It looks like public transport might win out over green space this time. According to NY1, the MTA has agreed to study the feasibility of reopening the Rockaway Beach train line. The railway, which initially ran from Rego Park to Rockaway, hasn’t been used for more than 50 years and there have even been talks of converting it into a High-Line style park. However, since that plan was voted down by community members, local advocates have been pushing to resurrect the old rail line in order to provide more transportation options for residents and alleviate heavy traffic congestion in the area.
For years, local residents had been pushing to transform the old railway into an elevated High Line-style park called the Queensway, and even secured $1 million in funding towards feasibility research. However, in December of 2013, the park plan was voted down in a community board meeting. At that time, community members voted 36-2 in favor of studying the reactivation of the abandoned railway line.
Pending the results of the study, those in favor of reopening the line could prevail, which would create a direct connection from central Brooklyn to central Queens, something that currently involves several time-consuming transfers. Supporters hope that the notoriously heavy traffic along Woodhaven Boulevard will be alleviated as a result of residents using the railway.
The MTA will examine how local residents in the area currently travel as well as the cost and safety issues associated with reopening the rail line. The study is expected to be submitted to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for review by next June.