What is the QueensWay and Who Owns It?

The QueensWay site is part of the former Rockaway Beach Branch of Long Island Railroad (LIRR).   The last train ran on this line in 1962; and ownership of the corridor was transferred from the LIRR to the City of NY.  The rail “right of way” was legally abandoned and there remain no rail easement or overlay of any kind.

The 3.5 mile long, 47 acre QueensWay site is entirely owned by the City of New York.  40 acres are managed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and seven acres (passing through Forest Park) are under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

Portions of the DCAS property are leased for various community uses including sections of the parking lot of the Forest View Crescent Apartment Complex, the Ridgewood-Glendale Little League fields, and the Forest Hill Youth Athletic Association fields. It is our goal that the QueensWay will have little or no impact on these facilities.


How Would This Site Become Parkland?

To implement the QueensWay, the City can transfer land to the purview of NYC Parks & Recreation. This transfer will probably not require a ULURP (the formal land use review process) since the land is already under City ownership.

What is the Status of the QueensWay Project?

In 2011 Friends of the QueensWay was formed, and a partnership was developed with The Trust for Public Land.   In 2014, the QueensWay Plan was issued—funded by a $478,000 grant from NY State Parks and the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council.  Those two entities have also provided a $444,000 grant (supplemented by a $250,000 grant from State Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi) to design a first half-mile section of the QueensWay—the Metropolitan Hub.   That design process began in mid-2016 and was completed by mid-2018.

In 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced a $35 million investment in Phase 1 of the QueensWay, Metropolitan Hub. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will manage the construction of the Met Hub in collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks).

In 2024, the federal government awarded the QueensWay $117 million to build Phase 2, the Forest Park Pass. Funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and awarded through the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods program, this grant allocates funds for the design and build of the greenway into Forest Park, creating safe entry for surrounding parkgoers.

How Would The QueensWay Affect Real Estate Values in the Area?

Linear parks across the US and internationally have been shown to increase property values for adjacent homes. The consultant team for the QueensWay Plan estimates that home values adjacent to the QueensWay would increase by 5 – 7 percent.

How Much Would the QueensWay Cost to Build?

The QueensWay Plan included a detailed structural and engineering assessment, which judged the structure to be generally sound. In addition, the City of New York conducted an initial Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental assessment that did not raise significant concerns about major remediation costs. A detailed cost estimate for constructing the QueensWay, including contingencies and design costs, was developed and arrived at a total cost of $150 million.

Why are you not advocating for rail on this corridor?

Since rail use ended on the corridor, both the MTA and the Port Authority have studied rail reactivation and concluded that it is not feasible due to cost, low ridership projections, environmental concerns, and opposition from directly adjacent communities.  In addition rail reactivation would cause the community harm including the loss of seven acres of existing park space. This would require special legislation by the State Legislature to alienate parkland and find another seven acres in an area that already has scarce outdoor space.

Furthermore, to enhance transportation to the Rockaways, the City has announced that new Rockaway ferry service will begin in summer 2017.   Also the anticipated development of Select Bus Service from the Rockaways along Woodhaven Boulevard to Queens Boulevard and the Woodside LIRR station will go a long way in addressing transportation needs in the Rockaways and Central Queens.

Most recently, the MTA and partners conducted a feasibility study, completed and results shared in 2019 that determined the potential cost of rail reactivation could range anywhere between 6.8 Billion and 8.1 Billion dollars, not including additional cost for real estate acquisitions. You can read the feasibility study here

The QueensWay will not preclude rail If government does want to fund and implement a rail, they will always have that right. Discontinuing the work on the QueensWay would only result in nothing happening, and the loss of a chance to do something incredible for our neighborhoods.

Are QueensWay Designers Addressing the Safety and Security Concerns of Adjacent Homeowners?

The QueensWay Plan includes design guidelines regarding safety.  About one-third of the 3.5 mile corridor is adjacent to one and two-family homes, and among our guidelines are some specific principles related to these sections (known as the Northern and Southern Passages):

  • All efforts will be made to retain the existing mature trees and the wooded character of the site.
  • Backyards of adjacent homes will be screened and secured.
  • The pathways that run adjacent to homes will have vegetated buffers at the top of the embankment as well as secure fencing at the property line to physically and visually separate backyards and homes from visitors.
  • The fencing will have plantings along it to provide additional screening.
  • In addition, all activity spaces will be located away from adjacent homes and sited near existing non-residential amenities and highly-used public thoroughfares. The two lengths of the QueensWay that run by homes, referred to as the “Passages,” will be used for walking and cycling.
  • Entrances to the QueensWay will be limited to key intersections. Secure fencing will eliminate access at any other points.