Jan. 23, 2020 By Kristen Torres
The MTA has awarded a $1.3 million contract to an engineering firm in order to study the feasibility of creating a passenger rail from a freight-only line that runs from Astoria to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
The study, announced by MTA on Wednesday, will look into the possibility for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service that would run in conjunction with existing freight rail service in order to supplement inter-borough travel between Brooklyn and Queens.
The new line would run 16 miles north through the two boroughs—passing through Glendale, Middle Village and Elmhurst in Queens—and would connect to 19 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.
“This project is hugely exciting – partly because it is based on the concept of squeezing more out of our already existing infrastructure so we don’t always have to build new subway lines from scratch,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Chief Development Officer.
The announcement comes just three days after Council Member Costa Constantinides endorsed the city’s plan for the Triboro rail line—an inter-borough train that also looks to use freight-only lines for future passenger travel.
The Triboro rail line, however, would run from Co-op City in the Bronx, down through western Queens and into Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
“If we’re going to shrink our carbon footprint by getting people out of their cars, we need a reliable mass transit system that connects one borough with another,” said Constantinides in the letter.
“The Triboro line could make connections from western Queens to the Bronx or to Brooklyn significantly faster, because not all lines have to lead to Manhattan anymore,” he added.
The engineering firm AECOM will work alongside subcontractor WSP to complete the feasibility study for the Bay Ridge branch project. A timeline for the results was not immediately given by MTA officials.