To The Editor:
In response to your article “Concerns Highlighted About Rockaway Rail Line,” I recommend that your readers consider the impact/ benefits if the Rockaway Beach Line were reactivated. RBL would connect Aqueduct race track, Genting Casino and Kennedy Airport to the Sunnyside rail yards, the Northeast Amtrak train corridor, Metro North [New Haven Line] then on to Midtown Manhattan. By “reactivation,” I am referring to a train line, for light rail or express buses [SBS], because noise is one of the main concerns for those living in the neighborhoods where the RBL would operate.
At the present time there is a group pushing to make the unused rail line into a green way [High Line]. If NYCEDC wants to develop the air space over the Sunnyside Rail yards for commercial, housing and a convention center [186 acres], then the RBL rail line will connect this development to JFK Airport via a 15 minute train ride. At the Aqueduct race track site there is also room for a soccer stadium, hotels and a convention center. With the RBL back in service it would establish a 30 minute (or less) train ride from JFK Airport into Midtown Manhattan thus connecting the NYC main business district with JFK airport.
The Northeast train corridor– between Washington D.C. and Boston– runs through Manhattan into the Sunnyside rail yards, over the Hells Gate Bridge, into the Bronx and on to Boston. If the RBL line is put back in service, Northeast train corridor passengers [Amtrak] will be able to transfer to the RBL line and be at JFK Airport in an approximate 15 minute travel time. The reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line would eliminate having to get off the train in Midtown Manhattan, transfer to the LIRR and then to the Air train in Jamaica Station. In the Bronx, there are three new train stations planned on the New Haven line with housing developments/hotels and stores. Bronx residents will be able to travel to JFK Airport via train in less than 35 minutes. A Bronx resident could travel to the Rockaway beaches in 45 minutes or a Rockaway/Queens resident could travel to the Bronx Zoo or dine on Arthur Ave in the same amount of time.
With the Reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line, residents using the New Haven Line from Westchester, Bronx and Southern Connecticut would have train access to JFK Airport without having to first travel into Manhattan. The reactivation of the RBL would reduce vehicle traffic on the Whitestone Bridge and the VanWyck Expressway.
In Connecticut there are plans to “up zone” areas around train stations on the New Haven Line along the coast for office space-residential-retail-stores from the Bronx to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Congestion on Interstate 95 in Connecticut is to the point where their Governor wants to put in congestion pricing on Interstate 95 throughout the state.
In conclusion, Queens residents should realize that we are getting forced out of our cars by constant traffic, tickets, no place to park,Vision Zero and an expanding population so we should make full use of more mass transit options. One part of the Greenway that I support is a bike path and that can still be incorporated into a reactivation plan for transit on the RBL.