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LIRR Third Track Project May Threaten Village Once More

New Hyde Park deputy mayor warns that third track project is once again being talked about.

During the depths of the Great Rescession the Long Island Rail Road’s Third Track project seemed stalled at the stationhouse, not knowing when it might ever pull away from the platform due to budget cuts and a redirection of funds towards the East Side Access project to Grand Central Station.

“The economic down turn did work in the village’s favor by halting the project,” New Hyde Park Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro said this past Tuesday night during a meeting at the , “but it’s back.”

New Hyde Park had managed to avoid the sweeping and potentially devastating construction changes the project would have wrought back in 2007 due to an overwhelming amount of community opposition spearheaded by the village, which joined with many of the surrounding municipalities including Mineola, Garden City, Floral Park, Hicksville and Westbury in an effort to derail the project.

The plan – known as the Main Line Corridor Improvement Project – would have a third track installed on the 11.5-mile stretch of rail line between Queen Village and Hicksville as well as elimination of several at-grade crossings.

However, according to Lofaro, the project is once again being talked about.

“We will fight hard to see this project does not happen,” he said, conceding that “the MTA can also initiate eminent domain if they want to.”

Though the project has been in existence since the 1980s, LIRR President Helena Williams had presented two plans in 2008 for eliminating the at-grade crossings, the first involving the crossings at Covert Avenue and New Hyde Park Road, with traffic crossing underneath the tracks, which would remain at their current level, and South 12th Street being left untouched. The second option involved only the elimination of the at-grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road.

In each of the scenarios, some of the private property of homeowners would be taken in order to create the depressed roadway in order to travel under the tracks.

Some residents at the meeting expressed their concerns that the extra trains currently being put on the tracks will cause a gridlock situation in New Hyde Park, specifically on New Hyde Park Road, but also with the heavily reported fiscal constraints of the MTA, how the project will receive funding for its construction.

According to Lofaro, the project would still use federal monies – the same plan as 2007, which was stopped when $3.1 billion in funding went to fund the East Side Access Project in order to allow LIRR trains into Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Due to the involvement of federal funds in the issue, the village board has continued to urge residents to call and petition Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy as well as U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“We will stand together and hope this does not happen,”  Lofaro said of the third track project. “We will continue to fight for this.”

Craig July 21, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The village officials treat NHP like a little city anyway with their 1/2 hour meters and intense code enforcement. Let them make it an extension of Queens. That what they have created along Jericho Tpke.
Jmahoney July 21, 2012 at 05:15 PM
They should make another crossing down by premier and extend the platforms to fit the trains so theirs no congestion on new Hyde park road. These conjugations last 10-15 min with hundreds of cars back up on both directions. So eaither move the plat forms or build a underpAss like gArden city park has
Don Takeit July 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
What the village should do is make the railroad eliminate the crossings altogether, just as they're trying to do east of Mineola. Tell the MTA if they're going to disrupt things for several years while this is implemented then totally remove the crossings so the village doesn't have to put up with the trains anymore. The horn blowing will diminish since they don't have to blow for the crossings, and after the pain of the eliminations, you'll never have to put up with the traffic disruption again. Given with the new terminal and the inevitable increase in rail traffic, this is best for all involved. It worked for the south shore, demand that you get the same as well!
Steve F July 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM
lol Much needed reverse commute rail? Much needed for what....all the jobs that already left LI? The LIRR is one of the most poorly run organizations around. LI needs to focus more on getting quality jobs back in the area. Thats why our youth is leaving and property values cant keep up with the city suburbs.
Bob Lofaro July 22, 2012 at 02:34 AM
As the ex Mayor of Floral Park used to say, the problem is "not in our back yard, but how much in our back yard.". Of course we knew when we bought our homes in NHP there were two track, but we certainly don't want three. And finally, the plans presented by the MTA are for the cheapest and least desirable option that can be done.

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