“This project is hugely exciting, partly because it is based on the concept of squeezing more out of our already existing infrastructure so we don’t always have to build new subway lines from scratch,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “Putting mass transit on the Bay Ridge Branch could allow the MTA to serve more neighborhoods and provide better connections to thousands of people throughout Brooklyn and Queens.”
The southern part of the line is owned by MTA Long Island Rail Road and used exclusively for freight trains operated by the New York & Atlantic Railway. The northern part is owned by CSX Transportation, a freight railroad.
The study will evaluate the potential for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service that would operate in conjunction with existing and planned freight rail service to help residents travel within Brooklyn and Queens and create a potential for reverse commute to suburban destinations.
New transit service could offer potential connections or transfers to intersecting subway lines and the LIRR. The line is nearly 16 miles long and runs from the New York Harbor waterfront to Astoria via Midwood, East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick, Glendale, Middle Village and Elmhurst.
It crosses or nears 19 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.
The MTA has awarded the contract, valued at $1.3 million, to engineering firm AECOM, who will work with subcontractor WSP.
“Transit service on the Bay Ridge Line would not only provide better transit service between the outer boroughs, but also cut construction and acquisition costs since the rail tracks are already there,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO of the Regional Plan Association.