2005-04-29 / Community

Knocks Plan To Turn Rockaway Line Into Bike Path

By Howard Schwach

Local transportation activist Joseph Tiraco looks at Mayor Bloomberg a little like the television ad where the new owner of the baseball team continually plays badly yet stays in the lineup and harms the team’s chances of winning because he is, after all, the owner.

“Does it matter that he bought the team,” an off screen reporter asks the team’s deadpan manager. “Next question,” the manager fairly yells.

Tiraco thinks that the advertisement catches Bloomberg and his policies towards Queens perfectly.

“With horns blaring shrouded in pollution, drivers on Woodhaven Boulevard go through road rage while brain-dead city planners consider turning the adjacent, deactivated Rockaway Line [of the LIRR] into a bike path,” Tiraco says. “Forty years ago, the city built a subway station at Queens Boulevard and 63 Drive with a sign saying ‘To The Rockaways.’ That station is still there, but the poor souls waiting to spend their nickel on a ride to Rockaway have a long wait.”

What Tiraco, and others in Rockaway who agree with him, is talking about is the old, abandoned “White Pot Junction” line that once carried riders from Rockaway to Manhattan the “short way” in less than 40 minutes.

When the A Train was planned, however, city experts pushed the line through the heavily populated areas of Brooklyn to maximize the line’s profit.

The unused White Pot Junction line, which runs through sections of Forest Hills and Flushing, is now the backyard hangout for both people and debris. Bloomberg recently announced plans to turn the line into a bike path as part of the city’s Greenway’s program.

Tiraco urges that the line be reopened by the MTA to provide quick subway access to Manhattan from Rockaway and other parts of Queens.

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