Queens College to study options for abandoned Rockaway Beach line


| mhayes@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder and Queens Public Transit Committee Chair Phil McManus hope a new feasibility study leads to the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach rail line.

Transportation advocates have had resurrection on the mind for the abandoned Rockaway Beach line (RBL), and are now getting local support to see if their vision can become a reality.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder announced on Monday that Queens College will undertake a study to assess the proposed options for the tracks.

Along with a rail line revival, plans exist to convert the 3.5-mile long space to a public park, the QueensWay.

“The whole idea is to expose all possible options,” said Dr. Leonard Rodberg, chair of the Department of Urban Studies, which will conduct the study.

Starting next spring, graduate and undergraduate students will be able to take research courses geared towards the RBL, studying the community impact of each plan. They will consider census data, existing transportation patterns and more.

During the summer of 2014, roughly a dozen students will be hired as research assistants to do field work, going out in the community and surveying both the area and residents. Completion is projected for the end of the summer.

“Our goal here is to do what’s in the best interest of Queens,” Goldfeder said. “We’ve got to look at all options.”

Rail line advocates are hoping for a compromise, and several members of the Queens Public Transit Committee would like to find “some common ground.”

“When you look at the QueensWay, it’s a great idea,” said Phil McManus, committee chair. “I’m not anti-park, I just think we need the train first.”

McManus said that bringing back the 40-minute commute between the Rockaways and midtown, paired with a park could be the best bet.

“If you exclusively do a park without a train, I’m afraid that we’d lose the train forever,” he said.

“We’re willing to work with whatever possible. I want transportation for this line, and beautification.”

For the upcoming study, Goldfeder plans to provide a capital grant of $50,000 to $100,000 to help with infrastructure needs. The college’s department will also set aside money from their budget.

“We need to utilize the tools that we’ve got, much like the rail line,” Goldfeder said. “Hopefully this can lead to the next step.”

 

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  • Fred G.

    Ok, so hopefully we will get some good data, but this professor is a physicist and checking out his resume on the Queens College website it looks like in terms of urban studies, his work mostly been related to social policies, especially health care. So I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but don’t you need engineers? He doesn’t even seem to be an urban planner, not an architect, not a construction guy, so how is he and a bunch of students going to be able to evaluate this line with a train versus the park idea versus other transportation projects like that Woodhaven SBS? I don’t want to be unfair, but he doesn’t have any train credentials let alone any urban design/engineering credentials. Really this sounds little more than the school is going to do some polling in the neighborhoods to see if people like the idea, not to actually figure out if it can be done, how you would do, what it would cost, etc. Doesn’t really make sense to me.

  • Tina C.

    These photos were taken in Ozone Park, where I live, a direct link into the Rockaways for this abandon rail line. Of all my years existence I sadly have not seen this rail line into usage. I would like more travel options connecting Queens into Manhattan. If not, maybe another High Line Park?

  • Kevin W.

    This will never be a rail line because of the NIMBY folks who live in Forest Hills, unless Resorts World Casino gives the City another 15 to 20% more of it’s profits to cleanup and rebuild the existing infrastructure. There you go, end of story, save your money for another project. Never mind me seeing this in my lifetime, my 6 year old grandson won’t see it in his lifetime. Hasn’t enough money been spent over the years on studies and surveys.
    Three quarters of the needed infrastructure is in place. Just imagine if it is ever built there will be millions more spent on studies, we should have extended this to LaGuardia Airport for a rail link between the two airports. Maybe the powers that be will wake up when I’m 130 in 2082. Just build the damn thing!!!

    • Philip McManus

      I hope you are wrong.

      The RBL was stolen from Queens and will be return to the people ASAP.
      God Willing we will overcome this injustice of 50 years and 63 years and bring back faster transportation and more jobs to Queens.
      A growing Queens and City population need more transit corridors.
      Overcrowded buses, trains and roadways will demand the Queens RBL to be reused again. It’s inevitable. You gotta believe.

  • Philip McManus

    We need more help. We need commuters to get more involved. Don’t be a spectator.

    We need to grow and build community support for the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, faster transportation.

    Thank you to everyone who came to the QueensWay meeting on Wednesday. We stood up and spoke up together for what is right.

    Thank you also to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Queens College for organizing an affordable study on this issue.

    The reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line (RBL) will expand the NYC transit system, increase social and economic opportunities for city residents, while increasing property values and tax revenues. It’s good for Queens.

    The RBL will increase transit options including faster travel times to and from work, home, school, shopping, recreation, dining, family visits, and doctor visits.

    The RBL will decrease pollution, accidents, unemployment, crime and government dependence, reduce present and future overcrowding and unreliable buses, trains and roadways at a much, much greater level than the QueensWay plan.

    The QueensWay plan will only benefit a few people and a small area of Queens. It’s the small plan while the transportation plan is the big plan, the most inclusive plan.

    Reusing the Queens RBL for transportation is the best plan. It will reunite north and south Queens and increase travel times and increase investments for everyone especially the poor and middle class areas that are underserved, excluded and separated from the American dream.

    The QueensWay plan and the No Way plan are exclusive and divide our borough. It also prevents development and investments in Queens.

    The borough of Queens needs jobs
    and businesses for all the people so we can grow and help each other.

    The NIMBYS plan is called the Do Nothing Plan because it does very little to support Queens and the city.

    Please think about reusing the Queens Rockaway Beach Line for transporting the most amount of people efficiently.

    Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

    http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

    •change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-reactivate-the-lirr-rockaway-line-in-central-queens

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

    http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

    Philip McManus
    Queens Public Transit Committee
    718-474-0315

    718-679-5309

    rowing612@aol.com

    Facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine

    Twitter.com/RBL1910

    http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

    http://www.QueensPublicTransit.com

  • Philip McManus

    “Reusing the former LIRR Queens Rockaway Beach Line (RBL) for transportation is the best plan. It will reunite north and south Queens and decrease travel times and increase investments for everyone especially the poor and middle class areas that are underserved, excluded and separated from the American dream.

    The QueensWay plan and the No Way plan are exclusive and divide our borough. It also prevents development and investments in Queens. We need jobs and businesses for all the people so we can grow and help each other. The QueensWay plan sounds good [on the surface] but it will only benefit a few people and a small area of Queens. It’s the small plan while the transportation plan is the big plan, the most inclusive plan.

    The reactivation of the RBL will expand the transit system, increase social and economic opportunities, increase property values and tax revenues. As a rail line, the RBL will increase transit options including faster travel times to work, home, school, shopping, recreation, dining, family visits, and doctor visits.

    The RBL will decrease pollution, accidents, unemployment, crime and government dependence, reduce present and future overcrowding and unreliable buses, trains and roadways at a much, much greater level than the QueensWay plan.

    Thank you also to New York State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Queens College for organizing this reasonable and affordable study to reuse this vital public asset.

    Thank you to the NY Daily News for endorsing the Queens RBL for transportation.”

    Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

    http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

    •change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-reactivate-the-lirr-rockaway-line-in-central-queens

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

    http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

    Philip McManus
    Queens Public Transit Committee
    718-474-0315

    718-679-5309

    rowing612@aol.com

    Facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine

    Twitter.com/RBL1910

    http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

    http://www.QueensPublicTransit.com