Though plans for LaGuardia Airport’s AirTrain were recently scrapped after the project’s cost skyrocketed to a whopping $2.4 billion, more than five times the initial estimates, transportation to LaGuardia Airport is thankfully getting improvement in other ways.
Last week, the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved $30 million to improve bus service to LaGuardia, an idea which was recommended in March by an expert panel following the whole AirTrain fiasco.
The expert panel analyzed 14 mass transit options to the airport before ultimately recommending that the Port Authority move forward with airport transportation improvements by way of improving the existing MTA Q70 LaGuardia Link service and creating a new non-stop airport shuttle service from Ditmars Blvd.
Improvements to the MTA Q70 LaGuardia Link bus include:
- Transit signal priority on Roosevelt Avenue and Broadway to minimize travel time
- A mile-long exclusive bus lane built on the shoulder of the northbound BQE between Northern and Astoria boulevards
- Frequency improvements
- A new designated bus pick-up and drop-off area near LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C
- Wayfinding and lighting improvements at the MTA’s Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av/74 St (7, E, F, M, R) and 61 St-Woodside subway stations (7, LIRR)
In addition, a new non-stop shuttle service will be implemented between the airport and the last stop on the N/W subway line at the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd subway station. The shuttle service will serve all three terminals at LaGuardia Airport and will include:
- Exclusive use of fully electric buses to eliminate noise and emissions
- Dedicated bus lanes on 31st Street and 19th Avenue with transit signal priority
- Improved facilities at the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd station, providing ADA accessibility
Though $30 million has been approved, the project is estimated to cost just under $500 million, much less than the estimates for the light rail options, which range from $2.4 billion to $6.2 billion.
“A vital part of building world-class airports is creating the modern and efficient public transportation that will get passengers and the public to our new facilities. That’s why the Port Authority is continuing to make major investments in mass transit improvements to LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and JFK International airports,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.