Queens is a transit starved borough of the City of New York with two of the most heavily patronized lines in the NY subway system: the #7 Flushing Line & the E, F, M & R Queens Blvd line. Many parts of the borough have no heavy rail rapid transit whatsoever and residents in those areas are forced to either ride rather poor and unreliable bus services or to own and drive cars everywhere.
The State of New York has just granted $500,000 to the Trust for Public Land to study converting this abandoned line into a linear park or Greenway. This conversion would represent a terrible waste of existing, albeit abandoned railroad infrastructure in a transit starved area of NYC. If nothing else and in all fairness an equivalent grant should be made to those groups wishing to revive the rail line.
The LIRR Rockaway Line segment between Rego Park & Ozone Park has remained abandoned for approximately 50 years. This line, which parallels the heavily travelled Woodhaven Blvd corridor, revitalized could provide a major link in the Queens and NYC heavy rail network by providing a fast, reliable and safe alternative means of transport to 10s of thousands of people now using cars & buses.
The reactivated line, connected to the existing Queens Blvd subway local tracks at 63rd Drive would help increase the capacity of that over crowded line by 7 to 8 trains an hour.
It would enable the "G" line, currently cut back to its inconvenient terminal at Court Sq, to once again continue onto the Queens Blvd line and on into central Queens.
The reactivated LIRR line, once linked in to the existing AirTrain line at Howard Beach, would provide a speedy, one seat ride between JFK & Midtown, a vast improvement of the current indirect, two seat ride requiring a change of trains at Jamaica.
The reactivated line, with new transfer stations connecting to the existing "A" & "J" lines, would provide much improved cross or intra-borough connectivity.
As the right-of-way of the abandoned is largely intact the cost of re-activation would be about one tenth the cost of new, from scratch heavy rail construction.
Property near the line would most likely increase in value due to vastly improved transit accessibility. Many small businesses located near the line would see increased patronage as a result of people walking to and from the reactivated stations.