New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced plans for a full-time Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train station at Elmont near Belmont Park, as part of the $1.26bn Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, which includes a new arena, hotel and retail village.
The first full-time LIRR station in nearly 50 years is expected to mitigate traffic concerns and provide a new amenity to the Elmont community.
It will be located between Queens Village and Bellerose station on the LIRR Main Line.
The governor said that electric shuttle buses will serve LIRR riders travelling to the grandstand and planned arena, hotel and retail village.
Elmont station is expected to ease pressure on the existing Belmont spur station during events such as the Belmont Stakes.
Unlike the LIRR spur, which only provides westbound service, the new station will provide direct service to Belmont Park from the east and west.
Consequently, people living east of Belmont on the Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches will have a convenient public transit ride straight to Belmont Park.
The governor said that this will reduce travel times and encourage attendees to travel by train instead of driving.
A train will pass through Elmont station every half an hour during peak times and hourly during off-peak periods.
He said that commuters and arena patrons will share the parking lot north of the Belmont race track, which has 2,860 spaces.
Upgrades to the LIRR Belmont spur, including automated track switches, are also included in the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, allowing trains leaving the spur after an event to serve stations both east and west of Belmont.
The new full-time station and upgrades are estimated to cost $105m, of which arena developers will invest $97m and the State will contribute $8m.
Cuomo said in a release: “The Belmont project will help drive the region’s economy forward while building the Islanders a state-of-the-art facility at home on Long Island, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic output along the way.
“Now with the addition of the first full-time LIRR train station in almost 50 years, we will provide millions of visitors and fans a fast and affordable way to get there and continue New York’s nation-leading investments in 21st-century transportation infrastructure.”