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Maloney, Area Civic Leaders Call on MTA to Make Promised Sunnyside LIRR Station a Reality

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and community leaders urging the MTA to to fund the proposed Sunnyside LIRR station. (via Maloney’s office)

Feb. 12, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

A group of Queens politicians and community leaders renewed calls on Monday for a Long Island Rail Road station in Sunnyside, promised two decades ago as part of the massive East Side Access project, to come to fruition in light of the area’s significant growth and changes.

Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney, joined by groups like the Hunters Point Civic Association, the LIC Partnership, and members of Community Boards 1 and 2, urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at a press conference yesterday to appropriate funds at last toward the proposed Sunnyside station to keep up with western Queens’ population boom.

“Nearly 20 years have passed since Long Island City was promised a new station in Sunnyside Yards and it is way past time for the state to deliver,” Maloney said. “We need a transportation system that recognizes and accommodates the growing number of riders on our railways and one that recognizes our city’s changing commuting patterns.”

The Sunnyside station had been ushered in with the $11 billion East Side Access project, which will bring LIRR service to Grand Central Station, but has been in limbo given the years of delays the public works project has undergone.

The MTA had last set aside nearly $77 million toward the Sunnyside Station in the 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program, but reallocated funding meant for the station and other projects in a 2018 amendment. The agency noted at the time that funding for the station, then planned at Queens Boulevard and Skillman Avenue, is “anticipated to be included in future capital programs.”

“We need this station. We were promised this station.  And we are calling on the MTA to put to use the resources needed to build it,” Maloney said, noting that there is no concrete plan for the project.

A map showing the proposed Sunnyside LIRR station. Part of FEIS documents for the East Side Access Project. (MTA)

While the MTA did not specifically comment on whether the station would come to be, it noted that a new LIRR station at Sunnyside could only be built after the completion of East Side Access, anticipated to wrap up at the end of 2022.

Even then, the LIRR would have to work closely with the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Amtrak for any additional work at Sunnyside Yard, given ongoing efforts to produce a master plan for a sprawling development at the 180-acre site.

“As NYCEDC and Amtrak develop a master plan for a potential overbuild of Sunnyside Yards, the MTA is working with them to ensure that options for a station can be pursued without compromising future LIRR service or operations,” said Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesperson.

Since 2006, roughly 17,000 residential units have been built in Long Island City, with an additional 11,800 expected to open by 2020, according to the LIC BID.

The Long Island City “core” population, made up of the 11101, 11109 and 11106 zipcodes, is also projected to be over 90,000 by 2020, the BID said. In 2016, the population in these areas was recorded at 70,000.

“Plans for the growth of LIC laid out 30 years ago are now being exceeded beyond anyone’s expectations, dreams or fears,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, executive director of the LIC BID. This is now the fastest growing neighborhood in the United States, and this is before major projects currently in the works take shape.”

She added: “We now have the opportunity not only to fulfill a 20 year promise to the people of Western Queens, but also to create a visionary intermodal station to knit together the entire region and make this the most sustainable urban center of the future.”

The proposed station, according to the 2001 final environmental impact statement for the East Side Access project, would also offer LIRR service to Penn Station, and was planned to permit expansion for possible use by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains.

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17 Comments

R Troy

Back in 1996, at the 2nd dawn of the moneypit project known as ESA (the first dawn was decades earlier when the 63rd St tunnel was badly designed, also built by the TA) – LIRR told people that riders from diesel country would switch to trains to Grand Central at the upcoming Sunnyside station. Now, they won’t even answer questions about how diesel passengers will get to Grand Central. Hmm – maybe this is still the answer, with an across the platform transfer in each direction.

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JH resident

I wish the Roosevelt Avenue stop had a closer connection to the LIRR so I could avoid the E/F/7 trains…all extremely overcrowded with riders who lack basic courtesy for their fellow passengers.

If third world countries had subway systems, they would look like the 7 train.

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Truth

This is a boondoggle. Amazon should looks elsewhere… 20 YEARS!? NYC politicians are a bunch of crooks compared to Amazon

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Steven Craig Aleshire

Ms. Maloney has never met a billion dollar project she did not like. Something to do with her contributors ? Meanwhile the MTA needs to curtail capital spending and put its house in order. The Second Avenue Subway has major problems yet they want another 5 Billion for new access routes. Get what is there WORKING.

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LIC Direct

10 yrs ago I was part of a survey and paid $5 to answer a bunch of questions about the feasibility of a sunnyside LIRR station. It will come, but just like anything else government operated it will take another 50 years to be built. Many of us who read this crappy tabloid will be long gone by then. The Sunnyside yards project will not be built in our lifetime. Maybe the offspring of Jimmy Van Bramer will be around, half here in Sunnyside, half in Florida living the life in Key West running the his dream The JVB Key Lime Pie Company.

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Zinsu

If it alleviates crowding on the 7, why not do it? It doesn’t seem like it would cost that much (famous last words, of course).

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A.Bundy

i’m more shocked at the fact that people pay $400+ to commute. i guess thats how the mta forces severe overcrowding and creates their own bubble.

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Native New Yorker

People in the suburbs need jobs in the suburbs, not 50+ miles away from home.

Transportation isn’t free, whether it’s racking up miles on your car or paying for a monthly rail pass.

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Roxy

I really don’t see the need for it. Area is already well-served by subways, elevated lines, and buses. Spend the money on building much-needed elevators and escalators for existing stations. NONE have them!

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Anonymous

Skillman Ave @ Queens Blvd. I agree it is not in Sunnyside and I agree that they should focus on installing elevators and escalators before building that station. It would be convenient to have an Amtrak/LIRR./Metro North hub station but I would prefer escalators.

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