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QueensWay Design Process To Begin This Summer, Supporters Say

 Renderings of the proposed QueensWay were released last year.
Renderings of the Proposed QueensWay
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QUEENS — The design process for the first stretch of the proposed QueensWay park will begin this summer, according to groups supporting the project.

The proposed green space seeks to transform 3.5 miles of the derelict Rockaway Beach Rail Line, which closed in 1962, into Queens' version of the High Line.

Proponents of the park, which would run from Rego Park to Ozone Park, envision bike, jogging and walking paths, outdoor classroom space, cultural amenities and an adventure park

The first phase of the design process will take about eight months and will focus on a central section of the QueensWay, roughly a 0.5-mile stretch along Metropolitan Avenue and Union Turnpike, known as the Metropolitan Hub, according to Friends of the QueensWay and The Trust for Public Land, which are overseeing the plan.

This section of the proposed QueensWay will seek to improve pedestrian and bike access to Forest Park. It will also include outdoor classrooms for more than 2,000 students in the adjacent Metropolitan Educational Campus and provide a picnic area as well as new access to the Ridgewood/Glendale Little League, among other amenities, the group said.

"This seems like a good place to start the process," said Andrea Crawford of Friends of the QueensWay, adding that the group has worked with schools within the Metropolitan Educational Campus on the project.

The design process which will be led by DLANDstudio Architecture & Landscape Architecture, will seek community input, the groups said.

“Almost 100,000 people live within a 10-minute walk of the QueensWay and every one of them will benefit when it is built,” said Marc Matsil, New York Director of The Trust for Public Land, in a statement. “It will also help to reduce automobile-pedestrian fatalities by getting kids out of traffic, while contributing to the local economy."

Supporters also said that they have raised more than $1 million for the park, including a $444,000 grant from the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council. Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz also allocated $250,000 each for the project, the groups said.

The groups are now urging the city to allocate more funds necessary to complete the first phase of the design.

It would cost about $120 million to build the entire proposed park, according to a study, which was released in 2014. 

The project faces opposition from several elected officials including Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and Rep. Greg Meeks as well as groups like the Rockaway Transit Coalition, who want to reactivate the train service.