The Port Authority announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a landscape architecture or engineering design firm to advance improvements to the Flushing Bay Promenade as part of the AirTrain LGA project and $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. The Port Authority has proposed an AirTrain to traverse the northern edge of the Grand Central Parkway adjacent to the Flushing Bay Promenade that provides a long-awaited rail link to LaGuardia Airport.
A full presentation was made at the regular meeting of the New York Community Airport Roundtable’s LaGuardia Airport section. The meeting took place at Vaughn College, which sits just across the GCP from LaGuardia.
As part of the federal environmental review of the project, the Port Authority has committed to providing additional, specific mitigation to the Promenade area based on public comments to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement and through a community outreach program. The awardee of the RFP will assist the Port Authority in developing a concrete plan that improves the Promenade, including: alleviating disruptions to park resources, enhancing the full length of the Promenade and providing amenities to the local community; and improving the Ditmars Boulevard entrances to the two pedestrian bridges located at 27th Avenue and 31st Drive.
“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,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “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.”
To guide the vision for the improvements to the Promenade, the Port Authority, working closely with New York City Parks Department, will hold a series of workshops for community members and local stakeholders to discuss the Promenade upgrades beginning in October. The agency and the Parks Department will also create a Flushing Bay Promenade Community Advisory Council (CAC) as part of this effort.
Following Governor Cuomo’s vision for A Whole New LGA, the Port Authority is working with local elected officials, stakeholders and organizations to ensure local businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBE) and job-seekers take advantage of new opportunities as part of LaGuardia Airport’s redevelopment. Since the beginning of the airport redevelopment project, more than $600 million in contracts has been awarded to local businesses based in Queens.
LaGuardia Airport redevelopment contracts MWBE have now exceeded $1.45 billion. The hiring effort for new positions as part of LGA redevelopment has included local outreach utilizing two long-standing community-based organizations, Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities and Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC. This partnership has resulted in over 50 percent of new hires for concessions positions as part of the new airport being filled by Queens residents.
In April 2019, Governor Cuomo announced the opening of the new Council for Airport Opportunity (CAO) office in Corona, in partnership with two community-based organizations. CAO provides airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens. In December 2019, the permanent LaGuardia Redevelopment office opened to the public providing airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens.
As part of its commitment to increased opportunities in neighborhoods impacted by its operations, the Port Authority partnered with Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens and funded 11 full-tuition scholarships for students from local communities to attend Vaughn College. The LaGuardia Redevelopment Program has also partnered with the Queens Public Library to offer a STEM education program with an aviation focus for 150 local middle-school students, now in its second year.
In October 2019, the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners formally authorized the funding needed, pending completion of the FAA’s independent environmental review, to develop the new AirTrain LGA.