First section of LIRR’s Third Track expansion debuts during Monday morning commute
The first section of the Long Island Rail Road’s Third Track expansion project was in service during Monday morning’s rush hour commute.
The landmark unveiling is a milestone for the project that began in 2018. It is something that Peter Haynes, president of the LIRR Commuter Campaign, says he’s glad to see it finished.
“It will make a very big noticeable difference in the morning for the commute of thousands of commuters,” he commented.
He says the third track allows the LIRR to run more trains and recover from delays during the rush hour commute.
Since the pandemic, ridership has been down, but commuter advocates say people will eventually come back to the office more and benefits will be seen down the road.
However, the third track, which is a nearly 10-mile stretch that starts in Floral Park and ends in Hicksville, has not come without controversy. Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker, who represents parts of Hicksville, says residents have complained about the increased traffic, noise, detours and unfulfilled promises.
She says the MTA never delivered on their promise of a Hicksville communizer parking garage.
“That, to me, says a lot about them, because trust is very important and you believe that they were going to do it and they walked away from that,” she said.
In New Hyde Park, the MTA reconstructed three grade crossings and made renovations to the train station, affecting many businesses and residents over the past four years. Christopher Devane, the mayor of the village, is cautiously optimistic about the impact it will have.
“We've dealt with the burdens over the last four years,” he said. “Village residents – they’ve had to deal with a lot of construction, noise pollution, detours – we haven't seen many benefits, but that may be forthcoming.”
The second section of the track, which goes from Garden City to Carle Place, will open on Aug. 29
All other portions of the new rail will be put into service in the next few months.