MTA Includes Queens LIRR In Capital Plan

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

Could the Metropolitan Transportation Authority possibly reactivate a defunct Long Island Rail Road line in the next two decades?

That is what transit activists hope after reading the MTA’s Capital Needs Assessment from 2015-2034.

In page 133 of the report, the agency lists possibly reviving the train line as a way to address the growing need for more subway and bus patterns.

“A possible option is the utilization of abandoned or underutilized Rights of Way (ROW) such as…the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch…Conversion of existing ROWs…could help reduce land acquisition and construction costs, and facilitate construction time in densely developed areas,” it says in their report, released last week.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), who has long been an advocate for revitalizing the train line that would run from the Rockaways to Rego Park, praised the transit agency for including the train line in their capital needs report.

“The MTA has heard our calls for smart investment in existing Right of Ways to improve transit infrastructure, create jobs, while helping each family in Queens and across the City in their daily commutes,” he said in a statement.

But Andrea Crawford, a member of the Friends of the QueensWay group, which supports creating an elevated bike path on the 3.5-mile stretch of vacant land instead of revitalizing the train line, said this does not mean the QueensWay will not happen and the feasibility study for the project, which began last month, is still ongoing.

“The study does not say its intent is to activate or fund the train line,” she said. “We continue to move forward in a way that supports the economic development of Queens without impacting its ecology.”

Kevin Ortiz, an MTA Spokesman, said its inclusion in their report does not mean the agency is considering activating the train line and nothing has been done regarding that issue at this time. He added the 20-year plan gives possibilities for all potential projects.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.