Proponents of smart growth, which generally involves reliance on mass transit, should find a lot to admire on Long Island, where the nation’s largest commuter railroad carries upwards of 300,000 passengers a day. The trouble is that many of those commuters arrive at local train stations by car. Worse, their trips between home and station often involve multiple stops, with parking required at each store, restaurant, doctor’s office, gym, and drycleaner along the away.
But imagine if Long Island commuters, arriving at new station-centric developments by train, could work out, eat dinner, shop, and pick up their laundry before getting in their cars. By including parking, the new facilities could also free up thousands of acres now used as surface lots. Those acres could be diverted to “higher” uses, including affordable housing, making it easier for young people who grow up on Long Island to remain there.