Bad news for nature lovers in Queens: the future of the proposed High Line-style Queensway park along the Rockaway Beach rail line is looking grim. The plan, which aims to transform the long disused railway into a lush, elevated green space, was voted down in a community board meeting once again. Rather than creating a world-class park, community members voted 36-2 in favor of looking into reactivating the long-abandoned railway line.
Friends of the Queensway and the Trust for Public Land first proposed the High Line-like park in 2012, and it gained enough popularity to even score a grant from Governor Cuomo for $467,000 to further study the structural possibility of such a park. After studies, rallies, and an influx of design ideas and uses from architects, designers and locals, it seems that Community Board 5 just isn’t buying the need for more green space in the area that runs 15 feet above the street for 3.5 miles in Queens.
Instead, the board is hoping to alleviate the heavy traffic that clogs Woodhaven Boulevard, which they feel is largely due to the lack of public transportation in the area. Reactivating the line would create a direct connection from central Brooklyn to central Queens, a trip that currently involves serveral transfers and/or buses.
Community Board 5 has only voted to explore reactivating the track, which has been abandoned since 1962 and would therefore require steep upgrades. No word yet on what will happen to the grant already received by the Queensway project. It looks bleak, but hopefully the Queensway Park idea won’t be lost forever.