Friday, October 4, 2019

MTA to finally relase study for reactiviating Rockaway Rail


A long-delayed study into whether it’s possible to reactivate a dormant Queens rail spur is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel, THE CITY has learned.

The MTA in 2016 committed to a planning and feasibility study looking at the potential use of the Long Island Rail Road’s former Rockaway Beach Branch, a 3.5-mile stretch of railway between 
Ozone Park and Rego Park that has been out of service since 1962.

The results of the study — for which the MTA awarded an $864,000 contract to Systra Engineering in October 2017 — were supposed to be made public last year. But MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan told THE CITY the findings now will be released by the end of 2019.

“It’s like a national secret of some sort,” said Rick Horan, director of the Queens RAIL and WAY Task Force, which wants the space used for transit and parkland purposes. “Why is it delayed?”

Part of a larger MTA and Port Authority analysis about Kennedy Airport “one-seat ride” service, the study is examining “the operational and physical feasibility” of having commuter rail or subway trains run on the old Rockaway Beach Branch.

 The MTA wouldn’t say what has delayed the process.

“They’ve gone sort of radio silent and it’s very disappointing,” said Phillip Goldfeder, a former Queens assemblymember who pushed for reactivation of the line during his three terms in Albany. 

“This is something that is completely underutilized, something which could transform how people in some parts of Queens commute.”

Since Rockaway Beach Branch service ended 57 years ago, concepts for restoring the railway have been floated in different forms. Much of the space under what was once the LIRR’s Ozone Park station is now filled by small auto-related and scrap businesses.

“Seems like a waste of space up there,” said Barry Williams, 34, who works near the elevated structure. “Why not do something with it?”


rikki said...

NIMBY.....imagine all those who paid astronomical prices for their precious homes now having a rail line to help hundreds of thousands of new yorkers travel easier...

What an incredible waste of a resource to spend it on a greenway and the inherent crime that could it could be used for ( lots of people get robbed or assaulted on greenways/bike paths all over america)..... the high line is different, it would never have been used for transporting people.

Anonymous said...

>we should reactivate the rail line because we desperately need more mass transit in this city


>we shouldn't have a greenway because someone could get mugged there!

Come one really now? The 80s a long gone, stop living in fear.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they went silent after finally actually seeing where this line terminates. I live right there in Rego Park next to the LIRR. This abandoned line meets the LIRR at a right angle, in a very deep ravine. Yeah, it's not all "highline." And directly on the other side of the LIRR are apartment buildings. Boom. Dead end.

As for this strip of land becoming a park, my thoughts are these: people who live along this abandoned line are already enjoying it for what it is NOW -- for the privacy it brings, for the many huge trees which give off oxygen, for the wildlife that live in there. These park enthusiasts act like they've "discovered" something that will only have value once they turn it into something else. It has value. It is already in use. Go make a park in your own backyards, okay!?