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New Study Coming On What To Do With Abandoned Queens Railway

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One more study, conducted by students and faculty at Queens College, about what to do with an abandoned railway in Queens is on the way. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The tracks are still in place, even if trains haven't run along them in more than half a century, and so are the hopes to restore an abandoned Queens rail line as a link to Midtown Manhattan, or maybe as a park modeled after Manhattan's High Line.

But what's the reality of anything getting done here? That's what students and faculty at Queens College hope to find out as part of a study on how to best make use of the old Rockaway Beach Line.

"We're thrilled, always, when expertise of our faculty can be used to solve problems for the people of Queens," said James Muyskens, president of Queens College.

On Monday, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announced plans for the college to produce what he calls an objective study to look at uses for the rusting railway. However, it's pretty clear where he stands.

"I believe, and it's going to come as no surprise to anyone, the key to our success as a borough and as a city is to expand public transit infrastructure," Goldfeder said. "It's no secret that I believe that the best way to accomplish that goal is to fully restore the Rockaway Beach Rail Line."

Last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority briefly acknowledged the possibility of restoring the abandoned line, which is on city-owned land, in its 20-year capital needs assessment. However, restoring it for rail service wouldn't be easy, or cheap.

"Everything's got to start somewhere, and we take small steps in the right direction."

Trains quit running along the tracks in 1962.

The Friends of the Queensway envision a 3.5-mile elevated park that would run from Rego Park to Ozone Park, and the state is funding a $400,000 study to look at that possibility.

Then, there are the transit advocates.

"Transportation is more important than the park," said Phillip McManus of the Queens Public Transit Committee. "It's not the priority."

What do the people who work near the Ozone Park stop think its next incarnation should be?

"Nah, nah, you don't need a park here. You need residential stores," said one person.

"It should be again a train station, for the best of the neighborhood," said another.

Of course, whether anything happens here at all can only be determined after a lot more studying.

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