The Friends of the Queensway, a group of citizens looking to convert the old Rockaway Long Island Railroad path into public open space, often cites a study conducted by The Trust for Public Land promoting the benefits of the greenway.
However, No Way Queensway, a group opposed to the park, believes that a paid study brings shifty results. Part of their criticism is that The Trust for Public Land is a California-based organization that does not understand what gentrification does to New York City neighborhoods.
When it comes to conducting an expensive study on anything related to public policy, it is not always possible to have that research done locally. And there are usually corporate interests involved because these studies cost crazy amounts of money.
Maybe The Trust for Public Land was the best bet for Friends of the Queensway. It would, however, seem like good politics to address the needs of the homeowners along 98th Street.
It would appear that whatever the arguments are on either side of this issue that No Way Queensway is not a large enough group to get a spot at the table when it comes to discussing the bicycle path that will ultimately run past their backyards.
The people at No Way Queensway wonder why the press has been relatively tame on the reporting of this, but the larger question is why there is no talk about this among politicians. There are numerous City Council seats up for election, as well as the post of Queens borough president. A new mayor will be sworn in this January.
When the idea of putting a soccer field in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was bandied about, elected officials dove into it. One could argue that in the case of Flushing Meadows, the worry was that the city would lose park space.
In the case of the Queensway, the city gains park space, if we want to call a bicycle path a park. Where are the politicians on this?
The people who live along 98th street in Woodhaven do not have enough clout to make this an issue, not alone anyway. If a candidate is leading in polls, they may view it as wise to remain mum until after November. But what about the candidates who are trailing in Queens races?
Depending on one’s opinion on this issue, this is a chance to get plugged into a cause that is tailor-made for local politics. If a candidate agrees with No Way Queensway, this could be a way to pick up a constituency.
And if a candidate sides with Friends of the Queensway, it would make sense to jump on that side. At the very least, remaining quiet shows a lack of interest in the area.
Local politicians should jump into this issue of the Queensway, one way or another.