It’s the Queens way.
A 3.5-mile stretch of recreational, walking and biking trails is planned for central and southern Queens as part of a multi-million dollar proposal that has coined the name, QueensWay.
“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.
The QueensWay plans, proposed by W X Y architecture + urban design, will add a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities and nature trails for the borough, said the Friends of the QueensWay.
The path, if built, will cross through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, affecting over 322,000 people living within a mile of it.
In the plans, there are proposed areas for ecology and education, where planners are hoping to build an outdoor classroom for children to be able to learn the biodiversity in Queens.
Also, there will be two sets of trails for bicyclist and pedestrians to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the QueensWay.
Furthermore, there are plans for basketball courts, a skate park, habitat wetlands, arts-related programs and a gateway entrance from the QueensWay to Forest Park.
“Parks are too often neglected and QueensWay would offer more access to open space and parkland,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “Parks provide an economic benefit to local business, retail establishments and restaurants and people of all ages would be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities which this new green space would provide.”
The estimated cost for the QueensWay is $120 million and, if started, will take three to five years to build.
Although it has the backing of many elected officials and community leaders, some feel the narrow stretch of former rail line could be put to better use.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is a staunch advocate for the restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line, which once ran on the property being looked at for the QueensWay. He has formed a coalition to fight to get it back.
“The QueensWay and Trust for Public Land have wasted taxpayer dollars on expensive, out-of-state consultants and one-sided studies that don’t actually represent the interests or needs of Queens’ families,” Goldfeder said. “Our growing coalition, including the MTA, will continue the fight to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development.”