The plan for rail service to LaGuardia Airport took a major hit last week. The, proposed in 2015, will no longer be built above the Grand Central Parkway, connecting the airport and Willets Point in Queens. Residents in East Elmhurst scored a victory in getting state officials to agree that the path was sufficiently detrimental to their quality of life. Two remaining options for a track routing exist. It could run along the Flushing Bay Promenade or out over the water of Flushing Bay.
The Ditmars Boulevard Block Association, one of the neighborhood groups opposing the plan, suggests that the new AirTrain from LaGuardia would create health problems and property damage:
We stress the myriad health and property damage concerns attendant to construction of the proposed route. The airport and vehicle traffic already impinge on air quality in our neighborhood.
Yes, they believe that a train designed to remove cars from the roads around the airport will increase vehicular traffic and noise while reducing air quality. Not surprisingly, plenty are calling that position out as ridiculous. Alas, their state representatives don’t see the deception.
If this helps not build this wasteful airtrain to nowhere, fine, but spare me this "we live in a quiet neighborhood and the airtrain is going to ruin it" BS we went through two decades ago with the folks who live near the Van Wyck.
— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) April 26, 2018
Getting the construction approved requires legislation to clear in Albany and the two local representatives who plan to introduce the bill will not include the GCP routing as an option.
Read More: Rail Service Proposed to LaGuardia. Again.
Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, one of the two, believes that building the rail line over the water is somehow a better plan, despite it bringing the highest costs to bear. And cutting through a state park, which would require an additional action of divestiture from the state. And creating a new transit conduit rather than taking advantage of one that already exists.
The advantage of the AirTrain to Willets Point was that it affected the fewest residents. It was chosen in spite of offering a less convenient transfer point which will make the ride more difficult for the very passengers it claims to be helping, those who want better mass transit at LaGuardia. Oh, and the half billion dollar price tag originally envisioned appears to have doubled according to early design estimates.
It was a bad idea when it was running along the Grand Central Parkway, but at least there was something smart about it. Building a fully new right-of-way for this boondoggle is all sorts of bad.
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