning process will focus on developing a vision and planning framework that will guide incremental steps of a potential long-term (30, 50, 100+ years) planning document that guides the future of this area by providing a vision for building over the Yard while preserving rail infrastructure. While it will build on the technical findings of the 2017 feasibility study, the master planning process is an opportunity for stakeholders to take a fresh look at opportunities. Master plans are a common tool in cities around the world to ensure neighborhoods plan and grow in thoughtful, sustainable, and inclusive ways.

The process of imagining the future of Sunnyside Yard site will be as important as the vision that is created.
Sharon Greenberger
President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York

Why Now?

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 as the borough of families continues its natural growth. And this growth will put new 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 could integrate this area into the established fabric of surrounding communities.

Sunnyside Yard has been the focus of many conceptual overbuild proposals since it was first opened by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1910. But right now, Amtrak and MTA are undertaking critical capital investments in the yard’s rail infrastructure, presenting a unique window of time to coordinate long-term planning for the future of the yard that accounts for both rail needs below and community needs above.

Sunnyside Yard Meeting. Photo by Kreg Holt/NYCEDC.

Sunnyside Yard Master Plan

Creating a new vision for Sunnyside Yard in Queens, led by a diverse team of community leaders, technical experts, elected officials, and public agencies.

Learn More
Key Documents
  • Sunnyside Yard Feasibility Summary Points Key findings from the feasibility study

Contact Us

Contact: [email protected]

Learn more about this transformational project in Western Queens