By Jon Cronin
In light of all the attention it has been getting lately, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has called attention to the structural stability of the overpasses holding up the retired LIRR Rockaway Beach line that runs from the south shore to Queens Boulevard.
Local politicians and civic associations have been seeking further advocacy and turning the stretch of land in to either a paved over busway, a reactivated railway, or possibility a park stretching across the borough. Addabbo stated, “However, proposals fail to detail the vulnerable and unsafe conditions the line is currently in.”
On Tuesday morning on Yellowstone Boulevard east of Alderton Street in Forest Hills underneath the LIRR overpass Addabbo pointed out that many of the stanchions have holes rusted through them. “No matter what we do, the structure and stability has to be considered.” He noted that he has seen similarly rusted stanchions at 95th, 101 and 103rd avenues in Ozone Park.
Addabbo said that before anything is done with the old railway, “it needs to be safe to the public. 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.”
Initially Addabbo called the MTA, but, he said, “The MTA was quick to point out” that they no longer own it. An MTA spokesperson said it was sold to the city in 1953. Addabbo said he plans to take up this issue with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and Borough President Melinda Katz.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin