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Southampton And East Hampton Supervisors Urge LIRR Officials To Make Contingency Plans For East End Of Long Island In Event Of Rail Strike

Lindsay Andarakis

Hamptons Town Supervisors are urging the LIRR to continue negotiations. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

With the looming threat of a Long Island Rail Road strike that would doom many East Enders and New Yorkers trying to get back and forth to Manhattan, Southampton and East Hampton Towns are suggesting the MTA/LIRR quickly act to deter the stike. During the peak of the summer season, about 10,000 to 12,000 people travel on Long Island Rail Road trains every single weekend. The businesses out here that rely on city traffic to sustain themselves simply cannot afford to lose that many customers for an extended period of time. Many Long Islanders, including myself are absolutely dreading the thought of a LIRR strike.

"We urge the MTA/LIRR administration to coordinate alternative transportation plans for passengers who rely on LIRR trains to travel to the East End of Long Island," said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell in a joint statement. "July is the height of the summer season and a crucial time for the area's economy."

If the train service were indeed suspended, it would be a major inconvenience to all who are involved. Southampton and East Hampton Towns have been trying their best to coordinate alternative transportation arrangements in lieu of the trains, but so far, they have not received a response.

"Local businesses cannot afford the loss of thousands of patrons-which is what a LIRR strike would mean. The Towns of Southampton and East Hampton are taking the steps necessary to suspend certain municipal parking restrictions in order to allow motor coach companies to utilize LIRR parking lots as pick-up and drop-off locations," said Throne-Holst and Cantwell. "However, it is crucial that the MTA/LIRR take immediate action to ensure those alternative measures are in place in advance of a strike."

Some of the changes made by the town include adopting a resolution that allows the Town Supervisor to suspend certain parking restrictions and LIRR parking lots during a strike. By doing so, motor coach providers would then be able to use these parking lots as pick-up and drop-off points for those traveling to and from Manhattan. However, in order to make this arrangement happen, they are in need the permission and cooperation of the Long Island Rail Road and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. If the strike does occur, up to date information will be posted on the Town's website regarding the use of theses parking lots by public transit riders.

Not only would this strike have a detrimental effect on the Long Island economy, but also on the thousands of tourists from Long Island who head into Manhattan on a regular basis during the summer months. I'm sure Manhattan businesses would not appreciate a strike either.

Hopefully there will be some sort of LIRR/MTA collaboration with Southampton and East Hampton Towns soon, to ensure alternate methods transportation for the thousands of people who depend on the train for their weekend travel.

For more information about Southampton Town, call 631-283-6000 or visit www.southamptontownny.gov. For more information about East Hampton Town, call 631-324-4141 or visit www.town.east-hampton.ny.us.

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