WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 13
LETTERS AND COMMENTS OP-ED
More rail transit equals
a stronger economy
BY ELIZABETH CROWLEY
AND THOMAS GRECH
Queens is growing fast – really
fast. The World's Borough has
seen signifi cant growth in both
population and in employment, and it
continues to grow every day.
To accommodate this growth and
alleviate the burdens of residents
and businesses, our transportation
options must improve, and they must
We believe Long Island Rail Road’s
(LIRR) Lower Montauk branch, which
runs 8.5 miles from Jamaica, through
Maspeth and over to Long Island City,
can be that source of relief. It is a rail
line and public right-of-way, owned
by the MTA and capable of contributing
to the economic growth of every
community along the way.
Commuter service along the
Lower Montauk line, which we
have dubbed the QNS Rail to serve
Queens and beyond, could be what
our borough needs for long-lasting
economic growth. The New York
City Department of Transportation
contracted an engineering study
of this proposal to AECOM, who is
determining QNS Rail’s feasibility
and will present their final findings
Currently, public transportation
within Queens is literally operating
beyond its capacity. Our few choices
in mass transit lines, the 7 and E
trains, are the most utilized lines in
the City. Aside from this, much of
Queens exists inside a transportation
desert, forcing people into cars.
Streets are overrun by cars and our
buses are painstakingly slow. Simply
put – we need relief.
Small business within the borough
continues to grow each year. A SmartAsset
2016 study showed 7.8 percent
business growth in Queens County,
totaling over $7 billion. Further, businesses
with fi ve employees or less
account for more than 65 percent of
the borough’s new business growth
over the last decade.
An environmentally-sound commuter
rail along the Lower Montauk
branch would increase exposure for
business owners and allow existing
businesses to grow and expand their
This rail line had infrequent LIRR
passenger service until 2012, and
in 1996, New York & Atlantic began
transporting freight along the line for
just a few hours overnight. The branch
runs through Jamaica, Richmond Hill,
Glendale, Middle Village, Ridgewood,
Maspeth and Long Island City and
connects to the LIRR mainline, the
LIRR Bushwick branch, and Sunnyside
Long Island City and Jamaica are
already on the rise. But Maspeth,
a large business hub in the middle
of this line, is particularly ripe for
economic growth. It is currently
zoned as M3, which allows for the
development of biotech industries.
Biotech is a rapidly growing fi eld
and has received nearly $6 billion
in venture-capital funding in 2015;
up 62 percent from 2014. We want to
ensure as this industry continues to
grow, Queens can both accommodate
and benefi t from it.
To grow this industry and others in
Queens, we need reliable, convenient
The QNS Rail would run through
the fastest growing residential,
industrial and transit hubs in all of
Queens. It would give more options
for New Yorkers in need of more
transit. It would enhance existing
businesses and expand opportunities
It is in the best interest of our communities,
our borough and our city
to put this proposal on the fast track.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth
Crowley represents the 30th Council
District, comprised of Glendale,
Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood,
Woodhaven and Woodside. Thomas
Grech is the executive director of the
Queens Chamber of Commerce.
LET’S TALK ABOUT
Though climate change may not
have been mentioned during the
hurricane coverage, I did see Chris
Cuomo of CNN try to bring it up. But
Republicans went and said this is not
the time to talk about climate change.
Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and Maria
all in the last few weeks, and Katrina
and Sandy years ago. Ninety-seven
percent of climate scientists agree
that climate change is real and caused
by human activities. It’s been think
tanks funded by fossil fuel interests
and Republican politicians that have
made climate change a political issue.
There are more severe hurricanes
every year. What fuels the strength
of these hurricanes? Warmer ocean
temperatures. Why? Global warming.
Yet Republicans are outraged that
Democrats want to address climate
change at a time when millions are
being aff ected by climate change!
Robert LaRosa, Whitestone
ALL HE IS SAYING
IS GIVE WALMART
New York City schools are now open,
but once again out of work, single income,
poor, working and middle class parents
looking for reasonable priced clothing
and educational supplies had to pay more.
This is thanks to elected offi cials who
believe they know what is best for you.
Polls of ordinary New Yorkers
continue resulting year aft er year and
now decade aft er decade to support the
right of Walmart to open stores in the
fi ve boroughs. Residents in the other
57 counties outside of New York City
within New York State have had the
option of shopping or not shopping
at Walmart for decades.
City residents continue to be
denied the opportunity to shop at
Walmart due to excuses made by politicians
and their union allies. They
feel that we should oppose Walmart
because of substandard salaries
and unfair competition they would
provide against smaller stores.
Starting pay at Walmart averages
several dollars above the minimum
wage for new employees around the
nation. Promotional opportunities
including training for higher paying
managerial positions are common.
They also off er health care and other
benefi ts. Walmart may actually pay
higher salaries and off er more benefi ts
than some of their competitors such as
Target, K-Mart, Costco and BJs, which
are already here.
The free enterprise system made
our nation great. Economic growth
and the creation of wealth comes
from businesses — small and large.
Consumers shopping at Walmart
get a bigger bang for the buck by being
able to compare prices, quality
and service to other stores.
Consumers have voted, with
their feet, all over America making
Walmart the number one retail
merchant success story it is today.
It is time to allow Walmart the
opportunity to compete in the NYC
marketplace as well!
Larry Penner, Great Neck
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The views expressed in all letters and
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A LOOK BACK
This photo from the Ridgewood
Times archives in the 1970s shows
bumper-to-bumper traffi c along the
Grand Avenue overpass, looking west
above the Long Island Expressway,
in Maspeth. Look carefully at the
expressway in the background and you
can see three lanes of traffi c moving in
each direction. The LIE was expanded
to four lanes in each direction during
the late 1980s. Send us your historic
photos of Queens by email to editorial@
qns.com (subject: A Look Back) or
mail printed pictures to A Look Back,
℅ The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd.,
Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures
will be carefully returned to you.