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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

In Sunnyside Yards master plan, Atlantic Yards down the memory hole (no, it hasn't yet "built over rail lines" with a platform)

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal had the scoop about a huge project at Sunnyside Yards, New Queens Project to Include 12,000 Affordable Apartments. Or, as the website proclaims, accenting the most politically enticing feature, "A once-in-a-century opportunity to bring 12,000 affordable homes and a regional rail hub to Western Queens through the creation of new public land."

It's far more than that, with 140 acres, including 115 acres of new land created by decking, including a planned:
  • new regional rail station
  • 60 acres of new public open space—over 40 percent of the Plan
  • 30,000+ construction-industry jobs
  • 12,000 affordable homes
  • 7,000 permanent new jobs
  • 10-12 new schools
  • 2-3 new libraries
  • 30+ new child/healthcare centers
  • 1 new subway station on future new subway line
  • 1 new bus rapid transit (BRT) line
There are huge questions about funding, feasibility, and more--see this exchange--and I hope to look deeper. Given the need for new "land," it's not unreasonable to aim to build above railyard, or highway cuts, but the devil is always in the details, as Atlantic Yards has taught us.

Misleading about Atlantic Yards

I looked for references in the full plan to Atlantic Yards, and found exactly one, which was disturbingly misleading:
Similar to Park Avenue or Atlantic Yards, which built over rail lines to create new land, a platform structure, or a deck, is required at Sunnyside Yard in order to support new streets, open spaces, and buildings above the active rail operations.
In fact, as I tweeted, more than ten years after its final approval in 2009, Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park) still awaits a deck over two railyard blocks between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, the first between Sixth and Carlton avenues and the second between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.

The third block of the railyard, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, makes up about half the parcel in which the Barclays Center is built below grade--which is why event-goers with more expensive seats walk down the steps. 

The railyard tracks were moved, so there was no need to build an expensive deck above them. It was thus easier, and cheaper, to excavate terra firma to make room for the rest of the arena.

One piece of news from last night's brief and not-so-enlightening Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting--as I'll explain in a separate post--is that developer Greenland USA is getting closer to announcing a construction manager for that first deck. But they're still behind the schedule they floated last year.

So another lesson, for those looking at big plans like Sunnyside Yards, is persistent skepticism.

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