Brit Liggett

A Mini High Line is Envisioned in Queens

by , 12/09/11
filed under: Green Space,News,Queens

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A group of park activists and city board members are hard at work on bringing the concept of the High Line to Queens. The group recently met with representatives from the city about a proposed plan to turn the defunct Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which has been abandoned for 50 years, into a long green way much like its Manhattan counterpart. The leaders have already garnered the support of Community Board 9, but some people in the neighborhood think that the park isn’t such a great idea.

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Though Community Board 9 has overwhelmingly supported the idea of the proposed park, Community Board 6, which represents the communities of Forest Hills and Rego Park, voted overwhelmingly against supporting the renovation when it was first proposed in 2007. The civic leaders behind the project believe that with the proven success and beauty of Manhattan’s High Line, they may again have a chance to make the old Rockaway Beach Branch raised trestle into a green space for the communities enjoyment.

“This is such an exciting idea,” Andrea Crawford, told the New York Daily News. Crawford is the chairwoman of Community Board 9 and is helping push the project forward. “It’s green, yet it has economic development opportunities. It would tie us in with other rail-to-trail projects happening all over the country.” Unlike the High Line, which runs only through well-developed areas, the Rockaway Beach Branch meanders from neighborhoods above Metropolitan Avenue through a densely wooded area in Forest Park before emerging again on Union Turnpike.

With the success of the High Line, the renewed interest in renovating the Rockaway Beach Branch railway might garner new support. When asked by the New York Daily News about the project Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6 said, “the last time we saw anything was in 2007,” he said. “We’re willing to listen.”

+ Envisioning the Queens High Line

Via New York Daily News

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4 Comments

  1. ConchRepublican December 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    This is an awful idea for anyone who actually knows the area.

  2. Anandi Premlall aapremlall December 11, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for blogging about our project and sharing it with your audiences on various social media spheres.

    How to help Create the Queens (High) Line in 10 Easy Steps!

    1. Please sign our petition and share it by all means possible. Karma points included ;)
    http://www.change.org/petitions/queens-borough-commissioner-nyc-parks-and-recreation-create-a-greenway-along-the-abandoned-rockaway-beach-branch-right-of-way
    * Interstate and International signatures welcome!
    * Queens Residents & New Yorkers: please download & print the petition to collect signatures at local events: Petition for a Queensway

    Why this is Important:
    “A 3.5 mile stretch of the old Rockaway Beach Branch railroad right-of-way currently lies abandoned in Central and Southern Queens. Over the past 60 years, since rail service ended, it has become a dumping ground for garbage, abandoned cars and other debris, and is one of the largest tracts of unused land in an area populated by hundreds of thousands.

    An incredible opportunity exists to transform this abandoned, unsightly and in many places hazardous space into a beautiful 3.5 mile public park extending south from Rego Park to Ozone Park. A multi-use path would provide a recreational and commuter corridor through Rego Park, Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park. It would link these communities with Forest Park and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway and to nearby bike lanes leading to the recreational spaces of Rockaway Beach and Jamaica Bay, including the Shore Parkway path, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Gateway National Recreation Area. It would also connect at least five subway lines and numerous commercial districts, shops and schools. greenspace, sports facilities and community gardens could be created for family recreation and for use by the several schools along the route. A safe bicycle route parallel to Woodhaven and Crossbay Blvd.’s would exist so that people could ride to school, go shopping, visit friends, reach public transportation or simply enjoy a sunny day.

    The City and MTA have repeatedly indicated that they do not intend to reactivate this rail line anytime in the near future and in some places ball fields and parking lots have been built over the rails. This, combined with strong opposition from those who now live along the line, and the high cost of rebuilding an active rail line make it very unlikely that a railroad will ever be reactivated. Rather than leave this land to continue to degrade and fill with trash for another 60 years, action should be taken now to preserve this gem bringing greenspace to more Queens families, and improving recreation, the economy and the quality of life of those living along it.”

    2. Tell us how would you improve on these ideas. What are your dreams for Queens? Write 500 words or less and email it to us! Blog about it. Tweet your heart out (and RT us too!)

    3. Please share the https://www.facebook.com/groups/queenshighline group on your facebook profile (cut and paste the link into your status) and invite your friends to join (see that little box on the top right of the group? Enter your friends names to add anyone you think would be interested).

    4. Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/QueensHighLine and use hashtag #QueensHighline when tweeting (You will also see a number of tweets you can retweet) And also http://www.twitter.com/TheQueensLine

    5. Read, comment & subscribe to: http://www.queenshighline.blogspot.com

    6. Become a fan of RBBG’s page: https://www.facebook.com/RBBGreenway

    7. Ask all of your friends, family, colleagues, significant others to forgo a monetary gift for any and all occasions and instead contribute a thoughtful comment, idea or vision to this very worthy project ;) .

    8. Email us at queenshighline@gmail.com

    9. Contact your local media about our efforts. We want more people to know and care about this.

    10. What talents do you have to share? Join one of our committees to donate your skills.

    All in all, we’re re-creating the community life that has been dwindling over the years with busy households who have hardly any time to enjoy a meal together. This is especially poignant right now where the new graduates, unemployed and underemployed (aka the 99%) are searching for something more substantial in their lives.

    I certainly miss the days when children played hopscotch, basketball, hide-and-seek and other games with each other in the streets, when the ice cream truck could be heard blocks away, and we lined up for what seemed like forever with sweaty dollars and hungry bellies awaiting swirly cones with rainbow sprinkles.

    Shall we, once again, embrace the beauty of the slow life, where we stop to savor the sweet moments, among the blur of this fast-paced city?

    Thank you all for being part of this movement, for sharing the vision, for using your voice for good and to create a cleanER, greenER, more sustainABLE Queens.

    Let’s make this happen!
    Anandi

  3. pbrg December 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you for bringing more attention to this amazing idea. I am thrilled to be working with a great group of people to bring this into reality. A couple of quick points though. It won’t be that mini actually at about 3.5 miles long it will be twice as long as the Manhattan HighLine. Also much of it will be reminiscent of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway in eastern queens or the West Side Bikeway in the Hudson River Park, creating a bicycle and pedestrian greenway that will link 5 subways, 6 communities, 9 shopping districts and 400,000 residents in central and southern Queens.

    Also CB6 did not actually vote against the project, it voted against a feasibility study as the Board had many questions. A technical but important distinction. We are very confident that we will be able to answer those questions when we next meet with the Board. Research shows that greenways such as this improve property values, drive economic development and are generally safer than leaving this Line to sit abandoned for another 50 years. Our design concepts will also address the privacy concerns raised by the Board. When this evidence is presented we hope to gain its support.

    – Peter Beadle, Rockaway Beach Branch Greenway Committee

  4. Gil lopez December 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

    If you like what you’ve read here please clock over to the petition we have crated and lend your name and voice in support of this project. THANKS!
    http://www.change.org/petitions/queens-borough-commissioner-nyc-parks-and-recreation-create-a-greenway-along-the-abandoned-rockaway-beach-branch-right-of-way