6 times • OCTOBER 8, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.timesnewsweekly.com Councilwoman Crowley requests support from CB 5 on light rail plan BY ANTHONY GIUDICE email@example.com @A_GiudiceReport Hoping to garner support from Community Board 5’s (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit Committees, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley presented her plans for a light rail infrastructure on the former lower Montauk line during the committees’ joint meeting on Sept. 29. “What I would like to do as the next step in pushing this plan forward is why I’m here tonight: to engage you to consider putting a resolution together to support this plan, or something similar, to bring commuter rail back to this line,” Crowley said. “And I’m putting together a mission statement and a task force.” Crowley believes that a commuter light rail line could benefit the communities it would service in several ways, the first being to bring more transportation options to Glendale. “I don’t need to tell you, I live here right by Atlas Park, that this has been somewhat of a transportation desert in comparison to much of the rest of the city that is in such close proximity to the core,” Crowley said. A light rail line, operating on the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Montauk branch, would create a connection from Glendale to Long Island City. Crowley proposes that the line would start at The Shops at Atlas Park, where there are 1,300 parking spaces available, with stops heading west, terminating at the Hunterspoint Avenue LIRR stop, which has a train depot to store and turn trains around. Adding a light rail line, Crowley noted, would also entice some of the young, creative professionals moving into Bushwick and Ridgewood to relocate or open up businesses in Glendale and other surrounding communities, thus creating economic growth. “If you look at the line, there is a lot of underutilized manufacturing which is also threatening us,” Crowley said. “We have rich architecture in these old loft-style buildings which could provide opportunities for new technologies and economic development if we had a way to bring people to jobs that could be created in these buildings.” In order to get her plan moving, the councilwoman has already met with several of her colleagues in the government including Assemblymen Mike Miller and Andrew Hevesi, Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Members of the committees saw the potential in Crowley’s current plan, and even looked further ahead to a much larger plan extending the line to the west and the east. “If you look at a master plan so to speak, this would be phase one of the master plan. You want to create this rail from a Glendale station in Atlas Park to wherever,” said CB 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri. “Eventually then the next phase would be into Sunnyside, 63rd Street, down the Second Avenue East Side Access. The third phase could be the Rockaway Branch, so that may be a whole presentation and we were the first ones to come out in favor of a rail transportation system on the Rockaway Branch.” Some committee members were concerned over what type of effect a rail line like this would have on the freight operations on the line. Crowley responded by saying that companies are looking to increase the amount of freight, and if the community does not recognize this track as a benefit then it might be taken over for freight transportation. The committees are expected to come up with a resolution on Crowley’s plan in the weeks ahead. RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley pitches her idea to bring a light rail line to Glendale to Community Board 5 committees on Tuesday night. Cross Harbor Tunnel idea pitched again BY ANTHONY GIUDICE firstname.lastname@example.org @A_GiudiceReport The Cross Harbor Freight Rail Tunnel idea killed a decade ago appears to be coming back to life. The idea was one of two preferred alternatives recommended in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Tier I Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which was released on Sept. 25, for their Cross Harbor Freight Program (CHFP), which considers increasing freight shipments across the harbor and reducing traffic on Hudson River bridges and tunnels. The Tier I FEIS narrowed down the list of possible alternatives and identified two preferred methods that will be recommended for advancement to the Tier II study for more a detailed analysis: an enhanced railcar float alternative and the rail tunnel. In November of last year, PANYNJ and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which examined the transportation and environmental effects of several alternatives to moving freight by truck, which was open for public comment. The public comments and input on the original DEIS were considered when selecting the pair of preferred alternatives. According to the FEIS, “The Enhanced Railcar Float Alternative with both carload and intermodal service between Greenville and Brooklyn would divert 2.8 million tons of freight per year (in addition to a “no action” alternative)—more than any other Waterborne Alternative or option.” As it pertains to the rail tunnel alternative, the FEIS found that “The Rail Tunnel Alternative would divert between 7.2 and 9.6 million tons of freight per year, depending on the different operating scenarios affecting the potential to capture through trip longhaul truck markets.” Local civic group Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) does not believe a rail tunnel alternative would benefit the community when there are more pressing matters at hand. “PANYNJ is still spending taxpayers’ money planning the $10 billion Cross Harbor Tunnel to nowhere,” the civic group said in an email to the Ridgewood Times. “Instead of spending millions more planning a fantasy tunnel for a fantasy freight rail system, let’s see LIRR and NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) develop and implement standards and protocols that make the one actual train a day with 24 cars that comes from Tunnel Hill Partners to Fresh Pond Yard functional, clean, healthy and safe for commuters, host communities, the railroads and their customers.” The Tier I FEIS is available for public review until Oct. 26, when a record of decision (ROD) will be issued by the FHWA. Neither the Tier I FEIS, nor the Tier I ROD, constitutes a final decision to implement any of the alternatives that have been under consideration. The ROD will address any new or substantive comments that are made during this public review period. Comments on the Tier I FEIS can be mailed to Cross Harbor Freight Program, c/o InGroup Inc. P.O. Box 206, Midland Park, NJ 07432; submitted through the Cross Harbor Study website; or by emailing crossharborstudy@ ingroupinc.com with “FEIS Comment” in the subject line. The Tier I FEIS is also available for download at the Cross Harbor Study website. It can also be viewed at more than 40 repositories in our region, which can be located through the website. Photo via Wikimedia Commons The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has released the Tier I Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cross Harbor Freight Program.
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