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A park — instead of rail — inches forward in Queens

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New 'High Line' on Track

 

Grant Jump-Starts Plans for Abandoned Rail in Queens

 

By LAURA KUSISTO

 

NY-CB797_QUEENS_G_20121221182018.jpg

Byron Smith for The Wall Street Journal

The tracks of the old Rockaway Line will receive funding for a feasibility study for the proposed Queensway.

 

The effort to remake a 3½-mile stretch of abandoned railway tracks into the Queens answer to the High Line took a step forward this week as the state put up about a half-million dollars to study the project.

 

But the Queensway plan favored by park advocates and local groups faces significant hurdles: Is the site contaminated? Can elevated tracks abandoned for 50 years still support walkers and cyclists? Will a project stretching from Rego Park to Ozone Park attract the Chelsea-size checks that helped bring the High Line to life?

 

The proposal for an elevated park paired with bike trails, fitness zones and ethnic-food stalls got its first nod from the state when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday gave the Trust for Public Land a $467,000 grant to study the project.

 

"That is the first step toward making the Queensway a reality," said Christopher Kay, chief operating officer of the Trust, the nonprofit group helping spearhead the new park.

 

Queens enjoys an image as a bucolic borough where even neighborhood names evoke a pastoral pride: Fresh Meadows, Woodside, Floral Park. The streets of Sunnyside Gardens and Forest Hills are dotted with small private gardens.

 

But the borough ranks third out of five for parkland per resident, and much of the green space—particularly Forest Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park—can't be reached by pedestrians who are unwilling to cross busy roadways in what can amount to an act of bravery.

 

"It has a lot of parks," said Adrian Benepe, a former city parks commissioner. "But those parks are only easily accessible by neighbors."

 

Supporters hope the Queensway—set to run through wooded gullies, residential communities and retail areas—will help give the borough a more hospitable green space. It would, for example, serve as a much-needed pedestrian link to Forest Park, which is surrounded by the Jackie Robinson Parkway and other roads. The project would also add green space to industrial neighborhoods like Ozone Park, where parks are scarce.

 

NY-CB798_QUEENS_D_20121221182222.jpg

 

Byron Smith for The Wall Street Journal

The trestle of the old Rockaway Line on Fleet Street in Queens.

 

Locals have advocated for the idea for years and received a boost about a year ago when the Trust for Public Land, which has successfully undertaken similar projects in Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta, agreed to lead the effort in conjunction with a local group, Friends of the Queensway. Mr. Benepe joined the Trust in September as a director of city park development.

 

But even if the elevated tracks turn out to be free from environmental or structural issues, huge challenges would remain as nonprofit backers work to clean and revitalize a site that has suffered from a half-century of neglect.

 

In its current incarnation, the Queensway features "a great representation of cultural diversity from the beer cans that you find," said Marc Matsil, a local official with the Trust.

 

The city has added vast swaths of parkland even as land prices have soared—including the High Line, Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park—but some have faced funding challenges and called on private support. It remains an open question if the cash-strapped city can afford to shoulder the burden of building Queensway.

 

"We are adding a lot of parkland to the city and we're seeing a decline in the maintenance budget," said Holly Leicht, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks. "How do you ensure that we have the maintenance dollars in place?"

 

Garnering private funding is also likely to be much more difficult for a park that runs through immigrant-heavy and industrialized neighborhoods. One possibility raised by the Trust: incorporating ethnic eateries along the Queensway, with food revenues helping to offset maintenance costs.

 

Another idea—likely to be more controversial—would have Major League Soccer help fund the Queensway. The sports league is negotiating with the city to build a soccer stadium inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and such a project would trigger a legal obligation to replace the parkland under the stadium with equivalent land.

 

Pro-Queensway groups have approached MLS and local officials about a possible partnership with the soccer league, although that plan is preliminary and would face objections from neighbors of Flushing Meadows and other hurdles.

 

 

Read more- http://online.wsj.co...3027166730.html

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Who's going to be able to reach this easily? I think we should go for a rail line here... a park would be a waste...

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Who's going to be able to reach this easily? I think we should go for a rail line here... a park would be a waste...

 

 

That's the foamer approach.

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Where's the damn facepalm when you need it?

 

A huge gap in north-south service on a major corridor, and all they can think about is making it a park. Like there aren't enough parks in Queens (I mean, they have that Forest Park or whatever in that general area anyway).

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So the Woodhaven Blvd (J) stop will be like the new Bedford avenue (L) stop.... seriously?

In that neighborhood there is Forest park and a few others, there is no need to have a high line sorta park.

Queens needs more service in that area for sure though they got the (J/Z) and the (A) and a few bus routes. These dumb idiots wanna

take a abandoned rail route (which can be put to good use and restore a critical link) and turn it into a park when many queens residents can find more use to a rail line then to a park.

Checkmatechamp13 is right where is the damn facepalm when ya need one.

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Well if the residents want this (over a refurbished rail or subway line), who are we to complain or bash it? How many times people on here claim they know what the residents in a given area want, yet they aren't a resident of the area themselves? Some feel as since they travel through, work in or go to school in the area it then qualifies them as a "resident". How is that confused with the grand idea of continued rail growth to keep on pace with city growth and continued increases with density, which almost everyone that posts here can agree with? Are we really going to call these residents stupid because they don't want what most of us ultimately want (a new line to railfan veiled under an answer to continued city growth)?

 

In other words...

 

- The AirTrain and its two branches is already the answer to the Rockaway line's proximity to JFK, as the idea of a pure one-train link (a foamer's pipe dream) from midtown/lower Manhattan to JFK will remain stalled, permanently.

 

- The most the line would do is pull riders off the bus lines that go up and down Woodhaven Blvd, but as VG8 would say, it doesn't mean you cut the bus, lol. It will shorten the midtown commute for the Rockaways and introduce one seaters to the east side of midtown, but after Sandy, who knows if the Rockaways still become what they were destined to be pre-storm.

 

- As long as Lefferts has a thru-express during the day, they remain satisfied. One can argue extending the Lefferts branch further east as structure (as supposed to reactivating a dead ROW) will do more for the area.

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When we mention residents I normally would say this about such said topic.

the "NIMBY" Residents Refuse it, meanwhile the 25 to 50 percent Need it

or in some cases people want a rail line but do not want the noise.

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Rail has been defeated by these parks all over the country.

 

also LRT lacks the noise of LIRR so why not have that instead of a whole new LIRR line. It can have a transfer station for LIRR and subways and then go to LGA or GWB via hell's gate and astoria. It can become the P line

Edited by qjtransitmaster

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Rail has been defeated by these parks all over the country.

 

also LRT lacks the noise of LIRR so why not have that instead of a whole new LIRR line. It can have a transfer station fot LIRR and subways and then go to LGA or GWB via hell's gate and astoria. It can become the P line

 

If you're making it light rail, why give it a subway letter anyway?

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If you're making it light rail, why give it a subway letter anyway?

 

LA has subways and light rails yet still gives them same naming designations by color so Why not here. It's in the city zone why not give it a subway letter?

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LA has subways and light rails yet still gives them same naming designations by color so Why not here. It's in the city zone why not give it a subway letter?

 

One city has nothing to do with the other.
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One city has nothing to do with the other.

 

doesn't matter it's a rail line within NYC so it doesn't have to be a subway anyway. Even as a LRT it can still have a subway letter as it's entirely within city limits so I don't see why not it doesn't matter. Not every rail line has to be a subway. Especially in this unique case. LRT is more quiet than subways and LIRR so it will be the balance of both sides of the argument for parks and rail. If highways can have green space like parkways why not rail lines too. Edited by qjtransitmaster
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doesn't matter it's a rail line within NYC so it doesn't have to be a subway anyway. Even as a LRT it can still have a subway letter as it's entirely within city limits so I don't see why not it doesn't matter. Not every rail line has to be a subway. Especially in this unique case. LRT is more quiet than subways and LIRR so it will be the balance of both sides of the argument for parks and rail. If highways can have green space like parkways why not rail lines too.

 

Boy, I would love to see how that would work out.... -_-Please......... <_< Edited by Metro CSW
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Back on topic. While I feel disappointed about the choice of a park for the Rockaway Line, I understand fears that Forest Hills residents (and those from nearby Middle Village and Glendale, to a lesser extent) have in the sense that the subway would bring larger development to their semi-suburban neighborhoods.

Edited by cotb16

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I don't think NYC needs more parks..... :mellow:

 

 

At a time when obesity rates, asthma rates and population have increased, NYC definitely needs more parks! For that part of Forest Hills, the new park would be a catch 22. While it may add parkland and deter development, the prospect of using stairways to reach the elevated park could give it an environment that is susceptible to crime.

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You can have more parks, there's like some areas in the city where there are empty lots sitting unused gathering trash and weeds. This was a former rail row. You convert it to a park space and you will likely never be able to use that again for what it was intended for: rail traffic. It's not about foaming, it's about priorities. Queens definitely should have another north-south line. The buses could use a relief as well as the QB lines. Right now the ROW is there and could be fixed up much cheaply than it would be to build a new ROW from scratch.

I would rather they just leave it alone till there's a demand for a new north south rail service. That'd be much better than a park space.

Edited by Grand Concourse

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even if its turned into a park it will remain a ROW...that quality never left...the high line is still a ROW even tho theres no talk about reactivating it in what also is an area thats transit deprived.

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It's all about what the neighborhoods want. I'm a big supporter for increased transit in Queens, but there isn't much of a demand for rail service here. If they want to replace an abandoned railway with a park, then so be it.

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even if its turned into a park it will remain a ROW...that quality never left...the high line is still a ROW even tho theres no talk about reactivating it in what also is an area thats transit deprived.

 

Yeah, but the high line was never going to be reactivated again and isn't it now segmented/split up at points?

This otoh is more or less untouched since its last use. There has to be vacant lots that could be turned into parks before they spend 'millions of dollars' into this '2nd high line'*. This is all just a way to get rid of any attempts to revive the ROW for rail service. If they really wanted park space, they would demand improvements or expansions in their existing ones.

 

*The Manhattan high line is also used as a tourist attraction, this one in Queens, I kinda doubt it will be the same economic generator to justify as it's in a residential area. IMO, I just don't see how they are the same.

Edited by Grand Concourse
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