SCHUMER, GOLDFEDER, RICHARDS URGE U.S. COAST GUARD & MTA TO CONSIDER EXTENDING RIGHT-OF-WAY PEAK HOURS FOR TRAINS ALONG ROCKAWAY’S CHANNEL RAIL BRIDGE; WOULD HELP PREVENT DELAYS ALONG ‘A’ TRAIN BY LIMITING BRIDGE LIFT TIMES THAT OFTEN DISRUPT RUSH HOUR COMMUTES FOR PASSENGERS
Rockaway’s Beach Channel Rail Bridge Frequently Gives Right-Of-Way To Passing Water Crafts, As Bridge Must Lift to Allow Boats Through; While Train Traffic Has Right of Way Between 6:45am-8:20 am & 5pm-6:45pm, Many Commuters Have Said This Does Not Satisfy Their Needs & Train Traffic Right-of-Ways Should Be Further Extended During Rush Hours
Schumer, Goldfeder, Richards Urge MTA And Coast Guard To Consider Extending Right-Of-Way Hours for Train Traffic Along Channel Bridge; Rockaway Commuters Already Have Limited Transportation Options & Extending Train Traffic Hours Will Make for a Smoother Commute
Schumer, Goldfeder, Richards: We Can Help Commuters Right Away With an Adjustment to Right-Of-Way Travel Times
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and Councilman Donovan Richards today called on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the U.S. Coast Guard to investigate train and maritime travel on the Beach Channel Rail Bridge and consider extending right-of-way train times for commuters commuting during the rush hours. The Beach Channel Rail Bridge is located between the Rockaway Peninsula and Subway Islands in Jamaica Bay. The bridge is raised at designated times to allow maritime traffic to travel along the waterway. At all other times, the MTA New York City Transit A-Trains pass over the bridge to provide travel options for commuters in southern Queens and Rockaway.
The federal government designates travel times for water crafts and trains. Between the hours of 6:45 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. and between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Monday through Friday, train traffic has the right-of-way. At most other times, priority is given to water crafts. In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard approved these travel times to be considerate of New York City commuters during rush hours, while still allowing for effective navigation by water crafts. Given the distance that most commuters must travel on a daily basis and the limited transportation options that they have, the right-of-way travel times do not satisfy their needs. Many constituents have voiced their concerns and said that the peak hours determined by the U.S. Coast Guard are not accurate portrayals of their daily commutes. Schumer, Goldfeder and Richards are asking that the right-of-way travel times for trains be further extended to reduce train delays and to ease their travel burden.
“The daily commute is enough of a struggle for residents of southern Queens and Rockaway,” said Schumer. “We make it even more difficult when we use inaccurate travel times to determine who has the right-of-way. If we can bridge this gap of knowledge, we can ease the travel burden for commuters and it can be smooth sailing for water crafts and trains through the Beach Channel Rail Bridge.”
“Every day, families in southern Queens and Rockaway are forced to endure some of the longest commutes in the city. By the time commuters reach the Channel Bridge, they’ve often already spent too much of their day traveling to and from work or school. Not giving trains the right of way to the bridge during this long rush hour commute makes an already tortuous commute simply unbearable. That’s why I’m pleased to join Senator Schumer and Council Member Richards in calling on the MTA and the U.S. Coast Guard to extend train right-of-way hours help ease commute times for thousands of families,” said Goldfeder.
“Rockaway residents have one of the longest commutes in the city and many workers are still traveling home well past 6:45,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “They should be given the right-of-way for a longer period of time, so they are not forced to sit and wait for boat traffic when they are simply trying to get home from work. We need the MTA and the Coast Guard to honor this request to ensure that we can help alleviate a major concern for our constituents.”
The Beach Channel Rail Bridge schedule is controlled by the United States Coast Guard, but any changes associated with the bridge must be considered and requested by the MTA, as the owner and operator before they can be approved. That is why both agencies must consider the proposed alterations before they can go into effect. Schumer, Richards and Goldfeder requested that the United States Coast Guard investigate train and maritime travel to determine more precise travel times for commuters. They called on the MTA to request the District Commander of the Coast Guard to conduct the evaluation in order to extend the right-of-way travel times for commuters.