LIRR THIRD TRACK UPDATE
I was recently informed by officials from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) that a contract has been signed with 3rd Track Constructors (3TC), the design build firm that has been hired to design and construct the project. This marks the beginning of what is the largest single project to impact our community. The Village Board will continue to work to ensure the adverse impacts of this project on New Hyde Park are mitigated and that the resulting project will be an improvement to our suburban quality of life.
LIRR officials recently met with myself, Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino, Village Clerk – Treasurer Kate Hillmann and Village Attorney Peter Trendecost to review some of the points we negotiated in our memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU describes how the concerns you expressed at so many meetings are going to be addressed by the LIRR and 3TC. While preliminary in nature, the meeting left me feeling confident that the LIRR remains committed to all of those points and to minimizing the adverse impacts to NHP. The LIRR also remains ready to flow down those concerns to 3TC.
Our discussion topics included setting up an introductory meeting with 3TC, reviewing the process for drawing down on the $30 M community benefit fund to offset inconveniences, communication plans and how the village will continue to influence the design and construction activities in New Hyde Park. We also stressed that the village is to be included in discussions across different stakeholders whenever there is impact to the people of New Hyde Park.
For example, the MOU we negotiated speaks to our desire to have utility lines buried along or adjacent to the right of way. This is in lieu of designs we saw for 90’ steal poles through our village. In this case, we insist upon being present when tradeoffs are discussed, and that deference goes to those people who are most impacted.
I shared similar concerns when I met last week with Nassau County Legislators Richard Nicolello and Vincent Muscarella at Village Hall. I asked for their support, along with that of County Executive Laura Curran that all county departments; Police, Public Works, Traffic Management, etc. are completely in synch with the Village of New Hyde Park and that no agency or stakeholder is operating in a silo.
Our intent is to have a high level of coordination to ensure there are no unintended consequences from actions that one entity feels is the most expedient route. This of course includes the design build firm themselves, who have a huge economic incentive to complete the project on or before schedule.
Evidence of the design build firm’s enthusiasm to move quickly is already visible. The LIRR has given 3TC limited notice to proceed. The ownership of the Safety Storage building at 115 New Park Road has already been turned over to 3TC. Although the village has not yet received a demolition permit application, we may see that building razed soon.
You may also see the following activities happening already:
- Survey teams taking measurements
- Crews clearing vegetation along the track side
- Soil boring samples being extracted
In meeting with the LIRR and with the county legislators, I also shared our preliminary plans for limited transit orientated development of Second and Third Avenues. I shared the themes and concepts of this vision of creating a downtown community district for our residents. The discussion included depictions of the colonial style that we would like to have incorporated in the station platform to integrate our project with that if the LIRR. The Village Board is having renderings of the concept prepared and will be able to present those plans with greater detail in the near future.
Meanwhile, we will continue to work with all involved parties to ensure the concerns of New Hyde Park residents are addressed. Senator Elaine Phillips for example, continues to be a champion for the concerns of the people of New Hyde Park. The Senator will be meeting with County Executive Laura Curran and the MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber this week to discuss the project and how it is executed. The Senator reached out to me for our input so that those topics important to New Hyde Park will be addressed.
We will keep you, our neighbors updated as developments of this project occur; through this website, at regular village board meetings, with press releases to the local papers and through the village newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at your village hall if you have any specific questions or concerns.
Lawrence J. Montreuil
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park