Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the transformational $1.26 billion Belmont Park Redevelopment Project will benefit from a full-time Long Island Rail Road train station, the first full-time LIRR station in nearly 50 years.
The new train station will be located between the Queens Village and Bellerose stations on the LIRR’s Main Line, just east of the Cross Island Parkway. Electric shuttle buses – which are already planned to run from parking lots within Belmont Park to the arena site – will also serve LIRR riders traveling to the grandstand and planned arena, hotel and retail village.
In addition, the new full-time station will relieve pressure on the existing Belmont spur station during major events like the Belmont Stakes and provide critically-needed redundancy if there is a service disruption to the spur, as occurred in 2018.
The new station will provide direct service to Belmont Park from both the east and west, as opposed to the LIRR spur, which can only provide westbound service. Now, instead of forcing Long Islanders coming from the east of Belmont to ride past Belmont Park to Jamaica Station and then transfer to a train that backtracks to the spur, travelers who live east of Belmont on the Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches will have a one-seat public transit ride straight to Belmont Park. This will reduce travel times and is expected to increase the number of event attendees who use public transportation rather than driving, reducing congestion.
Previously-agreed-to upgrades to the existing LIRR Belmont spur, including the installation of automated track switches, are still included in the project. These upgrades will allow trains leaving the spur after an event to serve stations both east and west of Belmont.
Constructing the new full-time station on the LIRR’s Main Line and upgrading the existing spur is estimated to cost $105 million. The arena developers will cover $97 million – 92% of the total cost – and the State will invest $8 million.
“This new train station is proof positive we listened to the community’s feedback and took action. Providing a direct ride to Belmont Park, the Islanders’ arena, the hotel and the retail village will drive even more New Yorkers and visitors to spend time on Long Island – boosting the regional economy with hundreds of millions of dollars, ” Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner Howard Zemsky said in a statement.