If you were hoping to someday take AirTrain service to LaGuardia Airport, forget about it, as the governor of the state of New York accepted the recommendations of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to enhance bus service instead.
AirTrain Service to LaGuardia Airport? Forget About It.
The following official statement was released by Kathleen Hochul pertaining to transportation access to LaGuardia Airport:
New Yorkers deserve world-class transportation to world-class airports. Shortly after taking office, I asked the Port Authority to thoroughly examine mass transit solutions for LaGuardia Airport that would reduce car traffic and increase connectivity, while meeting the demand of our customers. I am grateful to the expert panel, the technical consultants, and the Port Authority for providing a clear, cost-effective path forward with an emissions-free transit solution for customers. I accept the recommendations of this report, and I look forward to its immediate implementation by the Port Authority in close coordination with our partners at the MTA, in the City of New York and the federal government.
The report to which she is referring is called Options for Mass Transit Solutions to LGA and is no fewer than 432 pages, which includes “an exhaustive analysis of 14 different mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport.”
Upon the recommendations of a panel which consisted of three members of independent outside leaders in transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will move forward in the near term with two bus options that were evaluated in the study:
- Substantial improvements to the existing MTA Q70 LaGuardia Link bus service connecting to Jackson Heights and Woodside
- New non-stop shuttle service between the airport and the last stop on the N and W Broadway subway lines at the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station, serving all three terminals at LaGuardia Airport
The project was not without its opponents and detractors: a group of advocates and residents of the borough of Queens — specifically, Riverkeeper, Incorporated; Guardians of Flushing Bay, Incorporated; and Ditmars Boulevard Block Association, Incorporated — filed a lawsuit with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States on Monday, September 20, 2021 against the federal government of the United States and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey petitioning over the approval of the controversial project, which is estimated to cost as much as $2.1 billion.
Final Boarding Call
“Although a more direct link between the airport and the subway system has arguably been needed for years, I am not sure that this solution is the best for passengers — even though I have taken the bus to and from the airport multiple times over the years to get to the subway, as I am originally from New York” is what I wrote in this article here at The Gate With Brian Cohen on Thursday, July 22, 2021, when the AirTrain service was considered to be one step closer to becoming a reality. “But then again, so many issues and components to be considered — such as environment, cost, traffic, and convenience — have rendered a solution in general to be rather complex.”
I still stand by that statement — but expanded bus service is supposed to be a solution for the near term and not for the long term.
One interesting solution which I have found by accident is to stay as a guest at a hotel property near the airport and use its free shuttle from the airport. I was then able to walk several blocks to the subway station which serves passengers on the N and W Broadway lines the next day to travel to Manhattan.
A successful solution needs to address the cost and quality of transportation service between LaGuardia Airport and the rapid transit subway system of New York while simultaneously seriously considering both the environment and the quality of life for residents in those neighborhoods in the northern part of the borough of Queens.
All photographs ©2015 and ©2022 by Brian Cohen.