Capital New York:
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley thinks her Queens district deserves some of the light rail transit benefits that Jersey City, Hoboken and Bayonne — just across the Hudson River — have been enjoying in recent years.
In order to provide additional public transportation options, Crowley is proposing to use already-existing railroad tracks in her district to build a light rail line between Glendale and Long Island City along the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch.
“It’s a railroad that is in excellent condition that has no rail cars on it, so it’s a waste of track. It has no real use and there is potential for park-and-rides and development around the rail,” Crowley told POLITICO New York.
Joan Byron, policy director at the Pratt Center for Community Development, said the fascination with light rail has a lot to do with perceptions of bus service, which she said works just as well, if not better.
"Poor people and people of color ride the bus," said Byron. "But we want something shiny and new that young white millennials will ride."
Byron said light rail tends to work best in cities that are trying to get people out of their cars and that don't already have lots of mass transit.
"You have to do something really shiny to get them not to drive," she said.
Please concentrate on improving surface transit in your district. It's already here, and it sucks.