Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
Mineola doesn’t fancy itself as a San Francisco treat, but if the $360 million Nassau Hub plan comes to fruition, residents could see a trolly-style-like tram rolling down East Second Street. Funding for the trolley would likely be funded by the federal government, according to village officials.
Nassau County spent a $5.1 million federal grant on the county/Federal Transit Authority-led feasibility study analyzing the practical nature of a transportation service through Mineola, as part of the Nassau Hub plan. One end of the plan would be the Mineola Train Station, with the Hempstead Bus and Rail Station being the other.
Mineola trustees Paul Pereira, Paul Cusato and Dennis Walsh attended a recent Nassau County public works stakeholders meeting. The presentation showcased an overview of the traffic problems in central Nassau County and how a new transportation system to service the Hub would reportedly reduce traffic, air pollution and generate economic growth.
Pereira said the route encompasses East Second Street toward Voice Road, and south on Glen Cove Road. The route would go over Old Country Road near the Meadowbrook Parkway, into Nassau Community College, Museum Row and back west along Hempstead Turnpike by Hofstra University in to Hempstead.
“It’s safe to say this is not going to happen anytime soon,” said Pereira. “We’re pretty certain that it’s a long, long, long way away.”
The plan however, which encompasses 11-square miles, does not encompass the Village of Garden City.
“Every community in central Nassau County is affected by this, except Garden City,” Pereira said. “It’s kind of interesting, the omission of Garden City when they have a vibrant downtown, they also have a university…Adelphi University there, that I’m sure wants a stop along with a dedicated bus line, monorail.”
Traffic expert Mayer Horn, of Babylon-based Greenman Pedersen Inc., thinks the plan could work if handled correctly.
“To the extent that [the Hub plan] is made attractive, it can be affective in reducing driving,” he said. “If one of the objectives is to, for example is to take people from the rail road, then one of the things you’ll want to do is coordinate rail road schedules. Transit can be affective in a suburban environment if there are a combination of incentives and disincentives; incentives for transit use, disincentives for auto use.”
Pereira thinks opening up East Second Street to Voice Road is ill-advised.
“There are many issues, but certainly the opening up of East Second Street to Voice Road is paramount,” Pereira said. “That cannot happen; certainly not in a way that traffic is allowed to flow between Glen Cove Road and our residential area on East Second Street.”
This plan is contingent upon the four Nassau Coliseum proposals submitted last month. The county is expected to pick one of the four plans from Forest City Ratner, Madison Square Garden Company, Syosset developer Ed Blumenfeld or New York Sports LLC on July 15.
“The concept is okay of getting people to use mass transit,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said. “I understand it, but I don’t think it will work because we all like to drive our own cars. What I don’t like is it’s coming through Mineola and avoiding other areas. To me, if they were going to do this Hub project, have them come out of the [LIRR] Intermodal Center on to Old Country Road to Roosevelt Field.
Why do you have to snake it through downtown Mineola where the streets are tight as it is?”