Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Rockaway/Ozone Park) joined transit and community activists this morning to announce their renewed push for a plan that will restore the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction Line. They have initiated an online petition in an effort to send a strong message to Governor Cuomo and transit agencies that Queens residents strongly support the full restoration of this long forgotten rail line.
"Transportation options for Southern Queens and Rockaway residents are severely limited," said Assemblyman Goldfeder. "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. The opening of the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, the renaissance of the Rockaway Peninsula as a tourist haven and the growing population, all indicate that the restoration of this rail line is needed now more than ever. In addition, the proposal by Governor Cuomo to build the world's largest convention center in Queens has prompted multiple agencies and private developers to study possible options to increase public transit access.
The Rockaway Beach Rail Line was created around the turn of the 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, Assemblyman Goldfeder added.
“Increased public transportation options would be welcomed news to residents and small business owners throughout Queens and across the city,” Assemblyman 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."
Assemblyman 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 this important rail line.