Petitioners: Leave Abandoned Line Alone
The majority of residents on a three-block stretch of a Woodhaven street are opposed to the creation of a bike path/nature walk on the former Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), according to an organization launched in opposition to the proposal.
“No Way Queens Way” announced on Monday, Mar. 11, the results of its petition campaign along 98th Street between Park Lane South and Atlantic Avenue, which runs adjacent to the long-dormant, now overgrown rail line.
“Volunteers returned morning, noon and night, knocking on every door three or four times, in an effort to include everyone,” according to the No Way Queens Way statement.
Members of the group reportedly visited the 177 residences on the stretch of 98th Street and receive responses 230 signatures collected from individuals 18 years of age or older living in 118 homes. Each individual was asked to sign one of three petitions: one for “construction of light rail service,” one for “construction of a bike path” and one “opposed to any development.”
Approximately 226 people in 114 residences supported the No Way Queens Way’s “no development” petition, which urges lawmakers to oppose transforming the Rockaway Branch into the QueensWay-the name of the bike path/nature trail modeled after the High Line Park in Manhattan proposed for the former rail line.
Just four residents (four individuals) on 98th Street supported the bike path, while no one expressed favor of reintroducing train service along the route, according to No Way Queens Way.
“Signatures continue to be collected. The ultimate goal is 100 percent coverage,” according to the No Way Queens Way statement. All of the results will be forwarded to local elected officials.
Founded by Woodhaven resident Neil Giannelli, No Way Queens Way was launched in January in response to proponents of the QueensWay plan. The group officially is opposed to any development or revitalization plan for the Rockaway Beach branch, claiming that either of the plans would negatively impact neighbors.