Elected officials spoke out against the Long Island Rail Road’s new proposed timetables for the Port Washington branch during a news conference Tuesday.
The drafted LIRR schedule accommodates for the East Side Access Project, which will bring Long Island commuters to Grand Central Madison. While the MTA calls the new timetables “the largest service increase in LIRR history,” it also cuts back on express trains between Penn and Great Neck stations, to the dismay of many local commuters who rely on them.
“The express service on this branch has been in place for over 100 years, and thousands of residents here have paid a premium to purchase homes to take advantage of this line,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jen DeSena. “Since this change has been announced, countless residents have come to me to tell me how this will negatively affect their lives.”
Many residents voiced their concerns to the MTA during a July 13 public hearing. There were so many public comment requests that the MTA added two additional hearings on Aug. 4 and Aug. 11. Commuters say the proposed timetables add about nine minutes to their commutes and offer fewer train options during morning rush hour.
The draft timetables impact residents living in several small villages on Nassau’s North Shore, and many village mayors attended the Tuesday news conference.
“It is not often that you have an issue that unites all the political leaders,” said Village of Thomaston Mayor Steven Weinberg. “All of the villages rely on the express service we’re talking about.”
“So many residents that I’ve heard from are happy about the East Side Access but not at the expense of the Port Washington branch,” added State Assemblymember Gina Siliti. “We want to address these issues before the timetables are finalized.”
The final schedules will go into effect in December. For more information, visit new.mta.info.