A new Regional Plan Association study shows that home values will increase by an average of $7,300 for nearly 600,000 households in Queens and Long Island as a result of East Side Access, the LIRRs connection to Grand Central Terminal slated to open in 2019.
A separate study prepared by RPA highlights the potential for the LIRR to play a transformative role in Long Island's economy, if new rail capacity is combined with land-use changes around station areas. East Side Access will shorten travel times by an average of 18 minutes a day for hundreds of thousands of Long Island commuters who work in and near East Midtown. Those gains will drive an increase in home values in properties within two miles of most LIRR stations, an RPA study shows.
The study, Rail Rewards: How LIRR's Grand Central Connection Will Boost Home Values, demonstrates that homes within a half mile of stations will gain $3,000 in value for every minute of commute time saved, while homes within two miles will gain $2,000 for each commute minute saved.
Cumulatively, home values will rise by $4.7 billion, according to the study.
"East Side Access will provide the economy of Long Island with a much-needed boost," said Juliette Michaelson, RPA's vice president for strategic initiatives and the lead author of the study. "When commutes are shorter, people have more time to do other things, and they will pay for the convenience."
In a separate report prepared for the Long Island Index, an annual research project, RPA highlighted how East Side Access, a planned second LIRR track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma and a long-debated third track on the railroad's main line have the potential to greatly improve service and support job growth within Nassau and Suffolk counties. That study, How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy, shows how the rail improvements could unlock potential for a much more robust, transit-oriented economy -- if Long Island adopts the zoning and economic-development policies that will create jobs and housing around the transit network. These changes, the study says, would allow Long Island to regain an economic edge that it has lost in a world where both demographics and employer requirements are increasingly favoring places with more walkable, mixed-use centers that are served by a well-functioning transit system.