2012-05-04 / Top Stories

Goldfeder Makes Push To Re-Open LIRR Line

By Nicholas Briano

Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder was joined by transit and community activists on Monday morning in Ozone Park to ask residents to sign a petition that will hopefully lead to the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction Line.

They have initiated the online petition in an effort to send a powerful message to Governor Cuomo and the MTA that residents strongly support the full restoration of the rail line which has been closed for decades.

"Transportation options for Southern Queens and Rockaway residents are severely limited," Goldfeder said. "Restoration of the abandoned rail line as an efficient transportation alternative to the current subway lines would be welcomed news to the residents of Queens, who currently suffer with commutes of well over an hour to midtown Manhattan. A petition is the perfect way to send a strong message to decision makers that Queens residents are united in the quest for multiple transit options and I urge everyone to sign on."

Despite limited transportation options, in recent years, Queens has seen a large population and construction boom over the last decade. In addition, the opening of the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park and the renaissance of Rockaway indicate that the restoration of the LIRR line is necessary now, more than ever. In addition, the proposal by Governor Cuomo to build the world's largest convention center in Queens has prompted many agencies and private developers to study possible options to increase public transit access, the most feasible of which includes opening the LIRR Rockaway Beach line.

The Rockaway Beach Rail Line was created around the turn of the 20th century and was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. The rail line provided residents with timely commutes to other parts of the city and a 40-minute commute to midtown Manhattan. In the early ’60s, parts of the railroad were condensed, sectioned off and eventually closed. In the following years, the property was vandalized and encroached upon, becoming a blemish on the landscape of the community, Goldfeder added.

“Increased public transportation options would be welcomed news to residents and small business owners throughout Queens and across the city,” Goldfeder said. “In today's difficult economy, complete restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line would offer affordable, reliable transportation to those who desperately need it."

Goldfeder’s petition can now be accessed and signed at www.rockawaybeachrail.com and will be delivered to the Port Authority, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and Governor Andrew Cuomo to demonstrate that the community is eager to see the return of the rail line.

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