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Queensway Vision Comes Into Focus – QNS.com

Queensway Vision Comes Into Focus

More Public ‘Conversations’ Set

Residents will once again get the opportunity to comment on the QueensWay plan-a bike path/nature trail proposed for the long-abandoned Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Rockaway Beach branch-at two sessions in Forest Hills and Ozone Park next week.

The Friends of the QueensWay released these renderings of their concept to transform the abandoned Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road between Rego Park and Ozone Park into a nature trail and bike path. The organization will hold next week two community “conversations” about the project in Forest Hills and Ozone Park. Both sessions are open to the public.

Organized by the Friends of the QueensWay, the first of two informational workshops will take place on Monday night, Mar. 14, at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, located at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills (visitors should use the yellow entrance).

The other workshop will occur two nights later on Wednesday, Mar. 26, at the High School for Construction Trades, Architecture and Engineering, located at 94-06 104th St. in Ozone Park.

Both sessions will be held from 7 to 9 p.m.

At the workshops, members of Friends of the QueensWay will act as facilitators in conversing with guests about preliminary designs for the 3.2- mile site running north-to-south between Rego Park and Ozone Park.

In advance of the sessions, the organization released two renderings of what the QueensWay might look like. Compared to the High Line Park on Manhattan’s West Side-which was created out of a long-abandoned freight rail line-the QueensWay would feature an assortment of pathways and plantings within the naturally reforested Rockaway Beach branch.

According to Friends of the QueensWay, the renderings were created based on analysis of the rail line and input provided by visitors at previous planning workshops.

During next week’s sessions, it was noted, the QueensWay facilitators will also engage with guests about the various issues related to the project, including supporting nearby play spaces for children, providing cultural activities on the line and addressing various privacy and safety concerns.

For the last several years, the future of the Rockaway Beach branch-on which its last LIRR traveled more than 50 years ago-has been the subject of great debate within the community.

The Friends of the QueensWay, with the support of the Trust for Public Land and state funding, emerged last year with its nature trail/bike path proposal for the Rockaway Beach branch. Transportation advocates, however, called for the line to be revitalized to provide either LIRR or subway service between Manhattan and points in southern Queens.

Moreover, some residents living adjacent to the line expressed concerns over both ideas, with a number of them calling for the line to be maintained by the city and state, but left unused.

For more information about the QueensWay public workshops, visit www.thequeensway.org.

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