New study for abandoned rail track with potential

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The future of 3.5-miles of abandoned rail tracks in southern Queens will be the subject of dueling studies that could settle whether the spot willbe used for transit or a High Line-style park.

Assemb. Philip Goldfeder, who backs reactivating the old Rockaways Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road as a new transit option for the area, Monday announced that Queens College's Urban Studies Department will do a studyto determine the best use of the tracks that link Ozone Park to Rego Park.

The study, slated to be completed next summer, will be financed in part by a $50,000 to $100,000 state grant from Goldfeder.

"We're utilizing local Queens experts to determine what's in the best interest of Queens," said Goldfeder.

Meanwhile, Friends of the QueensWay, a group pushing for a greenway and bike path, is a third of the way into a study, from the Trust for Public Land, which is funded by a nearly $500,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Friends of the QueensWay member Travis Perry welcomed the additional study and said the group is willing to participate in Queens College's analysis of the space.

Still, using the rail tracks for transit use was unfeasible after 50 years.

"After 50 years of disuse and multiple studies on trains, you get to the point and say, that's not going to happen," Perry said.

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