The ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the abandoned Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach line have split Queens residents into two factions, with some calling for the tracks to be turned into an elevated High Line-esque park, and others calling for it to be remade into a train line. (Most of the moneyed interests and politicians are on the side of the park, meaning that that option is far and away the frontrunner.) So far, calls for comprise have involved using part of the line as a park, part of it for trains, and leaving other parts alone completely. But today in the Daily News, author Andrew J. Sparberg asks, seemingly for the first time, why not just do both? "Only an extensive engineering survey can reveal what can or cannot be built, but any proposal should study the feasibility of both a new two track subway route and a greenway," Sparberg writes. "In many areas, the right of way appears wide enough for both uses. Innovative construction techniques and designs could permit trains and people safely side by side." Sounds like that would make for a pretty noisy park, but the always reasonable 2nd Ave. Sagas is willing is consider the idea, so hey, why not?
The key, Sparberg says, is getting feasibility studies conducted for the train line before the park plan becomes a reality. (Although the park is way ahead, neither has gained support from the mayor's office.) Groups like Friends of the Queensway have already had extensive studies conducted for the park, and have even been able to commission detailed blueprints for what that park would look like and how much it would cost. However, the idea of returning the Queensway to transportation use has not been getting serious consideration, and less is known about what that would entail. But according to Sparberg, "The important thing is for these two ideas to be researched and studied now, so that this priceless public asset is not lost for good."
· Abandoned LIRR tracks in Queens could be converted into both a new subway spur and a walking-cycling trail [NYDN]
· Seeking a Rockaway Beach Branch/QueensWay compromise [2nd Ave]
· Queensway coverage [Curbed]