Comments by Citizens Against Rail Expansion
The much anticipated Final SEQRA Scoping Document issued last week by the MTA LIRR provides very little additional information about the proposed third track expansion. The LIRR did a good job summarizing the comments that people made at the May hearings which took place after the first document was issued. With the exception of the grade crossing eliminations, we still do not feel the expenditure of $2 – $4 billion for this unnecessary project has been justified. There are significant issues which need to be addressed before this project can move forward.
In the document there is talk about conducting parking studies in other communities, yet there is no mention Floral Park. One of our major concerns is that during the construction phase, which could last several years, the village will lose an estimated 60 parking spaces under the LIRR tracks and on surrounding streets and probably lose 30 parking spots permanently after the construction is completed. Why is there no information or details on this issue?
This report, for the first time, states that probably the Tulip Avenue underpass would be closed for an unspecified period of time. We need more details on this since we were of the belief that the construction would start at South Tyson and proceed east to Hicksville, which will require removal of part of the Floral Park platforms.
In the report, the MTA LIRR fully acknowledges our concerns about harmful substances in the soil that have been used to treat foliage and to control rodents, even mentioning Agent Orange. Our concern is that stirring up the contaminated soil will make these dangerous chemicals airborne and harm our citizens. This has to be studied.
There is silence on the part of the MTA LIRR about our project staging concerns. Where will the staging areas for the supplies, heavy equipment, etc. be located? We suspect they will try to use the open areas behind the Floral Park-Bellerose School on the Belmont Park property. Why not give us details? LIRR reps have been meeting with people discussing this problem.
How will this impact the residents of Mayfair Avenue and the west end of Floral Park? Will heavy construction equipment be going in and out the Mayfair Avenue gate at all hours of the day and night?
If major improvements are to be made to other stations along the Main Line, why haven’t they considered the request from Floral Park to improve handicap accessibility at the Floral Park LIRR station, as well as other possible improvements such as the passenger waiting areas?
We eagerly await the upcoming hearings so we can again voice the concerns of local residents.
In the meantime, we still have doubts that the third track will ever be built since there is no funding. We have high hopes that the New York State Senate will block the funding for this project and acknowledge the will of the people.
Citizens Against Rail Expansion Ann & Bill Corbett, Spokespersons 775-6849.