The Rockaway Line. From the Rockaways to Woodhaven in Queens. The Long Island Railroad Rockaway Line, abandoned in 1962, has been a hot topic of discussion lately. One group wants the line to have rail service, most likely a subway connection since the A train already runs on a portion of the stretch (from south of Rockaway Blvd to Hammels Wye). Another group wants to see a green project similar to the High Line, a former elevated freight line that went to, through, and adjacent to many factories in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, calling it the “QueensWay.” The residents whose backyards face the line don’t want anything to be done, fearing that either project might attract unwanted noise and crowds.
Personally, I would run the Rockaway Line as an extension of the A line, with a tunnel portal connecting to the Queens Blvd subway line. It would certainly connect the Rockaways (and the Airport) to Midtown with a much faster and more convenient connection to Manhattan than going through Brooklyn. If that can’t happen for a dozen years or so, then I would advocate for a bus-only roadway for a converted Q52/Q53 SBS service, leaving the Q11 (remaining a local) and Q21 (converted to a Limited, possibly) on Woodhaven Blvd. The Q52 SBS would run from Arverne up this busway to Queens Center Mall and possibly up Broadway to 74th/Roosevelt Subway Station and then via the BQE to LaGuardia Airport. The Q53 SBS would run from Rockaway Park via the busway to Woodside as it currently does.
I don’t understand the financial benefits of a QueensWay other than to create a space to mimic the High Line, kind of like a “me too” mentality going around. People complain that there isn’t enough green space in Queens when there is more park space available than in any other borough…ok, except maybe Staten Island. You have Flushing Meadows, Alley Pond Park, Jamaica Bay, and many local parks, and you want a QueensWay because of lack of park space? Or do you just not want to take the bus to those other park spaces? Meanwhile, the Rockaways has been transit starved for years, and Sandy solidified that last year. Give me a break!