With the impending construction that is due to take place at Penn Station this summer, a number of changes have been made to the summer schedule for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).
These changes include deploying approximately 200 buses, a bus and ferry network for rush hour commuters created by the MTA and adding new trains to Penn Station.
However, state Senator Tony Avella has written a public letter to the presidents of the MTA New York City Transit and the LIRR expressing his concern about how there is currently nothing in place to accommodate commuters from northeastern Queens, which he considers a “transit desert.”
“While I understand the need to make service changes due to the construction at Penn Station, eliminating trains to and from Northeast Queens is only going to cause more congestion on other LIRR trains and the 7 subway line,” wrote Avella. “As you are keenly aware, commuters in this area only have the option of LIRR service or the 7 train at Flushing Main Street to commute into Manhattan — and I do not feel the need to tell you yet again that the 7 train simply cannot accommodate more passengers at Flushing Main Street since it is 94 percent capacity.”
Avella also pointed out that more park and ride bus service were added for Nassau County commuters, and asking commuters from northeast Queens to drive to Port Washington for a park and ride, Glen Cove for a ferry, or Flushing Main Street for the 7 train are not feasible options.
“Given the accommodations that were made on many of the other LIRR lines, I would appreciate your revisiting the options for service accommodations and letting me know how you plan on easing this transit burden on the residents of Northeast Queens,” wrote Senator Avella.
Avella isn’t the only one who is concerned. Assemblyman Edward Braunstein has also written to the MTA requesting more transit options during rush hour for northeast Queens in the form of express buses.
“Transit options are limited for residents of Northeast Queens who travel into Manhattan, and express buses that serve my district are already crowded during rush hour,” wrote Braunstein. “Since many of constituents might prefer to travel by express bus during the reconstruction project, I request that you add additional service during rush hour until the project is completed for express bus routes serving Northeast Queens.”
For more information about service changes, visit www.mta.info.