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Zip Line and Giant Slide Among Ideas Considered for Proposed QueensWay

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 25, 2014 3:40pm
 Residents review first designs of the proposed park.
QueensWay Workshops
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QUEENS — A zip line, dog park and ping-pong table are being eyed for the proposed QueensWay, which would turn rusty train tracks into a public park.

The drawings were created based on ideas collected from residents during a series of workshops held last November in Woodhaven, Forest Hills and Ozone Park, as part of a feasibility study about the park.

The proposed QueensWay would provide bicycle and pedestrian paths along the 3.5-mile stretch of the abandoned railway, which used to connect Rego Park and Ozone Park.

Other activities and ideas proposed for the park include outdoor exercise areas, spaces for performances and community gardening, art paths and learning trails.

Adam Lubinsky, from WXY architecture + urban design, one of the two companies chosen to conduct the study, said that the vision includes a zip line, an adventure playground for kids, a canopy walk and a giant slide that would go around an old railway tower in Forest Park.

The designs also addressed privacy issues, one of the main concerns raised by residents living along the proposed park.

According to the presentation, landscaped mounds and rows of trees and evergreen shrubbery would be planted to protect the privacy of residents.

“They have come up with several plans that actually will block the view of what’s going on,” said Stephen Melnick, a Forest Hills resident, who said he was concerned about the issue. “People will basically see greenery.”

The organizers also said that there are plans to monitor the area, possibly with the help of security cameras and Park Enforcement Patrol officers.

But some residents said that a number of concerns still have not been addressed, including parking for those who would come to use the green space.

“There is no parking and these street are crowded even now," said Liliana Brotchner, a project manager from Forest Hills.

Sue Kasten, who lives in Forest View Crescent, a large co-op at the corner of Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard, said the parking lot used by residents of the building is located near the proposed QueensWay. “There are 240 families in this co-op and we have paid the city every year to use that parking lot.”

Supporters of an alternative proposal — to reactivate the rail line — also came to the meeting.

“We see the effects of bad transportation more than anybody,” said Philip McManus, who lives in the Rockaways. “We have an 80-minute ride to Midtown Manhattan,” said McManus, who added that reactivating the railway is “an absolute no-brainer.”

Lubinsky said that the study will incorporate the comments of those who attended the workshop. The final design should be ready in June, he said.

After completing the feasibility study, advocates will try to raise funds for the QueensWay. Currently, approximately $1.5 million has been raised for the project, according to Marc Matsil, the state's director for the Trust for Public Land.

Residents will have another chance to give their feedback during a workshop scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, 7-9 p.m. at the High School for Construction Trades, Architecture and Engineering, at 94-06 104th St. in Richmond Hill.