QueensWay workshop brings park space one step closer
by Andrew Shilling
Mar 26, 2014 | 3663 views | 51 51 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents mark down their suggestions at the community workshop on Monday
Residents mark down their suggestions at the community workshop on Monday
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Rendering provided by the Friends of the QueensWay
Rendering provided by the Friends of the QueensWay
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Travis Terry and Marc Matsil
Travis Terry and Marc Matsil
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Philip McManus and the Queens Public Transit Committee advocate for a mass transit option at the workshop
Philip McManus and the Queens Public Transit Committee advocate for a mass transit option at the workshop
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The abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch rail line has become a central topic of debate for the Queens communities who are in the midst of the 3.5-mile stretch of overgrown tracks.

The Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay have been working towards a comprehensive plan to develop an intricate High Line-inspired design for more than a year, and on Monday they presented their plans at a community workshop for more than 100 residents at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School on Metropolitan Ave.

After watching dlstudio and WXY architecture + urban Design present their preliminary design plans, Travis Terry, a steering committee member of the Friends of the QueensWay, said he was thrilled to watch the progress of their project.

“We’re really excited because this is the culmination of a lot of research and a lot of feedback and community outreach to come up with some preliminary designs and findings,” Terry said.

The new designs propose a variety of regionally themed park spaces with a number of possibilities for playgrounds, trails, farmers markets, bike lanes and educational components.

Susannah Drake, founder of dlandstudio, said while residents seem to have focused much of their concerns around the safety aspects of the proposed park space, she said the newly appointed parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver might offer a new vision for the future of the city.

“I have a feeling that there may be a new vision of how the parks are managed as an interconnected system,” Drake suggested. “The QueensWay is part of a whole linear idea about parks in New York City that could be a remarkable green necklace around the boroughs. There’s an idea of a Brooklyn/Queens greenway, but it’s really just an idea at this point.”

After Drake and her team presented a number of their possible designs for the future of the tracks, community members took part in a updated workshop.

“This is like working with a lot of different towns on their landscaping, but it’s also a connected landscaping,” Drake explained of the outreach process. “So this is about how you connect with the need for a an individual personality that reflects the neighboring community.”

Peter Beadle, a volunteer with Friends of the QueensWay, said he was astonished with the amount of work put into making their plan one step closer to a reality.

“One of the amazing things that this group of architects, engineers and planners have done is they have really drilled down to a fine level of detail of what’s appropriate in which neighborhood,” Beadle said. “They planned it down to the grass, which grass goes to the north and which grass goes to the south. It’s really amazing to see.”

Marc Matsil, New York director for the Trust for Public Land, said he was thrilled with all of the possibilities and new designs.

“There are 104 cultural groups identified in the region,” Matsil said. “The QueensWay will be defined by the constituents that reside around it.

While many residents were there in support of the plans, some transit supporters rallied for their proposal for a revived commuter route.

Philip McManus, founding member of the Queens Public Transit Committee, and several members of the pro-transportation organization were also at the meeting to advocate for what they say is a vital opportunity to bring some much-needed transportation to the borough.

“It’s all about transportation,” McManus said, standing outside, holding signs in protest of the park conversion plan. “How do you go to work? How do you go to school? You’ve got to have transportation and it’s not just trains or bikes, it’s everything.”

McManus said while the plans do incorporate a possibility for shared bike lanes, the Queens Public Transit Committee will not be satisfied unless there is a plan for mass transit brought back to the abandoned tracks.

“The problem is it’s not realistic because it will not affect the thousands who use mass transit every day to go to work,” he said. “The reality is that we need trains for everybody.”

Comments
(51)
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John 170
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April 06, 2014
A high line or park sounds good -nice to take a bike ride or a walk in the park once in a while when I feel like it. BUT I have to go to work 5 plus days a week for years spending 1hr 20 min to 1hr 40 min. traveling each way from Rockaway on the A train to mid town Manhattan. I am only one of thousands that have to make that trip taking years of travel time off our lives.

It is time to reactivate the Queens Rockaway Beach line.

This reactivation would greatly lessen the travel time and well serve the communities along the line. Transportation from midtown to JFK and back would be greatly enhanced also.
Philip McManus
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April 06, 2014
Thank you. You are absolutely right. Please tell your family and friends to make a comment. Now is the time to act. The NIMBYS that took our time, money and prosperity away now want to permanently destroy our right of way and our opportunities with an exclusive park. We need to educate and organize the people for faster transportation.

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315

Rowing612@aol.com
Philip McManus
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April 04, 2014
Two transit videos for your information.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv7Y4sHvHTY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKQkHtJhlcY

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com/

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315

718-679-5309

rowing612@aol.com

https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910

http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com

Thank you.

BrooklynIRT
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April 03, 2014
The former LIRR Rockaway Beach corridor should be utilized for bus rapid transit and/r rail service, and not for the proposed Queensway. Ideally it should be utilized for a reactivated LIRR Rockaway Beach Line. I reiterate that under no circumstances should it be utilized for the proposed Queensway. Above all, it must be utilized for high-speed and high capacity mass transportation, for which it is uniquely well suited.
Carl Perrera
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April 03, 2014
No one yet has mentioned property values. Numerous studies have shown that peoperty values rise near rail line. I beleive reactivating the Rockaway Line for transit use whether it be LIRR, subway, light rail or bus way will increase the property values for Richmond Hill, Woodhaven Ozone Park and the surrounding communuites along the RBL. Including an adjacent bicycle path could also be doable under any of the above transit options as well. If one would go to the Rockaway Beach Branch group page on Facebook and look under files I posted various independent studies on property values for homes next to rail line. The Queensway Park will do nothing for property values since Queens is not a tourist area like the west side of Manhattan. In fact a park might decline the property values due to easier egress to the back yards of homes with an adjacent park. Groups like Transporation Alternatives and current Queensway supporters need to take a closer look at the bigger picture and support multiple transit options on the Rockaway Line that could not only provide a transit option for a small segment of the population such as cyclists but transit options for everyone. These additional transit options will bring more people of queens together and create true economic growth for Queens. We have enough parks in Queens without the need placing a unecessary park over a important rail line embankment. Lets support more transit options for the Rockaway Line and become by becoming members of the Queeens Public Transit Committee.
John Rozankowski
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April 02, 2014
The Rockaway line would tie Queens together while the Queensway would keep it apart!

The Rockaway line would finally provide a direct link between north and south Queens. It would finally reduce trips that take two hours today to 50 minutes.

The Queensway would block the economic renaissance of South Queens. This is selfishness to the highest degree!

George K
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April 02, 2014
The QueensWay project is a complete waste of money. There's already a huge park in that area. In the meantime, the area has many transportation problems that are being left unsolved. Long travel times from the Rockaways to not just Manhattan, but other points in the borough and in the city. (Not to mention the transportation issues faced in the other neighborhoods along the ROW, like Woodhaven). Building the Queensway is throwing away a great opportunity to make a legitimate improvement.
Allan Rosen
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April 02, 2014
Whatever happened to doing fair studies of finding the best solution to a problem? It appears that the City has already made up their mind that we will have SBS along Woodhaven Blvd just because it has 6 lanes, although traffic will be made much worse. There is not enough capacity as is, hence the banning of left turns at many intersections. SBS will only save bus riders a maximum of 10 or 15 minutes of what is for many now a 2 hour trip. Reactivation of the Rockaway Line can cut trip times in half.

So we have the City supporting SBS on Woodhaven, and others supporting taking a parallel right of way and turning it into a park which will only be used seasonally and benefit a few, while use of the Rockaway Line will benefit many 24 hours a day.

It can be reactivated through many forms, heavy rail, light rail, subway line on an embankment, people movers like they have in Florida, and even converting the ROW to BRT, if after a study it turns out that the economics and ridership is not there for a rail line. We can have the benefits of SBS and more without any of the negatives that go along with putting SBS on Woodhaven/Cross Bay.

The important thing is that all options are farly studied and the ROW remains for mass transit usage. A BRT line along Tte ROW can always be turned into a rail line sometime in the future should future circumstances change. But turning it into a so called park which it is not, eliminates that option. A park has playgrounds and ball fields. Queensway does not.

To those of you who think we can have both, SBS along Woodhaven and future reactivation of the Rockaway Line, you are fooling yourself. Once SBS is constructed along Woodhaven, the City will declare a ten minute travel time savings for bus riders, a huge success and the transportation problem for those in the Rockaways and southern Queens will be "solved". Reactivation will be dead.

A vote for Woodhaven SBS is the same as a vote for Queensway. No one will mention that auto and car trips on Woodhaven will increase by 30 minutes in exchange for the 10 minutes saved by buses. And with the limited destinations of the buses, few if any auto riders will be able to switch from car to bus. They would still require four or five transfers, which is why they are in their car in the first place.

We must make transportation convenient for all, not slightly more convenient for a few and harm many more and we must not squander a resource like a valuable right of way. Reactivation of the RBL will foster development, create jobs, help the economy and raise property values as well as improving transportation. Queensway will do none of that. Let's have a fair study comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each option as compared to each other, and not draw conclusions beforehand like we are doing now.
Manny S
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April 01, 2014
After a year's funding basic project management has not been demonstrated: no basic site survey, no metes and bounds, no soil sampling, no usage estimates, no environment impact, no cost or benefit analysis, etc. Trust for Public Land has taken public funds for their administrative needs.
Greggh
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April 01, 2014
The people of southern Queens and Rockaway need the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line in order to give them faster commuter access into Manhattan and foster faster transportation between north and south Queens which is now a nightmare on Woodhaven Boulevard. Adding bike lanes and SBS bus lanes will only serve to clog traffic flow on Woodhaven Boulevard aggravating an already crowded commute and building a new park only forstalls and does not resolve the issue. Reactivation will spur economic development for the Rockaways and southern Queens which it desperately requires instead of being treated like unwanted stepchildren of New York City.
Stephen osullivan
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April 01, 2014
The park benefits some the train will benefit all.
lvdesigner
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March 31, 2014
Although the pictures of the park are beautiful, it makes me wonder how long it will take for the park to fall into disrepair due to lack of maintenance, like everything else in the outer boroughs. We need to meet the needs of the taxpayers of this city before we fulfill the wants. Better transportation to the Rockaways is sorely needed, and should be a priority.
tiredofthefilthy"A"
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March 31, 2014
Queens already has more parks than any other borough. The Manhattan High Line Park has already proven to be very expensive to maintain and the city is hard pressed to keep up with the expense. Rockaway needs better transportation! The A train/Shuttle is filthy and slow. Bring back the Rockaway Beach Line!
Philip McManus
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March 31, 2014
Thank you for responding to this news article. This is a rally to write your support for the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown.

We have at least 24 proponents of transportation on the QRBL. Lets make it 240.

Please continue to tell people to comment. In unity their is strength. Lets show everyone our support for transportation and not an exclusive park plan (QueensWay).

We need our train and our prosperity back. Our train will unite Queens and the QueensWay plan will continue to divide and separate Queens.

Please continue to tell people on social media.

We have over 3000 supporters who signed the Goldfeder petition. We need people to send a quick comment supporting QRBL.

We need this to go viral.

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315

718-679-5309

rowing612@aol.com

https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910

http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com

Thank you.
Walt Gekko
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April 01, 2014
I have repeated expressed my support for re-activating the Rockaway Beach line as subway, and in fact, if I were running Genting, the company that runs the casino at Aqueduct, I would be willing to help pay to make it happen because of the potential long term benefits for the casino. This is something a group of highly selfish people can't and won't understand no matter what as they are more concerned with protecting their fiefdoms.
Kryz
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March 31, 2014
A park is a wonderful idea-we need more parks in New York, but not at this price! Once this rail infrastructure is lost, it will be almost impossible to get it back. Creating the right-of-way in New York City for new rail lines would also be border-line impossible.

We have to appreciate this amazing asset and reactivate it was a transpiration link. If Queens is to continue to grow and become more economically prosperous, we need this train line to reopen and serve people again!
Kate100
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March 31, 2014
Although The Queensway "park" may look good on paper let me tell you the REALITY of it.

Having been a resident & worked near the Chelsea Highline area I can definitely tell you that the highline is not all roses!!!

During the construction period it was a loud, ugly mess. Once the Chelsea highline was established.... it quickly became mainly a draw for crowds of tourists, kids hanging out, pushcart vendors & homeless who often leave their trash, beer cans, etc behind. I can tell you that myself and my neighbors in that area have been very happy with the highline!!!

I am shocked by the lack of transportation options in Queens,especially southern Queens! Thousands of people are being deprived the opportunity to visit the most beautiful beach in the NYC area, Rockaway Beach, due to the fact that there are not realistic ways to get there.

Additionally many of those who reside in Queens are forced to take their autos to work in Manhattan, due to the fact that the often in excess of 2 hour train commute to Manhattan from southern Queens is not an option!! This only adds to air pollution!

As many have said, restoration of the Rockaway Queens rail line will bring people from the city not only to the beautiful beaches of Rockaway, but to major NYC airports as well as to the Aqueduct Racino. The Racino profits benefit our public schools.

So the Rockaway Queens rail line is a win-win for everyone.

While the proposed Queensway is really a loss for most & win for a very few.

Queens has Forest Park. Lets fix that & our other public spaces that are already in existence and are so sorely in need of care! Lets make them more appealing to residents & tourists alike.

Lets reinvent the Queens Rockaway rail line as a new reinvigorating artery for Queens as well as the rest of NYC!!

ALL will benefit with the Queens Rockaway rail line in the long run!

A rapid rail line would connect Queens neighborhoods from the Rockaways, Ozone Park all the way to Forest Hills and Manhattan. As a resident of southern Queens, I find it maddening that my friends in Suffolk County, NJ and Westchester have a quicker commute to Manhattan than I do. I am a tax paying resident of NYC and yet my best commuting option is to drive into Manhattan. The other option is a 2 hr commute by subway. Although a high line park on the Queensway sounds beautiful in theory, I feel it is an unrealistic waste of tax payer money. Spend tax money to improve our existing parks instead and make the high line a rail line that generates money.

Reply

Read more: Queens Ledger - QueensWay workshop brings park space one step closer
Danny Ruscillo
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March 31, 2014
Since I have posted in other Queens papers many times I will be brief. WE NEED TO REACTIVATE THE ROCKAWAY BEACH RAIL LINE!!!!!!!!!!!
JennyfromdaRoc
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March 31, 2014
Far Rockaway is often called the 6th borough. We need more transportation and the 2 hour train ride into Manhattan is very discouraging never mind the delays and weather problems we often face. We need more solutions!
JRT4
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March 31, 2014
Queens, especially southern Queens, needs better transportation options, not yet another park. A rapid rail line would connect Queens neighborhoods from the Rockaways, Ozone Park all the way to Forest Hills and Manhattan. As a resident of southern Queens, I find it maddening that my friends in Suffolk County, NJ and Westchester have a quicker commute to Manhattan than I do. I am a tax paying resident of NYC and yet my best commuting option is to drive into Manhattan. The other option is a 2 hr commute by subway. Although a high line park on the Queensway sounds beautiful in theory, I feel it is an unrealistic waste of tax payer money. Spend tax money to improve our existing parks instead and make the high line a rail line that generates money.
DENNIS OCONNOR
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March 31, 2014
I find it a shame that our mayor or elected officials cannot see the forest through the trees to see the benefits of revitalizing this rockaway beach line ,i'll be blunt it is a shame that the higher ups are to stupid and cannot see the benefit's of revitalizing 6 miles of beautiful beach front property ...... or maybe they just cant figure it out ??? .... shame someone can really make a name for themselfs ... take a look at governor christy .... cmon step up to the plate all you have to do is listen .....
anonymous
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March 31, 2014
I have lived in Queens all my life, and all over this fine borough. The one complaint I have always had is that transportation is seriously lacking. I have colleagues who live in NJ near PA who have faster commutes! We pay city taxes but do not have access to city amenities such as transportation. Queens already has some of the best parks in NYC which are seriously uncared for, underfunded, and not visited by tourists. If Queensway were to be another park, who would visit a park that you can't easily get to? Put park money into better use by making our existing parks better and properly caring for them, and give the right of way back to transportation.