QueensWay proposal is a lot of fantasy
by Ed Wendell
Apr 02, 2014 | 1389 views | 3 3 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Woodhaven Beat’s interpretation of the recently released QueensWay renderings.
The Woodhaven Beat’s interpretation of the recently released QueensWay renderings.
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The Friends of the QueensWay hosted their second series of workshops this past week. Up front, I’ll say that the group has worked hard to develop their vision of what the long-abandoned railroad line could become.

The area that has drawn most attention in Woodhaven is directly behind the houses of residents on 98th Street, and they came up with a couple of options designed to try and address their concerns of privacy.

In a nutshell, the proposal is that a path would be dug down the center of the high hill that currently exists with the earth being pushed to either side to provide a barrier between the path and residents’ homes. On both sides of these barriers would be vegetation and fencing which they claim will keep the homes invisible from the path and vice versa.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the project is still a deeply flawed fantasy with serious questions that the group is unable to address.

Within the last few weeks, a couple of ridiculous renderings were released showing various scenes of bliss and harmony; children and butterflies playing together in a field of flowers and sunshine. However, there was one really important thing they neglected to Photoshop into any of their fantastical renderings.

Lights.

After all of the discussions and concerns about safety and security at their workshops last November, it was hard to believe that the group would come back to us and fail to address lighting.

We’re sensitive to this issue. Last summer, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proved to be entirely incompetent in keeping the existing Greenway in Forest Park adequately lit. Runners and walkers were left to stumble around in the dark toting flashlights.

Even a serial rapist stalking Forest Park was not enough to generate a sense of urgency strong enough for DOT to fix the problem.

The QueensWay group has come up with a unique approach to the lighting problem – they ignored it completely!

The one QueensWay rep I spoke with helpfully offered up the notion that the path wasn’t really supposed to be used at night. “Neither is the alley next to my house,” I told her. “That’s why we light it up.” I don’t think this logic made any sense to them.

In the end, all of the hard work they did to address security was thrown out the window by the failure to consider how this thing was going to be lit.

Beyond lighting, there are other important questions which remain unanswered. For example, how much is this fantasy going to cost? Why is that important to know? Because currently there isn’t enough money to adequately maintain the existing 538 acres of land and pathways in Forest Park.

Take a brief walk between the Bandshell and Oak Ridge and you will find sidewalks that are crumbled and in many spots, completely gone; roadways and paths that are eroded and have long been in need of maintenance.

A massive parks project such as this is going to deplete the insufficient resources we already have supporting our existing park land. When asked about the cost and effect that a QueensWay would have, the answers I heard were as much a fantasy as the renderings they presented.

One answer was that dropping hundreds of millions of dollars on this would encourage the city to spend even more on the park attached to it.

Yeah, right.

Another was that a good deal of the cost would be offset through fundraising.

Please stop, you’re killing me.

They mean well, and their intentions are good, but when it comes to the tough questions there are too many “if's” and “maybe's” preceding their answers.

The fantasy they’ve concocted might translate into some fantastic sketches and renderings, but fantasy doesn’t serve us well when dealing with real-world problems.

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Philip McManus
|
April 04, 2014
What does the Borough of Queens need?

A park which will benefit a few NIMBYS, which will continue to separate, divide and exclude many communities from a better education, employment, healthcare, shopping with unnecessary long travel times?

A park that will not be used during bad weather and closed half the day?

A park that will continue to steal a precious train corridor from the people?

A park that will continue to prevent social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities for Queens and the City?

A park that will allow overcrowded, dangerous and unreliable roadways, buses and trains?

A park that will steal millions of dollars from existing parks.

A park that will continue to steal our time, money, property values, tax revenues and our prosperity?

I love parks but not the Queensway.

We need faster transportation, including the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the new Queens Crosstown and articulated buses on Lefferts Boulevard to accommodate 25,000 bus commuters. We are slowly killing ourselves when we allow our transit arteries to be clogged up and cut off from the people (heart). Transportation is the lifeblood of our City and our economy.

Faster transportation will immediately save time and money and create money. We can't afford not to invest in faster transportation.

13 Billion dollars are lost every year by gridlock and congestion. Wasted time is wasted money. The NIMBY park planners know we need faster transportation. They refuse to admit it. Lets unite our Borough and our City and help our people improve their lives with increase transit options and access.

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com/

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315

718-679-5309

rowing612@aol.com

https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910

http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com

Thank you.

Philip McManus
|
April 04, 2014
Two transit videos for your information.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv7Y4sHvHTY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKQkHtJhlcY

We support a transit option that will help increase social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

Faster transportation helps people visit families, travel to work, school, parks and reduces pollution, congestion and accidents.

The train will unite Queens and save time and money.

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:

http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com/

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315

718-679-5309

rowing612@aol.com

https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910

http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com

Thank you.
Doug M
|
April 02, 2014
The hundreds of residents who've already attended Queensway workshops have mostly been motivated to come out by support for, curiosity about, or concern with the vision of what the proposed park could be.  While the workshop facilitators rightly spent time addressing the specific park design details, it was important to present possibilities for the supporters and clarify the vision for the curious.  That is how all great public works projects in this city start.  When the Triboro bridge was conceived, the vision of uniting Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx came first.  The important details of how and where to mix the roadway cement  came later.

 

The details behind actualizing the vision for a big project are hashed out over time, and thankfully the Queensway advocates have put a fair amount of effort into getting the community actively involved in offering feedback on considerations like security, access, and safety. 

 

I was at the Richmond Hill workshop, and I spoke to Mr. Wendell regarding his lighting concerns.  Those concerns are legitimate and are grounded in long-held frustrations from many residents in the area about how city agencies like Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation have failed to address lighting issues around Woodhaven in the past.  I'm glad Mr. Wendell came out to make himself heard on this issue, and I look forward to seeing how the Queensway advocates (who, by the way, have hired a lighting design expert) address those concerns.  But I understand that the process takes time and that we'll have to offer our feedback on the Queensway plans patiently in good faith that they'll be addressed.

 

A quick example: I remember a community leader  criticized the Queensway proponents in the initial round of public meetings last year for not holding the Ozone Park workshop in a location that met ADA standards for accessibility.    They took the leader's comments to heart, and each of the three most recent workshops have been held in locations that meet those standards.  Obviously there are much bigger concerns and many remaining questions to be addressed with this project (like how much it's going to cost!!), but at least we know they're listening.