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Transit Oriented Development and the Roads: A Vision for Tomorrow

Many of my articles focus on my vision for the Brookhaven Town Highway Department whether it is state funding through CHIPS or my proposals such as my "WORST TO FIRST" Initiative or informing the public about divisions of the Highway Department such as the Sign Making Division.


Today, I want to discuss Transit Oriented Development and what it means for our crumbling infrastructure. One of my chief goals as your next Highway Superintendent is to lobby the Metropolitan Transit Authority ("MTA") as well as our state Senatorial and Assembly delegation to spend some of that $1 billion from congestion pricing on electrifying the rails on some of the more eastern train lines such as Port Jefferson and Yaphank. This is something the LIRR has been talking about doing since 1986, the year I was born [LINK: https://www.nytimes.com/1986/02/23/nyregion/lirr-electrification-new-delays-new-plans.html​ ].


How does this connect to our roads? Well, simply put, diesel locomotives take far longer to get to the city and have less trains scheduled. For example, the Port Jefferson to Penn Station run, takes around 2 hours and 5 minutes whereas a Ronkonkoma to Penn Station run takes around 1 hour and 22 minutes. As a result, many commuters from towns such as Yaphank and Port Jefferson simply choose to drive to main line hubs such as Ronkonkoma to take a shorter electric train ride over their hometown train line. These are simply unnecessary miles put onto our local roads where upgrades to mass transit could alleviate the traffic congestion and parking congestion we see at major hubs such as the Ronkonkoma line. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that the more cars we take off of the road and the less miles they travel, our roads will suffer less from premature wear and tear.


The LIRR experienced record ridership in 2019 with almost 89.8 million riders [LINK: https://www.newsday.com/long-island/transportation/lirr-ridership-record-performance-eng-1.26270225] and it's about time, the MTA makes investments into Long Island's rail infrastructure, particularly with the transit developments Ronkonkoma Hub and the "Meadows" mixed use housing development in Yaphan, along with the Port Jefferson apartment expected to increase the populations seeking transit options for city commutes.


Regional planning is truly a test of patience and policy makers from all facets of government need to be at the table for problem solving solutions. More funding for our local Highway Departments is just one piece of the puzzle, but we also need to start looking at mass transit solutions that can alleviate traffic congestion and the burden on our local infrastructure. There is not a "one size fits all" solution to Long Island's traffic and road problems and the vision I will bring as your next Highway Superintendent in Brookhaven is one that will look at all angles for our road infrastructure as well as Long Island's economic future.



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