2016-09-14 / Features

Proposed Light Rail Line

City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, joined by members of the Department of Transportation (DOT), transit leaders and property owners in the community toured the rail line along the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Lower Montauk branch.City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, joined by members of the Department of Transportation (DOT), transit leaders and property owners in the community toured the rail line along the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Lower Montauk branch.City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley continued her push for light rail commuter service along the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Lower Montauk branch, and toured the rail line with members of the Department of Transportation (DOT), transit leaders and property owners in the community.
In the last city budget, approved in June, Crowley secured $500,000 for a feasibility study of light rail proposal.
“I continue to believe that a light rail on the Lower Montauk branch is the best, most efficient and practical solution for Queens’ overburdened streets and public transportation lines. This tour reaffirmed the fact that this rail line must be preserved for the greatest benefit of the local community,” Crowley said. “Queens is New York City’s fastest growing borough, and we must invest in infrastructure that supports that growth.”
The tour began in the Fresh Pond Yards, went to 11th Street in Long Island City, 88th Street in Glendale and back to Fresh Pond Yards. Currently, freight is transported along the branch for just a few hours overnight, and Crowley believes both passenger and freight can travel this line through temporal separation – a set schedule separating the two services.
Attendees also touched on track maintenance, grade-crossing operations and current DOT projects along the line. DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia, DOT Deputy Borough Commissioner Jason Banrey, Community Board 5 Vice Chair and Land Use Committee Chair Walter Sanchez, CB5 Transportation Committee Co-Chair John Maier, Myrtle Avenue BID Executive Director Ted Renz, and engineer Hendra Soetjahja were along for the ride.
“Thank you to Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and the New York and Atlantic Railway for inviting DOT for a tour of the Lower Montauk Branch rail line,” Garcia said. “We look forward to sharing the results of our feasibility study for commuter rail, and continuing the conversation with Queens residents about ways to improve access to transit across the borough.”
Sanchez, who is a Maspeth resident and longtime member of CB5, believes the possibility of light rail on the Lower Montauk line makes sense after taking the trip on the line between Long Island City and Glendale.
“The line passes neighborhoods which are just beginning to burst at the seams, and a light rail line would get ahead of that development. But even more important is that Glendale is quite challenged when it comes to public transportation. A 5-mile trip on a light rail line from Long Island City to Glendale would cut commute time down significantly for Glendale residents,” Sanchez said.
“I would like to commend Councilwoman Elizabeth S. Crowley for her forward thinking in proposing a light rail line from Glendale to Long Island City,” Renz said. “Choosing light rail is an efficient, accessible and comfortable way to accommodate the need for more transit options. The addition to providing transportation it is also a catalyst for economic development.”

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