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On the Third Track Project

Assemblyman Ed Ra writes about the MTA’s plans for a third track.

I was dismayed to hear MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s recent comment about our local communities’ opposition to the third track plan as “classic NIMBY.”

Common sense and a commitment to the suburban character of local neighborhoods have been the driving forces behind overwhelming and unwavering opposition to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) plan to along the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) main line corridor, between Floral Park and Hicksville.

While some decry opposition to the third track as NIMBYISM, a thoughtful review of environmental, safety and community character impacts are among the real and significant issues that must be weighed against the dubious benefits touted by the MTA.

Tearing through residential neighborhoods, threatening a local park and destroying businesses during a difficult economy, a third track would redefine our suburbs in a profound and negative manner. Indeed, the MTA has even acknowledged that property acquisition, water and air pollution and increased noise and vibration were potential effects of the expansion. What’s more, potentially deadly pieces of steel and other debris from the train tracks have jettisoned into local homeowners’ yards, public areas and even an elementary school. This hazard would get worse if the MTA builds a third track, bringing dangerous debris close to homes, parks and other areas where people gather.

The third track project would also transform our suburbs into an urban environment, increasing train and car traffic and converting local train stations into major rail hubs like Jamaica train station.  Finally, one of the MTA’s stated goals of accommodating reverse commuters is at total variance with my experiences at main line train stations. Specifically, reverse commuters constitute a very tiny, almost fledgling, contingent of passengers.

In conclusion, I believe that the sound and sensible position on the third track is to make a decision against pursuing the project.  Destruction of our suburban character, adverse impact on businesses, environmental concerns, safety of area families and a host of other important quality-of-life issues far outweigh any dubious benefits such as serving a miniscule contingent of reverse commuters.

Clearly, common sense, not NIMBYISM, was the driving force behind almost 12,000 people signing petitions in opposition to a third track. Similarly, I strongly oppose any effort to resuscitate the ill-advised third track project.

Sincerely,
Assemblyman Edward Ra
21st Assembly District 

Assemblyman Edward Ra is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 21st District. Due to 2012 redistricting, the new 19th District will cover portions of New Hyde Park, Garden City Park and Mineola. He is a Republican from Franklin Square.

Candide08 August 08, 2012 at 12:48 PM
@Bob Lofaro - Airplane noise is not a proper comparison - as planes can change patterns and increase capacity without physical infrastructure. No, it is not better to stop expansion, that will benefit the WHOLE REGION, because you and a few, yes just a few, others chose to live in an area without fully considering your surroundings. The world cannot bend to suit you, sorry. If you buy a house with RR tracks in the backyard don't be surprised that there is a railroad in your backyard. A little checking when you bought the house could have easily uncovered these "third track" plans, which have been around for DECADES. You made a choice and now want progress for the whole region to stop because you did not realize the full implication of your choice? Please explain to me HOW that is not classic NIMBY?
Steve F August 10, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Merrick...considering the Jamaica hub cant handle the current volume of trains how could you ever think a THIRD line would be handled. As for candide, people like you knew what you bought when you bought a home without a good reverse commute.....deal with it or move to the city. No one says you have to live here with 2 tracks.
Candide08 August 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM
First, it's not just about more volume at Jamaica or just about the reverse commute. Jamaica can handle more volume and the rush hours can get longer, as they have for years. I suggest you brush up on some facts there Steve. A big advantage of a third track is "more slots" - flexibility. In the event of a problem, which occur nearly daily, trains for nearly the entire island would not back up, they could be re-routed.
fabiog December 03, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I think there's too much traffic in Manhattan. We should demolish all buildings and skyscrapers that go from battery park up to 172nd street and build an 8 track railway. we should also also eliminate central park, as it's useless space taken away from parking spots and our beloved cement. Good thinking Candide08, I'm sure you didn't get the joke of "we've also less horses and bayonettes"
Steve F December 04, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Fab there are no building restrictions in Manhattan due to it's current density? Are you telling me you can just continue to ADD buildings and traffic to Manhattan? Did NYC not ban cars down certain roadways? It's just like you live in a cave.

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