Suffolk elected officials have picked what they say is the right spot for a relocated LIRR Yaphank station, near Brookhaven National Laboratory.
County Executive Steve Bellone and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine announced Friday that they had selected a location just east of the William Floyd Parkway, and south of the Long Island Expressway, for a new Yaphank train station — a location they said "will provide the strongest connection to the world-renowned Brookhaven National Laboratory and the East Yaphank community." The announcement came in a letter sent to Long Island Rail Road president Phillip Eng.
Although the LIRR will ultimately select where the new station will go, a railroad spokesman said the agency will "incorporate" the ideas of Bellone and Romaine into their decision.
In an interview, Bellone said the selected location, about a mile east of the current station, would "create, effectively, a Brookhaven National Lab story for the Long Island Rail Road."
"This checks all the boxes. It’s right by the lab. It’s next to industrial opportunities. It’s adjacent to undeveloped space that could be leveraged into the appropriate kinds of developments," Bellone said.
Since 2018, the LIRR has been looking to move its little-used Yaphank station, located near the intersection of Yaphank Avenue and Park Street. It is served by just three eastbound and four westbound trains on weekdays, and saw about 30 riders on an average day even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further reduced ridership.
The railroad, using state funding, undertook a $1.5 million feasibility study that considered various sites for the new station, all east of the current location. The options include the site favored by Bellone and Romaine, which is north of the tracks and would be reached via Precision Drive, and a site off Rose Executive Boulevard west of William Floyd Parkway and north of the tracks.
On the project’s website, the railroad said that a site east of the current location will "provide improved rail transportation access for residents, employers, and employees in this rapidly growing area of the County."
"We are grateful that the leadership of Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven is agreeable to working with the MTA to choose a site for the relocation of the Yaphank LIRR station," railroad spokesman David Steckel said. "We will incorporate their ideas into our assessment to meet operating needs of the LIRR and commuting priorities of our customers."
The railroad expects building the new station will cost about $20 million. Steckel said there was no timetable for when the new station would be constructed.
In addition to a relocated station, Long Island business leaders also have been pushing the railroad to consider electrifying its tracks from Ronkonkoma to Yaphank — further improving rail service in eastern Suffolk.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the cost of the feasibility study.