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Kris
July 14th, 2003, 11:41 AM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

MTA puts brakes on LaG train

By PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Monday, July 14th, 2003

Plans to extend the subway to LaGuardia Airport - a project pushed by the Giuliani administration - have fallen off the radar screen.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's 2000-04 capital plan set aside $645 million to design and begin building an extension of the N train or some other transit link to connect Manhattan with the airport.

Though $17 million in taxpayer money has been spent on planning, the MTA has not touched any of the $645 million - and, for now, those funds cannot be used for anything but the airport link.

"It hasn't gone away, but it's slid," MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow said of the project.

The airport link has wound up last in a long line of major projects: bringing Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal, extending the No.7 train to Manhattan's far West Side and building the Second Ave. subway.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, officials are working on building a major hub at Ground Zero that could extend commuter lines downtown and connect Kennedy Airport with lower Manhattan.

"That's where all of our attention is focused," Kalikow said, "those issues we think more important than LaGuardia access."

Not a priority

Elliot Sander, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University, agreed.

"LaGuardia is a good project, but you have to prioritize," Sander said. "In terms of political support from City Hall, Albany and Washington, it's moved back in the queue."

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani could not be reached for comment.

The $645 million earmarked for the LaGuardia link can't be used for any other project unless the MTA amends its capital spending plan.

Despite spending $17 million on planning, MTA and Port Authority officials are reassessing whether the LaGuardia link would be worth the money and years of construction.

Pared to 4 plans

Over the years, officials have looked at 20 possibilities for a LaGuardia connection - including running a No. 7 train extension from Shea Stadium to the airport.

By the time the $645 million was allocated in 2000, the MTA was down to four plans.

Three of the plans would extend the N line through Astoria. One would be underground, another would be elevated along 31st St. and 19th Ave. and the third calls for creation of an elevated spur along the Grand Central Parkway.

The fourth plan would create a guided busway from the Queensboro Bridge.

None of those ideas please local people and merchants, who fear noise and a loss of business.

The project "should be on the back burner and remain there," said George Delis, district manager of Queens' Community Board 1.

"We will fight this thing as hard as we can as long as we have to, and we will raise money" to file a lawsuit against the project, he added.

Improving airport access has been a longtime goal of city officials and planners. The Port Authority's AirTrain - which will link Kennedy Airport terminals with the Howard Beach subway station and subways and LIRR trains at Jamaica Station - is slated to begin service this year.

TLOZ Link5
July 14th, 2003, 06:06 PM
It's definitely still on the table. *Does anyone think that these NIMBYs have a shot at defeating the project, though?

Kris
July 14th, 2003, 08:17 PM
They seem like caricatures. In the last news report on this one of them said: "It'll destroy our neighborhood."

Agglomeration
July 14th, 2003, 09:09 PM
"It'll destroy our neighborhood!"

By what? Relieving traffic on the Grand Central Parkway and all the side streets near it? Providing new jobs and better convenience for travelers and airport employees? Helping Laguardia shed its reputation for decay and congestion? I'm having a serious problem trying to comprehend these uncompromising zealots :angry: .

(Edited by Agglomeration at 9:14 pm on July 14, 2003)

TLOZ Link5
July 14th, 2003, 09:47 PM
The way you put it, Agglom, they don't sound like NIMBYs. *You've quite accurately painted them as BANANAs. *I live on Second Avenue and my quality of life (or at least that of my parents, considering them I'm going to be living in an NYU dorm) will definitely deteriorate for some time during the subway construction. *But you know what? *None of us are complaining because this project is a necessity and in the end will improve the standard of living on the far East Side. *These people seem to have an adverse way of thinking, unfortunately.

Do the Community Boards have webpages? *You ought to send that to them, or at least as an op-ed to the Daily News as a counterpoint to their ludicrous argument.

TLOZ Link5
July 14th, 2003, 10:07 PM
In fact, acting on a spur of activism, I just finished E-mailing an editorial to Voice of the People:

"In regards to Monday's report on the MTA's decision to put a project extending the N Line to LaGuardia Airport on hold: Hearing of Peter Kalikow's decision to delay this necessary project for the time being did not vex me as much as reading about the selfish complaints of Astoria residents who fear so-called 'noise and a loss of business.' *Their opposition, spearheaded by Queens Community Board 1 chairman George Delis—quoted as promising to "fight this thing as long as we have to"—seems less out of concern for the well-being of the city and reeks of Not-In-My-Back-Yardism.

"These self-styled community activists are less interested in new jobs and better convenience for travelers and airport workers, as well as easing congestion on the Grand Central Parkway and reversing the airport's slow decline due to its isolation from mass transit; and more concerned about the immediate setbacks as a result of the construction. *While Hong Kong, Chicago, London and Tokyo, among others, now utilize mass-transit options for airport access, New York remains one of the few major international cities that lack rail links to regional airports—and unless City Hall stops showing tolerance for community groups trying to stymie such projects, it will remain that way for the forseeable future."

If anyone else is ticked off by these meddling "community activists," then feel free to write op-ed pieces of your own.

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 10:10 pm on July 14, 2003)

Agglomeration
July 15th, 2003, 09:09 PM
I've sometimes ridden my bicycle along the East Elmhurst area (that's the main neighborhood just south of LaGuardia) and all they have are houses surrounded by hotels, the tallest of which is the 11-floor Marriot. The area is actually relatively isolated except for a couple of food stands. So far I haven't heard much complaining from the people in that area. And thank God I'm not hearing any sign of Tear-Everything-Down-At-Once-ism aimed at demolishing LaGuardia Airport.

Well, the Astoria area is under construction already, with improvements being made to the roads just north of the 59th Street Bridge. The immediate area could use a lot more improvement.

(Edited by Agglomeration at 9:11 pm on July 15, 2003)

TLOZ Link5
July 15th, 2003, 10:15 PM
One must hope these fools are merely a vocal minority, then.

Kris
July 16th, 2003, 01:30 AM
Well done, TLOZ Link5. What's Voice of the People?

TLOZ Link5
July 16th, 2003, 02:36 PM
Voice of the People is the op-ed section of the Daily News, where normal Joes can sound off about city issues that concern them. *Their regular and syndicated columnists (Lenore Skazy, E.R. Shipp, Stanley Crouch, Bill O'Reilly, Dave Barry, etc.) also appear around those pages.

GowanusGuy
January 18th, 2009, 01:15 PM
I wonder if Obama's infrastructure spending plan will address the LaGuardia access problem?

TranspoMan
February 1st, 2009, 03:39 PM
I doubt it. The infrastructure component of the economic stimulus package may amount to $90 billion, with about $9 billion going to transit, and will be distributed to other cities besides New York. Last week, the MTA said it expects to spend almost half a billion of stimulus money to complete the Fulton Street Transit Center. A while ago, the MTA decided to spend the money it had earmarked for the LaGuardia Airport link to construct a Metro-North Station at Yankee Stadium.

Providing subway access to LGA is a worthy project but in this day and age with limited federal and state funds for infrastructure maintenance and capital expansion transportation planners have to prioritize. A project like the Second Avenue Subway is going to give the most bang for the buck.

Merry
January 21st, 2015, 04:08 AM
Cuomo Wants Elevated Train Link Built to Ill-Served La Guardia Airport

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
JAN. 20, 2015

It is a struggle known to generations of weary air travelers: the traffic-choked, anxiety-laden trip to La Guardia Airport, heartbeats and taxi meters rising in unison.

That bumper-to-bumper experience could soon be coming to an end. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Tuesday proposed the construction of an elevated AirTrain to La Guardia. It would be the first rail link to an airfield long lamented for its transit-starved location in Queens.

The proposed train would curve along the Grand Central Parkway for one and a half miles before connecting with the No. 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road at an expanded terminal in Queens, alongside Citi Field and the National Tennis Center.

Similar in design to the rail lines used to reach Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, the elevated train would cost about $450 million to build, the governor’s office said, a relative pittance compared with a cost of $1 billion per mile or more for new subway lines.

It is an ambitious, Robert Moses-style proposal from a governor determined to leave an imprint in his second term, although major elements remained to be worked out. When the train would start operating, for one, is far from certain.

“I would not venture a guess to the timing,” Mr. Cuomo said, shortly after unveiling his plan at a breakfast speech in Midtown Manhattan. A spokeswoman later clarified that once construction began, the project would take about five years to finish.

Mr. Cuomo was also vague about how to pay for the train. He said the costs would be absorbed within “existing” state resources, including the budgets of the two agencies he was assigning to the project — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — as well as the billions of dollars the state is counting on from settlements with Wall Street banks.

But the transportation authority, which operates and maintains bridges, buses and the New York City subway system, already has a $15.2 billion gap in its long-term capital plan, and Mr. Cuomo offered no hints of how the state might make up the difference.

“It is alarming that he would spring a new project on people without explaining how to pay for the old projects,” said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “Are we going to keep up with the Second Avenue subway, never mind a new project?”

For La Guardia’s passengers, any doubts may be outweighed by the potential convenience. A survey by the Port Authority in 2008 showed that 75 percent of travelers from Manhattan used a taxi or car service to reach the airport; only 16 percent rode buses or shared a van.

The governor’s office gave no estimate for how long it would take passengers to ride from Manhattan to La Guardia via the proposed station, which is farther east of Manhattan than the airport.

Proposals for a train to La Guardia have circulated in transportation circles for decades. Other ideas have included a transit link from Woodside, Queens, or extending the N subway line from Astoria to the airport, a plan promoted by the Giuliani administration but felled by Queens politicians concerned about its effect on local neighborhoods.

By comparison, Mr. Cuomo’s proposal is cheaper and less intrusive to residents, according to Elliot G. Sander, chairman of the Regional Plan Association, a group that advises on infrastructure planning in the New York area.

“It is relatively simple, relatively inexpensive and has minimal impact on the surrounding community,” said Mr. Sander, a lifelong resident of Queens. “You’re not doing underground tunneling. It’s a simple, short connection.”

The governor, for his part, received a warm response on Tuesday when he previewed plans to improve the city’s transportation network at a breakfast sponsored by the Association for a Better New York, a civic group.

“This is a breakthrough,” said Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University. “They may need to rename La Guardia after Cuomo.”

In the audience were representatives of the Wilpon family, which owns Citi Field and the Mets, and the Related Companies, one of Mr. Cuomo’s largest donors; Related Companies is redeveloping land around the proposed AirTrain terminal.

The reception was slightly cooler at a transportation authority board meeting around the same time on Tuesday. Andrew Albert, a rider representative on the board, said he was concerned about an influx of airport-bound riders on the crowded 7 line. The 7 train is gaining a new stop on the Far West Side of Manhattan, but is also receiving a signal upgrade to increase the number of trains per hour.

Leaders of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority later issued a joint statement praising Mr. Cuomo’s idea.

Mr. Cuomo announced in October a contest (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/nyregion/gov-cuomo-joined-by-biden-announces-design-contest-to-improve-new-york-citys-airports.html) for overall redesigns of both New York City airports. He affirmed on Tuesday that he wanted to redesign the terminals at La Guardia, which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently compared (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/nyregion/biden-compares-la-guardia-airport-to-third-world.html) to the facilities in a third-world country. The governor proposed, among other things, a high-speed ferry link from Manhattan and a new slate of departure-gate restaurants.

“I’m partial to Peter Luger,” Mr. Cuomo said during his speech, referring to the famed Brooklyn steakhouse, whose logo was projected on a screen behind him. “As governor,” he added, “you get a few prerogatives.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/nyregion/cuomo-proposes-train-link-to-la-guardia-airport.html?_r=0

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/01/20/at_long_last_the_airtrain_will_go_to_laguardia_air port.php

SuddenImpact
January 26th, 2015, 01:04 PM
If I remember correctly, back in the mid 1990s the original AirTrain plans called for a connection between JFK and LaGuardia. With stops in between at Jamaica Station and Willets Point to cover all of the major LIRR lines as well as the E, J, and 7 subway lines. It's nearly 20 years later and this is the first AirTrain mention of LaGuardia since.

But why stop at Willets Point? Just go the extra mile (or five) and continue on towards the Van Wyck until connecting with the JFK line at Jamaica Station!