When the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) proposed an expansion of the Metro-North New Haven Line that extends through Queens, N.Y., sophomore political science major Ali Fadil took notice.
The half-resident, half-commuter from Whitestone, N.Y., travels via Metro-North twice a week. He arrives at Quinnipiac Tuesday morning and departs Thursday night. The MTA’s new plan proposes six new stations along the New Haven line that will run through western Queens but there is no plan for a station in Queens. The $36 million expansion, which is currently under construction, will place stations in Mount Vernon East, Pelham, Mount Vernon, Mamaroneck, Harrison and Larchmont.
After learning about the expansion, Fadil created a petition to try to gain enough support to make a station in Queens. Despite receiving more than 200 signatures, an MTA spokesperson told New York-based radio station 1010 WINS that a station in Queens won’t be happening anytime soon.
Fadil’s current situation forces him to take an express bus from Whitestone to Grand Central Station to pick up the New Haven line and then transfer to either the school-provided shuttle or the Whitney Avenue bus. However, when he travels home to Queens, he takes the New Haven line to the Harlem station and then takes a cab. His ride ranges anywhere from 80 to 100 minutes.
A monthly pass to ride the Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan costs $415 and the fare for an express bus ride is $5.50 per trip.
“What compelled me to do it is that there is a need for additional transit options to and from the Bronx and there is a need for people to get to and from Queens, Westchester, and Connecticut,” Fadil said.
Under the current plan, if a station did open in Astoria or Woodside in Queens, it would cut Fadil’s commute by upwards of 60 minutes.
“I don’t have a specific goal [for the petition]. What my mindset is is that I’m trying to get as many people to support this as possible and I do hope that a lot of people not only from Queens support it, but a lot of people from the Bronx, Westchester, and Connecticut,” Fadil said.
One of Fadil’s proposed stations is located along Northern Boulevard in Queens, where riders can easily transfer between the Metro-North and the New York City Subway which would provide service to Manhattan.
A second proposal was raised for Astoria with access to Manhattan via another subway line and a third for Woodside connecting with the Long Island Railroad and subway service to Manhattan.
A plan was raised in 2005 for a station in Queens, but it was determined that there was not enough public interest in the station.
So far, Fadil says he has received little support from the Quinnipiac community, but said he is willing to work with Connecticut elected officials since the MTA and the Connecticut Department of Transportation would have to split the cost of the project.