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Letter: East Side Access tunneled too deep

Contractors work on the East Side Access Project

Contractors work on the East Side Access Project below midtown Manhattan on Jan. 29, 2013. Credit: Charles Eckert

The editorial “Tunnel to the 2020s?”  contains the oft-repeated but erroneous phrase that the East Side Access project “will take Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal.”

LIRR passengers will be taken into a lower level annex, 14 stories below street level. Passengers will then ride escalators to the street above.

There were many responsible transportation planners who were in favor of actually bringing LIRR trains into Grand Central, where there is surplus track capacity. However, the deep tunneling method was favored because it would cause less disruption of surface traffic during construction.

The East Side Access project will continue to haunt the LIRR, like Boston’s “Big Dig” highway project, because of very significant increases in operating costs without a commensurate increase in ridership and fares.

John Fruin

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired Port Authority transportation planner.


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