Again, the proposal of reactivating the 3.5-mile Rockaway Beach Railroad line was raised. Many communities oppose the proposal because their backyards are exposed to the dangers of electrification and the disruption to their quality of life.
Also proposed is the Queensway, a High Line-style park. Groups promoting the Queensway were given over $435,000 for a study by an outside consultant company by Governor Andreew Cuomo. It's slick promotional advertising paid for by state money. This in light of the fact that the state has not released funds to our Queens nonprofit organizations due them since 2012.
At this time, this 3.5-mile stretch is quiet and if any activity should take place there it should be its cleaning and its maintenance. Again, Woodhaven residents will have to discuss this and also consider a new proposal made by Assemblyman Michael Miller to use the stretch as a bus route.
Think about it. We have close to two years to decide. This is a discussion that will continue through 2017. Now on to the 2016 GWDC/WBID Wish List:
1. More officers for the 102nd Precinct. This is a perennial number one on our Wish List. We still do not have enough officers, even though crime is low in the 102nd Precinct.
Woodhaven has always supported our police officers and appreciate and are thankful to them for the difficult and dangerous job they do every day. These officers never know when they will be injured or killed, sometimes just because they are police officers and wear the color blue.
We need more officers at the 102nd Precinct, and if and when we hopefully get them we will appreciate and support every one of them.
2. The defeat of the Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard. In 2014 the Woodhaven Community was confronted by the prospect of Select Bus Service being implemented on Woodhaven Boulevard. This proposal would involve the elimination of left turns off Woodhaven Blvd onto Jamaica Avenue.
This would remove potential automobile drivers and potential shoppers from our WBID. This would lead to a lack of income to our small business owners on Jamaica Avenue, eroding all of Woodhaven's tax base.
This would also send automobiles, delivery trucks and all traffic that would ordinarily turn onto Jamaica Avenue onto our residential streets. This would place all of our Woodhaven families, especially our children and elderly, in danger.
This proposal would also eliminate parking spaces and change the bus stop from the sidewalk to a boulevard island in the middle of the street. This would expose those waiting to board the buses to traffic and possible injury.
It would also require one designated lane on Woodhaven Boulevard for bus traffic only. It is very important that we defeat this proposal, as I have said before there is nothing good in this plan for Woodhaven.
A coalition of Woodhaven organizations spearheaded by the WBID held a meeting with the Queens DOT Commissioner. There were over 100 in attendance, all against this proposal. There will be a meeting on the proposal with Community Board 9 on Tuesday, January 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard. You are invited to attend and sign up to speak if you wish.
3. New brighter LED street lighting LED Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. Because of funding from Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Eric Ulrich, this 2015 wish list item will be fulfilled and installed in the latter part of 2016.
At this time, we would add to this Wish List additional LED luminaries replace the street lights leading away from the J train station staircases on Jamaica Avenue. This way those walking down these streets will have the extra lighting in the late evenings.
4. More trees on Jamaica Avenue. Since we were unable to secure trees, this year the GWDC/WBID will pursue the placement of new large street planters, which are costly. They will be placed along Jamaica Avenue and in Forest Park Plaza. This will beautify our commercial strip and plaza.
Next week, I will continue the Wish List for 2016.
Note: As of January 2, you can apply for HEAP Funding for assistance with your heating bills. Please call the Queens Borough President's Office at (718) 286-2899 for more information. Also if you qualify you will automatically receive a credit on your water bill.
May God bless our armed forces, may God bless our disabled veterans, may God bless our NYPD, and may God bless our America.