Queens Rail Expansion Group Holds Anti-Select Bus Service Rally

Queens Rail Expansion Group Holds Anti-Select Bus Service Rally

PHOTO:  Queens Public Transit Committee Chairman Phil McManus (in suit) last Sunday rallied Rockaway Beach Rail Line supporters in Elmhurst.   Photo Courtesy of Ron Carroll


The Queens Public Transit Committee organized a rally last Sunday in Elmhurst decrying the proposed Woodhaven-Cross Bay Select Bus Service Project, the Vision Zero Initiative and the QueensWay plan, while urging commuters and elected officials on all levels to support the QueensRail, the restoration of the long defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line.

Led by QPTC Chairman Phil McManus, supporters of the advocacy group gathered for the “Transportation for All Rally” at the bustling intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Hoffman Drive.

McManus said it’s about communication—spreading the word “about our transportation crisis, dangerous gridlock and overcrowding,” and how the RBRL is the proper solution.

“We’re sick and tired of City Hall and our leaders who think they can solve our transportation crisis by eliminating railways, roadways, bus stops, left turns, parking, bus frequency, and reasonable speed limits,” McManus added. “This is madness and it’s unfair and it must stop.”

While elected officials like Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn and Manhattan) have touted the project to restore the RBRL, proponents of the QueensWay have galvanized support for turning the abandoned rail line into a park, similar to Chelsea’s High Line.

The project involves converting the 3.5-mile swath of the borough, which stretches from Rego Park to Ozone Park, into a $120 million public park boasting trails and many amenities.

According to advocates, the QueensWay, which would go through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, would be an economic engine to surrounding communities; provide safer streets and alternative transportation; provide recreational and health options; boost park equity; and present educational, ecological and cultural opportunities.

On the other side, McManus said Queens is in dire straits when it comes to transit options.

“We need the QueensRail…an unused 3.5-mile, two- to four-track railway only one to six blocks east and parallel to Cross Bay and Woodhaven boulevards,” McManus said. “The RBRL traveled from Penn Station to west, central and south Queens in 43 minutes” before it closed for good in 1962.

McManus went on to say that the QueensRail project, which could cost anywhere from $600 to $900 million, would unite the Big Apple.

“We are asking the city to reevaluate their current policies of dividing commuters and communities with less transportation options and longer, more expensive travel commutes,” he said. “We’re also asking the people of our region to support our struggle for a fair and just transportation system that includes every neighborhood, borough and suburb.”

By Michael V. Cusenza

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