The embattled QueensWay plan won a huge public endorsement this week, as the Times came out with its vote for bringing a park to the decommissioned stretch of elevated LIRR track. "The question is not whether a new park in Queens is a good idea. It's a spectacular one," a Times editorial board writes of the public debate over whether to turn the elevated rail into park or return it to its use as a rail line, "The question is whether it is a better idea than a less-flashy alternativereviving the rail line so people in Queens, particularly in the Rockaways, can get to work without creeping along congested boulevards in cars and buses, or taking the hour-plus ride to Midtown on the A train." The latter argument for its return to rail has been favored by area residents, but the Times counters methodically. If the line is returned to the MTA, it would take its place at the end of a long queue of capital projects in need of funding. In comparison, the creation of a new park would cost about $120 million, a "relatively cheap" price tag as far as the creation of new parks is concerned, and the Trust For Public Land has already started garnering funds for the project. The park would also create more cultural equity in the neighborhoods it crosses through: new commercial and cultural amenities will arrive in the neighborhoods, and the stretch will help lessen traffic fatalities and clean the air.
The Times is so in favor of the QueensWay, that it recommends that Bill de Blasio find funds for the 3.5-mile park in the city's budget for underserved parks, "QueensWay is a bird in the hand, with lots more in those overgrown bushes. It is the rare chance to plug a spectacular park into a densely built streetscape that really needs it. Where there's a way, there should be a will."
· A Green Line Through Queens [NYT]
· All QueensWay coverage [Curbed]