LIRR: Railroad growth makes parking a challenge
Parking has become a challenge at some Long Island Rail Road stations, and an expansion project could worsen the problem.
With the East Side Access project expected to be complete in a few years, the Long Island Rail Road will be scrambling to find parking to accommodate new commuters. As News 12 has reported, the tunnels will link the LIRR to Grand Central Station, and serve an estimated 160,000 riders a day.
LIRR Executive Vice President Elisa Picca says ridership is growing and parking is becoming more challenging.
Picca used the Hicksville station as an example. There are only 3,700 parking spots to serve 22,000 daily commuters.
The railroad says its own survey of ridership growth and parking lot capacity reveals 107 stations on Long Island are at least 90 percent full. The survey also revealed that 15,000 more parking spaces will be needed to accommodate commuters.
LIRR officials say that they have set aside $25 million to expand parking at the stations, but they say most towns and villages won't give up the land.
"We have to do a balancing act. We have to take into account the needs of the residents that live close to these lots," said Town of Oyster Bay Highway Commissioner Kevin Hanifan.
The LIRR Commuter Council wants the Nassau and Suffolk county executives to create a regional commission to deal with future parking needs.
Construction on the East Side Access project began in 2006. Work is expected to be finished in 2022.