QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — The future of the old Long Island Rail Road tracks has been discussed for years around Queens.
A group calling for the 3.5-mile line to be reactivated for transit and open space held a rally outside City Hall on Wednesday.
QueensLink has advocated for rails and trails along the stretch that connected Rego Park and the Rockaways.
QueensLink Executive Director Rick Horan said this is a crossroads, and both ideas can happen. Their project includes acres of green space.
“This puts the question to the people: What is the most value to deliver to the most number of people? We want the conversation to happen,” he said.
QueensWay is an organization working for parkland and community areas. Supporters of that project said transit plans would be costly and envision an area similar to the High Line elevated park.
The City of New York has budgeted $35 million to create a community hub in a section around Forest Hills. The NYC Economic Development Corporation is working with a design consultant and expects to release a proposal in 2024 for feedback.
Transit supporters said a current study needs to be done on the cost and work required for their rails and trails.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Friends of the QueensWay said they’re excited about the progress.
“(QueensWay) looks forward to working with the city to realize the extraordinary near-term opportunity to activate quality open space, as well as environmental, economic and educational benefits for Central Queens, starting with the first phase called the MetHub,” they wrote to PIX11 News.
The administration has said initial plans would not block future transit development.
Elected officials, including NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, attended the rally.
“We can do both,” he said.
Trains haven’t run along the abandoned line since it was deactivated in the 1960s.