The subject of the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road has been debated and discussed ever since the discontinuance of service in 1961.
Although some of the arguments made by the proponents for reactivation may have evolved over the years, my reasons for steadfastly opposing this idea have not changed.
Impact on Quality of Life
The negative impact reactivation would have on residents whose property abuts the rail bed cannot be overstated. Currently, there is an LIRR railroad line which cuts through my district.
For those whose windows face the rail bed, conversations have to be stopped in mid-sentence when a train goes by. Sleep is interrupted. Dinnerware vibrates on tables. Windows facing the railroad can never be opened.
The effect of this reactivation would be even more severe. This rail bed, unlike the above-mentioned rail bed, runs right to the property line of homes. The noise level to be endured would be even greater. Train vibrations would destroy the structural integrity of people’s homes. Windows would never be opened but have to be covered for privacy considerations.
Loss of Parkland
Seven acres of dedicated parkland in Forest Park would be lost to residents. The Rockaway Beach branch rail bed in Forest Park is currently the property of the city Parks Department.
This rail bed is now parkland. Even if one were to consider swapping this parkland for new parkland, where is 7 acres to be found close by to replace the lost 7 acres? There is simply no suitable replacement for this parkland.
As a representative for the residents of my district, I find no benefit to be derived from the reactivation.
Therefore, as always, I oppose reinstituting service on the Rockaway Beach branch.