New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele has released a letter outlining numerous agreements made by the Long Island Rail Road in a closed-door meeting with East End lawmakers in Riverhead on July 8, including expanded South Fork commuter service and year-round weekend service for the North Fork.
In a letter from Mr. Thiele, North Fork Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo and State Senator Kenneth LaValle to MTA Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski sent to the press by Mr. Thiele Tuesday, the lawmakers outlined a series of short-term and long-term actions agreed to by the LIRR in the meeting.
The short term actions include a commitment from the Long Island Rail Road to recommend the restoration of year-round weekend service to Greenport to the MTA board.
According to local real estate agents, Greenport has recently become a hot destination for New Yorkers, particularly those without cars, because of the village’s access to public transportation, a rarity on the East End. Weekend access by rail disappears after November, however, and doesn’t return until May.
Two trains from Penn Station (with connections) come into Greenport and three westbound trains leave Greenport on weekdays year-round.
The letter says South Fork elected leaders have also agreed to work with the LIRR to reinstate the “South Fork Commuter Connection,” which provided more commuter service between Speonk and Montauk during the morning and evening rush hours.
The short-term goals will be coordinated by the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, in conjunction with state legislators, with the assistance of the East End Transportation Council and the Suffolk County Planning Commission.
The lawmakers also called on the LIRR and elected officials to work together on a long-range plan for the railroad, currently underway, which will examine public transportation needs through 2040.
The letter also acknowledges the importance of other public transportation linkages to East End railroad stations, and says the Suffolk County bus system “must be integrated into increased rail service and other public transit efforts.”
The full text of the letter is online here.