Expanding the Long Island Rail Road
(Page 2 of 3)
concentration of jobs in the country, the report said. The report also said that, because of the expansion, 400,000 homeowners on Long Island who live near train
stations could see the value of their homes rise by an average of $7,300.
“The real potential of an expanded, more reliable and more efficient Long Island Rail Road is to anchor a 21st century economy that is neither the rail-centric reality of a century ago nor the auto-dependent culture of today,” the report reads. “Single-family, suburban neighborhoods would still be the norm, and most trips would still be made by car. But there would be more jobs and housing in downtowns clustered around train stations, and more options for taking a train or bus, not only to get to Manhattan but to get around to shopping centers, offices, hospitals universities and parks.”
There are two other projects that the MTA has in the works for the LIRR as well, although their futures are less certain than East Side Access. Also proposed is adding a second track on the Ronkonkoma branch — one of the fastest-growing and most overcrowded lines on the system — which would greatly expand the LIRR’s reach.
The third proposal — and the most controversial — is adding a third track to the LIRR main line, which runs from Hicksville to Floral Park. It receives trains from four different branches and has remained a two-track line since the 1800s. The controversy stems from the fact that building the third track would affect communities and property owners in the path, who would need to sell some of their property to the LIRR for the project to go forward.
“However, the completion of both East Side Access and a second track to
Ronkonkoma will add to the traffic on the Main Line,” the Index report reads, “raising the stakes in the debate for whether, when and how to build it.”