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QueensWay needs support to be like High Line

TimesLedger Newspapers

I want to take a moment to address the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach branch, which was abandoned more than 50 years ago. Specifically, the former railroad extends 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park. This proposed project is one of great concern to many residents in certain areas of the rail line due to its potential negative impact on local residents.

Certain sections of the proposed QueensWay, specifically the area of the rail line that runs parallel to 98th Street in Woodhaven, will be adjacent to the backyards of nearly 200 homeowners. Although I have been informed by the Friends of QueensWay that they plan to build the QueensWay completely gated around the entrances and make it inaccessible at night, local residents should not be the ones burdened with the cost of building a more secure fence around their backyards to ensure the privacy and safety of their homes.

To find additional evidence of the resident’s safety concern, you do not have to look any further than several incidents that have occurred in and around the vicinity of Forest Park in recent years. I echo the sentiments of residents by asking how can we expect the local precincts to carry the additional responsibility of patrolling and responding to incidents on the proposed QueensWay when our precincts are already being spread too thin within our district as it is?

Many of the residents on 98th Street are OK with the rail line being underused and prefer it to stay that way. I also agree that the rail line from Park Lane South down to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents.

Furthermore, as per the suggestion of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in its 20-year plan, the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line connection to Manhattan.

After carefully balancing the potential positive impact of the QueensWay vs. the potential negative impact on certain local residents, I recommend the following:

1. The QueensWay should be built only on the part of the rail line that stretches from Rego Park to Park Lane South.

2. The rail line from Park Lane South to Atlantic Avenue should be left untouched so as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents.

3. The rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should also be left untouched, so it can eventually be used by the MTA as an express line connection into Manhattan.

In regards maintaining the QueensWay, it must be said that this proposed project should not at all be compared to the High Line public greenway in Manhattan. I remain unconvinced that the QueensWay, when built from Rego Park to Park Lane South, could achieve anywhere close to the level of corporate membership, sponsorship and support the High Line has based solely on the lack of surrounding businesses in the area and the lower level of tourism that attracts the private funding necessary to maintain a public greenway.

Without a consistent level of support and sponsorship from local businesses in addition to private funding, I fear that the QueensWay will eventually become an eyesore for local residents when funding for maintenance becomes an issue.

Additionally, I am interested to know whether Queens-based companies and local businesses will be the ones who are given the contracts to build out this proposed project. I believe that if the QueensWay is going to be built for the benefit of Queens’ residents and if it will positively affect Queens’ local businesses, then why are there currently no Queens-based companies being sought for the contracts even in the early stages of this project?

I see a positive impact on the Queens economy if our borough’s businesses benefit from building the QueensWay.

Mike Miller

State Assemblyman

(D-Woodhaven)

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Fred Gnomes from Woodhaven says:
He wrote this same piece in another paper earlier in the month, so I'll say now what I said then: This just supports ignorant NIMBYism. Why do these people get to be the only ones who decide how public land gets to be used? How selfish are these people they can raise a fuss and keep hundred of thousands of other queens residents -- including thousands of your own constituents from having access to this public space? They already have private backyards - they have more land than most of us - but they are being allowed to keep those of us living in apartments from having green space to exercise in, or take our kids. These are pampered elitist property owners, with an obvious "in" to local politicians getting in the way of some actual progress in queens. Some of us in your district want this park. Some of us are tired of it being abandoned, filling with garbage. Safety? Kids climb in there now, where there is broken glass, garbage, needles, homeless camps. You think its safe now? What are you talking about that this would cause crime. Can't they put lights and cameras there? Isn't the street infront of these houses closer than that rail ine. How is building a walkway and bike path different from just another street bordering your property? If people want to rob you they will just use their car on the public street infront of your house. I mean think about it. And The problem in Forest Park is that most of the street lights are out. Project Woodhaven has been complaining for months to DOT about the lighting conditions in the Park. Now I understand you have been pushing for lights and cameras in Forest Park - Great! so then you know what to do. I mean there are solutions to all this stuff - solutions you are pushing in Forest Park, so why are you scaring people and taking a position before anyone actually sits down and tries to figure out the best way to do it. Have you asked what the rest of us want before you give this little group a veto? Instead you carve out this one segment. Not developing the lower raised section in Ozone park doesn't even make sense because you can't do an express train to Penn Station unless you run it up the whole way to the LIRR mainline. So this just doesn't make any sense. So how about instead you give your constituents in Ozone PArk, where they don't have any green park space, a new park? Really, I can't figure out what you are thinking unless you are personal friends with somebody on that block. Are you?
Nov. 13, 2013, 9:36 am
D from Brooklyn says:
Sounds like a small-minded appeasement strateg, that'll be a short and useless greenway, and a short and useless transit connection. There's no reason you can't build rail and a greenway along the entire corridor, except $$$ and NIMBYs. If you need to raise the money to pay for it, just upzone all the properties surrounding it.

To that, I quote Daniel Burnham:
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will themselves not be realized".
Nov. 13, 2013, 9:55 am
Tom Rorb from Queens says:
Wow, this is very narrow-minded. I know a few people near the rail line who want to be able to bike and walk more for exercise.
Nov. 13, 2013, 10:32 am
Steve F from Brooklyn says:
This proposed project is one of great interest to many residents in many areas of the city due to its potential positive impact on local and regional residents by providing a safe greenway corridor in place of an abandoned rail line; and even a rail with trail on the ROW if enough money is found to support rail service.
Nov. 13, 2013, 2:13 pm
A from Queens says:
Flashback: 'Assemblyman Michael Miller agreed. “It’s a great opportunity to bring a full-fledged casino to the area,” he said.'

So let me get this straight...it is ok to bring a foreign-owned casino into the residential community of South Ozone Park, just a short distance from the proposed QueensWay. Priorities, eh? How much of the racino money is kept in Queens and supportive of Queens community projects?

Both Miller and Goldfeder fought for the casino; it's no surprise that they want some rails to bring more traffic to this new entertainment hub. How is this enhancing our wellness and quality of life? Is this a safe family-friendly place? Does the focus always have to be on money? Where have our values and sense of community gone?
Nov. 16, 2013, 1:04 am
Community minded from Queens says:
Mike Miller again demonstrates that he is a pandering and provincial queens politician that fails to be able to make queens a borough that people want to flock too. This not only will benefit the health of the people of queens but will help economic development in these communities. Wouldn't it be great to have some great restaurants along Jamaica Avenue instead of a million of these crap 'delis' that add nothing? And what about getting new support for the existing fabulous businesses like the Colombian bakery at 101st and Jamaica. We can't let low level politicians like Miller keep our borough in the 1950's.
Nov. 16, 2013, 11:10 am
QueensWay Fan from Forest Hills says:
I used to live in Minneapolis and have spent quite a bit of time in Madison, Wisconsin. Both cities have excellent GreenWay pedestrian/bike trails throughout the cities, and many of the trails are adjacent to the backyards of neighboring homes. Yet, that is considered a benefit, not a burden, to the homeowners. I, for one, would love to have the QueensWay come to life and would be a frequent user of the trail.
Nov. 21, 2013, 10:46 am

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