Port Authority seeks firm to plan Promenade upgrades

A gap left by broken railing along the Flushing Promenade is plugged by portable metal barricades. The Port Authority says railings, walkways, lighting and more would be upgraded as part of the federal approval process for its proposed LaGuardia Airport AirTrain. 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday released a request for proposals for a landscape architecture or engineering firm to design plans for improvements to the Flushing Promenade.

The PA is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval of its proposal to build an AirTrain link between LaGaurdia Airport and a site between the existing No. 7 subway station and the Long Island Rail Road Station at Willets Point between Citi Field and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The proposal would build elevated tracks along the boarder between the Promenade and the Grand Central Parkway, and also require the relocation of a number of facilities of the existing boat marina.

The PA, as part of the federal review process, has agreed to a massive refurbishment and improvement project along the 1.4-mile Promenade to offset some of the permanent changes that would take place.

The firm that lands the contract will assist the PA in coming up with the final plan for the park.

Requirements will include but would not be limited to rehabilitating walkways, railings, lighting and signage; repairing bulkheads and the seawall; and improving entrances on Ditmars Boulevard via pedestrian bridges at 27th Avenue and 31st Drive.

Many residents in the Corona-East Elmhurst have objected to the project, citing protracted construction, loss of parkland and the aesthetic disruption of elevated tracks. So have environmental groups.

But Rick Cotton executive director of the PA said in a statement issued Thursday that the project will be beneficial.

“The AirTrain LGA is essential to the redevelopment of the airport, and it will bring notable benefits to the surrounding community including reduced air pollution, reduced traffic congestion, and significant upgrades to the Flushing Bay Promenade,” Cotton said.

“The Port Authority is also committed to leaving the Promenade in far better shape than its current condition and to seek community input regarding specific improvements.”

The PA said it is working with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to solicit community input through a series of public workshops beginning in October and establishment of a Flushing Bay Promenade Community Advisory Council.

PA Chairman Kevin O’Toole in the same press release said the AirTrain project will provide opportunities for area businesses and schools. The 83-page RFP also lays out several pages of requirements for hiring minority- and women-owned business enterprises into the planning project. Port Authority seeks firm to plan

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