A proposed linear park and cultural greenway that will take over a 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned LIRR tracks is one step closer to becoming a reality. In March 2024, the QueensWay received a $117 million federal grant to support Phase 2 of the project. This latest grant follows a $35 million investment from the City in 2022 for Phase 1. On July 13th, discover how this money will be used to transform the derelict tracks into a park when you join a guided walk of the QueensWay site with members of the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay!

This tour on July 13, 2024, is free for Untapped New York Insiders! Ruben Ramales of Friends of the QueensWay and Ali Goldfarb, New York Field Program Coordinator at the Trust for Public Land, will lead the tour. Registration for this tour opens on June 29th at 12:00 PM ET. Not an Insider yet? Become a member today with promo code JOINUS and get your first month free!

Walk the QueensWay, an Abandoned Rail Trail

Queensway Cleanup

On this guided urban hike, guests will explore the first two phases of the QueensWay: the MetHub and Forest Park Pass. You’ll see railway remnants and enjoy the summer foliage as you learn about future plans for the park and all the work done so far.

Untapped New York has been following the development of the QueensWay since its inception in 2011. The project started when a group of local residents living along the defunct LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch joined together to advocate for the conversion of the tracks into a new park. Soon the group partnered with the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that supports the creation of new parks and the protection of public land.

Future site of the QueensWay, abandoned train tracks through trees
Courtesy of QueensWay Project

The QueensWay team has since been busy leading and participating in large and small public meetings, community workshops, and stakeholder discussions to formulate a plan that will best fulfill the needs of the communities surrounding the park. The QueensWay runs through six Queens neighborhoods, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park.

Though more green space is needed, particularly in the southern sections of Queens, the QueensWay has been met with opposition from those who would rather see the rails re-activated to address underserved transportation areas. In the 1950s, a fire on the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch at Jamaica Bay caused the line to be disrupted. South of Liberty Avenue, the route was sold to the City of New York and now operates as part of the subway system. Tracks to the north were decommissioned in 1962 and have sat abandoned ever since.

“When the QueensWay is completed, neighborhoods will be re-connected, air quality will be improved, and local businesses will get a much-needed boost,” says Friends of the QueensWay’s Travis Terry. President of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Ryan Chao further explains, “Completion of the 3-mile Queensway project would serve some of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and create badly needed pedestrian and bicycle connections to seven subway lines and a commuter rail line.” 

Queensway Rendering
Renderings of the Queensway by DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture

The QueensWay plan consists of six sections: The Clearing, North Passage, Metropolitan Hub, Forest Park Grove, South Passage, and The Elevated. A mix of passive and active recreation spaces such as playgrounds, lawns, outdoor classrooms, picnic areas, and space for public programs will be created based on community input. A continuous shared pedestrian and bicycle path will run the length of the park.

The Queensway is currently in the design phase of development, with construction projected to start in 2026. Join us to learn more about the park and explore the path in its abandoned state this summer!

Walk the Future QueensWay, an Abandoned Rail Trail

Queensway Cleanup

Next, check out more July Insider events!