Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato recently announced new momentum on reactivating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.
By Michael V. Cusenza
When Phil Goldfeder announced last year that he would not be running for another term in the Assembly and endorsed Stacey Pheffer Amato as his successor in the 23rd District, he knew that he would have to pass the proverbial baton representing myriad projects near and dear to south Queens constituents – perhaps none more critical than the possible reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.
It seems that the baton is in good hands.
Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) recently announced that though the release of the findings of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s feasibility study of the long-defunct line has been pushed to later this year from the original June deadline, she has secured two important approvals:
• the inclusion of specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal;
• and that the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road, and New York City Transit will be jointly requesting and contracting an outside entity to help conduct the evaluation, thereby putting all key agency stakeholders on the same page and ensuring their mutual investment in giving the proposal a full and fair hearing.
“This is a huge deal,” Pheffer Amato said. “Reactivating the RBRL may be the best and most permanent fix for our transit issues. We had a 40-minute commute for eighty years, from 1880 to 1960. But it was lengthened to an hour twenty minutes, and now we’re effectively cut off from large parts of the city. So fixing that is priority Number 1. And now, even though the Rockaway Peninsula economy is roaring back, there’s this narrative parroted by some in City government that a competing project idea to the QueensRail – the QueensWay – is likely to materialize. But the demand for real transit never went away, and we think Governor Cuomo’s call for a single-seat ride from JFK to Midtown definitely is helping with momentum for restoring the RBRL.”
The RBRL was put into service in the late 19th Century under the control of the LIRR and connected Rockaway and southern Queens with Rego Park, provided area residents with expedient access to other parts of the city, and 40-minute commutes to Midtown Manhattan from the Rockaway Peninsula. In the early 1960s, parts of the railroad service were condensed, sectioned off, and it eventually closed in 1962.
Pheffer Amato also recently announced the release of “MTA, LRR, NYCT: South Queens Needs Transit,” a petition encouraging the three agencies to complete work on the evaluation quickly and thoroughly, and to present a plan for reactivation to the community.
For more information
on the petition, log onto: