South of Forest Park, the question of what to do with the former right-of-way of the Rockaway Beach branch has focused on restarting the old rail line for a quicker commute to Manhattan or elsewhere in Queens.

North of the park, the focus is in the other direction — how to avoid a train, or pedestrians on bikes, from ever rolling down the line that in some parts of Forest Hills is only a few feet from backyards.

Nestled in the middle of the action is Woodhaven, for which the rail line acts as its western border. Though many in the neighborhood feel too far away from the line to have skin in the game, the original line had two stops in the neighborhood — a Woodhaven station at Atlantic Avenue in the community’s southeastern corner, and Brooklyn Manor at Jamaica Avenue. Any new rail line could have multiple stations that would serve Woodhaven. Also, residents who live on 98th Street, along the western flank of the tracks, would have to contend with passing trains, or in the event of a QueensWay — as the proposed High-Line type parkland is called — roving pedestrians.

In realizing the potential and effect both proposals could have on the neighborhood, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association held a forum on Saturday afternoon at the Queens Tabernacle, where supporters of both plans pitched their ideas to the community.

Transit advocate John Rozankowski presented the plan for restarting the rail line, saying area residents have some of the longest commutes in the city and a quicker route into Midtown Manhattan would be helpful.

“Many people take mass transit for granted. An easy and quick commute means you have more time for education, civic engagement and more time to spend with your family. It will end the economic isolation of Southern Queens.”

He noted the two subway lines in the area — the J and the A — connect to Lower Manhattan, which has lost its status as the center of commerce to Midtown in recent decades.

He said the line would allow for a quick commute to Midtown Manhattan either on the LIRR main line or via the Queens Boulevard subway.

Andrea Crawford, chairwoman of Community Board 9, presented the idea for a QueensWay. She opened her presentation by noting the borough has developed and changed, but not vis-a-vis access to parkland.

“What has not changed in Queens is people’s availability to green space,” she said.

Crawford explained the greenway would start around Fleet Street in Rego Park and continue through Forest Park, down the abandoned viaduct to Ozone Park.

“This isn’t just a biking or hiking path,” she said, explaining that restaurants and shops would be placed along the line to allow for economic development at major cross streets l Jamaica, Atlantic and Metropolitan avenues.

“We could have the resurgence Brooklyn is having with artists and restaurants,” Crawford explained.

In the meantime, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway), a staunch supporter of rejuvenating the rail line, called on the state Department of Transportation to allocate $29 million in unused money that could be lost into a feasibility study for the rail line, which has been abandoned since 1962.

“What better use of abandoned federal dollars than for the restoration of an abandoned rail line,” said Goldfeder. “Immediate investment in this important transportation project will create thousands of jobs, improve public transportation options for all Queens residents and give our economy the boost that we so desperately need.”

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