Tag Archives: Travis Terry

Transit committee finds new support for restarting Rockaway Beach Line


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Jeff Liao

One by one, members of the Queens Public Transit Committee (QPTC), an organization focused on improving transportation in the borough, thanked Community Board 5 (CB5) last week.

The board voted to support the idea of restarting the defunct Rockaway Beach Line last month, in part to help ease traffic congestion issues on major thoroughfares, such as Woodhaven Boulevard.

The news was significant for QPTC, because the 3.5-mile trail could also be transformed into a park.

“Getting more people like CB5 is tremendous because they realize overcrowding is becoming a major problem,” said Phil McManus, chair of the QPTC.

In November of last year, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder, who has voiced support for a new train, announced that Queens College will be doing a study of both the train and park ideas.

The Friends of the QueensWay (FQW), a group made up of residents that live near the trail who are pushing to transform the former rail line into a public green space, has argued against restarting the line.

“After over five decades of abandonment and multiple studies concluding that rail reactivation is not feasible, the time has come to utilize the over 50 acres of land that make up the QueensWay,” according to a statement from FQW. “As evidence shows, rebuilding this abandoned land will dramatically improve the quality of life, create jobs and safer streets, and highlight the incredible history and cultural diversity of central and southern Queens.”

FQW also said that the new park will have a much needed bike path, which could be used for transportation.

Not everyone has taken a side though. Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) would like to see formal proposals, instead of making a decision on speculation.

“We want to make sure a lot of concerns are answered. Can’t say that we are for or against,” said Martin Colberg, president of the WRBA.

McManus said the QPTC isn’t opposed to doing both ideas in some capacity, but a FQW representative said that isn’t a possibility.

“I just don’t see that as being realistic,” said Travis Terry, a member of FQW Steering Committee. “I wouldn’t even like to consider that option until there is some proof.”

 

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QueensWay, three-mile park planned


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

Along an abandoned stretch of railway in Forest Hills, Travis Terry envisioned a park. His dream – open space, a bike trail, paths for pedestrians, trees and grass – is now in the early stages of coming true.

Friends of the QueensWay, a group begun by Terry that advocates for the construction of a park over three miles of deserted train tracks, has partnered with the New York State Trust for Public Land. The groups have entered the preliminary phase of planning a new park.

“I took [the New York State Trust for Public Land] on a tour and showed them all the possibility here,” said Terry. “I think they saw the tremendous opportunity.”

Terry assisted in the creation of Manhattan’s High Line Park, a similar project also built on top of vacant railway. He alleges the QueensWay initiative is something locals have had interest in for some time.

Marc Matsil, New York State Director for the Trust for Public Land, believes the greenway has the potential to connect neighborhoods, running from Rego Park to Ozone Park. He speculates the greenspace will provide a cultural outlet for the already diverse area, and there are plans to establish food carts from local vendors.

Community Board 9 chair Andrea Crawford supports the project, claiming many residents are favorable towards the idea as well.

“There have been a lot of positive responses,” said Crawford. “It’s hard for anyone to say they don’t want more greenspace.”

The Trust for Public Land will conduct a feasibility study on the space in 2012, examining the park’s potential costs, structural issues and security requirements. According to Crawford, no public funds will go towards conducting the research.

“Once we have answers to all these studies, I think those who are skeptical will be on board,” said Crawford.

Crawford called the current state of the projected park’s location “a nuisance” and “dangerous,” claiming the site is littered with old mattresses and empty beer bottles.

“[The park] will help the city be more ‘green’.  It has the potential to be a world class park,” said Crawford.

Matsil claims The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay are looking to gain involvement from area residents when designing the park, hoping community input creates a space that celebrates Queens culture.