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Queens Chronicle

Woodhaven to host second railway forum

Dec. 9 meeting will discuss train, park

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Thu Dec 12, 2013.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association will host another public forum on the plans for the old Rockaway Beach rail line, which runs along 98th Street, abutting dozens of neighborhood homes.

The forum will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., at Emanuel United Church of Christ at 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. The meeting is open to the public, but only Woodhaven residents will be permitted to speak.

“Except for the WRBA’s meeting last year, Woodhaven residents have not had a true, open forum to voice their concerns about the future of this land,” said WRBA President Ed Wendell in a statement. “They were promised open forums, ‘many of them,’ at a QueensWay meeting in September and that promise was not kept.”

Several Woodhaven residents complained that the QueensWay workshop on Nov. 13 in the neighborhood did not offer them the opportunity to speak about their concerns about the proposal to build a High Line-style park on the line that has been abandoned since 1962. Several residents argued with the workshop’s organizers at the meeting.

The forum is the second the WRBA is hosting on the plans, after one in September 2012 that was attended by representatives of both the park proposal and a competing plan to rebuild the rail line to the Rockaways. Residents at that meeting were allowed to offer public comment.

Wendell said he has invited representatives supporting both proposals to listen to concerns.

Residents along 98th Street have been largely opposed to both the rail and park plans, citing security and quality-of-life concerns. In most cases, the rail line abuts the backyards of homes between Atlantic Avenue and Park Lane South.

After last year’s forum, the WRBA announced its official position on the rail line, deciding not to support either of the proposals at the time and calling on the city, which owns the property, to maintain the land.

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