Monday, September 16, 2013

Staten Island: We still want LRT

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The Staten Island Economic Development Corp., along with the borough's Chamber of Commerce, continues to press for light rail – and, often specifically, an extension of New Jersey's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) – despite ongoing disinterest from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, candidates for New York City's mayoralty, and upstate New York lawmakers.

"The roads are not sufficient to deal with the population," Steve Grillo, director of projects at the Staten Island Economic Development Corp., said recently to local media, reiterating an observation SIEDC has been making repeatedly.

A 13.1-mile HBLR extension is proposed to cross the Bayonne Bridge, now under reconstruction, into Staten Island and (in most proposals) travel down Staten Island's West Shore along the Kill Van Kull. Some options direct LRT through a more central part of the island.

At present, Staten Island residents can use MTA's S89 bus route to and from HBLR's 34th Street Station in Bayonne, N.J., as well as to Manhattan through a transfer to PATH at Exchange Place Station in Jersey City. Staten Island is the only borough not served by MTA New York City Transit subway; its East Shore is served by the Staten Island Railway.

SIEDC and the Chamber still seek MTA's interest and support; failing that, they also are considering assistance from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, parent of the bistate PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rail system.

New Jersey Transit's HBLR extends as far south as 8th Street Station in Bayonne, within sight of Staten Island's North Shore.