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Bay Ridge Express

MTA isn't ready for LaGuardia AirTrain ridership, comptroller says

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Not sure where exactly this belongs but it does have to do with the frequency of the Port Washington branch.

https://www.amny.com/transit/laguardia-airtrain-1.32624886

The MTA isn’t ready to handle additional riders expected to take the LaGuardia air train coming in 2022, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Citing infrequent Long Island Rail Road service to the new airport link and shrinking funds for critical station upgrades, Stringer penned a letter to the Port Authority and MTA dated Monday June, 17, asking for more rail service to handle larger crowds.

“Improving access to LaGuardia is a critical component of our transit planning, I do want to make sure that any new transit doesn’t strain or draw resources away from the lines we already have,” Stringer said.

The Port Authority has budgeted $1.5 billion to build the AirTrain — a key priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — on a nearly 2-mile right of way connecting to the LIRR Port Washington branch and the 7 line at Mets-Willets Point.

But funding for 7 train and LIRR station upgrades to accommodate new commuters and an AirTrain hub has shrunk, according to Stringer. The MTA had originally allotted $75 million for an LIRR station upgrade to handle more riders, but that allocation has since shrunk to $10 million. Another $50 million was sent to the subway station for upgrades, but that project has yet to commence, Stringer found.

While the city’s airports are notoriously defect to access by transit, the LGA AirTrain has been criticized from the start for its poor planning and being a route crafted around the desire to avoid private property. Planning experts have said an extension of the N line, or a comparable AirTrain to Woodside or Jamaica, would be more meaningful in terms of travel time and ridership draw.

The Port Authority has touted a 33-minute trip from midtown to LGA, but Port Washington trains only run every half-hour out of Penn Station between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and regularly skip lower-ridership stations during rush hour. Stringer in his letter called for more service and the option of including more local stops.

“This infrequent service, if kept as is, will not be sufficient to handle increased demand from LaGuardia passengers,” Stringer wrote.

The MTA declined to publicly address Stringer’s questions.

“We intend to respond directly to the Comptroller regarding his letter,” said Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman, “but we are working collaboratively with the Port Authority to ensure that LIRR service will meet capacity needs associated with [the AirTrain].”

A representative from the Port Authority affirmed the organization's committment to the existing plan.

“This critical rail link will provide 6-10 million passengers every year with reliable travel times below 30 minutes between midtown Manhattan and the airport — getting airport travelers off congested roads, benefiting all motorists and the community, and reducing pollution," said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton in a statement. "We look forward to a period of extensive public input and comment as the FAA proceeds with the environmental review.”

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27 minutes ago, Bay Ridge Express said:

Not sure where exactly this belongs but it does have to do with the frequency of the Port Washington branch.

https://www.amny.com/transit/laguardia-airtrain-1.32624886

The MTA isn’t ready to handle additional riders expected to take the LaGuardia air train coming in 2022, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Citing infrequent Long Island Rail Road service to the new airport link and shrinking funds for critical station upgrades, Stringer penned a letter to the Port Authority and MTA dated Monday June, 17, asking for more rail service to handle larger crowds.

“Improving access to LaGuardia is a critical component of our transit planning, I do want to make sure that any new transit doesn’t strain or draw resources away from the lines we already have,” Stringer said.

The Port Authority has budgeted $1.5 billion to build the AirTrain — a key priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — on a nearly 2-mile right of way connecting to the LIRR Port Washington branch and the 7 line at Mets-Willets Point.

But funding for 7 train and LIRR station upgrades to accommodate new commuters and an AirTrain hub has shrunk, according to Stringer. The MTA had originally allotted $75 million for an LIRR station upgrade to handle more riders, but that allocation has since shrunk to $10 million. Another $50 million was sent to the subway station for upgrades, but that project has yet to commence, Stringer found.

While the city’s airports are notoriously defect to access by transit, the LGA AirTrain has been criticized from the start for its poor planning and being a route crafted around the desire to avoid private property. Planning experts have said an extension of the N line, or a comparable AirTrain to Woodside or Jamaica, would be more meaningful in terms of travel time and ridership draw.

The Port Authority has touted a 33-minute trip from midtown to LGA, but Port Washington trains only run every half-hour out of Penn Station between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and regularly skip lower-ridership stations during rush hour. Stringer in his letter called for more service and the option of including more local stops.

“This infrequent service, if kept as is, will not be sufficient to handle increased demand from LaGuardia passengers,” Stringer wrote.

The MTA declined to publicly address Stringer’s questions.

“We intend to respond directly to the Comptroller regarding his letter,” said Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman, “but we are working collaboratively with the Port Authority to ensure that LIRR service will meet capacity needs associated with [the AirTrain].”

A representative from the Port Authority affirmed the organization's committment to the existing plan.

“This critical rail link will provide 6-10 million passengers every year with reliable travel times below 30 minutes between midtown Manhattan and the airport — getting airport travelers off congested roads, benefiting all motorists and the community, and reducing pollution," said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton in a statement. "We look forward to a period of extensive public input and comment as the FAA proceeds with the environmental review.”

Sounds like the Governor might need to give the (MTA) another kick in the rear to push his agenda...

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What's really going on is that the LIRR Port Washington trains are getting all the attention, and the emphasis from the Governor. It's easy to paint it as the fastest way to Midtown because no stops, but someone forgot these trains don't run as much as they should. The (7) doesn't get the bump, because its 17 stops to Manhattan and that doesn't....look... as fast.

Of course, the direct (N) to LGA would have had at a minimum 8 stops in Queens, and would hit the important Midtown destinations, and might be quicker than the local (7) to Queensboro, which is where all the new hotels are popping up. But nope, it's too obvious.

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There is no need to build an AirTrain (and get rid of Casey Stengel Depot) when the Q70 is right there at Woodside. Every time Cuomo orders the MTA to offer free fares on the Q70 (e.g. all this summer), he undermines his own argument for the AirTrain.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

“Improving rail access to LaGuardia is the critical component of our transit planning, I do want to make sure that any new rail transit doesn’t strain or draw resources away from the lines we already have,” Stringer said.

Sometimes you have to read between the lines.....

Honestly, wtf is "new transit" ?

---------------------------------

Whenever talks about this LGA Airtrain arise, the first thing that comes to mind is "The Q70's great, but not good enough"....

Same old tired narrative, no matter what the circumstance.... Rail > Bus

Edited by B35 via Church

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24 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

Sometimes you have to read between the lines.....

Honestly, wtf is "new transit" ?

---------------------------------

Whenever talks about this LGA Airtrain arise, the first thing that comes to mind is "The Q70's great, but not good enough"....

Same old tired narrative, no matter what the circumstance.... Rail > Bus

I need to venture out to Woodside a bit more to sit on the Q70 and give my opinion. But why in 2019 are we caring about LaGuardia. To me its by far the worse transit desert and than VP Joe Biden called it a Third world airport. Andy had to do something. Too little to late. 

Airtrain > close Stengel > widen the GCP > create new terminals for what? LGA will never be like JFK. JFK has its own issues (another post for another day).

However, JFK is a lot more accessible and at times direct. If the (JFK) flyer could be revamped with a handful of stops between 168 and Howard Beach and marketing done correct than it could work. 

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4 minutes ago, Future ENY OP said:

I need to venture out to Woodside a bit more to sit on the Q70 and give my opinion. But why in 2019 are we caring about LaGuardia. To me its by far the worse transit desert and than VP Joe Biden called it a Third world airport. Andy had to do something. Too little to late. 

Airtrain > close Stengel > widen the GCP > create new terminals for what? LGA will never be like JFK. JFK has its own issues (another post for another day).

However, JFK is a lot more accessible and at times direct. If the (JFK) flyer could be revamped with a handful of stops between 168 and Howard Beach and marketing done correct than it could work. 

Money's being poured into revamping the thing..... There'd better be an increased amount of care about LGA :lol:

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You mean a relatively low use railroad station isn't equipped to handle the expected crowds from a people mover from LGA? I'm shocked I tell you. Absolutely shocked. So when's our main man Andy C. going to respond to this? This is his pet project subway and LIRR riders will have to deal with in the next few years.

Also as a reminder, the MTA has little to do with the actual AirTrain LGA here besides being a catch-all for the additional passengers. This is primarily a Port Authority project with the MTA acting as a victim of circumstance.

3 hours ago, Future ENY OP said:

However, JFK is a lot more accessible and at times direct. If the (JFK) flyer could be revamped with a handful of stops between 168 and Howard Beach and marketing done correct than it could work. 

The Port Authority will probably never add new intermediate stops to the AirTrain as it was designed and built with the sole intention of moving riders between the airport and either the Jamaica LIRR / subway station or Howard Beach. It'd be nice if new stops were added, but the AirTrain is not a subway line and the PA is not going to convert it into one.

16 hours ago, GojiMet86 said:

Of course, the direct (N) to LGA would have had at a minimum 8 stops in Queens, and would hit the important Midtown destinations, and might be quicker than the local (7) to Queensboro, which is where all the new hotels are popping up. But nope, it's too obvious.

The AirTrain LGA takes the path of least resistance. Extending the Astoria line makes the most sense logically and better serves the riding public, but that project is a non-starter for the same reason the proposal died back in the '90s-early 2000s. Astoria and Steinway don't want an elevated line overhead where one didn't exist before. The route of the AirTrain LGA however, runs over the GCP and adjacent to Citi Field and a bunch of empty or low value lots. It's a much more circuitous route for sure, but it's easy to see why this one was green-lighted over fighting with NIMBYs to get Astoria extended to the airport.

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What would make the most sense would be to build the air train to jamacia and connect it with the existing jfk air trian. Building the air train to connect with only the port washington branch will not do anything to help people from the eastern part of long island who might want to use the train to the air train to get to lga.

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On 6/20/2019 at 4:14 AM, B35 via Church said:

Sometimes you have to read between the lines.....

Honestly, wtf is "new transit" ?

---------------------------------

Whenever talks about this LGA Airtrain arise, the first thing that comes to mind is "The Q70's great, but not good enough"....

Same old tired narrative, no matter what the circumstance.... Rail > Bus

Don't you know that the buses are for poor people? /s

New York's politicians are mostly limousine liberals. Water is also wet, and so is Grand Central.

On 6/20/2019 at 8:45 AM, Lance said:

The Port Authority will probably never add new intermediate stops to the AirTrain as it was designed and built with the sole intention of moving riders between the airport and either the Jamaica LIRR / subway station or Howard Beach.

To add onto this, it would be relatively complicated legally speaking given that the AirTrain was funded using passenger ticket fees. These are not legally allowed to be used for a purpose that doesn't directly benefit an airport. And there's not exactly clear case law on how to reimburse these either back to airlines or the passengers whose fees these were charged on.

On 6/20/2019 at 8:49 AM, beelinefan said:

What would make the most sense would be to build the air train to jamacia and connect it with the existing jfk air trian. Building the air train to connect with only the port washington branch will not do anything to help people from the eastern part of long island who might want to use the train to the air train to get to lga.

That would be a waste of money; there aren't that many people who are going to park-and-ride and slog it to Jamaica for an AirTrain. Most passenger demand for LGA is coming from the west, anyways.

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On 6/20/2019 at 11:45 AM, Lance said:

You mean a relatively low use railroad station isn't equipped to handle the expected crowds from a people mover from LGA? I'm shocked I tell you. Absolutely shocked. So when's our main man Andy C. going to respond to this? This is his pet project subway and LIRR riders will have to deal with in the next few years.

Also as a reminder, the MTA has little to do with the actual AirTrain LGA here besides being a catch-all for the additional passengers. This is primarily a Port Authority project with the MTA acting as a victim of circumstance.

The Port Authority will probably never add new intermediate stops to the AirTrain as it was designed and built with the sole intention of moving riders between the airport and either the Jamaica LIRR / subway station or Howard Beach. It'd be nice if new stops were added, but the AirTrain is not a subway line and the PA is not going to convert it into one.

The AirTrain LGA takes the path of least resistance. Extending the Astoria line makes the most sense logically and better serves the riding public, but that project is a non-starter for the same reason the proposal died back in the '90s-early 2000s. Astoria and Steinway don't want an elevated line overhead where one didn't exist before. The route of the AirTrain LGA however, runs over the GCP and adjacent to Citi Field and a bunch of empty or low value lots. It's a much more circuitous route for sure, but it's easy to see why this one was green-lighted over fighting with NIMBYs to get Astoria extended to the airport.

I see the Astoria Blvd (N)(W) station being renovated and I wonder what could’ve been if they would have put the AirTrain station there...

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To paraphrase the Rolling Stones - You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

For the longest time, LGA was lacking a rail connection. In a few years it will have some semblance of one without the use of eminent domain (which tends to overlap with NIMBY, a bit). The way I see it, any additional rail system that can be built circa 2020 is better than none. If NYC were starting from scratch, the extension of the N train or spur from the 7 train or LIRR to LGA would be ideal. However, that never happened and it can't happen now. The path of least resistance is to build the AirTrain where the city/state already owns the right of way.

As for the concerns of exceeding maximum capacity that Scott Stringer raises, the MTA already has the Q70 hooking up with the subway in Jackson Heights and at Woodside. The MTA should keep the Q70 as the cheaper option, and allow the AirTrain to be used by those who wish to pay a bit more to use the LIRR. Is Mr. Stringer really concerned about the capacities of both the 7 train and the Port Washington Branch, or are his concerns more about the Port Washington Branch?

I for one would welcome a direct connection from Northeastern Queens to LGA (I'm not too far from the PW Branch and use it quite often). I'm not too sure where other PW users sit with this concern (meaning, concerns about overcrowding). If Mr. Stringer is able to get more funding for additional LIRR rail cars or scheduled trips, and the rail line can tolerate it, I'm all for the expansion. Heck, if the train service could increased from 30 min off-peak to lets say 20 min, I'd really double down on the LGA AirTrain.

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UPDATE: Port Authority defends rising LGA AirTrain cost, now at $2.05 billion

https://www.amny.com/transit/port-authority-lga-airtran-1.33057339

The Port Authority on Thursday defended the rising cost of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain, arguing that it is an important project to get people out of cars.

The authority revealed the AirTrain's anticipated cost has hit $2.05 billion when the $390 million increase was included in a capital plan amendment presented to the board Thursday. The project, which would connect the Willets Point Long Island Rail Road and  No. 7 subway train to the Queens airport, was initially priced at $450 million in 2014. In all, the estimated cost of the 2-mile stretch of monorail has since jumped 356%. 

The capital plan amendment also included $1.64 billion for a new AirTrain at Newark, which is also expected to cost a total of $2.05 billion.

The board weighed the capital changes alongside a sweeping proposal to increase fares and tolls on PA bridges and PATH in addition to imposing new airport travel fees.

“These are expensive projects. There’s no question. But if we are to reap the benefits of mass transit, we have to provide mass transit that is attractive to individual travelers and their families,” said Rick Cotton, the executive director at the Port Authority, without explaining the rise in cost. “Experience shows that rail mass transit is the most attractive alternative, and we’re committed to provided that.”

The PA stressed that 94% of the amendment will be covered by the PA’s own revenue, but the rising cost of the LGA AirTrain, a key priority for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, alarmed outsiders who already felt the project was a bad idea. Transportation blogger Yonah Freemark and others have pointed out that the LIRR Port Washington branch that includes the Willets Point stop is not accessible to the rest of the LIRR network, meaning it has limited use to Long Islanders.

The Port Authority boasts that the AirTrain would create a 30-minute trip from midtown to LaGuardia. But City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently pointed out that off-peak LIRR service currently stops at Mets-Willets Point every half-hour, which suggests that this estimate is unrealistic under current service levels, unless a trip is timed perfectly.

After a board meeting Thursday, Cotton said he believes the AirTrain will “entice, get people out of their cars and provide a capability to get both from Midtown Manhattan to the airport in under a half an hour and to also have easy access from the entire Long Island Rail Road network.”

The PA, as part of its fare and toll hikes, also proposed a “ground transportation access fee” for taxis and e-hail companies like Uber and Lyft, modeled after the charges at the Los Angeles International Airport. Under the proposal, taxis would be charged $4 for a pickup, while e-hails would be charged $4 for pickups and $4 for drops. The idea has drawn the ire from drivers already grappling with the economic crisis plaguing the taxi and e-hail industry.

“That’s now going to bring down the ridership at the airport — the only other source for income for [taxi drivers outside Manhattan],” Bhairavi Desai, the founding member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said during the meeting. “We’re at a point where people just cannot afford to lose even one more fare.”

Cotton, in an unusual response to public comment, promised to listen to drivers.

“This is a proposal. We are listening. We respect the views,” said Cotton. “We’d welcome the opportunity to meet.”

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2019 at 7:23 PM, Uncle Floyd Fan said:

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones - You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

Serious question - who needs a rail connection in the wrong direction to the disconnected part of the LIRR?

IIRC the AirTrain isn't even going to be faster than the Q70. And the Q70 doesn't cost billions of dollars.

Edited by bobtehpanda
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@bobtehpanda - - 

Disconnected? Wrong direction? Not quite. Last I looked, the Port Washington (PW) Branch went all the way into New York City with a stop at Woodside.  Although I don't agree with Cuomo on many things, I actually like the plan. The LGA AirTrain would provide for an easier trip to/from LGA for anyone along or near the PW Branch.

(full disclosure - I like the plan as I live near the PW Branch)

The connection to the 7 train and the PW at CitiField would provide a way to ease the volume of passengers on the E/F trains at Jackson Heights. The LGA AirTrain shouldn't be seen as a perfect replacement for the Q70, or any other means of travel to/from LGA. Rather, it would complement all existing services.

In my post above, I stated that the plan isn't perfect by any means, but it is the best that we can do circa 2020, not 1940.

As for the cost, we need to separate Gov. Cuomo's preference for the LGA AirTrain (whatever it may be in Cuomo's mind) from the benefit that could arise from having a rail-only connection from LGA into Manhattan. Sure it will cost money - everything does. I don't like SBS / artics, but I accept that some people are ok with them for one reason or another. As the number of visitors to NYC and the number of residents keeps growing, any plan to ease travel to/from LGA is welcome. 

Another benefit regarding cost are the number of well paying jobs which will arise out of such a project. While I understand there will be concerns about cost overruns, we should not forgo trying to build within a system that warrants major improvements in infrastructure from time to time.

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17 hours ago, Uncle Floyd Fan said:

@bobtehpanda - - 

Disconnected? Wrong direction? Not quite. Last I looked, the Port Washington (PW) Branch went all the way into New York City with a stop at Woodside.  Although I don't agree with Cuomo on many things, I actually like the plan. The LGA AirTrain would provide for an easier trip to/from LGA for anyone along or near the PW Branch.

(full disclosure - I like the plan as I live near the PW Branch)

The connection to the 7 train and the PW at CitiField would provide a way to ease the volume of passengers on the E/F trains at Jackson Heights. The LGA AirTrain shouldn't be seen as a perfect replacement for the Q70, or any other means of travel to/from LGA. Rather, it would complement all existing services.

In my post above, I stated that the plan isn't perfect by any means, but it is the best that we can do circa 2020, not 1940.

As for the cost, we need to separate Gov. Cuomo's preference for the LGA AirTrain (whatever it may be in Cuomo's mind) from the benefit that could arise from having a rail-only connection from LGA into Manhattan. Sure it will cost money - everything does. I don't like SBS / artics, but I accept that some people are ok with them for one reason or another. As the number of visitors to NYC and the number of residents keeps growing, any plan to ease travel to/from LGA is welcome. 

Another benefit regarding cost are the number of well paying jobs which will arise out of such a project. While I understand there will be concerns about cost overruns, we should not forgo trying to build within a system that warrants major improvements in infrastructure from time to time.

To be honest, if you're taking the (7) or the LIRR to get to LGA from Manhattan, chances are you're not gonna want to ride to pretty much the end of the line to get the Airtrain when you can just take the Q70, which can take you to the airport in 10- 15 minutes. I feel like people would only take the Airtrain if they're coming from from like Bayside or Whitestone.

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1 hour ago, MTA Bus said:

To be honest, if you're taking the (7) or the LIRR to get to LGA from Manhattan, chances are you're not gonna want to ride to pretty much the end of the line to get the Airtrain when you can just take the Q70, which can take you to the airport in 10- 15 minutes. I feel like people would only take the Airtrain if they're coming from from like Bayside or Whitestone.

 

I am from Staten Island and take public transport to LGA, which I absolutely loathe flying out from but do so because of the significant price savings vs EWR and being with UA and DL FF (frequent flyer) programs. If I can get a direct connection from NYP to an AirTrain or a subway to AirTrain (and reverse) - I would absolutely take the LIRR or possibly the <7> especially during certain times of the week or day over the bus. Taking the M60-SBS from the Main Terminal back to 125 for the (4)  by way of the Marine Terminal is not fun especially if you have to stand. The Q70 is an improvement, but if traffic is bad or there is a detour, I would prefer another option.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, MTA Bus said:

I feel like people would only take the Airtrain if they're coming from from like Bayside or Whitestone.

Possibly anyone from Port Washington to even Flushing could use the LGA AirTrain. That's not that small of a number. I'd even go as far as saying business travelers and families in N/E Queens and the nearby North Shore of Nassau County might opt for the LGA AirTrain once it's operational. The Q48 is not always the fastest route to/from LGA, nor are car services (I once took a cab from LGA and opted to get out and walk the last mile to my home). There is a lot more traffic out there on the road and the LGA AirTrain can ideally reduce some of the congestion.

1 hour ago, 161 New York said:

I am from Staten Island and take public transport to LGA, which I absolutely loathe flying out from but do so because of the significant price savings vs EWR and being with UA and DL FF (frequent flyer) programs. If I can get a direct connection from NYP to an AirTrain or a subway to AirTrain (and reverse) - I would absolutely take the LIRR or possibly the <7> especially during certain times of the week or day over the bus. Taking the M60-SBS from the Main Terminal back to 125 for the (4)  by way of the Marine Terminal is not fun especially if you have to stand. The Q70 is an improvement, but if traffic is bad or there is a detour, I would prefer another option.

That's one heck of a trip from SI to LGA. I'm glad you pointed out the LGA AirTrain as ....."prefer[ing] another option". That is how I see the usefulness of the LGA AirTrain (as long as the MTA doesn't go bankrupt or gets looted by Gov. Cuomo).

Edited by Uncle Floyd Fan

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2 hours ago, Uncle Floyd Fan said:

Possibly anyone from Port Washington to even Flushing could use the LGA AirTrain. That's not that small of a number. I'd even go as far as saying business travelers and families in N/E Queens and the nearby North Shore of Nassau County might opt for the LGA AirTrain once it's operational. The Q48 is not always the fastest route to/from LGA, nor are car services (I once took a cab from LGA and opted to get out and walk the last mile to my home). There is a lot more traffic out there on the road and the LGA AirTrain can ideally reduce some of the congestion.

And where, pray tell, are people going to park to take the PW? And what road will they use to get there, congested 25A or the even worse north-south roads? The North Shore is not very densely populated either, and no one is going to drive north-south to go east-west, especially since Port Washington isn't very far east in the first place.

As far as Flushing is concerned, it is literally one exit down the GCP and a five minute drive. We already have a bus route that does this route and it has piss poor ridership. If there was money to be made you'd think all those enterprising people running dollar vans down to Chinatown would take a stab at it.

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6 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

And where, pray tell, are people going to park to take the PW?

Who says they have to drive to the LIRR. Many folks use Lyft and Uber to travel about.

 

8 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

And what road will they use to get there, congested 25A or the even worse north-south roads? The North Shore is not very densely populated either,

Hmm...not densely populated, but too much traffic? It has to be one way or the other. As I see you've mentioned in a different post that you've been out of NYC for a bit, I can say first hand that the traffic has not improved at all in Queens or in Western Nassau County. In fact, the population of Eastern Queens and Nassau County has grown quite a bit over the last 10 years. Wouldn't it be better to try another approach and get people to use mass transit that is not (yet) packed to the gills where people are stuck in miserable traffic? Sure, the PW may not go too far out into Nassau County, but the PW connection is not meant to serve all of Nassau with a one-seat ride. Passengers would still need to (or have the option of, depending on perspective) use the 7 train or PW branch to travel to Woodside and switch to another LIRR train.

The system is not perfect by any means, but we must consider the possibility of having another option to travel from LGA to Manhattan or for some (or all) points east. Granted, budget overflows need to be reined in, but let's not jettison the idea just yet. In a perfect world, we'd have multiple options (N train from LGA to NYC, Q70 to Jackson Heights and Woodside with a dedicated bus lane, LGA AirTrain to CitiField). But where is the will to make any of these come about?

22 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

As far as Flushing is concerned, it is literally one exit down the GCP and a five minute drive. We already have a bus route that does this route and it has piss poor ridership.

This is partly true. Part of the time the trek from Flushing to LGA is a quick ride (say, Sunday AM). However, the journey from LGA to Flushing on a weekday afternoon (say, 4pm or so) takes much longer. I'll also add that it is an unpleasant journey. The LGA AirTrain connection would get folks off the congested roads and onto transit services with a dedicated right of way.

And yes, I'll acknowledge again that the costs of the LGA AirTrain should not become so prohibitive that they bankrupt the MTA. Gov Cuomo needs to be kept in check. But lets also keep in mind that funds have already been allocated for this project and ideally the controller should see that the project be kept within budget.

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Posted (edited)

When the Post did the story on this, the vast majority of LGA customers were using anything BUT public transportation -- and stated that even if there was this new option, they would continue using their cars.

The PA is already on its way to encourage people to use their own vehicles to JFK with their idea of raising Air Train fares.

Yet another distraction, when attention should be focused on improving current transit woes that have made people want to use anything BUT public transportation for getting around ... practically everywhere in NYC. Once again, the commutes of a few somehow outweigh millions of others in the city.

Edited by DetSMART45
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23 hours ago, Uncle Floyd Fan said:

Hmm...not densely populated, but too much traffic? It has to be one way or the other.

No it doesn't. Long Island, particularly the North Shore, is mostly residential, so everyone has to drive significant distances to get anywhere, whether it's for shopping, for work, for leisure, etc. If everyone has to drive everywhere (and quite long distances at that) you end up with a lot of vehicle miles traveled, which is what determines congestion, not population.

The North Shore doesn't really have much in the way of large arterials. Especially not north-south. And the Port Washington Branch stations are not located on 25A, but near it down narrower roads that can only really handle local traffic. This is true for every single station east of Broadway LIRR, and if you decided to Lyft or Uber or driver or whatever to Broadway LIRR you may as well just drive the short distance onwards to LGA. And this is before we consider that driving is far more convenient than transferring multiple times on public transit, especially if you have luggage or are traveling in a group.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2019 at 10:23 PM, Uncle Floyd Fan said:

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones - You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

For the longest time, LGA was lacking a rail connection. In a few years it will have some semblance of one without the use of eminent domain (which tends to overlap with NIMBY, a bit). The way I see it, any additional rail system that can be built circa 2020 is better than none. If NYC were starting from scratch, the extension of the N train or spur from the 7 train or LIRR to LGA would be ideal. However, that never happened and it can't happen now. The path of least resistance is to build the AirTrain where the city/state already owns the right of way.

As for the concerns of exceeding maximum capacity that Scott Stringer raises, the MTA already has the Q70 hooking up with the subway in Jackson Heights and at Woodside. The MTA should keep the Q70 as the cheaper option, and allow the AirTrain to be used by those who wish to pay a bit more to use the LIRR. Is Mr. Stringer really concerned about the capacities of both the 7 train and the Port Washington Branch, or are his concerns more about the Port Washington Branch?

I for one would welcome a direct connection from Northeastern Queens to LGA (I'm not too far from the PW Branch and use it quite often). I'm not too sure where other PW users sit with this concern (meaning, concerns about overcrowding). If Mr. Stringer is able to get more funding for additional LIRR rail cars or scheduled trips, and the rail line can tolerate it, I'm all for the expansion. Heck, if the train service could increased from 30 min off-peak to lets say 20 min, I'd really double down on the LGA AirTrain.

The <7> express leaves Main Street-Flushing standing room-only at best and crush-loaded at worst. The (7) local makes too many stops along the way and is crush-loaded by the time it reaches Queensboro Plaza. And the PW branch doesn’t run frequently. Stringer would be right to be concerned about any one of those options. He would definitely be right to be concerned about all three of them, because as a daily (7) rider, I know I am. We’ve already got enough people jamming on to the (7) in Flushing, Corona, Jackson Heights and Midtown Manhattan. Now we need to have LGA-bound riders being thrown into that mix too?

I understand wanting to take the path of least resistance. But to cram more people onto an already overtaxed subway line (because it runs more frequently than the parallel commuter train line and serves a great area in Midtown, so you know more people will choose the subway), because Cuomo and the PA are afraid of some NIMBYs from 20+ years ago when they proposed extending the (N) to LGA (which would make far more sense) only pleases a small group of property owners in Astoria at the expense of many more daily commuters from North and Northeast Queens who rely on the  (7). Nothing irritates me more than when the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, which really does seem to be the New York Way.

Edited by T to Dyre Avenue

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11 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

The <7> express leaves Main Street-Flushing standing room-only at best and crush-loaded at worst. The (7) local makes too many stops along the way and is crush-loaded by the time it reaches Queensboro Plaza. And the PW branch doesn’t run frequently. Stringer would be right to be concerned about any one of those options. He would definitely be right to be concerned about all three of them, because as a daily (7) rider, I know I am. We’ve already got enough people jamming on to the (7) in Flushing, Corona, Jackson Heights and Midtown Manhattan. Now we need to have LGA-bound riders being thrown into that mix too?

I understand wanting to take the path of least resistance. But to cram more people onto an already overtaxed subway line (because it runs more frequently than the parallel commuter train line and serves a great area in Midtown, so you know more people will choose the subway), because Cuomo and the PA are afraid of some NIMBYs from 20+ years ago when they proposed extending the (N) to LGA (which would make far more sense) only pleases a small group of property owners in Astoria at the expense of many more daily commuters from North and Northeast Queens who rely on the  (7). Nothing irritates me more than when the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, which really does seem to be the New York Way.

I believe we discussed many of these points - especially the NIMBY points back on July 3rd.

None of the plans presented are perfect. The LGA to Flushing Meadow Park will cost more than it should. If we were to even start to explore extending the N train into LGA, that will also run into cost issues. In the real world, would that even work out as it should? Surely funds would have to be paid to compensate those in the 31 St area. Plans would also need to be drafted to acquire land from Con Ed and from the Port Authority (this would hardly be a trouble free endeavor). Also, would the N train be permitted on LGA property, or would the Port Authority prefer a monorail from Ditmars? 

As for the point you raised about overcrowding on the 7 train, the N train would also experience the same crowding / capacity issues further down the line.

No plan is perfect due to crowding issues and cost issues. At the rate we're all going, we might as well stay with the Q70 as it is (at least we'll save a few billion$).

In a perfect world, a direct, express link to/from LGA would've been built ages ago. Such a link would go directly from the main center-city (MIdtown) and have only a couple of stops before heading to the airport. The N train is a nice idea that could work under proper conditions, but it is hardly the ideal fix that many seem to think it is.

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