On September 15th, a coalition of transit planners and advocates, including the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC), in conjunction with the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council (LIRRCC), Vision Long Island (VLI), the Long Island Section of the NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, co-sponsored a Planning for Transit-Oriented Development conference in Hicksville, LI. The conference brought together approximately 150 elected officials, planners, developers, transit advocates, MTA officials and Long Island citizens. They enjoyed a dialogue with national, regional and local experts on how communities can leverage the value of their rail service to revive and invigorate downtowns.
The event featured presentations by Joseph Galante and John Stouffer from the NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office and Steve Bellone, Town of Babylon Supervisor. Helena Williams, President of LIRR, was on hand for introductory remarks in support of Transit-Oriented Development.
The first panel, moderated by Dr. Jan Wells of PCAC, consisted of national and regional experts in the field of TOD: G.B. Arrington, Parsons Brinkerhoff Principal Practice Leader in linking transit and land use (click here to view his presentation); and Vivian Baker, NJ TRANSIT’s Director of Transit Friendly Planning, Land use and Development (click here to view her presentation).
The second panel, moderated by Eric Alexander of VLI, featured local elected officials and TOD advocates that have begun to initiate projects that promote the goals of TOD on Long Island. Representatives from Mineola, Wyandanch, Hicksville and Ronkonkoma described the steps they have taken to incorporate their transit assets into strategies for economic development and a better quality of life.
Moreover, while these municipalities are improving their communities in the present, they are also preparing for future growth associated with the East Side Access (ESA) project. ESA, expected to open in 2017, is one of the largest transit projects in the country and for the first time will bring Long Islanders to the east side of Manhattan into a new station under Grand Central Terminal. With this new service many riders can expect a 20-minute reduction in commutation into Manhattan and the resulting increased ridership will require better station access and create greater demand for housing, retail and services near transit. Click here to see the full program.