Public hearings and community input are lacking in the rollout of the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the former railroad-consisting of the 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park.
There are grave concerns advocates for and against this project must take into consideration before the final draft is put up for a vote before the City Council. Feasibility studies must address the social, economic and environmental impact this project will have on all surrounding communities.
Woodhaven residents, especially those who live in the area of the line that runs parallel to 98th street in Woodhaven, are expectedly concerned about their continued safety and quality of life. The crime issue in Woodhaven and Ozone Park will only be aggravated, even if proposals to build gates and closure of the entrances are implemented, further overwhelming our precincts. These communities do not have a Civilian Observation Patrol, like G-COP in Glendale. We should respect and address the concerns of the 120 households who signed the petition to stop the project, which constitutes an overwhelming majority of homeowners living there.
Decisions must take into consideration the impact the project will have on the livelihoods and families of small business owners that occupy space below and adjacent to the train tracks. Many have been here for decades.
We need to know the effect the plan will have on PS 65, the Raymond York Elementary School and MS 137, America’s School of Heroes, and other area schools.
Many small business owners in the Aqueduct Flea market were forced to close due to Resorts World’s expansion, and it would be harsh to uproot and destroy others in our area — again. Moreover, any proposal must guarantee jobs and contracts to residents in the impacted communities.
We should also consider whether the MTA got it right, when its 20-year plan recommended that the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line into Manhattan.
Proponents of the QueensWay who compare it to Manhattan’s High Line must research whether continuous sponsorship and maintenance is a realistic expectation, given the economic constraints, and the comparative paucity of large corporations and tourism in this area to offset such costs. None of us want to be saddled with a proverbial “pie in the sky.”