• Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation One-Seat Ride to JFK

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by krispy
Search back into the archives for more about this line. Just in brief - the original Airtrain project DID call for the re-activation for the line, and then for it to continue to LGA from Rego Park. It got squashed by some politicians and some influential people along the line, so the Airtrain went with the Van Wyck routing as they were under time pressure to use the funds they had been collecting for decades. Now, one of the main characters who was down on this is now disgraced, but don't underestimate the power of a CB in trying to shoot this down. Look at how well the one Pond does in trying to hinder the NYA's operations. They and the residents of 2 apartment complexes have thwarted the pleas of a lot of people in Woodhaven and Ozone Park begging for a better commute for decades...
  by DogBert
Airtrain was such a wasted opportunity. I think people only take it out of necessity. A couple of bucks for the E train to the air train vs. 50-100 dollars on a cab...

There's never going to be another right of way to run this on. That would be a trillion dollar project that no one has stomach for, vs. a half billion dollar project that might upset a few people while winning praise from the entire city (and world, actually). I'm not convinced the people of rego park want a park in their backyards with people peeping in their windows vs. a train passing every hour. They have plenty of parks, and if they get a station or two out of it, they will be BEGGING for it. Anyone taking a bus on woodhaven to a subway connection knows how miserable a commute it currently is. The apartment building people can build a garage on the other side. Basically, TS if they don't like it. Tax records show they don't own the ROW there & the city can do what they want with it. It is still zoned for transportation use only.

Anyone against it just needs to be shown for what they are: 100% against progress for the rest of the city. Shine a light on the roaches and they'll scurry away. We need more light.
  by railfan365
The part about extending the Second Avenue Subway to New York International airport is unworkable because of how long it takes to build transport improvements in this city. it's based on extending it South from Water Street through Brooklyn - and based on how long it's taken them to build other recent expansions, including 9 3/4 years just to make Phase I, such an extension would take about 70 years to realise.
  by BM6569
"Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) has released a statement after a letter exchange with representatives from the MTA, announcing new momentum on an evaluation of the possibility of reactivating the long-dormant Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL), a high policy priority of both Pheffer Amato and her predecessor, former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. Though the evaluation itself has been pushed back from a June release date until the winter, Pheffer Amato reports securing two critical victories: (1) the inclusion of specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal; and (2) most crucially, that the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and New York City Transit (NYCT) will be jointly requesting and securing an outside contractor to help conduct the evaluation, thereby putting all key agency stakeholders on the same page and ensuring their mutual investment in giving the proposal a full and fair hearing."

http://www.qgazette.com/news/2017-06-28 ... way_B.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by hrfcarl
I believe I asked this on a similar thread, but cannot find it: Instead of being part of the 2nd or 3rd Avenue Subways, could it connect to the E,F,M,R Subway service under Queens Blvd?
  by NIMBYkiller
It's very debatable whether it should be LIRR or Subway. As a subway, it would have to be tied into the Queens Blvd line, and a huge part of the argument for the line has also been that it would mean a faster commute for Rockaway to Midtown. The problem is that the Queens Blvd express (E/F) is at capacity in terms of both passenger load and TPH. You could take one of the Queens Blvd locals (M or the R) and reroute to the Rockaway Beach line (and assuming to Rockaway Park-116th St since they only have rush hour service to Manhattan, other times it's a horribly unreliable shuttle to Broad Channel), but people will still try to pack onto the already overcrowded express trains at the first chance, which would be Roosevelt Av, an overcrowded station itself. That issue is moot if the ridership on this new subway is comprised entirely of existing Woodhaven Blvd bus riders who are already catching these Queens Blvd trains, but if this service attracts any new riders to the system, or alters travel patterns (like those who take the Q53 from the Rockaways to Rockaway Av to have better A train service, but now will go to Queens Blvd instead) it will make the crowding situation even worse and more dangerous than it currently is. The only solution to this is a very expensive new subway line, however that be done.

LIRR service has its own pros and cons. It avoids the issue of people transferring to overcrowded subways, but unless there's a massive restructuring of the fares for travel within the city limits, I doubt it's going to attract many riders. It still faces the issue of trying to add service to tracks that are at capacity in that Penn Station is maxed out and I believe the way they are planning things, ESA will be too once that's open. The service would likely be faster than with the subway since the only stop between the RBB and Manhattan is Woodside (add Sunnyside to NYP service if that ever gets done), but it likely wouldn't be as frequent. It would also have a more limited distribution in Manhattan.

Overall, whatever is done, it's likely going to be just one more piece of a massive, planning-for-the-future build out and redesign of our overall regional transportation network. There really isn't much of an option anymore. The road bridges and tunnels are maxed out (save for the Manhattan Bridge which somehow is still civilized on the upper level for the most part), the subway is maxed out, and the RRs are maxed out. We're literally at the point where expansion is needed, there's no more room for just shifting things around or redesigning things. The question of where to send the RBB epitomizes that.

Lastly, I see JFK as totally moot for any argument. Its terminals are spread out and I believe there is a lot of transferring between terminals. Any commuter rail or subway service would likely have terminated at a central station, requiring people to still transfer to some sort of distributor system to reach their terminal and meaning there would be no inter-terminal transportation other than a bus. When I flew to Zurich, even though the rail system stops right at the airport, I still had to catch a tram to my terminal from the main station. That being said, you might as well just consider Jamaica (and Howard Beach) as the central station where you catch your tram to the terminal. The only way any LIRR or subway option at JFK would work is if it made all the stops the Airtrain does at the terminals, but then how do you address the issue of no-fare movement between terminals? I guess you could build it with 3 platforms (2 side and one center) where inter-terminal service only opens doors to the center platform that has no fare gate.
  by DogBert
It could go to HPA, LIC, eventually into ESA. HPA/LIC is pretty under-utilized in the grand scheme of things.

Reopen the connection to the atlantic branch, and you've got downtown Brooklyn too.

These are all service-worthy. LIC is practically Manhattan now with all the high rises - with more being built and planned every day, and the potential sunnyside yard decking in the decades to come (EDC is actively working on that project, with no idea how the 20-50k people who'd live there will get around).

I hear you on capacity though. Ideally there'll be entire new trunk routes some day - but if we can't even get something as seemingly simple as RBB reopened, we're never going to get say, a second Queens blvd line.
  by NIMBYkiller
I don't see a city zone service doing well at all terminating at LIC/HPA, even with the growth in LIC. Most of it is residential (I heard a rumor even the Citi tower is going to be converted to residential), and I'm assuming most of the Sunnyside project will be too. Imagine if all Kew Gardens and Forest Hills trains only went to HPA/LIC, with a transfer at Woodside required for NYP/GCT. I'm willing to bet you'd see ridership drop faster than a guy with cement shoes in the East River. Running to FBA would only serve stations south of Atlantic Av, the bulk of the line is left out. Although we haven't seen an official plan, ESA slots are basically all accounted for since it seems like the goal is to redirect as many non-NYP electrics into there as possible (IE, the entirety of the Atlantic branch). I could be wrong in my assumption, but even with full time city ticket, I think you're going to see a low turn out on something that isn't direct to Manhattan. Also, any new city zone service would probably need rush hour headways of at most 20 mins (and that's really pushing it), to really draw in riders. I'd much rather see this service as a hybrid style of service, a midway between subway and LIRR, but logistically, as things stand now, I think there's more in its way than as a subway. The problem is that making it a subway can only be done one way with the current infrastructure, and that way potentially brings an issue of dangerous overcrowding.

Fantasy land would be to see the entirety of Rockaway restored to LIRR. Trains running both directions NYP to Far Rock, across the Rockaways, up the RBB to FBA, and then a second service running Rockaway Park<->NYP/GCT via the RBB. But this would require both a restructuring of fares within the confines of NYC and relocation of all the projects/section-8/housing assistance residents to someplace with cheaper rail service, or some sort of subsidization of their fare. When I talk of a build out of the regional transportation network, I'm saying something like connecting ESA with Gateway and allow through running of some shorter LIRR/NJT routes, strictly for the sake of making the most of the limited capacity. Something like, Rock Park, up the RBB, into GCT, down to NYP, then out to Newark Airport or something. It sounds wild compared to the separation we have now, but it's probably the easiest way to add capacity to our system without having to do an even more massive build out.
  by hrfcarl
NIMBYkiller wrote:The problem is that making it a subway can only be done one way with the current infrastructure, and that way potentially brings an issue of dangerous overcrowding.
Based on the Wiki link provided by mkm4, it seems the easiest/most potential for ridership way is to use the infrastructure setup for the Subway. Is there any way to increase capacity on the affected Queens Blvd line? A link provided by Wiki mentioned that, if I read correctly, the Woodhaven Blvd station has infrastructure to turn it into an express stop, is this true? Might that relieve some of the crowding problems on the platforms of other stops you mentioned?
  by rr503
Correct -- there are provisions to have the local tracks move to the other side of the existing platform, which would then be widened to the express tracks. More local tph then could also be added to the line if this is built as it would eliminate the 71st ave conga line. The only way to add express capacity is to build the bypass.
  by NIMBYkiller
I also understand this to be true. While it does solve the platform crowding issue, it doesn't change anything about the crowding on the train which is probably the bigger problem. CBTC I believe is only going to boost capacity by about 3 tph.
  by Jeff Smith
Daily News votes "Yes": http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/rail ... -1.3339468" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Halfway through his week governing from Queens, Mayor de Blasio owes the people of the borough and city his support for restoring rail service to the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR, a route that has been inactive since 1962.

Although it has been more than half a century since the last train ran the 3.5 miles from Ozone Park up to Rego Park, connecting to the LIRR Main Line and straight into Penn Station, the valuable and irreplaceable right of way remains.

Some activists want this fallow rail bed to become a park, an outer-borough High Line, called Queensway. Sorry, folks. We love the High Line as much as anyone and were the very first to champion it, before Michael Bloomberg had ever heard of the defunct elevated freight spur.
In contrast, the Rockaway Beach Branch is ideal for a fast, direct link from JFK and Southeast Queens into the heart of Manhattan. It was such a good idea that then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller pushed it a half century ago.

De Blasio, when asked last month, said “We are closing in on our final decision. I want everything on the table. I will come back publicly with an assessment of the different options and the cost and we will move to a decision.”
  by Jeff Smith
Opinion piece: nydailynews.com
The train to the plane: Press to revive the Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR, Mr. Mayor

It was more than a year ago, during his first “City Hall in your borough” tour of Queens, that this page quoted Mayor de Blasio saying that he was nearing a determination on what to do with the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the LIRR, which all smart planners think should be restored for rail service and some well-meaning misguided types want to become a High Line-like park.

As Hizzoner said in summer of 2017: “We are closing in on our final decision. I want everything on the table. I will come back publicly with an assessment of the different options and the cost and we will move to a decision.”
  by Jeff Smith
I merged in some older threads in case you want to take a longer look back...
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