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.