Woodhaven Debates QueensWay/LIRR Issues

Staff Writer

Residents of Woodhaven and surrounding neighborhoods got a chance to sound off once again on the Queens-
Way/LIRR that has become an important issue to many in southern and central Queens.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association held its second forum on the subject on Monday at Emanuel Church.

Monday’s forum was a much calmer affair compared to the one the civic group hosted last year, which was a much more raucous meeting. Names were drawn out of a paper bag randomly and each person got three minutes to say whatever they wanted about the issue.

Opinions about both ideas were mixed overall. Many expressed concerns that both projects could potentially bring problems to Woodhaven and other neighborhoods like safety, parking and quality of life.

Thomas Aiello, a resident of 98th Street in Woodhaven, said the land should be kept shuttered as it currently is because more focus should be made on funding local schools and hospitals instead of spending money on one of these projects.

“You want to walk? Walk on the street or the sidewalk. You don’t have to walk up on a parkway or a Queens-
Way,” Aiello said.

Gene Lindemann, also a 98th Street resident, said reviving the train line would decrease property values for him and his neighbors’ homes and he is unsure about the QueensWay as well because it is not known if it can be properly patrolled by a undermanned police force, a sentiment echoed by many during the meeting.

Ed Wendell, the president of the WRBA, said the forum accomplished its goal of hearing different points of view on this issue.

“Everybody has the best intentions for their community,” he said. “People, whether they are for or against, they’re not doing this to screw another community, they’re doing this for what they feel is best for their community.”

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, or @luisgronda.