New York City’s Next Great Park: Help Build The QueensWay
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A 3.5 mile stretch of the old Rockaway Beach Branch railroad right-of-way currently lies abandoned in Central and Southern Queens. In the 55 years since rail service ended, this corridor has become a dumping ground for garbage, abandoned cars and other debris. At 47 acres, it is one of the largest tracts of unused, city-owned land in the borough.
An incredible opportunity exists to transform this abandoned, unsightly and in many places hazardous space into the QueensWay-- a beautiful 3.5 mile linear public park with separated, off-street bike and pedestrian paths, for over 300,000 people living within a mile. This multi-use park would provide a recreational and commuter corridor through Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park while linking them to Forest Park and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. The QueensWay would connect to five subway lines and numerous commercial districts, work places and schools. Green space, sports facilities and community gardens could be created or enhanced for family recreation and for use by the 12 schools within a five-minute walk.
WHERE WE ARE?
The design process for QueensWay Phase 1 – The Metropolitan Hub launched last May 2016 and the schematic design portion has been finalized. As it moves into design development, this first half-mile section still has some hurdles and needs your help to make it happen!
In June 2016 it was also announced that the MTA would be conducting a feasibility study for rail reactivation on this former railway. They announced the results would be expected in June of 2017.
As of this week, we still do not have these results. The study results have been delayed until the end of the year, suggesting that the MTA has many more issues that preclude them from finishing this study on time, in what has become an “MTA Summer of Hell”.
At a recent Mayor’s Town Hall meeting in Rego Park Queens, the Mayor received questions from impassioned QueensWay supporters, urging the creation of this next great park, and the Mayor had the most positive public response to date. He is expected to make a decision on the fate of this abandoned relic by the end of year.
Now is the time for us to take action and share this petition. Let’s write to our local elected officials and to the Mayor to emphasize the quality of life we are pushing for with a project such as The QueensWay. We want to continue having livable environments and communities while sharing the wonders that these Queens neighborhoods have to offer.
The City and MTA have indicated several times over the past 55 years that they do not intend to reactivate this rail line anytime in the near future and in some places ball fields and parking lots have been built over the rails. Moreover the cost of reactivating the line would be massive according to studies, as there remains no useable infrastructure - even the rail bed, which has suffered from significant erosion would need to be reconstructed and widened. This, combined with strong opposition from those who now live along the line make it very unlikely that a railroad will ever be reactivated. Rather than leave this land to continue to degrade and fill with trash for another 60 years, action should be taken now to preserve this gem bringing greenspace to more Queens families, and improving recreation, the economy and the quality of life of those living along it.
Help Build the QueensWay!
Friends of The QueensWay is a group of New York City residents who propose to establish a greenway, consisting of a bicycle and pedestrian path, on the abandoned Long Island Railroad Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way.
Sign and Share our petition: http://chn.ge/queensway
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