To The Editor:
A recent article, “MTA’S Rockaway Rail Study Delayed” (June 21), offers an opposing viewpoint on a project that enjoys widespread community support. During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s most recent town hall event in Queens, residents demonstrated clear support for the proposal to convert the abandoned former Rockaway Beach rail line into a 3.5-mile linear park called the QueensWay.
While the MTA studies the feasibility of reactivating a line that has been dormant for over 50 years, the agency is already facing mounting challenges in maintaining current operations while experiencing significant budgetary shortfalls. The cost of rail reactivation is in the billions and has already been deemed infeasible by several studies. We find it difficult to believe that the MTA will have the bandwidth, let alone the funding, to take on a massive reactivation project at any point in the near future.
The challenges of rail reactivation are clear, while the benefits are dubious. Through our research, we’ve found that one of these rail proposals would actually eliminate A train service to the Rockaways by replacing it with the more costly LIRR. So, not only would commute times lengthen because of this, but the cost for commuters would also skyrocket.
The only realistic plan to make use of these long-abandoned 47 acres of public space is to create an iconic park that will improve the quality of life for the nearly 100,000 residents who live within a 10-minute walk of the proposed QueensWay.
Friends of the QueensWay