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Introduced by Council

Res. No. 102

 

Resolution calling upon the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to conduct a comprehensive study of unused and underutilized railroad rights of way in New York City for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of increased passenger service along such corridors.

 

By Council Member Rodriguez

 

                     Whereas, The New York City subway system is experiencing historically high ridership levels, exposing the limits of its ability to accommodate increasing demand; and

                     Whereas, Continued population and job growth throughout the City, and specifically in the boroughs outside of Manhattan, is expected to further strain the City’s public transit system; and

                     Whereas, There are rail lines throughout the City that have the potential to accommodate increased levels of passenger service than they do today; and

                     Whereas, One example of an underused rail corridor is the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk Line between Long Island City and Jamaica in Queens, which last saw passenger service in the 1990s and now only serves a few overnight freight trains; and

                     Whereas, Other examples include the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch between Ozone Park and Rego Park in Queens and the New York Connecting Railroad (including the Bay Ridge Branch and the Fremont Secondary) between Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and Woodside, Queens, which is only used by freight trains; and

                     Whereas, Many proposals have been put forward over the years for increased passenger service using existing rights-of-way, including the Regional Plan Association’s Triboro RX plan for a line connecting the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn; and

                     Whereas, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment, released in October 2013, identifies the Bay Ridge Branch and the Rockaway Beach Branch as possible options for new service; and

                     Whereas, The Assessment asserts that converting existing rights-of-way to allow for increased passenger service “could help reduce land acquisition and construction costs, and facilitate construction time in densely developed areas”; and

                     Whereas, In order to begin the process of better connecting relatively-isolated communities with the mass transit system at a fraction of the cost of building completely new rail lines, a thorough examination of the possibilities for increased use of existing rights-of-way is needed; now, therefore, be it

                     Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to conduct a comprehensive study of unused and underutilized railroad rights of way in New York City for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of increased passenger service along such corridors.

JM

LS# 850

LS# 5878/Res. 903-2015

12/22/2017