Monday, December 2, 2013

WRBA To Host Another Public Forum on Inactive Railroad Tracks

The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association (WRBA) will convene a public forum to discuss the future of the defunct Rockaway Branch rail line, which runs along 98th Street.

The main purpose of the forum is to provide Woodhaven residents with an opportunity to voice their opinions, comments, and concerns about the railroad tracks, which have become the subject of much debate as well-funded and politically powerful interests push competing proposals for developing or reactivating the line.

The forum will be held on Monday, December 9, 7:30 p.m., at Emanuel United Church of Christ (91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard).  All are welcome to attend, but only Woodhaven residents will be permitted to speak.

"Except for the WRBA's meeting last year, Woodhaven residents have not had a true, open forum to voice their concerns about the future of this land," said WRBA President Edward K. Wendell.  "They were promised open forums, 'many of them,' at a QueensWay meeting in September and that promise was not kept."

The WRBA hosted a special forum in September of last year, dedicated exclusively to the question of what to do with the railroad tracks.  The extremely well-attended meeting featured presentations by a speaker supporting each of the two leading proposals: returning the tracks to use for an active train line, or converting the route into a walkway and bike path dubbed the QueensWay.  Once those speakers presented their proposals, residents in attendance had a chance to offer their thoughts and answer questions.

After that forum, the WRBA announced its official position on the rail line, deciding not to support either of the proposals at this time and calling on the City of New York, which owns the property, to end its years of neglect and fulfill its responsibility to maintain the land.

The defunct railroad tracks run through Woodhaven, crossing over Jamaica Avenue at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill border. They are located just east of Woodhaven residences on 98th Street, including the Forest Park Co-ops.

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WRBA office: (718) 296-3735