Half a million trips a day could be made on a piece of abandoned railroad track in Queens if the MTA decides to ever reactivate it, according to a new study form Queens College released Monday.
The report’s analysis of the 3.5-mile stretch of rail, known as the Rockaway Beach Branch, said residents would make trips between the Rockaways and southern Queens neighborhoods and transit hubs to the north and west part of the borough and midtown and upper Manhattan.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, a supporter of reactivating the rail, said the study bolsters transit advocates’ arguments against a rival proposal for turning it into a park.
“Rail would bring more people on that line in three days than any other idea would in a year,” Goldfeder said. “It shows that there’s a need for increased transit access. It would give a historic connection to northern and southern Queens that we currently don’t have.”
The community is also split on the options before them, according to the study’s survey of 363 residents and 44 businesses. With a 5.2% margin of error, 33.9% respondents preferred reactivating the rail line and 28.1% backed the QueensWay park.
Friends of the QueensWay maintained that reactivating the rail is unfeasible.
“After reviewing the findings in this study, we could not be more confident in the QueensWay’s potential to improve communities,” Friends of the QueensWay’s Travis Terry said in a statement.