QueensRail is the new name for what is also known as the Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR. Although unused for over 50 years, the original 3.5 mile right-of-way is still intact. Rebuilding this line to connect south Queens and JFK Airport with the rest of the borough and midtown Manhattan is one of the prime goals of the Task Force.
QueensWay is a bold idea to turn the decades old Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way into a 47 acre linear park. The Friends of QueensWay and Trust for Public Land been working on innovative designs to link neighborhoods with bike and hiking paths and other recreational and educational amenities.
Queens has been debating what the borough needed more vital transportation of a vibrant park. At long last the verdict is finally in, Queens need both RAIL and WAY. By putting the train under the right of way and the park on top, everyone will get what they need.
While The Friends of QueensWay and The Trust for Public Land are not yet onboard with the idea of a subway linking this new park with midown Manhattand and the Rockaway Beaches, we are hopeful to change thier minds.
We believe that the time has come to work together to design and build the best subway and park possible. It is an investment in our city and our children that will pay economic and quality of life dividends for generations to come.
RAIL and WAY
Seldom in life is our path forward marked so clearly. In the case of the Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way, that is very much a literal statement.
Stretching 3.5 miles from Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park to Queens Blvd in Rego Park the deactivated rail line takes a southeast - northwest trajectory. Not used since the early 1960's, it has been an unsightly, overgrown eyesore for the many decades since.
Queens residents realize that this property is way too valuable to let sit unused any longer. Public transit and park advocates have made good cases for both reactivating the rail and building a park, but trying to but both on top of the right-of-way is problematic for two reasons. First, it is just too narrow in many places. The second issue is that it does not address some of the concerns that trains might be noisy or impact property that is either near or on the train line.
The obvious, albeit more expensive solution is to put the train underground which solves any noise and property impacts while leaving the surface free for park development. After all, New Yorker's knows how to build subways and spend money so this approach plays to both strengths.
When the RAIL and WAY become a reality motorists will have a real viable public transit option whether they are going to the beach, midtown Manhattan, JFK Airport, Resorts World, or anywhere in between.
QueensRail Corp, a 501(c)3 Not-for-Profit organization is filing a DBA (Doing Business As) with New York State to operate as the Queens RAIL and WAY Task Force. Our activities will focus on education and advocacy for an underground rail and above ground park as we believe it is the right thing to do for all stakeholders.
We are proud to have this opportunity to work towards the realization of such a worthy project and look forward to your support.
For the record, The Friends of QueensWay and The Trust for Public Land have infomed us that they do not share our vision for sharing the right of way with a subway underground and a park on top. Convincing them that it is a good idea remains a work-in-progress.
For more detailed information on each individual project visit: www.QueensRail.org and www.theQueensWay.org.
Task Force Goals...
- Unite the Queens Community around full utilization of the right of way with the train underground and a park on top
- Ensure the underground option and other community needs are included in the delayed MTA feasibility study
- Engage with all stakeholders to better understand everyone's needs and concerns
- Measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of the Queens Rail and Way project on the City, the Borough and the People as the MTA feasibility study will just consider the cost side of the ROI formula.