BY JON CRONIN
Last week Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) presented to Community Board 5 Transportation Committee her idea to establish a light rail commuter service line from Glendale to Long Island City on the LIRR Lower Montauk line.
The line, which currently only carries freight through the bedroom communities in the middle of the night, had passenger service until the late 1990s.
Crowley proposes a stop on the tracks near The Shops at Atlas Park, which would provide potentially 1300 parking spaces for light rail passengers. There will be other stops at Metro Mall, with similar parking and a connection to the M subway line on Metropolitan Avenue.
The line would end at Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. Passengers could then connect to the 7, E, G subway lines or the East River Ferry.
Crowley is looking to have the system operated by New York City Transit so riders can use their MetroCards and not pay higher LIRR prices.
Crowley’s Communications Director Maggie Hayes said the light cars are, “approximately the size of three city buses.” They are three times the size of a city bus and will have life spans over four times as long. Crowley anticipates the light rail cars to cost about three million each, which she claims is similar to the cost of a city bus. Since a bus needs to be replaced every 13 years, it would make the light rail more cost efficient during its life.
Gary Giordano, district manager for CB 5, said some of the board members would also like to see the light rail move east to Jamaica where the freight line joins with the LIRR’s main line.
He noted, “We have also been proponents of the re-institution of the Rockaway Line.” He added, “because of the congestion at the current trend, it’s just gonna get worse and worse and worse.”
He agrees that they need to, “transport people in an effective way as convenient as possible through mass transit, preferably by train.” Giordano is grateful bus riders are not in their individual cars, but, “buses are still in the same traffic.”
Hayes said, “residents every day deal with unreliable bus service and or very congested streets.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, email@example.com or @JonathanSCronin