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Queens Chronicle

Rail study results may be out soon

Pheffer Amato should receive a response from MTA by end of week

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Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2018 10:30 am

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park) may soon receive news on the results of a study that seeks to see if it would be feasible to once again run trains on the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line.

The MTA told the assemblywoman that she will receive a response by the end of this week regarding the results of the study, according to the lawmaker’s chief of staff, Amanda Kernozek. The news follows a March 20 letter the lawmaker sent to MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota requesting a briefing on the probe, which was to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

“I am pleased to know that the study will be completed on time and will show that a thorough and thoughtful analysis was conducted,” Pheffer Amato said in the letter, provided to the Chronicle. “I’m looking forward to reviewing the results of the study, and determining what the next steps and options are for this process.”

An MTA spokesman said work is continuing on the study, but did not have an exact date for when it will be issued.

When trains were taken off the right-of-way in 1960, low ridership was responsible for its decommissioning but Pheffer Amato — and many others — argues the Rockaway peninsula is in desperate need of new transportation options.

Former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder — Pheffer Amato’s predecessor and one of the earliest driving forces behind the proposed rail reactivation — in March 2016 got the MTA to agree to a feasibility study to see if the line could connect commuters between Rego Park and Ozone Park.

A year later, Pheffer Amato announced it would take another year to complete the probe, but it would be expanded to have New York City Transit and the Long Island Rail Road also look into the idea, and require an outside contractor help evaluate the possibility of rebuilding a line there.

Whatever the findings may be, the fight to get trains back on the right-of-way still faces an uphill battle. Many people in Queens want to see the path between Ozone Park and Rego Park turned into parkland, known as the QueensWay.

The group behind that plan, Friends of QueensWay, has already released renderings of what it might look like and plans to have the first stretch completed by 2020.

The state has provided funding to both the park and rail ideas, but has given more to the former.

Those advocating for the QueensWay have also expressed concerns over the elimination of parkland, specifically the Forest Hills Little League’s fields on Fleet Street — and possible disturbances to residents neighboring the line.

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1 comment:

  • pvrjr posted at 7:13 am on Fri, Apr 6, 2018.

    pvrjr Posts: 315

    This is it: The climax of this long standing war between Queensrail and Queensway. There will be a few winners and whole lotta losers. [beam]