As Congestion Pricing Approaches, QueensLink Must Move Forward

“Whether in Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Forest Hills, or Rego Park, the sentiment was the same: parks are great, but transit is needed more. If there is the opportunity for both, all the better.”

Courtesy of QueensLink

A rendering of the proposed QueensLink.

March 13 was the culmination of 13 years of determined work by Friends of the QueensWay and the Trust for Public Land to accomplish the bare minimum of what’s possible. Their backwards effort secured a $117 million federal grant for the long derelict Rockaway Beach Branch, which would convert this disused LIRR line into a linear, High Line style-park.

While such a large investment sounds good on the surface, it physically and politically blocks a potential subway extension for Queens—leaving the borough divided. With South Queens bracing for the imminent impact of congestion pricing, this is the worst possible time to obstruct access for residents.

Our vision for New York City must be bold, widespread, and above all else, equitable—for we can not let the racist planning decisions of the past dictate our lives in the future. Our commitment to equity must truly uplift marginalized and underserved communities, expanding transportation infrastructure in places where it’s needed most. At every juncture, we must ask ourselves: is this decision truly what would benefit the most people? Perhaps that is why our organization was so disappointed to hear of the recent federal grant towards a project that would block transit expansion for Southern Queens.

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