Regional Rail Working Group
A Consortium of Transit Advocacy Organizations
Mission & Objectives:
The Rockaway Subcommittee of the Regional Rail Working Group advocates the reactivation of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Line in Central Queens. This disused line is a critical asset that could be brought to life to provide speedier access to Midtown, Manhattan for residents of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Woodhaven / Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways. Its reactivation would also permit a fast, one-seat ride between Penn Station and Kennedy Airport. With the advent of the AirTrain as well as the substantial residential growth of these neighborhoods, this unused resource could become a vital link to the region's future to serving airport passengers and employees and local commuters.
Description of Proposal:
- About 4.2 miles of the disused, former LIRR Rockaway Beach line between Rego Park and Aqueduct would be brought back to life. New track, signals and third rail would be installed, bridges repaired, and a new bridge constructed to replace the one removed at the Montauk Line.
- Special attention would given to providing noise mitigation measures, such as using modern state of the art rail cars and track structure, constructing sound barriers and allocating funds for nearby homeowners to install double pane windows and central air conditioning.
- Where the rail line is on an embankment, slopes would be landscaped and made available to residents and community groups for gardens and open space.
- A parking lot occupying the right of way near the Forest Park Crescent apartments would be replaced with a new, higher capacity parking structure, that would also serve as a noise barrier.
- A track connection to the AirTrain would be built just north of Howard Beach. A fleet of LIRR-compatible rail cars would be acquired, which could also operate on AirTrain tracks reaching the six stations at air terminals.
- A new cross-platform transfer station would be built at Aqueduct. Airport passengers destined for Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan could make a convenient transfer to the A train, and passengers from the Rockaways using the A train could transfer to the airport trains for a high-speed ride to Penn Station.
- As part of the overall Penn Station Metro-Hub plan city MetroCards would be accepted for LIRR travel in NYC, including for travel to and from Kennedy Airport.
- Later phases of this plan could include direct, one-seat ride service from the Rockaways to Midtown and from the airport to Lower Manhattan.
- The capital cost of this plan is estimated at about $400 million, a fraction of the $6 billion proposed for a new rail service from Kennedy Airport to Lower Manhattan. The restoration of the Rockaway Beach Line could be accomplished in less than four years.
- REDUCES TRAVEL TIME: Restoring the Rockaway Beach Line through Central Queens could save Manhattan-bound commuters 20 to 30 minutes on trips from Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the Rockaways. A new Central Queens link can open new travel options for non-Manhattan travelers who now must use cars.
- PROVIDES ONE-SEAT RIDE BETWEEN KENNEDY AIRPORT AND PENN STATION: Transfers greatly inconvenience travelers to and from the airport. With a one-seat ride rail operating on its AirTrain line, the Port Authority can maximize the utility of this $2 billion investment. The one-seat ride service and more affordable fares would greatly increase the competitive position of Kennedy Airport.
- CUTS CONGESTION AND REDUCES POLLUTION: With better transit options and affordable fares fewer travelers will need to drive, resulting in less crowded roadways, less traffic noise and improved air quality.
- ENHANCES PROPERTY VALUES: Property values would increase because communities would now be in closer proximity to Manhattan and the airport.
- BOOSTS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: This line would spark economic development for businesses located adjacent to the line.
- LEADS TO NEIGHBORHOOD BEAUTIFICATION: An unsightly abandoned right-of way that gathers garbage and weeds would be replaced with attractively landscaped corridor.
Revitalization of the LIRR
Rockaway Beach Line
RRWG Rockaway Subcommittee:
Lew M. Simon, Co-Chair (718-945-1216)
Carl Perrera, Co-Chair (516-532-1458)
Norman Silverman, Public Affairs (718-327-1577)
Bulletin Board, maintained by Joseph Tiraco
c/o Lew M. Simon
112-20 Beach Channel Drive
Rockaway Park, NY 11694
Patrick Centolanzi, Kew Gardens
Thomas Dennehy, Richmnond Hill
John Fazio, Howard Beach
Coco Gordon, Manhattan
Herbert J. Gormley, Rockaways
William K. Guild, Manhattan
Joseph Hartigan, Rockaways
Lenora Lavan, Woodhaven
Albert L. Papp, Jr., Manhattan
Ed Rogers, Rockaways
Allan B. Smith, Woodhaven
Manny Steier, Glendale
Joseph Tiraco, Forest Hills
Robert Toth, Woodhaven