Cuomo Approves QueensWay Study
By Luis Gronda
|At a press conference earlier this year, Assemblymen Phil Goldfeder and Mike Miller pushed for the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch to be revitalized.
In the back and forth discussion of what to do with the vacant stretch of land that used to be the Long Island Rail Road line, one project got a much needed boost last week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo awarded $467,000 to The Trust for Public Land, which will go towards conducting a feasibility study for the proposed QueensWay.
The QueensWay would convert the 3.5 mile area that has been dormant for around 50 years into a bike path and green space similar to that of The High Line in Manhattan. The Trust for Public Land is a nonprofit organization that has been spearheading this project, along with Friends of The QueensWay, an organization made up of Queens residents.
The grant serves as welcoming news for Travis Terry, a member of Friends of The QueensWay.
"We are now one step closer to the creation of the QueensWay thanks to this important grant by the State of New York," Terry said in a statement. "When completed, the 3.5 mile QueensWay will improve quality of life, create much-needed park space and generate new economic benefits for the residents, workers, visitors and businesses in the borough of Queens."
Marc Matsil, The Trust for Public Land's New York State director, said the money will allow them to conduct environmental and engineering studies of the area and figure out the potential cost of building the bike path that would run between Rego Park and Ozone Park and include Forest Park.
"The project would help to catalyze economic development and celebrate the immense cultural diversity of Queens," Matsil said in a statement.
Andrea Crawford, chairwoman of Community Board 9, also supports turning the abandoned rail line into the Queens Way.
"Community Board 9 has supported the idea of turning the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR into a greenway since at least 2007," she said in a statement. "Queens, as a whole, has a paucity of open public land to service its diverse and growing communities."
The opposing idea to building the QueensWay would be to revitalize the LIRR line that would run from the Rockaways to Rego Park. That side's supporters include Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park). Advocates of this idea say that reviving the train line would improve public transportation in south Queens and clear up congested thoroughfares such as Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards.
Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127 or at email@example.com.