You are reading

Queens Officials Ask State to Ensure Local Communities Aren’t Overburdened by Interborough Express

MTA Interborough Express

The Interborough Express would consist of either a bus rapid transit system, light rail or conventional heavy rail (Rendering provided by the MTA)

April 20, 2022 By Allie Griffin

A half-dozen Queens legislators are calling on the state to ensure that a proposed commuter rail link between Queens and Brooklyn doesn’t overburden the neighborhoods it will run through.

The elected officials penned a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton on April 7 asking them to address residents’ concerns over the Interborough Express.

Residents of Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Glendale worry that the Interborough Express project — which calls for the conversion of an existing 14-mile freight line running through the neighborhoods into a commuter railway — will worsen already poor noise pollution and traffic congestion.

“These communities are familiar with the effects of noise pollution and earth-shaking vibrations caused by freight rail,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “For years, our constituents have raised concerns regarding the effects of freight trains.”

The railway would run from Jackon Heights to Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, where it would connect to another proposed project called the Cross Harbor Freight Program, which aims to build a four-mile freight tunnel from Jersey City to south Brooklyn.

Rep. Grace Meng — joined by State Sen. Joseph Addabbo; Assembly Members Cathy Nolan, Andrew Hevesi and Brian Barnwell; and Council Member Robert Holden — wrote that the state must incorporate noise cancellation and traffic congestion solutions into the two projects.

“We understand the significance of these projects as well as the potential benefits they may provide to our city, including decongesting our streets, expanding public transit, and reducing carbon emissions,” the officials wrote in the letter. “But without prioritizing noise mitigation, these projects may prove detrimental to the health and quality of life of the surrounding communities.”

Proposed route of the Interborough Express (MTA via Instagram)

They said the projects together would drastically increase train traffic through the neighborhoods which would worsen existing noise pollution and vibrations from passing train cars.

An environmental impact study in 2016 found that the Cross Harbor Freight Program would likely cause “moderate or severe noise impacts” on the nearby communities and could put some surrounding buildings at risk of damage caused by vibrations from the trains, according to the letter.

The legislators said constant exposure to the train vibrations can be unhealthy. They cited studies that have shown exposure to train noise and vibration can have negative health impacts including mood and sleep disorders and cardiovascular issues.

“As these plans are developed, the public health concerns as outlined must be taken into account,” they wrote in the letter.

The electeds also worried that the Cross Harbor Freight Program would increase the number of trucks in communities like Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Glendale. According to the environmental impact study of the project, it would “drastically increase truck traffic” in those communities despite reducing the overall number of trucks on city streets, they said.

“These additional trucks have the potential to cause noise pollution, worsen traffic, and lower the local air quality,” Meng and the others wrote. “Unless measures are taken to ensure that the harmful effects of these trucks are mitigated, it is unacceptable for these neighborhoods to bear these burdens.”

The elected officials asked Hochul and Cotton to give full and fair consideration to the concerns of local residents during the planning of the proposed projects.

“We applaud the ambition that the Cross Harbor Freight Program and Interborough Express would bring to New York, but we must make sure they are built in a way that does not overburden and hurt the communities closest to these projects,” they wrote.

In January, the state determined that creating the Interborough Express project is feasible. The rail link would offer connections to 17 existing subway lines as well as the Long Island Rail Road and serve up to 88,000 people daily.

The next step for the project is an environmental review which should review some of the lawmakers’ concerns listed in the letter.

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Dietmar Detering

As understandable as this reaction is, it is this way that other projects, for example the N-line extension to LGA, have died. Our city needs to address growth and environmental/climate concerns at the same time. It will be impossible to do that, and do it fast, without negative effects on some communities. Denying this truth can prove fatal to our ability to get things done.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

Creep sought for performing ‘lewd act’ in front on M train rider in Ridgewood last month: NYPD

Police from the 104th Precinct and Transit District 33 are looking for a suspect in a public lewdness investigation for an incident on an M train at the Seneca Avenue station last month.

A 31-year-old woman was on board a Queens-bound M train on Sunday, Jan. 22, at around 9:20 p.m., when she was approached by the unknown man who proceeded to perform a lewd act in front of her, according to an NYPD spokesman, who could not provide any details about what the lewd act was.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.