PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — While many commuters are looking forward to the Long Island Rail Road’s expansion into Grand Central Terminal, those in one Long Island town are a bit wary.
If all goes as planned, when LIRR trains are able to roll into Grand Central, the railroad would like to store two additional trains in Port Washington.
The problem, according to Dina DeGiorgio, councilperson for the town of North Hempstead, under the current proposal, commuters would lose 40 parking spaces.
“One-hundred percent of our commuter spots are used every day. The loss of even 10 parking spots would have a negative impact on us,” DeGiorgio told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall on Wednesday. “I would suspect, and I don’t want to put words in their mouths, that they know this is a wildly unpopular plan and that the public will be outraged.”
“We are concerned that the MTA is going to turn our lovely quaint town into a train depot,” DeGiorgio told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“If there was benefit to the town, benefit to the local area, we would weigh both sides, but we just don’t see the benefit and at this time can’t support it,” said Mitch Schwartz of the North Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.
The LIRR said it understands the angst.
“We know that parking is at a premium. So, we’re trying to do the best we can to minimize any loss of parking,” LIRR spokesperson Joe Calderone said.
He said the bottom line is that to increase service and reduce commuting times, some parking spots must go.
“We’re going to be doing outreach. We’re going to be talking directly to the public and to our commuters,” he said.
The LIRR expansion, called East Side Access, is slated to open in 2019.
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