If You're Waiting for This Train, You'll Be Waiting a Long Time
by Larry Penner
Jan 08, 2014 | 2816 views | 9 9 comments | 129 129 recommendations | email to a friend | print
No one should make any plans to wait for a train to arrive at any new station along the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road branch that ran from Rego Park to Ozone Park and further south to the Rockaways any time soon.

History has told us that construction of any major new transportation system expansion project has taken decades between the time of all the feasibility studies, environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, construction, budgeting, identifying and securing funding and opening day service.

Virtually all of these issues would also apply to reopening the old Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach branch line. And don't forget the logistical and operational issues of running any LIRR service parallel to the existing subway line to the Rockaways. Construction thru the Jamaica Bay wetlands will also provide challenges.

Restoration of service along the LIRR Rockaway branch, also known as the White Pot Junction Line, was abandoned in the 1950s. This route started off as a spur from the LIRR mainline east of Woodside and connecting to the A line subway near Aqueduct Race Track.

There are local community divisions along this route between those wanting to convert this corridor to a permanent park with hiking trails versus restoration of LIRR service.

Will existing bus and or subway commuters want to pay the higher fares charged by the LIRR? Riders would still have to pay twice when transferring from the LIRR to the subway at Atlantic Avenue, Woodside, Penn or Grand Central stations.

LIRR service to the Rockaways would at a minimum be considered Zone 3 just like other Queens neighborhoods. Current fares for Zone 3 riders are $210 for a monthly or $67.25 for a weekly pass. You can imagine how much more these fares would be years or even decades later when passenger revenue service is finally introduced.

Any additional new LIRR service to Penn Station, which would include restoration of the old Rockaway branch, has other issues to contend with. There is little room to run additional trains into or out of Penn Station during either a.m. or p.m. rush hours.

Three of four tunnels running inbound a.m. and outbound p.m. rush hours have very tight spacing between trains. Penn Station is currently operating at 100 percent capacity during both a.m. and p.m. rush hours until the new LIRR Eastside Access project is complete.

But both Amtrak and Metro North Rail Road have their eyes on any potential new capacity which might become available at Penn Station to use for their own respective services.

At the end of the day, introduction of limited stop bus routes from two-fare zones to the nearest subway station, expansion of express bus service into Manhattan, creation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and subsidies to support ferry service may be the best bet for residents looking for new transportation options.

All three have already been proven successful. Any could be implemented far more quickly than any restoration of old LIRR services.
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Philip McManus
|
February 03, 2014
We need faster transportation options asap. We need more buses, trains, ferries, carpooling, bikes, HOV lanes, express buses to Manhattan and express buses from the Bronx to Queens to Brooklyn to Staten Island.

Imagine the business and jobs created and the unity for our City.

Imagine if everyone in the City could get to any neighborhood within the City within one hour by public and private transit. Do you think this would save time and money for everyone?

We need to use every possible roadway, highway, bridge, tunnel, waterway and unused train tracks like the Queens Rockaway Beach Line and TriBoro RX.

I refuse to exclude any transit options to get around. Everyone uses a car once in a while especially when they go shopping.

I'm a proponent of faster transportation so people can be more productive at work, home, and their communities.

Thank you to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic for their support of faster, better transportation.

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:



http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

•change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-reactivate-the-lirr-rockaway-line-in-central-queens

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315



718-679-5309



rowing612@aol.com



https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910



http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com
Philip McManus
|
January 27, 2014
The Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown train is getting closer to reality.

The extreme overcrowding of our roadways, buses and trains will be the number one reason why the the old tracks will be used again, Subway or LIRR.

The second reason will be the increase social and economic opportunities, more access to better schools and jobs.

The Queens Public Transit Committee is determined to fight for faster transportation and equal access to jobs and schools.

It takes 2 1/2 hours to get from Bayside to Rockaway. This is ridiculous. Imagine if we can significantly reduce unnecessary transfer times, travel times and travel expenses.

The people of Queens could realistically get to great schools and jobs in all of Queens.

Would you travel 2 1/2 hours one way by bus or train to get to work, school or home within Queens? Absolutely not.

We need to unite Queens and fight for faster transportation and increase access to all of Queens for our necessities.

Thank you to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, District Leader Lew Simon. Norman Silverman, Congressmen Jeffries and Meeks, State Senator Tony Avella, Community Boards 5 and 14, Queens College for an unbiased study of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, Sal Albanese, Cathy Guerriero, Public Advocate Letitia James, Peter Vallone Jr., NY Daily News, the Gothamist, and over 3000 people who signed the Queens RBL petition and support faster transportation on the Queens Rockaway Beach Line.

Please contact us to help educate, recruit and organize the people for faster transportation in Queens. Saving time is money earned.

Please read below some important news articles regarding the Queens RBL.

http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1528730

http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1531507

http://gothamist.com/2013/12/24/queensway_continues_its_slow_death.php

http://inhabitat.com/nyc/things-not-looking-good-for-queensway-high-line-style-elevated-park/

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:



http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

•change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-reactivate-the-lirr-rockaway-line-in-central-queens

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315



718-679-5309



rowing612@aol.com



https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910



http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1

www.QueensPublicTransit.com

AAPremlall
|
January 17, 2014
Thank you for this insightful article on a lighter, quicker and cheaper method of placemaking, Larry. It would be an utter shame and disservice to the Queens community for this right of way to remain an eyesore for another 20, 50, 100 years! We need safer places to walk and play. I'm in favor of keeping it in Queens and don't see why there is a push for the rails to Manhattan. The folks wanting a shorter commute should move closer and pay the rent that this requires in the trendier neighborhoods. Yes, mass transit can be considered a nightmare for the entire NYC and when you think about it, it's a miracle that millions of people get from one place to the next efficiently! I do not own a car and utilize mass transit daily (it takes about an hour to get to Manhattan or 30 minutes to Brooklyn). And if it's in the neighborhood, I take a walk. Riding a bike in Southern Queens would be a wonderful idea if there were safe paths created to do so. A speed rail system throughout Queens (and not this tiny strip of 3.5 miles) would be the optimal mass transit solution for all. Hardly anyone acknowledges the needs of the regions of Queens where there is no simple way to commute via mass transit. While I don't live on the ROW, I live nearby and devote time to beautifying my neighborhood. If we could have more A trains running frequently, on the same line, that would be a start. Having a 3.5 mile greenway would greatly benefit the health and wellness of resident of Queens. Let's create something beautiful in this lifetime.
Ivan Markovic
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January 17, 2014
Great article Larry. Reactivation of the Rockaway Beach LIRR is so unreasonable and expensive; we're way more likely to have colonized Mars before this line comes into service..The tracks are useless, the foundation and roadbed is compromised and likely toxic, the overpasses can sustain light use but certainly not a multi-billion dollar investment - it simply won't happen. We are in direct need of subway lines for communities in this city that currently have zero subway service before we consider deactivating the A train for a more pricey flyover line that will serve the needs of a select community. A proposed new line certainly wouldn't stop to pick up residents in central Queens: that would be like the A-train .... which for some reason isn't good enough. For many of us in central Queens, a commute into midtown means 1.5 hours door to door. I love the NYC Subway System and ride it daily from Richmond Hill. It's just a fact of life: living in Queens requires an extended commute time into Midtown. My heart goes out to those in eastern Queens that have no choice at all. Those looking for that 20 or 25 minute commute to Midtown should consider Brooklyn.

To summarize: I ride the subway daily, don't own property along the ROW, and am interested in that land bring pit to better use for the people of central Queens - not the select needs of a select community.

Thanks Larry

Carl Perrera
|
January 11, 2014
Dear Larry,

You made some interesting points but you need to realize that Queens County needs this rail line brought back to life to reduce the commuting time of South Queens residents traveling into Midtown, Manhattan plus connect southern Queens and northern Queens together by a speedy rail connection. Right now we understand that the LIRR option would result in higher fares and our group has been advocating either LIRR, subway or even light rail. Under the LIRR Option Long Island Rail Road trains would terminate at Aqueduct or Howard Beach for transfer to/from the "A" Line eliminating the so called need to build another trestle across of Jamaica Bay therefore reducing the cost of reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line (RBL). As far as an additional LIRR fare is concerned we would work with the local elected officials to expand the LIRR City Ticket Program to all off peak hours and days as well as ask for other multi fare discounts which can be integrated into the future Smart Card Technology which would eventually replace the MetroCard and commuter rail tickets. Also five years from now when East Side Access is complete in 2019 is not a long time to wait for additional train capacilty at Penn Station. Under the subway option the above fare and capacity concerns are not not an issue. Light rail is also another viable option that can also be integrated fare wise into the New York City Transit (NYCT) Fare and also be operated by NTCT. Light rail is aesthetically more pleasing and much more quieter than heavy rail and could provide transfer connections to subways, LIRR and buses at many adjacent stations and could appease many of the local residents concerns along 98th Street regarding noise of a subway or LIRR train. Under the light rail option a Rego Park Light Rail Station could be bult along the RBL at Austin Street in Rego Park for transfer to the Long Island Rail Road with a new adjacent LIRR Rego Park Station (built along the LIRR Main Line)for those who want to pay that additional fare. Under any of the above rail option additional benefits would come to home owners along the Rockaway Beach ROW in the form of increased property values. If you go to our new Rockaway Beach Branch (group page) on Facebook by searching Rockaway Beach Branch on Facebook (not Rockaway Beach Rail Line which is our regular page) you could take a look at the eight articles I posted regarding property values near rail lines. According to these articles property values usually increase when rail service is added to a community. This would then boost the economic growth of all of South Queens including the Parkside section of Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways. It truly will be a win-win for everyone especially the residents that live right along the right-a-way such as 98th Street in Woodhaven.

Carl Perrera

Queens Public Transit Committee

516-532-1458

Nyctransitman@aol.com
stanley schulman
|
January 11, 2014
What a fallacious and biased article replete with made up canards like the difficulty of building across Jamaica Bay. No building is needed, it is already there. That portion of the A train from Rockaway Blvd to Rockaway is, I repeat is, the old Rockaway Beach line.

Three and a half miles of the route that could have connected to the R train or another part of the LIRR were lopped off and the tracks were, against all logic, gerrymandered to connect to the A line which at that time ended at Euclid Avenue.

As I hear talk of Governor Cuomo wanting to run metro north tracks through the Bronx to Penn Station, I have to marvel at what that cost would be. Or even consider the expense of digging through solid rock for the Second Avenue Subway.

Among subway projects, nothing could be less expensive than laying new tracks and signals on the right of way that is, although overgrown by weeds, already there.

How anyone in their right mind can consider this expensive and insurmountable is either a fool or a liar.

No one throws out figures of how expensive this will be, but a little googling will show that the cost of restoring a right of way in Indiana cost $1.5 million per mile. Remember, we're talking about 3 1/2 miles. Look out the window of the A train, or look up when driving below an underpass, the right of way is there waiting to be cleared and re-activated.

Surely there will be other expenses but I would guess in the tens of millions; not the billions of other railroad projects.

When you consider that it now takes almost twice as long to travel from Rockaway to Manhattan than it did in 1890 when the Rockaway Beach Line was part of the LIRR, any opponent of this vitally needed transportation should blush with shame.
Walt Gekko
|
January 11, 2014
Absolutely Stanley:

The people who DON'T want the line re-activated in most cases are people who either:

1. Never use public transportation at all and only hear "about certain kinds of people who use public transportation."

OR

2. Have property near the line that they are fearful (or they know) such property illegally encroaches the ROW and they would lose that property if the line were re-activated.

OR

3. Are extremely selfish and only care about themselves with no regard for the overall situation.

This line NEEDS to be re-activated, most likely as I would do it as a new (W) train that would replace the (R) in Queens and run from Whitehall Street to Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park 24/7 (if Far Rockaway with Rockaway branch (A) service running to Rockaway Park and in either case a Rockaway shuttle that serves whichever branch isn't running in the overnights, if either one isn't at that time running to Euclid Avenue). That would be part of a much larger series of changes that would also assume that SAS Phase 1 would be up and running by that point.
Philip McManus
|
January 10, 2014
Dear Larry,

You are mistaken. The Queens Public Transit Committee wants faster transportation including the Queens RBL, the New Queens Crosstown. We also want to expand the transit system across Queens with more buses, trains, ferries and more tracks asap. We also support eliminating the tolls on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge. Inferior transportation separates and divides smaller depressed and struggling communities in Queens. Almost every struggling community has longer, overcrowded and unreliable transit.

Let me make this clear Queens need faster transportation on the New Queens Crosstown, Subway or LIRR. The idea of using new parallel LIRR tracks through Jamaica Bay was never advocated by local supporters. That was a plan that the MTA dumped on us without any consultation with proponents of the Queens RBL. The plan was politically manipulated to fail.

Our goal is to educate and organize the people of Queens for faster transportation. The NIMBY mentality is exclusive, dishonest, divisive, unfair and it separates people. We need to win public opinion for faster transportation for Queens including the best most workable plan. The Queens RBL, the New Queens Crosstown, Subway or LIRR will reduce travel times, pollution, accidents, overcrowded roadways, buses and trains, unemployment, crime and government assistance. The New Queens Crosstown will unite Queens and increase access to more social and economic opportunities for the most people. It will connect numerous Queens and Manhattan neighborhoods and bring people and businesses together. It will also connect to many Subway lines, the LIRR and bus routes. The old LIRR RBL went from Penn Station to South Queens within 40 minutes. I am not an engineer. I am a New Yorker from Queens who needs faster and reliable service. If we can pay and attain the Second Avenue Subway, the extension of the 7 train, the expansion of the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal, etc., we can certainly pay and attain the New Queens Crosstown. If there is a Will there is a Way. On a side note, I believe the MTA LIRR needs to reevaluate its fares within the City to be more inclusive and affordable to City commuters. Public transit should serve all the people of the region. We believe some of your ideas are not applicable to the current problem. We also believe that all of Queens should be included at the table of prosperity and advancement.

Why not?

Do you support faster public transportation? Are you tired of longer travel times, dangerous, overcrowded and unreliable trains and buses? Let’s get organized.

Please ask your family and friends and commuters to sign our petitions to support the Reactivation of the Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown, eliminate the toll on the Queens Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for everyone and expand the Queens Rockaway Ferry:



http://www.rockawaybeachrail.com/

•change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-m-cuomo-reactivate-the-lirr-rockaway-line-in-central-queens

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder/story/45022/

http://www.keeprockawayferry.com

Philip McManus

Queens Public Transit Committee

718-474-0315



718-679-5309



rowing612@aol.com



https://m.facebook.com/RockawayBeachRailLine?id=100952823448998&refsrc=http://www.google.com/&_rdr

Twitter.com/RBL1910



http://rockawaybranchline.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-queens-public-transit-committee-for.html?m=1



www.QueensPublicTransit.com
Toby Sheppard Bloch
|
January 21, 2014
I live two blocks from the proposed route and what would be a likely train station, and I can see how both projects would benefit the community.

If the reactivation of the rail line was a part of something like TriboroRX I would be more attracted to it. Many of my neighbors work/shop/socialize in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Long Island and Queens...places that a quick connection to Penn don't really bring any closer.

Queens certainly needs new rail links--but I'm not convinced this provides them in a meaningful way.

I do wish there was better data about transportation needs of the community to better inform this conversation.