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Locals Pushing for Metro-North Stations in Queens

By Katie Honan | October 8, 2014 8:44am
 Queens residents want to extend Metro-North service to their borough.
Queens residents want to extend Metro-North service to their borough.
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Flickr/MTA Photos

WOODSIDE — Residents are pushing to add at least one Metro-North station in Queens as part of expanded access to Penn Station, saying the borough carries the burden, but none of the benefits, of the plan to add more train service.

Ali Fadil, 20, created a similar petition in 2012 but says his latest push addresses infrastructure issues along the Amtrak tracks and cites specific locations for possible stations.

Among the suggestions for Metro-North stations in Queens are Broadway and Northern Boulevard in Woodside and on Astoria Boulevard between 41st and 44th streets in Astoria. Both are next to existing tracks.

"If they're bringing more trains here...then we have to make sure that the best interest of Queens is being protected here," he said.

The petition also asks the MTA to repair tracks in Astoria and Woodside, which Fadil said are crumbling. 

"The burden of additional trains that Metro-North wants to put on Western Queens will only help to accelerate structural issues that exist with the Amtrak right of way in Western Queens," he wrote in the petition. 

The current plan, which is scheduled to take effect after the East Side Access project is finished, will run trains on the New Haven line on existing track in The Bronx and Queens, according to the MTA.

Four new stations in The Bronx — near Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point  — will also be built, according to the plan.

Power and signal systems will be upgraded, new track will be installed or adjusted and railroad bridges will be replaced so more trains can ride over them.

The petition, which has acquired about 50 signatures since being put up on Oct. 5, says the plan leaves Western Queens "out in the cold" by not allowing it to reap the benefits of the line. 

The MTA, though, said it studied the possibility of opening an Amtrak station in Astoria in 2002 but the plan still isn't feasible. 

A spokeswoman said it's "too costly to build an elevated station for very low ridership."

An Astoria station would be too expensive and could impact ridership to Penn Station since the trip would take longer with a stop in Queens, according to the 12-year-old plan.

Amtrak did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the condition of the tracks.

Fadil said his new suggested locations are not as high as the site studied in 2002.

"The MTA cannot just say we looked at an Astoria station and rejected it," he said.

"Now that I'm asking them to look at specific locales I'm hopeful Metro-North would actually consider those specific locations."