With the fate of the abandoned Rockaway Beach branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) between Rego Park and Ozone Park still in doubt, one local lawmaker wants to see repairs made to the deteriorating stanchions that support the rail line.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo called on the MTA at a Tuesday press conference to make much-needed repairs to the rusting structure located just east of the intersection of Yellowstone Boulevard and Alderton Street on the Forest Hills/Rego Park border.
The overpass is part of the Rockaway Beach line, which last saw train service in 1962 and has become naturally overgrown. Many advocates are proposing different uses for it, from reactivating it for train service, transforming it into a “busway” or creating the “QueensWay,” a public park.
“Before we can talk about turning this rail line into anything at all, it needs to be safe to the public,” Addabbo said. “That should be our first concern on behalf of the children and families who pass underneath it, day after day, in such a hazardous state. Aside from the structural integrity of these stanchions possibly being compromised, the rusty support beams create a public health issue and need to be addressed immediately.”
Addabbo pointed out a gaping hole at the base of one of the structure’s rusting stanchion. He also noted that other locations along the rail line, including 93rd Avenue, 103rd Avenue and 101st Avenue, are in disrepair as well.
“Regardless of what project, if any, might eventually come to fruition at this site, this unused rail and its stanchions still sit in this community right now in an extremely poor condition that could potentially cause serious harm to countless people,” he said.
“Those stanchions are in disrepair,” Addabbo added. “So for the safety of our current pedestrians, and going forward, I reached out to the MTA because whether we do something or nothing, these stanchions have to be protected. So we notified the MTA of these locations. The MTA has assured me that they will look into this, and look to repair this.”