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Tracking The LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has unveiled plans for its Double Track Project, expanding rail capacity between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. 

The plan is to add 12.6 miles of new track in two phases so that the LIRR can provide double track service over the 17.9-mile stretch. The route includes LIRR stations at Farmingdale, Pinelawn, Wyandanch, Deer Park, Brentwood, Central Islip and Ronkonkoma. It will also make a new Republic Station at Route 110 possible, able to serve the airport and major business corridor in East Farmingdale.

The project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 includes the track work between Central Islip and Ronkonkoma, and will be the first part of the completed construction, for an anticipated completion date of September 2016. The first phase includes an environmental review and, after completion of that review, a design of the entire project and construction of a four-mile segment of the first phase. This phase is already completely funded.

Phase 2 includes the remaining portion, west to Farmingdale, with a completion date of December 2018. The second portion of the project requires $297 million and is not yet funded. 

Ridership on the Ronkonkoma Branch is at 44,700 each weekday and has doubled over the last 25 years. With one track along most of the 18-mile route between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale, the LIRR can only operate a limited number of trains. LIRR president Helena Williams told Anton Community Newspapers that adding a new second track will greatly benefit commuters by improving service reliability, increasing on-time performance, and enabling faster recovery following service disruptions. If one train becomes disabled, all other trains (east and west) have no way around the problem.

“The moment the electrification occurred to Ronkonkoma, the very day in 1988, it [the service] was already undersized for the location,” said Williams. “The Double Track Project will increase service reliability on one of the busiest corridors on the LIRR,” and be beneficial for decades to come. 

Once completed, Double Track will have immediate benefits for LIRR customers by allowing for half-hourly off-peak service in both directions. It also will allow for long-term improvements to LIRR service when the East Side Access project is completed. This will offer LIRR customers direct access to Grand Central Terminal and the East Side of Manhattan beginning in 2019.

Williams said that the Double Track Project does not require any property acquisition. The entire stretch of track is within existing right-of-way. 

In May 2012, Senator Charles Fuschillo secured $138 million in state funding to accelerate the project by two years.

“The Double Track project is critically important to Long Island. It will create jobs, promote economic development, and improve service for LIRR riders, all of which is greatly needed,” said Fuschillo, chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee. “I’m extremely pleased that we were able to accelerate the Double Track project and ensure that a project which has long been a dream will finally become a reality.” 

In addition to the jobs and economic activity generated by the project itself, the second track is also a critical component to other current and proposed transit oriented developments along the branch, which would help promote additional economic development and activity. Along with the Republic/Route 110 Corridor project, the second track project is also critical to other transit oriented developments such as Wyandanch Rising and the Ronkonkoma Hub. 

“The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council (LIRRCC) views construction of a second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma as a critical project for the Long Island economy,” said Mark Epstein, chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council. “The second track will make travel more convenient, increase capacity significantly, and dramatically reduce the impact of train breakdowns and other incidents in this part of the railroad; this project is vital to users of the LIRR and is long overdue.”

MTA LIRR has selected the international design and engineering firm AECOM to help plan and carry out the Double Track Project. Among AECOM’s mass transit projects is the High Speed Rail Terminus in Hong Kong, which is connecting to China’s high-speed rail network.

“We’re excited to team with LIRR to help improve Long Island’s most important mass transit infrastructure,” said Julie D’Orazio, vice president and leader of AECOM’s transit practice in the northeastern United States.

Williams said that the construction benefits over the next five years will create opportunity for Long Island businesses such as trucking, demolition, paving, concrete, landscaping, drainage, and more. Minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses could also see a benefit from the project plans. 

“Construction of an uninterrupted second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma has been part of the LIRR’s vision for decades,” said the LIRR president. “The time to move ahead with Double Track is now.”

An initial public outreach period has ended. A public comment period will be announced and held in March 2013. Residents can obtain more information about the Double Track Project on the LIRR’s website: www.mta.info/lirr.

News

If you stopped by the Farmingdale Public Library this past week, perhaps you noticed all of the paintings and art pieces currently on display. For the entire month of July, the library will feature the many styles of artist/poet Ruth Lawrence.

 

“I’ve been exhibiting for quite a few years,” said Lawrence, “I am always happy to show my work.”

 

Lawrence, 87, of East Meadow, said she first began painting at just 12 years old. She recalls, at the time her sister had been dating someone who worked at an art supply store, and had gotten her some oil-based paints as a present. 

Two inventors, one local and one international, have come together to launch an online fundraising campaign for a product they hope to bring to the market by the end of the year. 

 

Farmingdale resident Rafael Avila is one half of the duo behind the Chocolazer, which is a hot glue gun used to melt chocolate for culinary purposes. 

 

The Chocolazer is branded as a no-mess product that is meant to inspire people to be creative with chocolate. The gadget features a removable heating barrel, wherein special chocolate sticks are melted down into a manageable liquid form. 


Sports

Throughout the summer, the Farmingdale Observer will feature the box scores from the Farmingdale Baseball League Inc.’s 9/11 Baseball Tournament. 

July 6

Farmingdale Greendogs 7 - Seaford Vikings 6 (8U)

 

Syosset Cubs 18 - Plainview Hawks 1 (12U)

Runners and walkers from Farmingdale and all over Long Island and beyond are invited to join in the fun on one of the most unusual 5 Kilometer courses on Long Island at the Saturday, August 9th Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint.

 

The Run presents the Long Island running community with an opportunity to traverse a unique combination of paved paths and runner-friendly woodland trails at the Sands Point Preserve. 

 

The leading Nassau County law firm of Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello has signed on to be the new lead sponsor of the event, with partner John Dunne and his wife planning on running the 5K distance. The Lynbrook Runner’s Stop will be back as the presenting sponsor.  


Calendar

Wounded Warrior Dinner - July 16

Youth Council Concert - July 17

Roller Rebels Tryouts - July 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com