There has been much debate about what the Queens community wants and the LIRR has in store for this beautiful, crumbling abandoned railroad.
I cannot say I wasn't delighted to read The Wave's article: MTA Derails Rockaway LIRR Plan!
A study revealed that "the replacement of New York City Transit subway service to Far Rockaway with LIRR service and a restored Rockaway Beach Branch to White Pot Junction, while retaining NYC Transit service to Rockaway Park, "would be no net benefit to Rockaway commuters." The report states that 68 percent of Rockaway commuters who have destinations other than midtown Manhattan would not be served and the travel times of Far Rockaway commuters destined for lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and other areas of Queens would increase. The study further identified the following as reasons why the proposal was not feasible: LIRR track and terminal capacity constraints would limit or preclude LIRR Rockaway service in critical peak periods; the construction of a required new two-track trestle across Jamaica Bay would impact environmentally sensitive wetland areas; and the cost for construction is high, estimated to be $875 million.
"Face it, easy access to JFK is a smokescreen for what planners really want: increased commuter service for wealthy Long Islanders who work in the Financial District. Since the Rockaway Branch can't provide that, it's best future is as a bicycle path," commented Michael Deitsch succinctly after examining both sides in his blog.
Supportive actions have been made as indicated in Dreams and Schemes for an Abandoned Rail Line: "A bikeway would take this old, abandoned ugly structure and, if you have tree plantings on it and you could beautify it, it would add to the community," said Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Board 9. "It's not something that's going to happen overnight, but we know there is precedent for it." and "That line runs right behind all our homes and properties on 98th Street," Ms. Maria Thomson, Executive Director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation said, "and if it were reactivated, it would be a hazard to the residents and their quality of life."
And some semi-supportive ones as well: "A bike path for the next 20 or 30 years might not be so bad," Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, said. "It's a very comfortable use for it in comparison to selling it and putting a building on it. But I'd really like to reactivate it."
What do you think? Would a park in this area be worthwhile? Looking forward to your insights!