Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rockaways want a transit line

From the Daily News:

A plan to transform an abandoned rail line into a park in southern Queens is generating a lot of buzz, but a group of transit advocates has another vision.

They believe the tracks, which have sat idle for five decades, should be reactivated to give southern Queens residents an easier commute to Manhattan.

“Certainly a quick trip to JFK Airport from the core of the city is something people have talked about from Year One,” said George Haikalis, a civil engineer who heads the Institute for Rational Mobility, a nonprofit umbrella group for transit advocates. “Nobody in the rest of the world would be so dumb as to let a valuable asset like that sit there.”

“I believe southern Queens and Rockaway would be better served if this forgotten track once again fulfilled its original purpose as a railroad,” Goldfeder wrote in an open letter. “Those same communities that are pushing this proposal are privileged with commutes of 30 minutes or less to midtown Manhattan.”

Andrea Crawford, the chairwoman of Community Board 9 who also is a member of Friends of the QueensWay, said a park would enhance the neighborhoods and prevent future over-development.

“No one disagrees that the Rockaways are underserved by public transportation,” she said. “But to say this particular right of way could be a viable rail of some sort does not have a basis in reality.”

Anyone who thinks a greenway would prevent rather than promote overdevelopment doesn't have a basis in reality, either. If the city really wants to fix up the Rockaways it needs to provide better transit options. But since we're too distracted by digging subway tunnels to Jersey, that's not likely to happen.


Joe said...

What a crock !

They want to offer people from Queens and easy quick rail ride straight to the casino !

They know those old draw bridges to the Rockaways wont support Diesel electrics. If that line were re-activated the Casino and JFK would be the last stop south before water

Anonymous said...

grat idea,where ya gonna get $600,000,000........

Anonymous said...

Joe - Not that I'm in favor of this, but they wouldn't be using diesel electrics. They would re-install a third rail there and run the usual commuter rail and/or subway cars. That isn't the problem. Rebuilding the whole damn right-of-way is.

Anonymous said...

Use it or lose it.

Anonymous said...

The Rockaways want a lot of things they'll never get.


Whatever happened to "granny" Shulman's much touted "Arverne by The Sea"....LOL..."Luxury" condos?

Are they section eight housing yet?

Anonymous said...

What about a "High Line"....LOL!

Somebody's high!

Anonymous said...

If yer gonna do it right...

posh cruise boats and lush casinos where i.e. Flushing's Chinese can come to gamble in style!

Oh yes....retro "dance parlors", lavish ballrooms, restaurants, theaters...maybe a few high end rub joints.

This can be all run by the mob to ensure efficiently.

That way there will be a real rebirth of "The Rocks" as a prime resort!

So who needs Las Vegas?

"The Rocks" will languor in its lurid state until areas of it wash away from memory.

Anonymous said...

Reactive the rails or nothing. At the very least they should reactive the lower portion of the line which has an existing connection to the LIRR Atlantic ave extension just north of the former ozone park station. That would shave a lot of time off the trip.

Extending all the way to rego park would be a one seat ride from penn to jfk. The entire city would benefit rather hugely. Instead of doing this, they gave us airtrain. Makes-no-fucking-sense.

Joe said...

Re-install a third rail there
Hahahah yeah substations, signals, and feeders for it all.
More like 1-2 Billion dollars!
Never happen, not with rail or overhead power electric trains anyway

Brian said...

The city and the MTA own the ROW, so they could technically reactive the line at any given time, no matter what the opposition is. And no, it won't take 1 to 2 Billion dollars to reactive this ROW- it's not that long, and most of the cost would be on clearing the vegetation that's grown there, not installing the third rail and signals. Most estimates have it between .5-10 Million dollars- 10 Million would include clearing it out, rebuilding the stations on the ROW, and building a connecting tunnel to the IND Queens Blvd Line (E-F-M-R) at either Woodhaven Blvd or 63rd Rd Stations, per the orignal plans for the subway.

Anonymous said...

Brian, The budget to rebuild 3000 sq feet of a library is 7 million.

NYC can't do anything on the cheap. For this they'd get into the 10s of millions just for the various environmental impact studies and various lawyer fees.

Anonymous said...

"rebuilding the stations "
"building a connecting tunnel to the IND Queens Blvd Line"

For less than $10 million??
What are you smoking and where can I get some?
Please, figure a couple of million just to study the feasibility of the project.

Estimates between .5 and 10 million
$? Maybe estimates from 1979. And those were probably even wrong then.

$10 million probably wouldn't even buy the train cars needed to run this line.

Anonymous said...

Joe -

The 3rd rail is a minor part of it. There hasn't been a train on that line for about 50 years and the structures and embankments haven't been maintained for about the same amount of time. My point to you was that every inch of that line would have to be rebuilt PLUS overcoming the opposition of the adjoining communities. And diesel engines weigh more than fully packed subway trains?

Queens Crapper said...

So we should be ok with spending billions on the east side access project to make commuting more convenient for Long Islanders, and billions on a subway to help out NJ commuters and developers on the West Side, and billions on a boondoggle tunnel for freight trains, and billions for a tunnel on the East Side, but Southern Queens doesn't deserve a rail line to increase commutability? Why do Queens folk always give themselves the shaft?

Anonymous said...

Queens needs a north -south transit alternative.
The,overcrowded Q11 bus on Woodhaven/Crissbay Blvd
Is an obvious reason.

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: And diesel engines weigh more than fully packed subway trains?

Yes...Weight distrubution
Deisle locomotive 160 tons over 18 feet/ VS 12 ton per car "subway" electrics. That line in 1955 originally ran 2-4-2 small 12 foot 6 ton steam power + 4 Pullman cars.

Anonymous said...

Crappy, as a resident of Queens east of the Clearview, I *eagerly* await the completion of East Side Access. Surely I'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

People in Queens give themselves the shaft because they're Idiots!!
Also full of Crap. It's in your

Queens Crapper said...

Well, East of Clearview, the Rockaways deserve the same.

Erik Baard said...

I was on the fence about this (parks and mass transit are both "green" and invaluable parts of smart, livable cities) but thought it through this way: 1) The term "reactivate" lends a false sense of immediacy and readiness to transit plans. A more accurate term would be "rebuild." 2) Official will for using the line for mass transit seems very weak, if not downright resistant, 3) If it becomes a park and is later (I'm guessing decades) needed for transit, the powers that be will claim it and convert it anyway (look at how Yankee Stadium ate up kids' fields) with, one hopes, park compensation elsewhere.

Another friend noted that a safe pedestrian route above traffic might also be valuable in emergencies.

Anyway, I think it's worth giving this green corridor a chance. I'd love to line it with apple trees!

Anonymous said...

Usually I would say make it a park, but they are rattling the cage on this to open up a transportation corridor for development.

You know what? Extend the 7 line to Nassau County. Let NE Queens share in the wealth that they want to dump on western Queens.

Ridgewoodian said...

I haven't always agreed with the Crapper in the past but I think I agree with him/her now. If at all possible they should use this ROW for transit. Sure, a High Line type deal would be cool but the area needs trains more than it does linear parks.

Of course, what this idea has going for it now, that it didn't a few days ago, is the Governor's desire to build - or partner to build - the convention center and (most likely) a casino at Aquaduct. For that to work, to really work, you're going to need some very rapid transit to Midtown. This just might be able to provide that.

Not holding my breath, though.

Anonymous said...

Reactivating the Rockaway Beach Branch would benefit every neighborhood along the line, not only Rockaway, with a much quicker commute. At one time, it was about 20 minutes from Howard Beach, 18 minutes from Ozone Park, 12 minutes from Rego Park to Penn Station.

Yes, even Rego Park and Woodhaven would benefit from rail reactivation. Areas of Rego Park/Forest Hills on Yellowstone Blvd. near Woodhaven Blvd are not currently close to a subway

HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of people in all of the areas along the right-of-way would use this transit year round! All the neighborhoods would see increased property values, greater business generation resulting in higher revenues, and JOBS WOULD BE CREATED!

The reactivated line could be LIRR, subway, AIRTRAIN, "people mover" or light rail. Sound barriers, noise dampening track, and other current technology could minimize the impact on homes along the right-of-way.

The Rockaway Beach Branch could also be covered with a box/tunnel, elevated, or slightly submerged. There are ways to integrate a park/bike trail/high line into the RAIL plan.

In addition, the Rockaway Beach Branch could provide a one seat ride to Aqueduct and another option to JFK. It could also link Rockaway with the Nassau business hub and points east.

Don't look down on/crap on Rockaway. Robert Moses and racist NYC policies 50-60 years ago destroyed a once thriving town. NYC continues to neglect the Rockaways to this day.

Is there a cost to reactivating this line? There absolutely is, but it would be a fraction of the cost of the Second Avenue Subway or East Side Access.