BY LUIS GRONDA
With another round of public hearings on the horizon, the first glance of what the QueensWay could look like was unveiled last week.
The Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay came out with the first renderings of the proposed pedestrian bike path that would run from Ozone Park to Rego Park.
The drawings come just in time for two additional public meetings the two organizations will host next week: March 24 at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills and March 26 at the High School for Construction Trades, Architecture and Engineering in Ozone Park.
Marc Matsil, the director of the TPL, said they released the renderings now because they are going into the second phase of their feasibility study that began last year. Part of that is another opportunity for area residents to comment and express their ideas and concerns about the potential elevated path.
He said the designs took into consideration the numerous comments people submitted during last year’s public meetings, and they will continue to do so until the study is complete. The current end date is around June or July of this year, according to Matsil.
The TPL head said he has been “in awe of the enthusiastic support” of the QueensWay so far, adding that he has not heard a lot of people who support reactivating the former train line from residents who live near the site.
“It really provides a safe option,” Matsil said.
When asked for a reaction to the renderings, Phil McManus, head of the Queens Public Transit Committee, said reactivating the LIRR line, running from Rockaway to Rego Park, is still the better option.
“It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t on my train tracks,” he said. “Why would anyone want to get rid of a 40-minute commute from Queens to Manhattan?”
McManus said he plans on being at both meetings to express his views on what should be done with the 3.5-mile stretch of vacant land.
Regarding seeking further support of the QueensWay, Matsil said he has not spoken to the new administration, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, about the project because they want to finish the feasibility study first, but he does plan to ask for his support in the future.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.