This week, the Times endorsed the Trust for Public Land's plan to turn a deactivated stretch of elevated LIRR rail in Queens into a park, calling the QueensWay a "spectacular" idea. As expected, the editorial served as a call to action for the manyreally, a lot of peoplewho oppose the park. Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas is one of them, and he's not buying the "worst argued editorial" he's ever read (which is saying a lot). Before Kabak goes on to deconstruct the editorial, he implores,
I find it hard to believe, based on geography, demographics and overall transit needs, that a park would trump rail all things being equal, but while we've gotten a park study funded by the pro-parks side, the pro-rail study was more of a school project sponsored, nobly so, by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. The numbers out of that study proclaimed 500,000 daily ridersalmost too exorbitant to be believedand no independent engineering group has been commissioned to give equal assessment to either option. That's what I want. Kabak thinks the Times does a lazy job of arguing for the park as opposed to reinstating rail use: 1) The paper's argument begins by calling returning rail use to the track a "less flashy" alternative to a park, which we have to admit is a pretty insignificant point, 2) The Times' argument is based on a study of dubious origin; a study that affirms the opinion of the group who commissioned it, 3) $120 million is not cheap for a park. The city's most expensive parkpresumably the High Linecost the city $150 million, which was largely garnered from private sources. Which wealthy patrons, Kabak asks, will fund a park in a residential area of Queens?, and 4) Moreso than waiting for the MTA to get around to funding public projects these days, politicians are all DIY about getting the funding they need for the projects they want, like Bloomberg with the 7 train extensionalthough, let's be real, the guy could have paid for that out of pocketand Senator Schumer with the Second Avenue subway.
It seems reasonable that the next chapter in the ongoing saga that is parsing the QueensWay will be enlisting a credible study for the return of transit. But before that happens, what do you think should happen to the elevated track?