In July 2015, Council Member Crowley came forth with a plan for a light rail commuter service along the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk line, running 8.5 miles from Jamaica to Long Island CIty.
Queens is New York City’s fastest-growing borough. We are experiencing not only the largest increase in population, but also growth in workforce and economic development. As a city, it is crucial we support this growth with an expansion of smart, sustainable transportation.
Improved public transportation and interborough (Brooklyn-Queens) transit are greatly needed to ease the burdens this growth has brought. However, Queens currently lacks this infrastructure, with not enough transit options and some of the most overcrowded streets. Commercial corridors such as Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Avenue are plagued with congestion, unreliable bus service and overcrowded subways. This congestion and overcrowding happens around the clock, and is exasperated at rush hour.
But through these transit-poor communities runs the LIRR Lower Montauk branch. It runs east to west, and is still maintained by the LIRR, but used limitedly by the New York Atlantic Railway for private freight transport. This public right-of-way is an invaluable resource that must be tapped and used for local commuters’ benefits.
Seeing all of this, the Council Member has brought her proposal, the QNS Light Rail, to the public and garnered support from Congress Member Grace Meng, Congress Member Gregory Meeks, Borough President Melinda Katz, the entire City Council Queens Delegation, local state elected officials, all surrounding Community Boards, local residents and many more.
Additionally, in the 2017 city budget, Crowley secured $500,000 for the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a feasibility study of the line.
The Council Member recently hosted more than 20 community leaders in her District Office for the DOT to give its first public stakeholder outreach presentation. This meeting marked a pivotal step in the process of making the QNS Light Rail a reality.
The study, managed by the DOT and conducted by AECOM, will determine the plan's feasibility, including the constructability, cost, and connectivity to existing transit, compatibility with existing freight use, as well as potential ridership and station siting.
Preliminary findings were presented at a public meeting to residents in Glendale. The complete study will be presented to the community in the fall.
DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said:
“Improving transit options in Queens means better access to jobs, shopping and services, and quicker routes to schools, home and loved ones. We thank Council Member Crowley for her leadership and support and for the opportunity to conduct this important feasibility study for commuter rail on the LIRR Lower Montauk Branch.”