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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / New York now has three ways to improve rail transit to Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City NEWSWIRE

New York now has three ways to improve rail transit to Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City NEWSWIRE

By Ralph Spielman | December 17, 2018

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Photo11waitingLIRRtrainsatLIC
Photo11waitingLIRRtrainsatLIC
Long Island Rail Road trains line up at Long Island City, N.Y. The commuter railroad has no immediate plans to change operations or build stations to accommodate new Amazon workers.
Ralph Spielman
NEW YORK — The first of an expected 25,000 Amazon employees hired over a ten-year period will begin to occupy a new headquarters site in Long Island City on Jan. 1, yet there is little ability for rail public transit to absorb them.

The situation is ironic since transit access was a prime reason for Long Island City’s selection as one of two new employment hubs in the country, the other being Crystal City in Arlington, Va., across from Washington. Amazon estimates that as many as 40,000 workers will occupy the New York location in the next 20 years.

The easiest way to increase rail transit capacity in the area has recently been completed: installation of a modern, PTC-like train control system on the Flushing Line. That system enables subway trains to move at more frequent intervals.

Two other options on the table include a new Long Island Rail Road stop and a to-be-built light rail line.

An LIRR stop at Sunnyside would provide one-stop access to New York Penn Station, which is not offered by trains from the closer-in Long Island City and Hunterspoint Avenue stations, which only offer service to Jamaica, N.Y., and points east.

Perhaps the most intriguing transit option is the planned 11-mile light-rail Brooklyn Queens Connector which would connect Astoria Queens to the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn through Long Island City, connecting rapidly developing neighborhoods. It would add another mass transit option for the new workforce most likely to use it. The BQX would not be part of the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but a New York City agency. There would be a stop a block away from the Amazon HQ2 offices, although operation is projected for 2029 at the earliest.

At this time, the MTA does not offer a subway or rail station less than a half-mile away, nor is it likely a new one would be built in the near future.

Despite all the construction likely to accompany Long Island City’s new build-out, a New York & Atlantic Railway spokesperson said the railroad is unlikely to see a traffic spike because of Amazon, not least because the nearest rail head is two miles away.

3 thoughts on “New York now has three ways to improve rail transit to Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City NEWSWIRE

  1. I’m not sure where in Long Island City Amazon is going to locate (there has been talk of doing air rights development over Sunnyside Yard). But anywhere west of Harold there is very challenging topography for a stop (embankments, bridges, etc) but more importantly all the Long Island trains and Amtrak trains funnel into a congested area. Stopping a train for 4-5 minutes is going to eat up a lot of track time. I guess you could do a Secaucus Transfer type building with side tracks but that’s going to be very expensive.

  2. This article has some important omissions and inaccuracies. First, the proposed site is north of the Anable Basin (Eleventh Street Basin on Google maps) so the statement “yet there is little ability for rail public transit to absorb them” is inaccurate. The site is a short, 6 minute walk from the Court Square subway station of the E, M, and 7 lines. Only the 7 (Flushing) line is mentioned in the article. In fact, the first Amazon tenants will occupy the Citi building which is right on top of the Court Square station. Thus, the statement in the article “At this time, the MTA does not offer a subway or rail station less than a half-mile away” is false.

    Regarding the LIRR, the Hunter’s Point station is a 0.7 mile walk from the proposed campus. The article seems fixated with the lack of service from the west, but there is no need for this with the E subway being much closer. Amazon employees living out on Long Island can either walk or bike-share from the station, or transfer to the 7 for a short trip to Court Square.

    There is also a large amount of residential space available, or already being built, very near the proposed campus which may have many people walking or biking to the campus.

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