BY LUIS GRONDA
The Queens College study of the vacant rail tracks in central and southern Queens is progressing towards its completion.
Select residents and businesses will soon get to fill out a survey expressing their opinion on two proposed projects for the land.
Last year, the university, along with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), announced a study to determine the best use for the 3.5-mile tract of land between Rego Park and Ozone Park.
The site used to be home to the Rockaway Long Island Rail Road line until it was discontinued due to low ridership. Transportation activists would like to see the train make its return, while green space advocates would like to see the area turned into what they call the QueensWay, a bike/pedestrian walkway similar to The High Line in Manhattan.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo funded a feasibility study for the QueensWay, Queens College says their study will determine the best use for the area and not take a side on the dispute.
According to Dr. Scott Larson, the director and service learning coordinator at the Department of Urban Studies at Queens College, the college will send out 5,000 surveys to residents in the surrounding neighborhoods and 1,000 to businesses.
The residents and businesses were chosen specifically to take the survey and it is not open to just anybody, Larson said.
In addition to basic demographic questions, the survey will ask about familiarity with the proposals, along with other questions pertaining to the issue.
Businesses will be asked to include where in relation to the rail tracks their business is located and what they would prefer to see built there based on what they know.
He said they wanted to get a wide range of comments from people that live or work near the tracks and they hope their system will accomplish that. They also want to make sure the survey is random and controlled, according to Larson.
Each neighborhood will get surveys depending on its population, Larson said. So one neighborhood would get more surveys than others.
They do not expect every resident and business to answer, however. Larson said their goal is to get 1,000 responses.
They have set a strict July 18 deadline to submit the survey. Larson said they will most likely release the results of the survey as part of the release of the entire study, though revealing the survey results on its own is also an option.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.