BY LUIS GRONDA
During two workshops last week, residents got a more detailed look at what the QueensWay could look like if the proposed pedestrian/bike path were to become a reality.
Representatives from the two design companies working on the QueensWay presented the most detailed plans to date at public workshops in Forest Hills and Richmond Hill last week.
The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit company that specializes in building parks like the High Line in Manhattan, would like to convert the vacant 3.5-mile stretch of land into the QueensWay, which would run between Ozone Park and Rego Park. Transit advocates want to reactivate the LIRR line, citing the need to improve public transportation in southern Queens.
The QueensWay plan is divided into six parts: The Clearing, North Passage, Metropolitan Hub, Forest Park Grove, South Passage and The Elevated.
The Clearing is the most-northern section of the proposed QueensWay, covering Forest Hills, including the Forest Hills Little League Fields. The North Passage is just below that, covering Rego Park and intersecting Yellowstone Boulevard.
The Metropolitan Hub is further down on Woodhaven Boulevard, including the Metropolitan Avenue shopping corridor in Forest Hills and Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School. Forest Park Grove covers Forest Park and the area surrounding the park including Forest Park Drive and Park Lane South.
The South Passage runs along Jamaica Avenue, intersecting with 104th Street and going down past Atlantic Avenue. The Elevated would run above Ozone Park, covering major streets such as 101st Street and Liberty Avenue.
Some of the proposed amenities the QueensWay would bring include an outdoor space for games and community events on the Elevated portion of the path, a zip line across Forest Park, the ability to ski in the park during the winter and an “adventure playground” for children at the Clearing section of the QueensWay.
Adam Lubinsky said each area that would make up the QueensWay has its unique factors and they took that, a long with community input from the last round of public workshops held last year, when coming up with the designs shown last week.
“We’ve been very careful to say, it’s wider here, it’s higher here, there are more trees here and to really be responsive to those different contexts,” he said.
Following the presentation, residents both for and against the project spoke during the public hearing portion of the workshop.
Annie Green, a Richmond Hill resident, supports the QueensWay because it would help businesses adjacent to the path and it would connect the five neighborhoods that the QueensWay would run along.
“We love the idea of those neighborhoods being connected together,” she said, adding that it would also boost property values in the area.
Fernando Morales, an Ozone Park resident, said he initially supported the QueensWay but has since changed his mind because of the way the neighborhood has changed in recent years.
“I don’t see it being that great, especially in the area that I live in,” he said, adding on to another resident’s concern about the potential garbage it could bring to the area. “My block alone…there’s just trash all over the neighborhood. No one uses trash bins, especially in this area.”
The group is expected to come out with a final report and design in June, when the feasibility study is completed.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.