A group called Friends of the Queensway is rallying support to transform a disused Long Island Rail Road track in Kew Gardens into a High Line-style park – and now a sizable grant has pushed them a step closer to their goal. Yesterday, Gov. Cuomo gave the Trust for Public Land $467,000 to study the project and answer questions about structural integrity, site contamination and more. The funds are a much-needed push for the proposed park, and findings from the studies could help support its feasibility and push it towards reality.
Friends of the Queensway and Trust for Public Land had already garnered a lot of support just before Hurricane Sandy hit, but the storm led some in the area to push for the opposing proposal to resurrect the abandoned train track. Before Sandy, the group had already gathered 2,000 signatures in a petition to transform part of the 4.2 miles of unused track into elevated park space, but the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility has other ideas. They are promoting a reactivation of the train line, which they say could link midtown to JFK, as well as Rego Park, Ozone Park, and Rockaway.
Referencing the recent debilitation of transportation to the area due to Sandy as even more of a reason to bring the train track back to life, IRUM claims that a new train would also provide economic redevelopment for the area. Friends of the Queensway, however, point out that thousands of homes sit on either side of the track and a new train could bring noise and pollution to the neighborhood instead of idyllic green space. Hopefully, the new $467,000 grant will shed some more light onto which solution would best benefit the area and residents.