Press Release

Following Their Push, Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $117 Million In Fed Funds To Build New Park, The Forest Park Pass Section Of “Queensway,” Which Will Connect Six Neighborhoods With A Greenway And Transportation Corridor; Fed Transportation Funds Will Create Affordable Transportation Options And Expand Greenspace Access For Multiple Queens Communities

Mar 12, 2024

Senators Also Deliver $5.6M For NYC DOT ‘BQE Connects’ To Reduce Environmental, Social & Economic Burdens For Historically Disadvantaged Communities Along the BQE Like Williamsburg and Sunset Park

Schumer & Gillibrand-Led Inflation Reduction Act Created Fed Program To Advance These Projects; Senators Also Advocated For These Projects With Transportation Secretary Buttigieg

Schumer, Gillibrand: Queens and Brooklyn Residents Deserve The Greenspace, Bike & Walking Paths, Increased Participation And Economic Opportunity These Two Projects Will Provide

Today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced two Neighborhood Access and Equity (NAE) grant awards, including $117,696,000 for the ‘NYC Parks QueensWay: Forest Park Pass’ project and $5,600,000 for ‘BQE Connects: Advancing the BQE North and South Corridor Vision.’

“For many of the 2.3 million people who live in Queens, access to public parks and open space is limited, and in many cases, difficult and dangerous to access by bike or on foot. That’s why I’m proud to deliver the massive infusion of federal funds, via the Inflation Reduction Act I led to passage, that will advance the Forest Park portion of the ‘QueensWay’– an exciting new urban trail along an abandoned track bed that will connect a range of neighborhoods, create a linear park and provide new cleaner, healthier transportation options, like biking, jogging and walking paths,” said Senator Schumer. “The QueensWay will provide much-needed green space and a new transportation corridor within walking distance of hundreds of thousands of residents and countless small businesses in Central Queens from Forest Hills to Ozone Park.”

“I am also proud to deliver funding for the BQE Connects project to help needy communities along the BQE, like Sunset park and Williamsburg, to advance their vision for how to best update that roadway. For years, North and South Brooklyn residents have come together to propose innovative solutions to address the impacts of the BQE on their communities. Efforts like the campaign for the BQGreen in North Brooklyn and much needed improvements to the Third Avenue corridor will receive the support they need for planning and visioning work. BQE Connects will identify ways to improve community access and reduce environmental and economic impacts on disadvantaged communities adjacent to the BQE,” Schumer added.

“Today, I am proud to bring home more than $123 million to NYC for critical transportation projects. For years, I have tirelessly fought to reconnect our communities, and I am so proud to have helped secure over $5 million to identify solutions that support communities disproportionally impacted by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I also fought hard to make the QueensWay project a reality,and now this more than $117 million in federal funding will help transform this abandoned railway into a beautiful Queens community attraction. The Inflation Reduction Act paved the way for these incredible investments that will help transform underserved communities in NYC, undo the injustices of the past, and bring economic prosperity to New York City.”

Last November, Senator Gillibrand pushed the Department of Transportation to prioritize funding for the design and construction of the Forest Park Pass section of the QueensWay project.

“For more than a decade, Trust for Public Land has been a steadfast collaborator with community partners, advocating for the transformative repurposing of the rail line and recognizing its potential for positive change across Queens. With the announcement of $117 million in funding from the U.S. DOT, specifically allocated to the Forest Park Pass section of the QueensWay, a new chapter in our mission unfolds. In strategically linking these diverse neighborhoods via Forest Park Pass, TPL reaffirms its commitment to better connecting culturally rich and historically underserved communities with the outdoors. This funding acts as a powerful catalyst, propelling us towards the realization of a vibrant linear park, QueensWay, that spans communities across Queens. TPL is grateful to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and to be part of this extraordinary journey towards a more vibrant, connected, and equitable future for more New Yorkers,” said Diane Regas, CEO of Trust for Public Land.

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation was awarded $117,696,000 for the design and construction of the Forest Park Pass section of the QueensWay, which will connect several of the country’s most diverse neighborhoods in Queens. The full QueensWay will be a 3.5-mile, 47-acre linear park that will transform a stretch of abandoned railway and provide much-needed green space and transportation corridor within walking distance of hundreds of thousands of residents in Central Queens from Forest Hills to Ozone Park. The Forest Park Pass will include over 9 acres and extend approximately 0.65 miles from Union Turnpike, through Forest Park, to Park Lane South. By reclaiming and redeveloping the abandoned rail, the QueensWay will provide public access to green space while acting as a main artery of the borough, connecting six distinct neighborhoods. The proposed route will provide a safe, off-road, alternative connection to twelve schools, seven subway lines, one commuter line (LIRR), and several local businesses. This project will reconnect historically disadvantaged communities while providing alternative, low-emitting transportation options along with economic, health, and climate benefits.

New York City Department of Transportation was awarded $5,600,000 for BQE Connects, which would advance the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) North and South Corridor Vision. BQE Connects would identify ways to improve access and reduce environmental, social, and economic burdens for disadvantaged communities, and advance those proposals. These NAE funds will help develop evaluation criteria to select concept proposals, and then complete conceptual design, as well as fund community engagement throughout the project.

The Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program (NAE), established in the Inflation Reduction Act, will provide up to $3.155 billion in grant awards to connect communities across the country by supporting neighborhood equity, safety, and affordable transportation access as well as mitigating negative environmental impacts.