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Freeporters hope East Side Access will decrease travel time

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Freeporter Audrey Adlam has been community into the city for the last 31 years. Every morning she makes her way to Penn Station-bound Long Island Rail Road for her 8ish train. At Penn Station, she’ll jump on a downtown E subway to get to her office near the Chelsea Market off Ninth Avenue. It’s a typical commute for Freeporters working in Manhattan.

However, Adlam has been worried about how her commute will change when her company moves to Park Avenue South in 2019. She said she believes the East Side Access project (see story on Page 12) can help to reduce some of the commute time as she will not have to travel to Penn Station, but can reroute from Freeport to Grand Central Station.

“This new project would be awesome,” Adlam said. “I’m terrified of this move [with my job] and trying to figure out how to get to the East Side — it’s just not easy to do.”

The project seeks to increase rider capacity from 300,000 to 435,000 daily commuters per day. Freeport is on the Babylon branch, which according to an LIRR spokeswoman sees about 7,000 daily riders. As its name suggests, it will also allow commuters to get to the east side of Manhattan by routing trains to Grand Central station.

Though he no longer works in the East Side of Manhattan, Al Sinc said it was a hassle to commute from Freeport to the Upper East Side, as he had to take the LIRR and two subways.

“I really think this East Side Access project is going to shorten the commute by at least 15 minutes,” Sinc said. “Fifteen minutes one way does add up and it will be a great thing for commuters.”

Knowing the project is underway, Sinc called it a shortcut in the daily commute, but also shared it may drive Long Islanders to explore the East Side, which is something he seldom does because of the amount of time it takes to get there. Commuter, Vanesha Miller said her biggest concern was the overcrowding of the trains. With the new construction, Miller says she thinks it will help not just get to the city quicker, but alleviate the “sardine packed” trains during peak hours. “What I have [seen] are people just packed in the train after a long day at work,” Miller said.

Though she commutes to Brooklyn, Cindy Becker and not familiar with the ESA when told of it said she likes the idea.

“I think it will be great, though I only travel as far as Brooklyn, things could change, you never know,” Becker said.