QueensWay study moving forward


| mhayes@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association
Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association

A year-long study will be conducted on the 3.5-mile former Rockaway Beach LIRR line.

Over three miles of abandoned railway could become the much-debated, yet eagerly anticipated, QueensWay Park for the borough.

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land introduced a design team on Tuesday, August 20 set to study the 3.5-mile greenway that was once the Rockaway Beach LIRR line, running from Rego Park to Ozone Park.

If approved and the project moves forward, the QueensWay would be double the size of Manhattan’s High Line, The Courier reported in December.

The year-long study, starting after Labor Day, will be conducted by WXY architecture + urban design and dlandstudio and will look at a variety of ways to convert the abandoned rail line into parkland, including engineering requirements, environmental impact and community feedback.

“The QueensWay is going to be New York’s next great park,” said Marc Matsil, New York state director of the Trust for Public Land. “Our mission is to protect land for people, and this is a perfect fit with that goal.”

The walkway will connect multiple communities and provide green space for 250,000 people in the borough, said Trust for Public Land officials. Art, sculptures and food from around the world will also be included.

Jack Friedman, Queens Chamber of Commerce executive director, said this initiative will provide a “much-needed boost” to the borough’s economy and local businesses.

The study will be funded by a $467,000 grant from Governor Andrew Cuomo as well as $140,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection and private donors.
However, not everybody is on board with the study, or the QueensWay itself.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he believes local residents would greatly benefit from “a complete restoration of the Rockaway Beach Line.”

“I am confident that any objective study regarding the best use for the abandoned rail line will conclude that a transportation option is the only real choice,” he said. “The current lack of public transit options in Queens is strangling our businesses and hurting our families.”

 

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  • Judy Close

    Sorry, folks, I’ve lived on 98th Street for 20 years, moved there for the relative peace and quiet and the lack of congestion, and whether the tracks turn into a reactivated LIRR spur, or this unnecessary bike/hiking trail in the middle of all the bike, hiking trails of Forest Park’s 500+ acres, either one will ruin my quality of life and that of all of the 98th Street residents for blocks. We want nothing done there, except occasional clean-ups by the LIRR. We could use more parking areas for all the residents. There will be no way to guarantee overnight security on the QueensWay, or all the noise, congestion and litter either project would bring into our now quiet area. Leave us alone — our property values are only now starting to rise again. Those projects would bring us down. The QueensWay people haven’t listened to the 98th Street people yet, and neither have the LIRR supporters. All 98th Street residents from the Woodhaven Blvd. service road south to Atlantic Ave. are going to be the MOST affected by such costly projects — and in a time of no money, just how are either of the projects going to be sustained over the years? They’ll both cost big money to start them up, and keep them going.

  • Frank Lupo

    As a resident of Queens I am thrilled that this project is getting off of
    the ground intelligently with a thorough feasibility study. WXY and
    Dlandstudio are a talented and nationally respected team of award winning
    architects and landscape architects. I am confident that every aspect of
    this project will be carefully studied . Community outreach is key to the
    process. Each community will be heard. Their ideas, dreams, needs and
    concerns will all count in the the determination of what this will
    ultimately become: a cultural greenway that serves the health, safety and economies of all the communities it serves.