Eminent Domain And A Happy Meal


bulldozer-410119_640The chatter about the Third Track project through New Hyde Park suspiciously disappeared for a long time. But in the past several months, it’s returned and with more fervor from both opposition and supporters.

The Third Track passes from Floral Park to Hicksville, and I have opposed it—particularly in support of friends and neighbors who live in New Hyde Park, adjacent to the track in question. I don’t want to see anyone lose their home or business as a solution to expansion.

Last week, the governor said no homeowners would be displaced, but at-grade crossings have to be eliminated. I’m not an engineer, but I am not sure I see how it is possible to leave the adjacent properties intact while elevating the tracks, unless he’s suggesting that tracks would be crossing over the homes along this stretch.

Some property owners on Long Island Rail Road’s main line in New Hyde Park have been told that it’s necessary to elevate the tracks, to remove the obstructions of at-grade crossings for emergency vehicles. Some property owners were told that the Third Track was necessary to increase ridership, once the East Side Access project to Grand Central Terminal is completed. Is anyone looking at the bigger picture, or are we only seeing a tiny portion of someone’s grander scheme?

I live very close to one of the Long Island Rail Road lines. If it can happen to those property owners over there, how long until they decide they want to elevate the tracks that I live near?

Heard of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) proposal? Do you remember being invited to a public hearing about it in January, where several high-speed Amtrak routes from Washington, D.C. to Boston were proposed, including the one that cuts through Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Garden City, down Stewart Avenue, through Eisenhower Park, through Levittown and out into Suffolk where it will eventually cut north, through a tunnel in the Long Island Sound, continuing up through Connecticut and into Massachusetts? No invitation to that public hearing? Me neither. Did you hear that the Gateway Tunnel project, linking New Jersey to NYC is already a go?

What does a high-speed rail potentially running through my front yard mean for me? Does anyone realize the value of the homes and property they are talking about here? In a case of eminent domain, the people along the Third Track or any of these significant proposed rail changes will basically be offered a Happy Meal in exchange for the value of their property being seized. Want to Super Size those fries?

—Christy Hinko


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here