New ideas are flowing in for the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line.
The Woodhaven Residents Block Assocation (WRBA) hosted what attendees are calling the truest, open public forum held thus far regarding the QueensWay and Rockaway Beach line.
Advocates for the proposed 3.5-mile QueensWay park along the abandoned rail line addressed those with reservations about the project and vice versa on Monday in Woodhaven.
Ed Wendell, WRBA president, brought a new idea to the table. He said the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway that currently runs through Forest Park has been “a problem for 20 years,” and QueensWay officials should use this space as their “lab experiment.”
“Why don’t we focus on cleaning up the existing greenway,” he said. “Show us what you can do, and the community will be much more receptive.”
Alexander Blenkinsopp, a WRBA member, called this idea “brilliant,” and offered an additional option for “each community to decide what they want done with their stretch of the tracks.”
The old rail line runs up 98th Street from the Rockaways to Manhattan.
“If the people of Forest Hills really want the QueensWay, let them have it in their neighborhood,” he said. “And if it’s so wonderful, the residents of Woodhaven will see how great it is in Forest Hills and will eventually welcome it into their community as well.”
Wendell echoed many people when he said one main concern to address before moving forward with building a new park is security in existing greenspaces such as Forest Park.
“We see women jogging in the morning using flashlights,” Wendell said. “How terrifying is that? That they have to do this.”
He said that park officials as well as cops in the 102nd Precinct should be given proper resources to patrol the park before more acres are added via the QueensWay, which would connect to Forest Park.
A feasibility study to determine the possibility of creating the new park is currently underway, and QueensWay supporters noted it is “just a study” and “there really is no plan yet.”
However, residents doubt a QueensWay study would show the QueensWay is not feasible.
“Any proposals that come back are going to have to take into account a lot of people’s concerns,” Wendell said. “There are a whole lot of emotions and feelings on it.”