Create Public Access at Vernon Blvd Shoreline

New York City Department of Transportation

Vernon_dotedc
Current Proposed Shoreline Design for Vernon Blvd (NYC DOT & NYC EDC)

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and Economic Development Corporation (EDC) are currently pursuing plans to reconstruct the Vernon Blvd Street End at Newtown Creek.

In the past 20 years, numerous community driven plans for this location have been developed in an effort to reconnect Long Island City to their waterfront (see links below). While the Brooklyn side of this former bridge crossing received city investment in the form of a pocket park and boat launch (Manhattan Avenue Street End Park, completed 2009) the end of Vernon has been left in a state of disrepair and neglect until a major bulkhead collapse in early 2016 forced the City’s hand to consider an investment that will prevent further erosion and protect infrastructure running beneath the street. After 4 years of a fenced off and crumbling shoreline, the DOT and EDC presented their plans to Queens Community Board 2 in April 2020 (see above).

Building upon previous community led planning projects, Newtown Creek Alliance, along with Queens Community Board 2, Councilmember Van Bramer, and HarborLAB (a community boating organization that operates at this location) have all expressed interest in a shoreline redesign that provides real access to the water, as well as upland accommodations for both the public and wildlife (in the form of seating, trees, pollinator garden, etc), while protecting against future flooding. The current plan does not offer any of these benefits. The DOT’s offer of “continuing discussions about options to enhance the spaces and access to the waterfront following this essential construction” does not go far enough and all but closes the door to real opportunities to rebuild with the community and resiliency at the core of this important project.. The options to incorporate shoreline access post construction will be more complicated, more expensive and thus less likely. Additionally, an offer to continue discussions is not an actual commitment towards achieving community benefits.  

Background Materials:

December 3, 2020 Greenpoint Star: Advocates Share Concern with Newtown Creek Bulkhead Project

November 11, 2020 NCA letter to DOT/EDC

October 28, 2020 DOT letter to Queens Community Board 2

April 9, 2020 NCA letter to DOT/EDC

April 6, 2020 DOT/EDC presentation to Queens Community Board 2

2018: The Newtown Creek Vision Plan: Riverkeeper, Newtown Creek Alliance and Perkins+Will

2006: Manufactured Ecology on the Industrial Edge: Reclaiming the Vernon Blvd Waterfront at Newtown Creek: New Yorkers for Parks and Jones Lang LaSalle

2000: Newtown Creek Community Planning Process: Place in History, the Queens Department of City Planning, the New York City Council, Jamie Purinton and Matthew Potteiger


Petition by
Newtown Creek Alliance
Brooklyn, New York

To: New York City Department of Transportation
From: [Your Name]

The proposed shoreline redesign of the Vernon Blvd street end on Newtown Creek is unacceptable. Despite the lack of substantial public access along the entire Queens side of the Creek and numerous community led visions to transform this unique city-owned shoreline, the proposed plan fails to incorporate critical elements. It is a major lost opportunity to rebuild this shoreline without providing environmental benefits or creating a connection to the Creek for local residents, workers, and students. We deserve better.

DOT/EDC must reconfigure the current plan to provide true access to Newtown Creek; and establish a binding commitment to add upland amenities (including seating and ecologically beneficial greenery) following construction.