Now Is Not the Time to Electrify More LIRR Tracks

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The latest proclamations by a Suffolk County town and village to help spark improved Long Island Rail Road service in Suffolk County aren’t as electrifying as they might appear. In fact, they seem shockingly short-sighted.Starting last month, several municipalities made their pitch to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to electrify LIRR tracks to Port Jefferson, Riverhead and Patchogue, and their approach was reportedly echoed on Wednesday by the Suffolk County Planning Commission after a meeting of the Long Island Regional Planning Council at Hofstra University.To transit advocates, municipalities and proponents, electrification means no more diesel trains, more frequent service and quicker travel times to New York City. To a developer, adding electric service means one thing: The opportunity for increased “economic development,” usually in the guise of mixed-use, multi-family projects.In making their demands to the transit agency, municipalities must be ready to answer these questions: Does current ridership demand justify the capital investment? Further, is electrification even feasible? Lastly, can the Long Island communities that dot the train lines adequately handle the growth the increased electric service may bring?The Village of Port Jefferson was the first to announce that they back any effort the MTA will exert to electrify the LIRR’s Port Jefferson Branch. Roughly running along Route 25A and through the hills of the North Shore, the branch’s busiest stations are between Huntington and Syosset, before the track merges with the other lines at Hicksville. Currently, electric service terminates in Huntington, leaving dual use electric/diesel locomotives as the only option for the rest of the trek to communities eastward.According to Newsday, the LIRR has said that the electrification of the remaining 23 miles that span Huntington to Port Jefferson would roughly run $18 million per mile, for a cost of some $414 million. Other portions of track these advocates want electrified include the 25-mile stretch from Ronkonkoma to Riverhead, and 17 miles from Babylon to Patchogue. Add those figures up, and the sum is more than $1.1 billion.Next to climb on board, the Town of Brookhaven held its own press event urging the MTA to electrify the Montauk branch east of the Babylon station, which currently is a major commuter hub for the South Shore. The town said an electrified line would greatly benefit Patchogue, Bellport and Mastic-Shirley.Policymakers, from the village to the state level, have chimed in for electrification.“Electrifying the line would revitalize every single community along the line,” Port Jefferson’s Mayor Margot Garant told the Times Village Herald. Adding his support to Brookhaven’s proposal, State Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville) said that “demand will continue to grow as our population increases. Even with the development of the Ronkonkoma Hub, commuters will still need to use more than the Main Line. Given the reality that electrification will take at least a decade or more [to complete], it makes sense to start the process now so that the capacity will be there to meet the demand.”Over the last decade, development efforts across Long Island have focused on the areas around train stations. The argument driving these projects is the creation of affordable workforce housing for Long Island’s millennials, which according to countless stakeholder and anecdotal studies, are leaving by the bus load year after year for some brighter horizon.The projects, often residential in nature with a splash of commercial usage, are deemed transit-oriented by their backers, regardless if they are 200 feet or two miles from the closest LIRR stop, or if the residents who live inside them actually opt to take the train. Other terms for this “smart growth” favored by developers include “walkable downtowns.” The terms for such growth are diverse, but there is one constant: There is no substantive, concrete proof that these projects are actually increasing transit ridership.These trends make the calls for electrification by Port Jefferson and Brookhaven that much more interesting, especially when the stats of ridership and methods commuters get to work are examined.According to census figures, just 5.6 percent of Suffolk’s workers commute to Manhattan. The total percentage of workers from Suffolk who travel to NYC each day is 10.2 percent, down from 11.1 percent in 1990. In 1990, 8,986 of Brookhaven’s residents used public transit, while in 2012 it was 8,954 – highlighting the stagnant nature of LIRR ridership in the town.Some more sobering statistics: 88 percent of Suffolk’s workers drive to work, with the average commute time for a resident of the county being 28 minutes, indicating that these commuters work within either Nassau or Suffolk. A recent study by Suffolk found that around 8 percent of residents in these “smart growth” projects actually take the train to work, far less than one would expect.Given these paltry figures, is it worth the time, money and effort to electrify the LIRR’s Montauk and Port Jefferson branches at this time? If one were to listen to the gloom and doom development narrative being put forth by the stakeholder groups, you’d assume so, but the hard data tells a much different story. Simply put: The demand isn’t really there.It’s easy to grandstand for transit improvements, but much more difficult to actually fund and implement them.For one thing, consider the monumental costs that would be incurred by the MTA, an entity not known for its deep pockets due to the constant financial uncertainty with its capital budget, which is currently facing a $15-billion gap in funding its $32-billion five-year plan. Besides, the communities along the diesel portions of the transit system lack an adequate rail yard to both store and maintain the new trains that would be needed for any increased levels of service. Further, the challenging topography of the North Shore limits the ability of the trains to take full advantage of the speed that electrification could offer elsewhere.If the Village of Port Jefferson and the Town of Brookhaven want to nurture economic development, LIRR electrification is putting the cart before the horse. Both governments should focus on long-term job creation strategies that, over time, will generate further transit demand. Despite the popular narrative, the recent trend of “build it and they will come” cannot work in these communities, because the demand is not there. The MTA’s time, energy and capital should be focused on maximizing the LIRR’s underutilized existing assets, as opposed to trying to create new ones.If the Long Island region is to move forward, policymakers must accept on-the-ground realities and realistically plan for the future based upon them.Rich Murdocco writes on Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran planner. Rich will be contributing regularly to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea‬.last_img read more

Tallebudgera Valley property sells for $2.2 million

first_imgA statement entry from the front.Billeroy is a sprawling acreage retreat nestled in the beautiful Tallebudgera Valley. “When we retired this was our project and so we put our heart and soul into it,” Mrs Bagnall told the Bulletin when the property hit the market.“It was the best change and we have thoroughly loved living here.” Inside the sprawling retreat. Take a dip in the pool.The single-level house features an open-plan design with the interior living areas flowing out to the alfresco pavilion overlooking the pool. The property has 100m of creek frontage and plenty of visiting wildlife.“It’s a lovely environment for kids,” Mrs Bagnall said.“We also have a family of kangaroos that have been with us as long as we’ve been here and well over 150 birds,” she said. 761 Tallebudgera Creek Rd, Tallebudgera Valley sold for $2.2 million this week.WHEN the owners of this Hinterland property bought the block for $450,000, little did they know it would sell for $2.2 million 15 years later.Vendors Maree and Ted Bagnall swapped their beachfront home in Wonbarra, a seaside suburb of Wollongong, for a 3.64ha “piece of paradise” in 2002. More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North5 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoRelax in the alfresco entertaining area.The pair had the home designed so there was a view from every room of the five-bedroom house.This week a “high-profile” buyer snapped up the property at 761 Tallebudgera Creek Rd for $2.2 million.“The buyer is using it as a family weekender,” Katrina Walsh of Harcourts Coastal said.“They loved the privacy and the views of the land.“It’s an urban rural lifestyle that’s close to the city.”“It is homely and the buyers wanted room for their extended family.”last_img read more

Double crown for Udit Gogoi at National Series Tennis Tournament

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Udit Gogoi of Assam lifted double crown winning both U-18 singles and doubles titles in the National Series Tennis Tournament which concluded at Kavali, Andhra Pradesh recently. In the singles final Udit defeated Aman Ayub Khan of Telengana in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. In the doubles final Udit partnering with Aditya Balsekar of Maharashtra beat Aman Ayub Khan(Tel) and S.Boopathy(TN) 6-3,6-2.Also Read: Sports Newslast_img

BiH Mountaineers Reached Summit of Kartaltepe on Mount Uludag

first_imgMembers of the Mountain-Ski Association (PSD) Lisin from Sarajevo organized this year a mountain excursion in Turkey, where they reached the top of the summit of Kartaltepe on Mount Uludag.Members of PSD Lisin, together with members of PD Igman, PD Konjuh and the Association of Friends of Nature were in Turkey from 20-30 June 2013.25 mountaineers began the ascent to the top of the mountain. The journey lasted for about a few hours and all mountaineers successfully reached the top.After reaching the top and a bit of rest in Bursa, a tourist excursion was organized through Turkey. They visited Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale, Efes and Kušadasi.(Source: klix.ba)last_img read more

Real Madrid hang on for win after Benzema brilliance

first_imgMadrid, Spain | AFP | Karim Benzema scored twice on Saturday in an outstanding performance for Real Madrid against Levante, although his side were left hanging on for a 3-2 win on the day Eden Hazard made his La Liga debut.The French striker’s goals came just six minutes apart in the first half on a wet afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu, before Casemiro put Real 3-0 up.However Levante, who had won their previous two outings, made a fight of it in the second half as they pulled goals back through Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero.While the manner of their victory was not as convincing as coach Zinedine Zidane might have wished, it was a welcome return to winning ways for Real after they had drawn their previous two games.Hazard also came off the bench for the final half-hour to make his first appearance in La Liga after a thigh injury had interrupted the start of his Real career following his 100 million-euro ($110 million) move from Chelsea.The Belgian could now start for Real when they go to Paris Saint-Germain for their opening Champions League game on Wednesday.Gareth Bale will also be available for that match after suspension kept him out here, but Sergio Ramos will be unable to play against PSG because of a European ban.Zidane was also without the injured Luka Modric here. However, as well as Hazard, fellow summer signing Eder Militao came off the bench in the second half and the former Porto defender could start in Paris in place of Ramos.– Barcelona host Valencia – Real would have won by a greater margin here had it not been for some inspired goalkeeping from Aitor Fernandez, who produced a stunning one-handed stop to keep out a Benzema shot from the edge of the area midway through the first half.However, the hosts went ahead shortly after that when Dani Carvajal held up a cross from the right for Benzema to bullet home a header from the edge of the six-yard area.The Frenchman struck again in the 31st minute, with James Rodriguez pouncing when Sergio Postigo headed the ball down into his path, and teeing up Benzema to score his fourth of the campaign.Benzema was also involved in the build-up to the third goal five minutes before the interval, which concluded with Vinicius Junior squaring for Casemiro to apply the finish.Levante pulled one back in the 49th minute as Carlos Clerc crossed from the left to the near post where Mayoral — on loan from Real — converted.Benzema then curled a shot against the post, while Vinicius had a goal disallowed for offside and Hazard tested Fernandez, but it was Levante who scored again.This time substitute Melero proved too strong for Carvajal at the far post as he headed in a marvellous cross by Jose Campana, yet Madrid held out.Leaders Atletico Madrid will seek their fourth win in as many La Liga games when they play later at Real Sociedad in the first game at the Basque club’s newly refurbished stadium.Barcelona are also in action at home to Valencia, who this week sacked coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, replacing him with the former Real Madrid assistant coach Albert Celades.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

OVERTIME

first_imgBILL NEAL :10 Curtis Martin will go into the NFL Hall of Fame as quiet and soft spoken as any man can and for those of us that had the pleasure of knowing him you know two things about Curtis is true. No. 1 He is a soft spoken man and No. 2 he was a tough, quick, no excuse, get it done, never say die, consistent, durable running back. Who among us, who can think back to his days at Allderdice or for that matter at Pitt, thought that he would become one of the top five running backs in Pro Football history? Congratulations Curtis, you deserve all you’ve achieved; and Congrats to you too “Mama Rochella” you played a major role in your son’s success.:09 I am rolling this in at #9 because… If it ain’t the Steelers it don’t matter…but I told ya the Giants would beat New England. Oh shut up and just check your Courier last week and you’ll see it. New York won the game not because of Eli Manning but because they have a tough hardnosed defense and you all know defense wins championships.:08 Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don’t know where you watched the game but you should have been at J.T’s Restaurant at “The Club” in Monroeville. We kicked it off with a special two hour taping of “Champions Live” sports talk show followed up by a great crowd enjoying the game with the best soul food money can buy.:07 Speaking of the club…are you starting to see the flow here? Artistree blew up the Champions First Friday old School Par-tay with their classic old school style, great stage presence and second to none vocals. Then you throw in the unbelievable voice of veteran performer “Chico,” a super talent who got the crowd heated up…not warmed up, the craziness of Pittsburgh comedian “Frog” and of course the fabulous Diamond Models. Now you mix that all together with 250 of our best First Friday supporters and MAN you got a PAR-TAY!!!:06 There’s one way and one way only to stop Lebron James but it’s not legal and you will get jail time. Another 30-point game…Lebron C’MON MAN!:05 It’s a shame that I have to keep reminding you all of this but I do what I have to do. Get out and support your local high school basketball team. The playoffs are coming and “OUR KIDS” need your support so stop with your excuses and get off your “BUTT” and go to the games. And not just one…keep going until they are done!!!:04 Eli Manning now joins a super group of elite quarterbacks that have won two or more Super Bowl MVP’S including Terry Bradshaw, Bart Star, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. What’s wrong with this picture? And for the record I could challenge if Eli was the MVP of the Super Bowl. It could have been running back Ahmad Bradshaw or punter Steve Weatherford.:03 If Coach Herman Edwards knows so much about football how come he didn’t show it when he was coaching. I don’t usually do this but here’s your second… C’MON MAN!!!:02 Pitt Basketball is back, that’s it, I told you they would be.:01 AT THE BUZZER:•Don’t’ miss “Champions Live” sports talk show on PCTV channel 21.•Five Starr Corporation/Champion Enterprises “Tip-Off” Reception at the Cambria Suites Hotel Feb. 17, 6-10 p.m. Meet and greet Pittsburgh’s African-American authors, Artistree and The Fabulous Diamond Models. Cash bar, cash kitchen, free parking, photos with your favorite star. $20 donation celebrating Black History Month.•“Volley With The Stars” volleyball tournament coming soon. Get your team ready for more fun than you can stand. More info coming next week.~Game Over~last_img read more

Gateway High school basketball coach resigns amid charges

first_imgTRAFFORD, Pa. (AP) – A prominent Western Pennsylvania high school basketball coach has resigned after police charged him with making threats and harassing a neighbor.The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1zo2FT6 ) reports that Gateway coach Mitch Adams resigned Sunday. Adams led the team to championships in 2011 and 2012, and had been a basketball coach at the school for nine years.The 56-year-old Adams told the newspaper he’s innocent, but he didn’t want the issue to become a distraction for the school and the team.Adams was charged by Trafford police on Aug. 11 over an incident that occurred near his home on July 13. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23.Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti says the school thanks Adams for his years of service, and wishes him well.last_img read more

Photographer Captures Iconic Image

first_imgIt was much more than another assignment for photographer Gary Gellman.Gellman was in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, on hand to photograph Pope Francis, capturing what posterity may eventually consider among the iconic images of the visit as well as allow him to get in touch with his spiritual side.“As a Catholic,” Gellman said, “being able to photograph the successor to St. Peter was really neat and a great honor.” Gellman, a Howell-based still photographer and videographer, was provided access to the tarmac for the plane’s arrival in Philadelphia, and captured the image of Francis blessing the 10-year-old disabled boy in his wheelchair. That photograph has already been widely distributed and seen.“It was very emotional,” Gellman offered.“And to me as a Catholic to be that close to the leader of the our church and to know I was selected and blessed to be selected to be there, the signature event,” he explained, “it was a wonderful experience.”Gellman has in the past photographed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has taken portrait photos of Diocese of Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell and knows Archbishop Charles Chaput, with Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who helped Gellman along the lengthy process of obtaining security clearance for the assignment. That process took the better part of 10 months, beginning last November, to secure security clearance to be a photographer for the World Meeting of Families event, according to Gellman.
“I like to say it was a 10 month process and a 27-year training period,” he said, referring to his time as a professional in his field.On the airport tarmac as the jet arrived and the pope and passengers disembarked, “It was something quite unique to be blessed to be so close,” with only about 200 people there and only a couple of photographers – “probably the smallest group surrounding the pope during his visit.”At the time “I was in work mode,” concentrating on the assignment. “Until that one point,” with Pope Francis “coming down those steps, I realized where I was, what I was doing,” and it having a profound effect on him, he acknowledged.Over the years, Gellman has photographed many, including such celebs as Anne Hathaway, Heidi Klum, Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi and many others, especially in his role as photographer for the New Jersey Hall of Fame. “I’ve met a lot of cool people, many are special in their own right.“But this,” assignment, he stressed, “was one of a kind, really special.” By John Burtonlast_img read more