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To The Editor: In “Park-Rich Queens needs trains more than green space," (op-ed, Feb. 27) the authors argue that repurposing the Long Island Rail Road's former Rockaway Beach branch as the QueensWay park would be one park too many in a borough already...

Think Queens doesn't need a park? Think again

To The Editor: In “Park-Rich Queens needs trains more than green space," (op-ed, Feb. 27) the authors argue that repurposing the Long Island Rail Road's former Rockaway Beach branch as the QueensWay park would be one park too many in a borough already...

Think Queens doesn't need a park? Think again

To The Editor:

In “Park-Rich Queens needs trains more than green space," (op-ed, Feb. 27) the authors argue that repurposing the Long Island Rail Road's former Rockaway Beach branch as the QueensWay park would be one park too many in a borough already blessed with green spaces.

I find this argument disappointing. If you care about public health in Queens—and South Queens in particular, where only 37% of homes are within a quarter mile of green space—there has never been a better time to build a park.

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Since the Rockaway Beach branch was decommissioned in 1962, the percentage of overweight or obese adults increased to 75% from 46%. And in New York state, obesity rates have nearly tripled in the last 25 years.

What does this have to do with the QueensWay? A lot.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has emphasized the importance of changing the "environmental context of neighborhoods" to promote activities such as walking and bicycling.

The QueensWay, like Chicago’s 606 or Atlanta’s Beltline, encourages active recreation. These sister projects have gleaned praise from those who recognize their effectiveness in curbing obesity. Dr. Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and professor of public health at UCLA, said, “I can write all the prescriptions in the world for high blood pressure and weight loss and I’d never do as much good as the Beltline has done or can do for Atlanta.”

It’s time we applied the same logic in Queens. If built, the QueensWay would be a resource for over 322,000 people living within a mile. It’s been 55 years since the last train rolled down the Rockaway Beach branch. The next one is nowhere in sight. Let’s not let another 55 years go by without taking advantage of this unique opportunity to invest in public health.

Doug McPherson

South Ozone Park

The writer, a former member of Queens Community Board 10, studies urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To The Editor:

In “Park-Rich Queens needs trains more than green space," (op-ed, Feb. 27) the authors argue that repurposing the Long Island Rail Road's former Rockaway Beach branch as the QueensWay park would be one park too many in a borough already blessed with green spaces.

I find this argument disappointing. If you care about public health in Queens—and South Queens in particular, where only 37% of homes are within a quarter mile of green space—there has never been a better time to build a park.

Since the Rockaway Beach branch was decommissioned in 1962, the percentage of overweight or obese adults increased to 75% from 46%. And in New York state, obesity rates have nearly tripled in the last 25 years.

What does this have to do with the QueensWay? A lot.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has emphasized the importance of changing the "environmental context of neighborhoods" to promote activities such as walking and bicycling.

The QueensWay, like Chicago’s 606 or Atlanta’s Beltline, encourages active recreation. These sister projects have gleaned praise from those who recognize their effectiveness in curbing obesity. Dr. Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and professor of public health at UCLA, said, “I can write all the prescriptions in the world for high blood pressure and weight loss and I’d never do as much good as the Beltline has done or can do for Atlanta.”

It’s time we applied the same logic in Queens. If built, the QueensWay would be a resource for over 322,000 people living within a mile. It’s been 55 years since the last train rolled down the Rockaway Beach branch. The next one is nowhere in sight. Let’s not let another 55 years go by without taking advantage of this unique opportunity to invest in public health.

Doug McPherson

South Ozone Park

The writer, a former member of Queens Community Board 10, studies urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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