‘It’s unfair to residents’: North Hills mayor talks LIRR proposals

‘It’s unfair to residents’: North Hills mayor talks LIRR proposals
The village hall in North Hills. During the short monthly trustees meeting, Mayor Marvin Natiss spoke about the ongoing LIRR controversy. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

On Wednesday night, North Hills officials swapped the hottest talking point in the village for the hottest in Nassau County.

The public hearing on proposed zoning amendments for the Ritz-Carlton was adjourned. Instead, it will continue in August’s meeting.

Mayor Marvin Natiss addressed the continuing LIRR debate during the meeting, which was otherwise brief.

“Now the reason they’re doing this is with the hope of picking up additional riders in the Queens area,” he said. “We think that’s unfair to the Nassau County residents on the North Shore.”

The MTA has proposed schedule modifications as part of the $11.2 billion East Side Access Project. Some claim they would cause slower service for the LIRR’s Port Washington line.

According to the schedule, stops on the Port Washington Line would rise by over 20% during morning peak hours. This includes the stations at Great Neck, Manhasset and Plandome.

“It’s also a quality of life issue,” Natiss said. “If you have to go into the city and you have to spend an extra half an hour on a train or an extra 20 minutes on the train each way, it’s less time that you have to spend with your family.”

He said several local leaders, including himself, were at the press conference on July 19 to urge the MTA to reconsider its plans. Natiss said Catherine Rinaldi, the interim president of the Long Island Rail Road, and the local leaders will meet soon.

Natiss said the schedule changes would impact the village’s shuttle service.

“We run the shuttle for the residents at no cost to the residents,” he said. “And we’ve always geared it to the express trains.”

Natiss said it would be inefficient to continue paying $12,000 per month on their shuttle service if they did not reinstate the express trains.

The next Board of Trustees meeting for North Hills will be held on Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. It will take place at the Village Hall.

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