In the Sept/Oct. 2015 issue of the Juniper Berry, my column's closing paragraph noted that it was indeed past the time for the NYCDOT to hold more public hearings in publicly accessible facilities so that the General Public and not just the insiders could weigh in on the issue of Select Bus Service along the Woodhaven/Cross Bay Transportation Corridor that will seriously effect all the neighborhoods along the route.
My vision of the 'Blue Light Express to carry commuters from the Rockaways to Queens Center Mall will offer immediate relief to travelers from the Rockaways but is not a long term transportation solution for the Rockaways.
Reactivate the old LIRR Rockaway line
Frankly, it is back to the future. Yes, it would require a serious amount of money to rebuild and restore the old Long Island Railroad route through Rego Park. But the Rockaways of today are not Shanty Towns comprised of block after block of summer bungalows; the peninsula has become a permanent year-round residence for thousands of New Yorkers and a thriving beach resort in the summer months. It is important to all of New York to restore rapid transit from/to the Rockaways.
Opposition to this proposal comes from politically active groups in Rego Park and Forest Hills who campaign for a High-Line style botanical garden in the fashion of the one created in the old Manhattan Meat Packing District. A botanical garden can be created in the many parks that are within Queens. However the immediate restoration of the old LIRR route to a 21st century transportation link is imperative for the vitality of all New York.
It is my understanding that the Right of Way is intact; therefore the cost and delay of eminent domain would not hinder the execution of this plan.
Crowley's Light Rail will go no where
With regard to the Light Rail idea espoused by Elizabeth Crowley, I refer all my readers to an excellent article on the concept composed by Ray Cevoli at LTVsquad.com entitled, Disassembling Crowley's Light Rail to The Mall Plan. He points out that in her plan, there is no signal system, trains would need to be powered with pollution causing diesel, the plan lacks maintenance facilities and ADA compliant platforms, existing freight trains use the right of way (with more freight traffic expected) and the proposed line begins/dead ends at Atlas Park, which would cause Glendale to be inundated with cars. It's just a badly thought out plan.
Governor Cuomo wants link to airport
However, the light rail concept recently put forth by Governor Cuomo appears to be of some merit. He envisions a Light Rail link from LaGuardia to the #7 line and the LIRR stop at Citi Field. The connection to the #7 line may not work well for travelers who would have to mix in with commuters, but the LIRR should be able to accommodate travelers with a clean one seat ride to either Penn Station or Grand Central Station.
Without question, when you examine the NYC, NYS or federal budgets for 2016, they are all overloaded with social cost and free stuff. That does not leave the necessary funds for transportation to build the road and rail links that will be eco-friendly and smoothly integrate the flow of human and commercial traffic. Implementing transportation projects will provide good paying jobs – both white collar and blue collar – that will improve the social fabric of society. Remember, when Mom and Dad come home from a job, they bring dignity to the kitchen table.
A safe and Merry Christmas to all.
**The views expressed in this column represent only those of the author and not the board or membership of the Juniper Park Civic Association.