$3M awarded to Patchogue train station
Earlier this week, Assemb. Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue), Andrew Garbarino (R,C,I-Sayville) and Senate majority leader John Flanagan (R,C,I-East Northport) announced a total of $3 million had been awarded to the Patchogue Village train station through a state capital investment project to quell idling train noise.
“The primary responsibility of any elected official is to be responsive to the needs of constituents, and idling trains are one of the most important factors impacting the quality of life for those living near the station,” said Murray.
According to Murray, noise complaints and other quality-of-life issues associated with idling locomotives will be addressed through this major capital investment, which will add a new rail siding to the west of the station, further away from residential areas of the village. Once construction is complete, he said, the new siding will allow once-idling trains to continue to be service-ready with less noise to the residents.
“Locomotives don’t switch off and on like cars, but my constituents should not have to put up with the noise and fumes that result from the long idling times involved in putting them into service,” added Garbarino.
The new track, according to Murray, will be constructed sometime next year, and will be done so on already owned MTA/LIRR property past West Avenue, away from residences near the Harbor Crab Co. The construction, he said, will not cause any delays in service or extra idling due to the fact that the addition will simply be an extra layup track extension.
“I think this is great,” said mayor of Patchogue Paul Pontieri. “Not only will it take care of our residents, our primary concern, but it will also relieve the 1 p.m. daily closing at the tracks causing traffic.”
For six years since he has been in office, Garbarino said he has heard about the issue of idling trains and is excited to finally see something done about it. The funding is already in place and requires no additional voting.
“It’s solving a huge resident issue and allowing the LIRR to be able to do what they have been doing, just not in someone’s backyard.”
Currently, the MTA is working on a site plan, with plans for construction to begin sometime throughout next year.
“We thank our partners in government for recognizing funding needs that will help as we look to address the concerns raised as we continue to work toward our goal in providing reliable, comfortable train service, while being good neighbors to the communities across Long Island and New York City,” stated a LIRR spokesperson on behalf of the project announcement. “When an offer of funding was made, a new Patchogue siding was near the top of our list, as we have been working on a solution to help alleviate the idling issue for our neighbors in this community for quite some time.”
Academy Street resident Bob Goodhue is among residents forced to complain about the trains idling on the schoolhouse track just south of his home. The issue has been ongoing, dating back to the ‘80s. Attempts to quell the problem included Legis. Rob Calarco’s efforts to force the MTA to install some sort of sound barrier.
However, according to Goodhue, a fence would prove to be an eyesore and rather a Band-Aid, insisting the trains move to the north track. Currently, a 6-foot chain-link fence borders the train tracks from the Academy Street residences.
According to the LIRR, most of the about 56 diesel trains operate through Patchogue on a normal weekday schedule and proceed east and are held in either Speonk or Montauk. Of those 56 trains, 10 remain in the Patchogue area: three turn in the station, two lay up on the north track, which runs from the station to South Ocean Avenue and is adjacent to the station platform, and five lay up on the schoolhouse track, which is situated south of the residences on Academy. On weekends, eight trains remain in the Patchogue area; six lay up on the north track and two on the schoolhouse track and, basically due to the lengthy engine shutdown processes, idling is unavoidable.
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