This is in response to your “Don’t block the third track” editorial on Sunday. Elaine Phillips is my state senator, and I was aware that she was a vocal opponent of the proposed third-track expansion to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line. However, I was not aware that she and Sen. Kemp Hannon were maneuvering behind the scenes to hold the entire Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital plan hostage to block the third-track project.
Not only do I find that fact reprehensible, but Phillips’ claim that “conversations with constituents” informed her position is completely disingenuous.
As an LIRR commuter, I have sent Phillips two letters via the State Senate website to express my support for the project. I didn’t receive so much as a boilerplate reply explaining her opposition.
The truth is, in an effort to please a small group, Phillips has chosen the third-track expansion as her hill to die on, facts be damned.
Matthew Zeidman, New Hyde Park
Thank you, Newsday, for your editorial in support of the third track. The apocalyptic tone Newsday takes is absolutely appropriate: This is the best chance that Long Island will have to complete a major upgrade to the LIRR’s limited capacity, which contributes to an increasingly miserable commute (which I began in 1980).
The third-track project is a chance to eliminate grade crossings that waste thousands of hours of productive time every day. It’s the chance to create west-east commutes during rush hours that can someday provide the sort of job growth that suburbs such as Westchester County have seen in places like White Plains. That would help to strengthen Long Island’s tax base.
As far as Sen. Elaine Phillips’ comments — she’s my senator — I’d ask her three things:
- Do you really think the only benefit is regional and not local, as if your district is somehow divorced from the region?
- Are the local concerns real or just scaremongering?
- And if local concerns were always allowed to triumph, could this nation ever have built the interstate highway system, which I assume you’ve driven on?
It’s time for this freshman legislator to become a leader and not simply stick her finger in the air to see which way the wind blows.
John Kingston, Carle Place
I use the New Hyde Park train station and strongly support the third track. The elimination alone of three grade crossings near there is worth the investment.
Add the extended platform, parking and a kiss-and-ride drop-off, and all New Hyde Park riders should clamor for the project. That doesn’t even consider the overall benefits of efficiency, reverse commuting and economic development.
My state senator, Kemp Hannon, told Newsday that he has yet to get an email saying we want the track. That is no longer true, as he now has one from me. We need this project for the sake of progress.
Louis Lozito, Franklin Square
As a carpooler who travels from Huntington to Queens, I can tell you the high-occupancy vehicle lane is a joke [“Surviving your summer commute,” News, June 13]. Since “clean air” vehicles have been allowed in, the lane is just as bad, if not worse, than the other three lanes.
And now officials want to add buses during the summer disruption at Penn Station? For those of us who actually carpool, this is a slap in the face. HOV should be for high-occupancy vehicles only!
I have a few ideas to get us Long Island Rail Road commuters through what the governor called the “summer of hell”:
- Clearly (and correctly) communicate which trains will be canceled, rescheduled, combined or have a different origination or destination, so that we can plan.
- Give monthly commuters a discounted fare or future credit. Do not give extra trip tickets, as they are redundant for those of us who have monthly tickets.
- Mitigate delays and unsafe crowding by increasing the frequency of trains on subway lines that will get more use, such as the E to Jamaica, the 7 train to Hunters Point-Woodside and all lines to Atlantic Terminal.
Fellow passengers should realize that we are all in this together and the work has to be done. Getting angry and vocal do not move the train any faster or make it less crowded. A little common sense, courtesy and patience can go a long way.
Karen Boldizar, Garden City