With great interest, I read comments by Charles Samek (“No Third Track”) criticizing the plan to build a third Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) track between Floral Park and Hicksville. I agree with Mr. Samek that some of the transportation projects are total and complete wastes of taxpayer money. However, if there is a project badly needed, it is the third track accompanied by the under-construction second track to Ronkonkoma and a possible freight tunnel connecting New Jersey to the LIRR.
Mr. Samek’s arguments sound like grabbing straws to justify some NIMBY agenda rather than the product of a thoughtful analysis. His arguments are not only trivial, but contradictory. On one hand, Mr. Samek argues that Long Island is overbuilt and overpopulated, but on the other hand he would like New York City residents to shun commuting on the LIRR and move to Long Island if that is where their jobs are. Mr. Samek, you cannot have it both ways. Equally ridiculous is his contention about increased traffic, but is that not one of the reasons for the third track? I mean it could significantly reduce automobile traffic. At least that is one byproduct of a public transportation system.
His argument about the danger of relocating station structure is at best trivial. Small structures like the north waiting room at Mineola, can easily be relocated. Construction engineering has accomplished moves like that for the past 120 years. I mean, would it not make sense that structural relocation would be part of the project?
Then there is the notion about endangering the water supply. That’s a little confusing. Last time I looked, the LIRR no longer operated using steam motive power.
I do see one major problem and that is the elimination of some parking spaces at the stations west of Hicksville. That is an issue the county, villages, towns and the LIRR will have to address.