“It’s a game-changer,” said Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., in reference to the $695 million project that will bring four new Metro-North stations to southern and eastern portions of the Bronx. Díaz hoped to see the four stations – in Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-op City – open by 2022 at the latest, but the timeline depends on the redirection of Long Island Rail Road trains and ongoing negotiations with Amtrak, the current owner of the tracks.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project will direct some Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal instead of New York Penn Station in order to free up the space for Metro-North trains to come into Penn from the Bronx. According to MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan, construction of the new stations will occur concurrently with the final stages of the East Side Access construction so that train service to the Bronx stations can begin once East Side Access is complete.
Bronx residents have been waiting on improvements to their Metro-North service since 1999, when the plan was first introduced. “We’re excited about it, everyone here in the Bronx is excited about it,” Díaz told City & State. “We know that it’s going to be a boon to our local economy. It’s going to help us with the worst commutes of those who come to the Bronx, but at the same time it’s going to help us get to and from work faster.”
In July, New York City launched a Bronx Metro-North Station Area Study that will coordinate holistic planning of the areas around the new stations with the MTA, New York City Department of City Planning, New York City Economic Development Corp., city Department of Transportation and the Bronx Borough President’s Office. Once completed, the MTA said the stations would reduce travel times from the East Bronx, Westchester County and Connecticut, increase economic development and improve regional connectivity.
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