The controversial QueensWay plan to turn an abandoned Queens rail line into an elevated park resembling Manhattan’s High Line is getting even closer to fruition. The Trust for Public Land, the organization working to transform the 3.5 miles of land into a public green space, recently submitted a request for development proposals. The project is seeking a company to conduct a feasibility study to test the soil, structure and estimated costs of construction in an effort to bring the hotly debated park to life.
Last December, the QueensWay project received a $467,000 grant sanctioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo to fund a feasibility study. According to DNAInfo, Marc Matsil, New York State director for the Trust for Public Land, said the winner will be picked in the next couple of months. The project will also need to garner support from city officials and the surrounding communities. “We want to have a firm that has experience with community processes,” Matsil said to DNAInfo.
Residents who oppose the park are concerned about safety, how the influx of new people to the space will affect the neighborhood, criminal activity and maintaining privacy as the park is located in their backyard. In a statement written on the No Way QueensWay website, opponents write: “This bike path will harm our property values, destroy our quality of life, and threaten the safety of our families and homes.”
The rail line has been a dumping ground for glass bottles, trash and graffiti since trains ceased running on the line in 1962. Matsil is hopeful that submitted designs will incorporate a variety of ideas and concepts. So far, the project has already secured about $1 million in funding and will add much-needed green space to the borough.