75% of Queens Residents Support Queensway Park Proposal

The first poll of Queens residents about the proposed QueensWay park shows 75% support for the project, The Trust for Public Land announced Tuesday.

"Queens is one of the most diverse communities in the nation and the fact that seventy-five percent of the residents who live there support the QueensWay is extraordinary," said Marc Matsil, The Trust for Public Land's New York State director.

The project would turn a 3.5 mile portion of the abandoned rail line into an elevated pedestrian and bicycle pathway and park connecting the Queens communities of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and Ozone Park to Forest Park.

The poll shows that 75 % of adults in Queens support the park, while just 10% oppose it and 15% are undecided.

"The research is clear that this is something the people of Queens want," said Scott Kotchko, senior vice president at Whitman Insight Strategies, the independent research firm that conducted the poll. "Quality of life in the outer boroughs of New York City, especially in Queens, has always been a key issue. It is one of the many reasons why residents choose to live there. This poll shows that the QueensWay project directly addresses the public need for more open space."

The telephone survey of 500 Queens residents of voting age was conducted last month by Whitman Insight Strategies, a New York-based research firm. It has a margin of error of 4.3 %

The survey showed that Queens residents want more access to parks and open space. A total of 82% of the poll respondents said the borough needs more open space and park areas, similar to the QueensWay project, and 84% agree that converting an abandoned rail line into a new elevated park and open space area is the kind of project the borough needs.

The survey also showed that 77% of Queens residents believe that it is important for their elected officials to make the QueensWay project a priority.

"The poll reveals overwhelming support for the QueensWay, as studies show that rails to trails projects, like the QueensWay, encourage private investment in the communities they serve, attract tourism dollars, provide a new customer base to support local businesses, and create jobs," said Jack Friedman, executive director, Queens Chamber of Commerce.

"These poll results confirm what we are hearing loudly on the ground from our neighbors – the people of Queens overwhelmingly want the QueensWay. When completed, the QueensWay will improve our quality of life, support our local small businesses and generate much-needed new open space and family-friendly programming making support of the QueensWay a no-brainer," said Travis Terry, a member of the Steering Committee of the Friends of the QueensWay, a group representing over 3,000 Queens residents advocating for the QueensWay.

Seventy seven percent of Queens residents that live in Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and Woodhaven (the neighborhoods where the proposed project would directly touch) support the project. Intensity of support for the QueensWay is higher in these neighborhoods than anywhere else in Queens – with 50% "strongly supporting" the project.

This poll complements a QueensWay planning and feasibility project led by The Trust for Public Land and launched last month, in conjunction with The Friends of the QueensWay (FQW). The Trust for Public Land and FQW will announce, later this week, a series of three public engagement workshops to be held in November. Residents' input will play an important part in the planning process, and further public workshops will occur in the spring.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.