“The truth is,” Crowley said in a statement, “Elmhurst residents already endure the noise and inconvenience of a train running through their neighborhood, why shouldn’t they enjoy the benefits of it becoming an integral part of the neighborhood?”
In support of the reopening, they wrote a joint letter with the Newtown Civic Association to Long Island Railroad (LIRR) President Helena Williams explaining their case.
According to the representatives, the Elmhurst Station, which is on the Port Washington Branch of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), helped Elmhurst and East Elmhurst grow by giving residents access to Midtown Manhattan. The station closed due to a decrease in ridership after train schedules were changed.
Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the MTA, said that lack of ridership is exactly what’s keeping the station from reopening, despite the railroad’s commitment to serve everyone in its service territory.
“An analysis of Elmhurst travel needs revealed that the lower cost, more frequent service, and increased travel options provided by the nearby subway means that even if a LIRR Station was a travel option today,” Donovan said, “it appears that the vast majority of Elmhurst residents would continue to use the subway for trips to Manhattan.”
A MetroCard trip on the subway costs $2.25, whereas a Long Island Railroad fare from Woodside, a nearby station to Elmhurst, is $5 during non-rush hours, and $7.25 during rush hour on the LIRR.
According to the MTA, when the Elmhurst station closed in 1985, it was at 103 riders a day. The station has since been completely demolished. It would cost between $20 and $30 million to rebuild.
But according to Crowley and Dromm, who represent Elmhurst and East Elmhurst, the area’s growing population suffers from a lack of efficient transportation to Manhattan.
They said reopening the railroad station would help create jobs in the community, which is among the most diverse in the nation according to the 2010 census, and boost the economy for its resident small businesses.
“By linking its residents to Manhattan, we are effectively spurring the job creation and economic growth necessary for communities like Elmhurst to flourish,” Dromm said. “The reopening of this station is something that will be a boon to all New Yorkers as it would burst open the doors to one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods.”