PANYNJ looking at 13 LaGuardia transit connection alternatives

March 3, 2022
The options are being evaluated after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul asked PANYNJ to look at alternative transit connections to LaGuardia other than the controversial LaGuardia AirTrain project.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) released more than a dozen bus, rail, ferry/bus and alternative technology transit connections it is evaluating to improve transit access to LaGuardia Airport.

The alternatives include five bus options, seven rail options and one ferry/bus option.

Bus options:

  • Utilizing existing Q70 route to provide a bus connection with a possible Interborough Express connection and partial route with a dedicated bus lane;
  • Utilizing existing M60 route;
  • A new BRT route along Astoria Boulevard using dedicated bus lanes;
  • A new BRT route along 31st Street and 19th Avenue, where a dedicated bus lane would be built; and
  • A new BRT route connecting Northern Blvd Station on the M and R lines to bus service running east on Northern Blvd. before turning north on 94th Street; this option would dedicated bus lanes between the transit station and airport.

Rail options:

  • Constructing a new light-rail line starting with a new station at 61st-Woodside with connections to the 7 Line and Long Island Rail Road; the line would be elevated through most of the alignment with a small below grade portion; a operations, maintenance and storage (OMS) facility would also be required;
  • An elevated light-rail connection to LaGuardia along Grand Central Parkway with a potential stop at Mets-Willets Point Station;
  • An elevated light-rail connection along Grand Central Parkway approaching LaGuardia from the south. This option would start at Jamaica Station with connections to the E, J and Z Lines, Long Island Rail Road and JFK Airtrain. This option also assumes shared use of an OMS facility with JFK Airtrain, which would require an expansion of the existing facility;
  • An elevated light-rail connection along Grand Central Parkway with a possible station at Astoria Blvd Station; an OMS facility would be required but a location is yet to be determined;
  • An elevated light-rail connection from 74th St – Roosevelt Ave – Jackson Heights Station where the M, R, F, E and 7 lines would meet, as well as a possible Interborough Express connection; an OMS facility would be required but a location is yet to be determined;
  • Extending the N Line from 30th Ave Station along an elevated alignment above Grand Central Parkway with a small below grade option and into LaGuardia; and
  • Extending the N and W Lines using an elevated structure from the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd Station further on 31st St before the elevated structure would continue on 19th Ave to LaGuardia.

Ferry options:

  • The final alternative would involve ferry service from Pier 11 along the East River with stops at existing E 34th St and E 90th St terminals before moving to potential terminals at Bowery Bay and Flushing Bay; a shuttle bus would connect the ferry terminals to the airport.

PANYNJ explains it is also evaluating the use of technologies such as narrow tunnels with electric vehicles and fixed guideway options with autonomous shuttles, buses or individual pod systems.

PANYNJ and the state of New York were on the way to building a proposed $2.1-billion LaGuardia AirTrain with the project receiving a record of decision from the Federal Aviation Administration last summer and shortlisting four teams to submit bids on the project.

However, after the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed PANYNJ to examine alternative transit connections to LaGuardia. In November, PANYNJ named three transportation experts to a panel to help in the evaluation of alternatives. Additionally, PANYNJ has said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be a key player in the alternative evaluation process.

A PDF of all alternatives being evaluated is available at anewlga.com.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.