Flushing Waterways Vision Plan
Riverkeeper / Guardians of Flushing Bay
Queens, New York
Project size: 600 acres
Riverkeeper launched a Vision Plan process in 2016 in order to help put to paper the energy and momentum building around the clean water future of northern Queens. The waterways around Flushing Bay are historic salt marshes, now overflowing with pollutants. With city plans for sewage and stormwater pollution investments taking shape, redevelopment of Flushing Bay piers starting, and redevelopment plans for Willets Point and downtown Flushing, the waters of Flushing Bay and Flushing Creek needed their own long-term plan. To craft the plan for Flushing Waterways, Perkins+Will and Riverkeeper worked closely with Guardians of Flushing Bay, a group of local boaters, residents and environmental advocates. This process brought life and focus to a community-driven catalog of waterway and city-system improvement. It was also a record of the pollution, access, and investment barriers facing the Waterways, tied to plan for how to overcome those barriers to achieve a unified vision.
The plan envisions a renewed waterfront destination that connects the diverse communities of East Elmhurst, North Corona and Flushing with rapidly growing communities surrounding Flushing Bay, including the new Willets Point and Flushing West neighborhoods. The Vision Plan identified and illustrated over 50 interventions and projects within the waterways, as well as a number of large-scale stormwater management issues. The projects mirrored the 4R (resilience, remediation, restoration, recreation) approach we took for community visioning. It proposes extensive habitat restoration, the expansion of marshlands, a major new park space for downtown Flushing, reinvestment in the historic 1964 World’s Fair Marina and a new 40,000-square-foot Queens Waterfront Exploration Center.
Shorter-term projects include proposed improvements in wayfinding and green infrastructure investments were balanced with longer-term visions, like relocating roadways away from the waterfront, or constructing much needed new waterfront park space for nearby communities.