RWA Hosts Workshop On Public Plaza
Last week community members, elected officials, professional planners and landscape architects all met up with students from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance urban planning program to brainstorm ideas for a DOT public plaza project.
The charette was led on the last day of the urban planning program and allowed students to collaborate with a team of professionals in the Rockaway Hip Hop Garden; a space created by RWA just last year in a similar effort to create an outdoor space for community use. Billie Cohen, who designed the garden was present at the charette and was able to talk with the students to see how the garden was holding up and changes that might help to make it more usable.
Walter Meyer, partner of Local Office, and a leader in park designs in wetland areas like the Rockaways, discussed the possibility of using the elevated track and land itself to create green infrastructure projects that can green up the community, while also helping to reduce flooding. The charette was very useful in allowing participants at all levels to brainstorm ideas that may bring together multiple purposes. Students and professionals presented a number of possibilities for the vacant lot along Rockaway Beach Blvd and Beach 59th St that has remained vacant and unused for the past 30 years.
“This site could better serve the community with multiple uses and benefits including creating a safer roadway and pedestrian area while reducing the flooding in the streets by planting native plants that can naturally grow in Rockaway. The street in this area is often flooded when there is a high tide and excess rain; causing health issues with mosquitoes who breed in these conditions. Unfortunately since Rockaway is not part of the city’s CSO system, DEP green infrastructure grants are not applicable to any part of the Rockaway Peninsula. Hopefully a project like this could show DEP and DOT how collaborating on projects like these are well suited for an environment like the Rockaway Peninsula and could be beneficial to the community on many levels. “said Jeanne DuPont, Executive Director of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance.