A High Line For Queens?
A proposal is currently on the table calling for the transformation of the forgotten and long abandoned Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach branch into a greenway that would compete with Manhattan’s popular High Line.
Now out of service for half a century, the three and a half mile stretch of trestle built by the LIRR travels from Rego Park to Ozone Park. One of the largest areas that it travels through is occupied by Forest Park.
Although it was originally rejected when first introduced with the voting of Community Board 6 against supporting the feasibility study in 2007, the project has seen renewed life and support from area residents and Community Board 9 Chair Andrea Crawford.
The corroded line, now dominated by vegetation, is visible throughout neighborhoods, running above Metropolitan Avenue and Union Turnpike. Even some of the old tracks, signal equipment and towers still remain. The line is owned by the city and would allow bikers to travel from Rego Park to Ozone Park without ever having to travel on a busy street.
Supporters of the project feel that the creation of the greenway would enhance economic development with the creation of jobs, secure property values and inspire interest in the community and local history.
There are some concerns though that the greenway, which would fall under the auspices of city Department of Parks and Recreation, will cause an interference with people whose property borders some of the old roadway. They have been assured that if the project is approved and comes to fruition, it will feature ample lighting, security and like all public parks will close at dusk.