A 'High Line' in Queens

 
The High Line, a park on Manhattan's west side that was formerly a railway, can be viewed as one of the most innovative outdoor spaces in New York. Even in other parts of the US, the concept has given rise to similar efforts like The 606 in Chicago and Rail Park in Philadelphia. But New Yorkers may soon get another version of the High Line, as there is a plan for something like it in Central Queens. 

The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit working with Friends of the Queensway, wants to convert the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch---which has been abandoned since the 1960s---into a new public park called the Queensway. The 3.5 mile stretch of land, which is elevated in some parts, is close to Forest Hills, Glendale, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and Woodhaven. 

According a study issued by the two groups, the Queensway will cost roughly $120 million to build. Besides design and contingency fees, the sum covers the addition of comfort facilities to many points around the park. A design for the project has already been made by WXY Architecture + Urban Design in collaboration with dlandstudio. It includes recreational and cultural venues, nature trails, a sports complex, and local eateries. 
 
Moreover, the study sees that there will be a million visits to the park each year, including 250,000 people who don't live in the borough. One might spend anywhere between $7 to $21 per visit, thereby bringing economic progress to the area.
 
Growth for businesses isn't the only long-term aim for the park. Nature trails within the site, for instance, would allow people to walk and bike rather than drive and thus help in saving the environment. Also, Queens had the highest rate of car-related pedestrian deaths among the five boroughs in 2013, so a park with trails would mean better safety options for the community. 
 
The study also notes that those who live right by the park may have issues about their privacy and security. Thus, shrubbery buffers and fences would be placed along paths to cover views of nearby homes. Meanwhile, park lighting would be installed at the footpath level, so as not to disturb residents.
 
However, not everyone supports the project. Some wonder if money for the Queensway could just be used to reopen the train line, but the study reveals that it would not be practical due to higher costs, low ridership projections, and other factors. It all boils down to funding, and while the project awaits backing from Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, other public officials have shown their favor

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