NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the Rockaway Peninsula continues to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, some young activists say they have a great idea to fill a prominent empty space.
The Rockaway Freeway is a five-mile stretch that sits under the elevated “A” train tracks. It’s an unfriendly space for those on two feet or two wheels, though some 10th graders told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello it’s an area full of potential.
“I see the potential for a bike lane and a pedestrian walkway right here on this striped buffer, which isn’t really being used for anything right now,” Sabastian Rahman said.
Rahman and friend Jocelyn Dicent are members of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance.
And being teenagers, it was almost inevitable that they would make an Internet video to pitch their idea — a protected path for bikers and walkers under the A train tracks.
The teens said they have seen the bike paths and pedestrian plazas in Manhattan and wondered, why not the Rockaway Peninsula, too?
“We’re not really given as much attention, we should be getting attention, even though we’re part of New York City and we should be heard,” Dicent said.
In addition to safety, the bike path supporters said the idea is a way to reconnect the Rockaways after Sandy washed away large sections of the beachfront boardwalk.
“So after we lost our boardwalk there’s no connectivity between the east and west side of the peninsula,” Rahman said. “So we thought that we could use the Rockaway Freeway, which stretches from the east side to the west side, and to make the striped buffer area safer for pedestrians and bikers.”
Next on the alliance’s list is a petition drive.
“Once we get the signatures we can go to the Department of Transportation and say, ‘hey, this is a need, the community wants this,’” John Cruz said.
They hope to build a wave of support, as the beachfront community recovers.
The young people have set an ambitious goal of 10,000 signatures, thinking that will really get the city’s attention.
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