Nov. 20, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A coalition in support of the proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport is calling on the Port Authority to renovate the nearby Flushing Bay Promenade.
The AirTrain route would run just inside the promenade, providing an opportunity for the Port to make overdue renovations to the area while the railway is under construction, the coalition, A Better Way to LGA, said.
A Better Way to LGA — a coalition of economic development groups, transportation advocates, civic stakeholders and local businesses — held a press conference Tuesday at the Flushing Bay Promenade, where the co-chairs touted their support for the AirTrain and asked the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue to listen to community feedback on the project.
The AirTrain, which the Port Authority aims to start constructing next year, will go from the airport to Willets Point. Commuters will be able get to Willets Point via the 7 Train and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).
The FAA hosted a series of public forums on the AirTrain proposal in which it recorded feedback from area residents from May through June 2019.
The opportunity to revitalize the promenade as part of the AirTrain project would be a great benefit to the neighborhood, the project supporters said.
“As you can see if you walk along the waterfront, this decades-old promenade is in desperate need of revitalization, and through the construction of the AirTrain, the Port Authority has the unique opportunity to do just that,” said co-chair and CEO and President of the Queens Chamber of Commerce Tom Grech. “We’ve heard several plans for major investment into the promenade over the years, but there’s never any funding to make it happen. We say that time is now.”
Many of the Flushing Bay Promenade guardrails surrounding the waterfront have rusted and crumbled, while the pathway is warped and benches are overgrown with moss.
The co-chairs of A Better Way to LGA also penned a letter to the Port Authority, asking the agency to upgrade and repair the promenade as part of its LaGuardia AirTrain plan.
“We believe strongly that with careful analysis, New York can marry this crucial transit project to improving areas of Queens that need an infusion of investment,” the Nov. 19 letter states. “The Flushing Bay Promenade and World’s Fair Marina are primed for a full renaissance.”
Grech said he hopes the Port Authority will improve the walkway, replace the fencing, add lighting and new benches, make the pier more storm-resilient, plant more trees and beautify the open space for generations to come.
“The Port Authority’s proposal provides an opportunity to improve the full length of the promenade; to make it more welcoming and user-friendly,” he said. “A place where families and friends can walk, play, and enjoy the waters off northern Queens.”
A spokesperson for the Port Authority said the agency is committed to working with stakeholders to revitalize the promenade.
“The Port Authority is fully committed to working with all stakeholders to make improvements to enhance the promenade,” the spokesperson said. “The Port Authority looks forward to continued engagement and input from the community and all project stakeholders as the FAA environmental review process moves forward.”