January 9, 2005
A Plan to Resurrect a Queens Rail Line
To the Editor:
Re "Dreams and Schemes for an Abandoned Rail Line" (Jan. 2):
The very best solution for the derelict Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road in Central Queens is to build a combination rail and trail.
The disused 4.1-mile segment of this strategically located rail line lies almost in a direct path between Midtown Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport. Its restoration would permit the long sought direct, high-speed one-seat ride rail service from Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station to each of the six on-airport rail stations recently constructed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A new rail line would increase economic activity in Woodhaven and other communities along the route and would cut 20 to 30 minutes off travel time to the Rockaways. The restored rail line would cost less than one-tenth of what the Port Authority plans to spend to link Kennedy to Lower Manhattan, while serving five times as many passengers.
By using modern state-of-the-art track design and rail cars, noise and vibration would be kept to a minimum.
Most residences are a considerable distance from the rail line, with only backyards, garages and tool sheds abutting the line. The wide right of way has plenty of room to include a linear park as well.
The writer is president of the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, an advocacy group on transportation issues.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company