In Long Island City, it’s gentrification vs. train yardBy
Long Island City hasn’t always been the next frontier of gentrification and development in Queens as it is today. In fact, for much of its history, it’s been an industrial neighborhood that has served as the staging grounds for the Long Island Rail Road and many other area train lines. Now, though, as rents increase, luxury buildings go up and the area grows, residents are upset with idling trains.
As New York 1 reports, some new residents have called upon the MTA to power down their trains because the idling is driving them nuts. “It’s really horrible. I mean, like I wake up to this noise every morning,” Lillian Marchena said.
The news station’s Queens reporter Ruschell Boone had more:
Over the last two years, the LIRR has turned off some of the engines during the day and placed some trains in other parts of the rail yard as part of a compromise, but some residents said the noise is starting to increase again. “From 7:30 in the morning ’til 5:30 at night, Monday through Friday,” said Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley.
It is a harsh reality for new residents moving to the once-industrial area. The rail yard has been there for more than 100 years, but residents want the diesel engines turned off during the day. LIRR spokesperson Joe Calderone said while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been addressing some of the community’s concerns, shutting down all the trains during the day is not going to be possible.
“It can take up to two hours to get it started again. If you shut it off for a four-hour period, you need to do a brake test under federal rules,” said Calderone. “Those are just a couple of the reasons we can’t just shut them off and turn them back on.”
Calderone noted that the LIRR will try to power down more trains as temperatures increase. They don’t have the same need to keep the trains warm during nicer days, but federal safety rules and timing concerns are driving the idling.
Meanwhile, as the East Side Access project moves forward, train-related noise will only increase for Long Island City residents. Within the next five years, more trains will head into Grand Central via the area and the rail yard will continue to serve as a holding pen for eastbound trains. For a century, as New Yorkers eschewed the area, the trains weren’t a problem, but with gentrification comes complaints. Unfortunately, for residents though, the train yard isn’t going anywhere.