Queensbridge Park – On Tuesday, October 10, Council Member Julie Won was joined by Speaker Adrienne Adams, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Assembly Member Steven Raga, a representative from Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez’s office, the Department of City Planning, labor unions, and community partners to announce the launch of two holistic community planning processes across District 26. These planning processes will take a holistic look at Long Island City and the heart of District 26 and engage the community through transparent, comprehensive planning frameworks that will develop the vision and goals of the community. The mission is to maximize engagement from a diverse set of residents, community groups, and small businesses to deliver community-driven land use changes for these neighborhoods. The Long Island City Neighborhood Study will culminate with a rezoning, to be voted upon by the City Council.

For years, the city’s land use approach to Western Queens has been project-by-project, focused on individual sites and plans rather than a neighborhood-wide approach. This process will allow residents to proactively share their vision for new housing, jobs, and investments in their neighborhood, such as public transit, affordable housing, open space, and sewer infrastructure.

Council Member Won announced that comprehensive community planning will focus on two separate focus areas in District 26:

1) One Long Island City -The Long Island City Neighborhood Study will be led by the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), with funding from the Adams administration. The study area extends from the East River and Gantry Plaza State Park at the southwest, north to include Queensbridge Houses, the Long Island City Industrial Business Zone, and east to Court Square and 23rd Street. This planning process will aim to unite these disparate areas to create a vision for one holistic Long Island City neighborhood. The study will examine ways to create new housing, economic growth, transit connectivity, and open space, concluding with a neighborhood plan including zoning changes. The study will include proposed land use changes to guide new development in the neighborhood, as well as proposals for capital investments, programs, and services.

2) Heart of District 26 – The Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue Study encompasses multiple neighborhoods of Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside. The Northern Blvd study area stretches from Queens Blvd to the BQE. The Roosevelt Ave study area stretches from Queens Blvd to the BQE. Outreach and engagement for this study will be led by Hester Street and is funded by City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. The study area does not include or involve Sunnyside Yards. This comprehensive, community-first approach to neighborhood planning will develop a blueprint for the neighborhoods’ collective future and demand for investment along these two central corridors.

Both Neighborhood Studies seek to achieve the following preliminary goals: 

  • Conduct a transparent, accessible and equitable planning process engaging diverse community members with language access and various modes of outreach.
  • Create new housing opportunities, including affordable housing.
  • Create and shape open green spaces with active and passive recreation to serve existing and future residents.
  • Increase access to jobs and foster economic growth while expanding workforce development among businesses, institutions, and NYCHA residents.
  • Enhance connectivity and multi-modal transportation options on key corridors to connect residents to job opportunities, amenities, and other modes of transportation.
  • Improve infrastructure and reduce exposure to climate risk.
  • Other goals will be added as further identified by community members throughout the study.*

Over the course of the next year, these planning processes will offer the local community an opportunity to proactively identify improvements in amenities, parks, schools, public transportation, and public infrastructure that they would like to see in their neighborhoods. Comprehensive community planning puts residents’ voices first instead of waiting for developers to make decisions about their neighborhoods. Outreach will include working groups, public meetings, surveys, and other forms of community outreach. Each process will begin with a public town hall in early November:

  1. Heart of District 26 – November 2nd, 2023 at 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Legal Outreach 36-14 35th St, Queens, NY 11106
  2. One Long Island City – November 6th, 2023 at 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Culture Lab 5-25 46th Ave, Queens, NY 11101 (doors at 6:00).

Sign up for Council Member Won’s email newsletter to receive updates on other upcoming planning meetings: https://bit.ly/d26signup.

“I am incredibly excited for the comprehensive planning studies that will commence throughout my district,” said Council Member Julie Won. “With comprehensive planning underway, the community—and not real estate developers—will determine how we use our land so that our neighborhood grows with us affordably and sustainably. Our current developer-driven land use process has led to tremendous growth in our neighborhoods but at the cost of increased displacement, record high rents, a lack of school seats, greenspace, and much more. Through comprehensive planning, our community’s needs for affordable housing, schools, parks, transportation, and climate resiliency can be addressed and built holistically, and not one lot at a time. By centering community voices, these processes will develop neighborhoods that meet our long-term needs, and finally put people before profit.”

“Proactive community planning is critical to the long-term health and success of our city and diverse neighborhoods,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I’m proud to allocate funding in the city budget to support a study that will lead to a community-driven vision for affordable housing, public transit, and other community infrastructure and investments in District 26. It’s vital for every community to contribute equitably to solving our city’s housing and affordability crisis, and today’s announcement marks the start of an important process in this district. I look forward to continuing our partnership with Council Member Won, local elected officials, city agencies, labor unions, and community groups to secure the equitable and vibrant future that New Yorkers deserve.”

“Any meaningful neighborhood investment should respond to the needs and vision of the community it serves,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “While Long Island City has seen many plans come and go over the years, I applaud Council Member Won, Speaker Adams, and my colleagues at the Department of City Planning for launching a collaborative, community-led process that will drive action and shape the kind of near-term and generational opportunities that residents deserve.”

“I applaud the new comprehensive community planning studies fostered by Council Member Julie Won for Long Island City and two neglected corridors in Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside to ensure that communities are the drivers of the change they want to see for the improvement and future of their neighborhoods,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez. “It’s vital that infrastructure, green open space, job opportunities and affordable housing keep pace with the population growth that has already occurred in Western Queens and that development doesn’t come at the expense of working-class families. These community planning studies will put the interests of residents over developers and ensure our neighborhoods’ affordable and sustainable growth aligned with our collective vision.”

“We’re excited to partner with the Long Island City community to craft a holistic vision for Western Queens,” said Dan Garodnick, Director of the Department of City Planning. “This process will allow us to develop a neighborhood-wide vision for housing, jobs, open space, and climate resiliency in order to deliver necessary land use changes and investment for the future of Long Island City.”

“We applaud Council Member Won’s commitment to comprehensive planning and creating a cohesive vision for equitable land use that integrates community priorities with a data-driven analysis of needs in District 26. Hester Street looks forward to working closely with the community to identify priorities and a vision for the future of the Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue corridors,” said Eva Neubauer Alligood, Executive Director of Hester Street.

“As we face multiple crises of affordability, failing infrastructure, and climate change, comprehensive community planning is the best way forward and will give our already engaged western Queens community control over their future and the neighborhoods they love. I look forward to the process, result, and planning for a stronger community with my neighbors,” said Danielle Brecker, Queens Community Board 2 Chairwoman.

“Hundreds of proud local 79 members and their families have made District 26 their homes. We applaud Council Member Won’s commitment to ensuring that we provide both affordable housing, community hire and family-sustaining union jobs,” said Laborers Local 79 Business Manager Mike Prohaska.

“On behalf of the 10,000 members of DC9 Painters and Allied Trades we applaud councilmember Won and Speaker Adams in being proactive with a community planning process for District 26,” said District Council 9 Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Joseph Azzopardi. “Including labor in this process will be critical to ensure that communities have middle-class career paths in the construction industry. DC9 has always advocated for building strong communities where our members live. We look forward to getting our members in District 26 involved in this visioning process.”

“On behalf of our members living in Western Queens and all of New York State, we look forward to working together to improve the community,” said New York City District Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger. “We are proud to stand with Council Member Won to turn this proactive community vision into a reality while creating the family-sustaining jobs and high-quality affordable housing New Yorkers deserve.”

“ANHD has long called for a more equitable, community-centered approach to how we do planning in NYC. We’re excited to stand with Council Member Won as they announce two community planning efforts in their district. Robust community planning that genuinely engages and empowers marginalized residents to achieve equitable outcomes is essential to placing communities in a more proactive position – by working in a holistic manner to determine how best to address needs and priorities comprehensively and upfront, rather than in an ad hoc, project by project basis. We look forward to seeing this work advance here and across the city,” said Barika X. Williams, Executive Director, ANHD.

“Hunters Point Parks Conservancy is thrilled to learn of this new plan to better connect the neighborhoods of Long Island City into a community. LIC has seen unprecedented development, making it one of the fastest growing areas in the country, and ensuring that future changes are done based on a community-informed, neighbor-driven plan will help ensure that changes can help keep LIC an inviting place to live and work for both existing and new community members. We’re particularly excited that the Council Member is championing a cohesive approach to increasing the amount of open space in the neighborhood and working to address infrastructure challenges to correct some of the long-standing challenges and inequalities in the area,” said Jessica Sechrist, HPPC, Executive Director.

“To build a stronger, more resilient District 26, we need to invest in safe streets, sustainable transportation options, new parks and green spaces, and more. We look forward to working with Council Member Won and community partners to create a vision for the district that puts people first,” said Laura Shepard, Queens Organizer for Transportation Alternatives.

“Big Reuse wholeheartedly champions community-based planning in Long Island City. With a decade as an engaged environmental community partner in LIC, we look forward to a genuine and comprehensive inclusion of community input in all aspects of development,” said Justin Green, Executive Director, Big Reuse.

“Woodside On The Move believes in the transformative power of community-led planning, where equity, inclusivity, and true affordable housing are the cornerstones of our vision. Together, in partnership with the community and our elected officials, we shape a future where every voice is heard, and every neighbor thrives,” said William Jourdain, Executive Director, Woodside on the Move.

“Comprehensive community planning for Long Island City will ensure that we are engaging with stakeholders to activate our public spaces and improve local businesses and residences,” said Laura Rothrock, President, Long Island City Partnership. “This process will allow the community to lead the planning process in tandem with our Council Member, other local elected officials, and community partners. Thank you to Council Member Won for your vision and for championing this framework for our neighborhood. LICP is proud to be a partner in this process and we look forward to continue doing this work!”

“Comprehensive community planning will give the residents of Queensbridge NYCHA Development a voice to say what they want to see in their own neighborhood. For years, we have been advocating for the sinkhole to be fixed, for strong rat mitigation, basic maintenance of our homes, working elevators, a walking path for our seniors in Queensbridge Park, the restoration of our PAL Daycare Center, and more,” said Corrine Haynes, President, NYCHA Queensbridge Houses Resident Association. “As the Resident Association President and resident of the largest NYCHA in the country, I’ve seen how the city and developers have left Queensbridge Houses out of the planning process. Thank you to Council Member Won for ensuring that Queensbridge residents are leaders in comprehensive planning for Long Island City.”

“Every time it rains, Woodside Houses senior center and our after-school floods 3 to 4 feet of water. From flooding, health-hazardous rodent infestations, and years without heat and hot water every winter, it’s clear that for the city, Woodside Houses public housing residents have been deprioritized,” said Nan McKie, Woodside Houses Tenant Association President. “With development happening all around us, we deserve our fair share of investment and basic maintenance of our homes. I look forward to this long overdue comprehensive planning process for Northern Blvd. for a future that centers our community’s needs. Woodside Houses Seniors deserve an aboveground Senior Center once and for all.”

“The affordable housing crisis in Queens has been an ongoing and direct threat to our immigrant poor and working-class communities. As the cost of living continues to rise, too many of our families are struggling more and more. We need to take immediate action to build more affordable housing and protect tenants in our district,” said Rana Abdelhamid, Founder and Executive Director of Malikah. “A comprehensive community planning process for District 26 is a crucial and necessary first step. I am grateful that the process centers the voices of those who are most impacted by the affordable housing crisis in Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside so that our communities do not continue to get displaced.”

Photo credit: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit