Pols push to resurrect Elmhurst LIRR stop

Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

The Long Island Rail Road said in a statement that it would be discussing with elected officials the possibility of reopening a station in Elmhurst along the Port Washington line that has been closed since 1985.

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) both said they wanted to see the station active again.

“The Long Island Rail Road has been invited to meet with Congressman Crowley and we look forward to the opportunity to discuss the growth in the Elmhurst community,” the LIRR said.

The station was located on Broadway between Cornish and Whitney avenues, but closed due to a decline in ridership. The station’s previous location is about a block away from the Elmhurst Avenue subway station, which is on the E, M and R lines.

But both Crowley and Dromm said they believed the residents of Elmhurst should have access to the LIRR. They sent a letter to LIRR President Helena Williams requesting the station be reopened.

“It will open up an additional opportunity or different form of mass transit to Manhattan,” Crowley said.

Dromm said the Elmhurst neighborhood is becoming an attraction with the expansion of the Queens Center Mall six blocks away from the old stop. He said the growing Asian population in the area has made part of the neighborhood into a Chinatown similar to the Manhattan neighborhood or Flushing.

“I think it would really promote what Elmhurst has to offer,” he said.

The councilman said the residents would most likely still use the LIRR, which is slightly more expensive, despite the nearby subway lines. He said he used to live in Flushing and would take both the LIRR on Main Street and the No. 7 train into Manhattan, depending on his final destination.

“It’s an exciting prospect,” Dromm said. “I want to keep pushing forward.”

Crowley said since residents have to endure the noise from the Port Washington line coming through their communities, they should be able to reap the benefits. He said civic groups, such as the Newtown Civic Association, were supportive of the prospect.

Both elected officials said reopening the station would be consistent with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to make the city more reliant on mass transit and less reliant on cars.

“We shouldn’t be cutting our transportation options, we should be increasing them,” Dromm said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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