In an effort to restore train service on Rockaway Beach Rail Line from its namesake neighborhood to Rego Park along 100th Street, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and residents of the Rockaways and South Queens communities unveiled an online petition in favor of the train line.
The petition, Goldfeder says, sends a strong message to Governor Cuomo and transit agencies that Queens residents “strongly support full restoration of the long-abandoned line.”
“Residents from all demographics, from all neighborhoods, are really uniting to send a strong message to the MTA, the Port Authority and the governor that we must improve transportation access in Queens,” Goldfeder said. “And the best way to do that is by bringing back the Rockaway Beach rail line. This line is the only line that will allow us in Queens to go north and south.
“Our corridors are all jammed up,” he added, “and bringing back this line would really alleviate the transportation problems and give all Queens residents access.”
Urging residents to sign the petition, Goldfeder noted that it’s important that people realize it’s not only one neighborhood or one group fighting for the restoration.
Goldfeder is also pushing for the rail line because of the estimated growth of South Queens with Resorts World Casino, the governor’s proposal to build the largest convention center in the country in the area, and the new image of the Rockaway Peninsula as a tourist haven.
“The Rockaway Beach line is the way to go to get people to Resorts World Ne York and the Rockaways,” he said. “It’s about interconnectivity in the borough.”
Residents can sign the petition at www.rockawaybeachrail.com.
Goldfeder said that with enough signatures, he will show the petition to the governor, the Port Authority and the MTA.
Although some residents are in favor of a restored rail line at the abandoned tracks, others would like to see a High Line-like park along the tracks, or a “Queensway,” adding more green space to the borough.
“We’re talking billions of dollars here,” CB9 chair Andrea Crawford, an avid supporter of park space on the rail line, said in February. “To say that you can reactivate the track is disingenuous. We need more open space in Queens and I don’t think the time and energy spent on a railway project helps anyone. I don’t think it’s a viable solution.”
Goldfeder said that he is not against that idea. He said if there is a way that a rail line and green space can coexist side by side he will be all for it.
Crawford suggested updating the A train so that it becomes more reliable and offers more express train service.
But some supporters of a train line, including mass transit advocate John Rozankowski. said that it would be a huge benefit as it would give Queens residents, particularly Rockaway residents, greater access to and from Manhattan.
“Reviving the Rockaway line will have a dramatic impact on Queens,” he said.
Rozankowski also hopes that the reestablished rail line will bring more businesses to the borough since it will bring intra-borough connectivity.
If built, the rail line will run through Ozone Park, Forest Hills, Glendale and Rego Park.