Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, has issued its 2013 report, focusing on the future of the Long Island’ss Railroad and how the commuter line could aid the Island’s growth.
The report, titled “How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy,” was prepared by the Regional Plan Association. The LIRR has been central to the growth and development of Long Island since it was chartered in 1834 and continues to play a crucial role in Long Island’s economy with 25 percent of local income coming from New York City jobs.
While many think of the railroad in terms of its ability to transport commuters between Long Island and New York City, this report highlights how the railroad can play a transformative role for the local economy and can have positive outcomes for all Long Islanders regardless of whether or not they are LIRR riders. It also clarifies that when new rail services are coupled with community revitalization efforts, significant transformations can occur that create new jobs and companies, access to new living spaces and, overall, a more robust local economy. Drawing on the successes of White Plains, N.Y. and South Orange, NJ, the report considers where Long Island might focus for similar growth.
Unlike neighbors in New Jersey and Westchester who have gained significant ridership over the last decade, to date the reach and capacity of the LIRR has remained unchanged since it first connected to Manhattan’s Penn Station in 1910. Now, for the first time in more than a century, the LIRR is poised to provide new capacity on its network. This year’s Long Island Index, is, therefore, focused on illuminating the opportunities and challenges that the LIRR provides, offering unbiased reliable data on which to base a broader public discussion, and encouraging that discussion of how best to maximize public transit’s potential for increasing Long Island’s economic vitality.
With new capacity, the railroad could lead a new era of economic growth for Long Island. By 2019, the East Side Access project will give LIRR riders direct access to Grand Central Terminal and east Midtown Manhattan, the densest concentration of jobs in the country. A second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma could be completed by 2018 and expand service options and reliability on one of the fastest growing yet most overcrowded lines in the system. Beyond these two projects, a deferred and long-debated project – a third track on the LIRR Main Line – has the potential to greatly improve service and support job growth within Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Among the related findings revealed in the Long Island Index are the following:
· With East Side Access, nearly 400,000 homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties will see the value of their homes rise by an average of $7,300.
· With expansion of the Ronkonkoma line to two tracks and the main line to three tracks, employers will have access to many more potential workers – at least 350,000 in Mineola and 226,000 in Hicksville, for example – increasing the attractiveness of Long Island to prospective employers. In addition, major economic development initiatives, such as Wyandanch Rising, the Ronkonkoma transit village project, and the Republic Airport hub would have a much greater chance of success.
· With expansion of the main line to three tracks, service reliability, efficiency and flexibility would be greatly improved, with 50 percent more capacity on the main line to reroute trains, move trains more easily between yards and stations, and add service as needed.
· With all three projects, Long Island’s economy would be in a much stronger position for future growth with faster access to jobs in New York City and greater ease of bringing New York City employees to new jobs on Long Island.
Projects of this magnitude necessarily come with costs and challenges.
The combined construction cost of the three projects is over $10 billion. East Side Access, with a cost of over $8 billion, represents the lion’s share of the capital costs. For East Side Access, the challenge is to complete the remaining construction, which includes the most complicated part of the project, on schedule. Local communities and the LIRR will also need to plan for changes in parking needs and traffic patterns.
“The Long Island Rail Road is one of Long Island’s most important and least understood regional assets,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation. “The 2013 Long Island Index presents many of the facts that highlight the railroad’s potential, and it provides a guide to an important, open, and transparent discussion of the role of public transit in Long Island’s economy and future.”
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The streets of Oyster Bay were full with enthusiastic supporters of the Oyster Bay High School PTSA, coming out in force to enjoy a Taste of the Town. This was the first annual Taste of the Town — Restaurant Stroll, and, judging by the crowds and the happy smiles in evidence all evening, it will be the first of many successful events.
This event, previously known as the Taste of the Gold Coast, had been held in catering facilities. This year, the committee felt strongly that they wanted to support the local restaurants and businesses that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The local restaurants and businesses are very generous to the community, whether to the PTSA, sports clubs or local nonprofits. The Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically supported the idea, and a wonderful concept came to life.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
“There won’t be any fireworks on July 4,” said Caroline DuBois. She said letters have gone out to residents of Cove Neck from the Dolans telling everyone the news. Charles and Helen Dolan have celebrated their wedding anniversary with fireworks on the Fourth of July for many years. Having attended one of them was a great boon. It was a massive production and needed the cooperation of their neighbors, who were all invited to the party. We parked in an area along the road and with our invitation to show, we were picked up by a van and driven to the estate.
The entire beachfront was filled with tables and chairs. Food stations dotted the area. There was a carousel in the section where you first arrived. The food was served on china with real silverware: no paper plates and plastic forks. We sat with a basketball pro and his lovely family. When the party ended there were teddy bears for the children and stationery for the ladies. You knew you had been to a great party.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club held their Annual Golf Tournament, named for the late World Golf Hall of Famer Joseph C. Dey Jr., on Monday, May 6, at Meadow Brook Club in Jericho. Hugh R. O’Kane, President of Hugh O’Kane Electric Company, chaired this year’s event.
“This year’s outing was an overwhelming success due to the tremendous support from both our corporate and personal friends. We attracted a sold-out crowd across a broad spectrum from both the Long Island and New York City communities,” said O’Kane. “We are thankful to all those that both attended and supported our outing this year.”
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than five million Americans are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Troubled by these statistics and personally affected, Long Islander and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic Committee, a group of professionals dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.