Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, has issued its 2013 report, focusing on the future of the Long Island’ss Railroad and how the commuter line could aid the Island’s growth.
The report, titled “How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy,” was prepared by the Regional Plan Association. The LIRR has been central to the growth and development of Long Island since it was chartered in 1834 and continues to play a crucial role in Long Island’s economy with 25 percent of local income coming from New York City jobs.
While many think of the railroad in terms of its ability to transport commuters between Long Island and New York City, this report highlights how the railroad can play a transformative role for the local economy and can have positive outcomes for all Long Islanders regardless of whether or not they are LIRR riders. It also clarifies that when new rail services are coupled with community revitalization efforts, significant transformations can occur that create new jobs and companies, access to new living spaces and, overall, a more robust local economy. Drawing on the successes of White Plains, N.Y. and South Orange, NJ, the report considers where Long Island might focus for similar growth.
Unlike neighbors in New Jersey and Westchester who have gained significant ridership over the last decade, to date the reach and capacity of the LIRR has remained unchanged since it first connected to Manhattan’s Penn Station in 1910. Now, for the first time in more than a century, the LIRR is poised to provide new capacity on its network. This year’s Long Island Index, is, therefore, focused on illuminating the opportunities and challenges that the LIRR provides, offering unbiased reliable data on which to base a broader public discussion, and encouraging that discussion of how best to maximize public transit’s potential for increasing Long Island’s economic vitality.
With new capacity, the railroad could lead a new era of economic growth for Long Island. By 2019, the East Side Access project will give LIRR riders direct access to Grand Central Terminal and east Midtown Manhattan, the densest concentration of jobs in the country. A second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma could be completed by 2018 and expand service options and reliability on one of the fastest growing yet most overcrowded lines in the system. Beyond these two projects, a deferred and long-debated project – a third track on the LIRR Main Line – has the potential to greatly improve service and support job growth within Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Among the related findings revealed in the Long Island Index are the following:
· With East Side Access, nearly 400,000 homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties will see the value of their homes rise by an average of $7,300.
· With expansion of the Ronkonkoma line to two tracks and the main line to three tracks, employers will have access to many more potential workers – at least 350,000 in Mineola and 226,000 in Hicksville, for example – increasing the attractiveness of Long Island to prospective employers. In addition, major economic development initiatives, such as Wyandanch Rising, the Ronkonkoma transit village project, and the Republic Airport hub would have a much greater chance of success.
· With expansion of the main line to three tracks, service reliability, efficiency and flexibility would be greatly improved, with 50 percent more capacity on the main line to reroute trains, move trains more easily between yards and stations, and add service as needed.
· With all three projects, Long Island’s economy would be in a much stronger position for future growth with faster access to jobs in New York City and greater ease of bringing New York City employees to new jobs on Long Island.
Projects of this magnitude necessarily come with costs and challenges.
The combined construction cost of the three projects is over $10 billion. East Side Access, with a cost of over $8 billion, represents the lion’s share of the capital costs. For East Side Access, the challenge is to complete the remaining construction, which includes the most complicated part of the project, on schedule. Local communities and the LIRR will also need to plan for changes in parking needs and traffic patterns.
“The Long Island Rail Road is one of Long Island’s most important and least understood regional assets,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation. “The 2013 Long Island Index presents many of the facts that highlight the railroad’s potential, and it provides a guide to an important, open, and transparent discussion of the role of public transit in Long Island’s economy and future.”
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Dodds and Eder will be hosting a wine and cheese reception on Saturday, May 18 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at their Sag Harbor location to showcase the work of Plein Air Peconic, an artist group dedicated to helping the Peconic Land Trust conserve the natural beauty of the East End. The reception will showcase “At Home in the Natural World” an exhibition and sale of landscape paintings and photographs. The exhibition is on view at Dodds and Eder, which is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Many of the paintings and photographs in the show are larger works composed in the studio from field studies of preserved sites. By painting and photographing images of conserved land and other spaces of the East End, the artists call attention to what has already been accomplished by land conservation and the continuing need to protect these vital resources from unchecked development.
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
A large crowd of almost 100 people gathered at 95 Shore Road in Cold Spring Harbor on Saturday, April 27 to celebrate the completion of the environmental clean up at the former Exxon Mobil site. The 8-acre waterfront parcel, where the oil tanks once stood, was donated to the North Shore Land Alliance for conservation purposes.
On a sunny picture-perfect spring afternoon, Land Alliance officers and staff were joined by elected officials, including State Senator Carl Marcellino, Huntington Town Councilmen Mark Cuthbertson and Mark Mayoka, Heather Amster, Region 1, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and community members to thank ExxonMobil for this valuable gift.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than five million Americans are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Troubled by these statistics and personally affected, Long Islander and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic Committee, a group of professionals dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Ronald Caronia, MD, a glaucoma and cataract surgeon and partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island (OCLI) with Tom Burke, CEO of OCLI, participated in the first annual American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation’s “Run for Sight” 5K and 1-mile walk during the ASCRS/ASOA Annual Symposium and Congress in San Francisco. Dr. Caronia hails from Oyster Bay Cove and Mr. Burke is a resident of Islip.
The ASCRS partnered with TearLabs to host this first-ever “Run for Sight” event. It took place on Sunday, April 21 near the beautiful Japanese botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park. The event raised close to $25,000. All proceeds from the race will benefit the ASCRS Foundation’s cataract blindness treatment efforts.