Tag Archives: PANYNJ

Cross Harbor Tunnel idea pitched again in Port Authority study

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

UPDATED: Friday, Oct. 2, 10:32 a.m.

The Cross Harbor Freight Rail Tunnel idea killed a decade ago appears to be coming back to life.

The idea was one of two preferred alternatives recommended in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Tier I Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which was released on Sept. 25, for their Cross Harbor Freight Program (CHFP), which considers increasing freight shipments across the harbor and reducing traffic on Hudson River bridges and tunnels.

The Tier I FEIS narrowed down the list of possible alternatives and identified two preferred methods that will be recommended for advancement to the Tier II study for more a detailed analysis: an enhanced railcar float alternative and the rail tunnel.

In November of last year, PANYNJ and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which examined the transportation and environmental effects of several alternatives to moving freight by truck, which was open for public comment. The public comments and input on the original DEIS were considered when selecting the pair of preferred alternatives.

According to the FEIS, “The Enhanced Railcar Float Alternative with both carload and intermodal service between Greenville and Brooklyn would divert 2.8 million tons of freight per year (in addition to a “no action” alternative)—more than any other Waterborne Alternative or option.”

As it pertains to the rail tunnel alternative, the FEIS found that “The Rail Tunnel Alternative would divert between 7.2 and 9.6 million tons of freight per year, depending on the different operating scenarios affecting the potential to capture through trip long-haul truck markets.”

Local civic group Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) does not believe a rail tunnel alternative would benefit the community when there are more pressing matters at hand.

“PANYNJ is still spending taxpayers’ money planning the $10 billion Cross Harbor Tunnel to nowhere,” the civic group said in an email to the Ridgewood Times. “Instead of spending millions more planning a fantasy tunnel for a fantasy freight rail system, let’s see LIRR and NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) develop and implement standards and protocols that make the one actual train a day with 24 cars that comes from Tunnel Hill Partners to Fresh Pond Yard functional, clean, healthy and safe for commuters, host communities, the railroads and their customers.”

The Tier I FEIS is available for public review until Oct. 26, when a record of decision (ROD) will be issued by the FHWA. Neither the Tier I FEIS, nor the Tier I ROD, constitutes a final decision to implement any of the alternatives that have been under consideration.

The ROD will address any new or substantive comments that are made during this public review period.

Comments on the Tier I FEIS can be mailed to Cross Harbor Freight Program, c/o InGroup Inc. P.O. Box 206, Midland Park, NJ 07432; submitted through the Cross Harbor Study website; or by emailing crossharborstudy@ingroupinc.com with “FEIS Comment” in the subject line.

The Tier I FEIS is also available for download at the Cross Harbor Study website. It can also be viewed at more than 40 repositories in our region, which can be located through the website.


Airplane noise study to examine reach of aircraft noise

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Representatives from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) gave a presentation on the Part 150 Airport Noise Compatibility Studies for LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International (JFK) airports during Monday’s meeting of the Queens Borough Board at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

“Part 150 of the Federal Regulations enable airport operators to undertake studies that provide the public with information about existing and future non-compatible land uses around airports and to create measures that reduce and prevent the introduction of new non-compatible land uses,” explained Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

This study will examine the levels of airplane noise around both LGA and JFK, create noise exposure maps (NEMs) for the areas and develop noise compatibility programs (NCPs) for impacted land uses within areas with levels of high noise.

“The Port Authority is conducting these two studies with the goal of finding potential mitigation measures to reduce levels of aircraft noise exposure that are deemed significant,” said Edward Knoesel, senior manager of environmental and noise programs for the Aviation Department at PANYNJ. “And that is the federal government that makes determination.”

The study aims to find how land is being used within high noise level areas around the airports. Certain land uses, such as a cargo factory, are acceptable in high noise level areas, while other land uses, such as residential buildings, should not be allowed there.

Information from all 2014 flight operations from the airports will be used to help create the NEMs, which will be presented to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2016. FAA regulations also require PANYNJ to also present a map for a forecast of operations five years into the future.

The NEMs use a day-night average sound level (DNL) to figure out how much noise is concentrated over each area. Certain land uses within the DNL 65, which is a day-night average of 65 decibels, are considered incompatible.

Once the noise impacts are assessed, measures to reduce aircraft noise and limit its impact on surrounding areas, through noise abatement or noise mitigation, will be considered. Noise abatement reduces noise from the source, in this case airplanes, and noise mitigation helps bring down noise levels inside of the structures themselves, through possible soundproofing building materials.

These options, along with others, will be explored in the NCP section of the study.

“The noise compatibility planning explores operational, that means how to move the aircraft, land use and administrative measures to minimize aircraft noise exposure in that area,” Knoesel continued. “The FAA approves individual measures…they may approve some, they may disapprove others.”

The FAA has 180 days to review the proposed measures and either approve, disapprove or request more time to examine the measures.

Once measures are accepted, implementation will begin.


JFK AirTrain to partially shut down from September 7 through mid-October

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

JFK International Airport’s AirTrain service will be partially shut down from September 7 through mid-October.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) will provide a free bus fleet from the AirTrain’s Jamaica and Howard Beach rail stations to Federal Circle for transfer to buses and terminals.

Customer Care representatives will then help guide travelers to their destinations.

The 10-year-old AirTrain line is set to get a “system-wide overhaul” which will replace track switches, the system’s operational software and train control equipment, according to PANYNJ.

PANYNJ additionally said September is one of the airport’s lighter travel months, and doing the work during this time will ideally minimize any traveler inconvenience.

For a tentative schedule of the shut down period and any updates, visit panynj.gov/airports/jfk-airtrain.