In a recent article, we briefly discussed the status of QueensWay, a $120 million dollar project needed to transform 3.5 miles of abandoned railroad tracks into the Queens version of Manhattan’s High Line. If successful, the elevated park would provide residents with miles of bicycle and pedestrian paths, as well as various sport facilities for its surrounding communities.
Due to its massive success, many have tried to replicate the High Line – from the nearby Lowline on the Lower East Side to the Rail Park in Philadelphia. Yet, many are beginning to worry that the idea wouldn’t far so well in Queens.
For starters, the project would kill NYC’s last chance to build transit options in Queens and Brooklyn. Although the QueensWay could allow pedestrians to walk along former transit lines, the best solution to New York City’s infamous congestion, is to build a new subway route. By connecting lines in the outer boroughs, the wave of commuters will shift away from Manhattan, making it easier for many to travel to and from Queens/Brooklyn. The QueensWay, however, would eliminate a vital section needed in order to construct this path.
The Central Queens community also doesn’t seem too keen on the idea. According to its residents, the area already has enough parks. In fact, the QueensWay, if built, would run right alongside Forest Park, a beautiful area spanning 583 acres. Furthermore, these communities cherish their privacy and are opposed to any project that might potentially raise rent or bring more people to the area.
The last concern involves budget. Currently, the proposed plan would cost $122 million for both the design and construction of QueensWay. Yet, the High Line cost close to $200 million to build, despite being a fraction of the length. Considering the fact that the city just made a massive $130 million dollar investment in the local parks in all five boroughs, it seems unlikely that the mayor’s office would be interested in shelling out even more for a single project. So far, they seem unenthusiastic about the idea, simply stating: “We look forward to continuing conversations with stakeholder about the future of this asset.”