Metro North Withdraws station plan at outlet center

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:51

    Central Valley-Metro North has told town of Woodbury officials it will not build a new train station at Woodbury Common. In 2001, the railroad proposed building a new station at the outlet center, located about two miles north of its station in Harriman at the intersection of Routes 6, 17 and 32 and the New York State Thruway. The agency's thinking at the time was that it could make use of 1,800 of the 5,750 parking spaces that are underutilized during the week rather than expand at Harriman. Harriman, then as it is now, remains the busiest of Metro North's stations on the Port Jervis line. More than 2,000 riders get on board every day. What Metro North actually did this week was suspend the preparation of its Environmental Impact Statement regarding its proposal to make Woodbury Common its primary station in Orange County. What's next for Metro North and its plans for the Harriman and Woodbury area could not be learned by press time. However, Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana, for one, was not disappointed in the railroad's decision regarding Woodbury Common. "Residents in the Woodbury area area are already overburdened by the heaviest traffic congestion in Orange County," the executive said. "We must be careful not to exacerbate the situation by adding additional traffic to the already limited road system." Diana said he would continue to encourage Metro North and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to expand services in sourthern Orange County. "We believe the demand for train service in this area will continue to grow in years ahead," Diana said. "I would like to see you take a closer look at the already existing location in Harriman. I feel this location is better suited to meet the needs of the commuters. The current facility can be expanded to allow more parking spots and would not require the full environmental assessment that would be needed for a brand new facility." Almost from the beginning, Metro North met with opposition, largely based on the very real traffic issues. Woodbury Supervisor Sheila Conroy could not be reach for comment by press time. However, during an informational meeting three years ago, Conroy, then the town's Planning Board chairwoman and Republican candidate for supervisor, spoke for many when she said: "The Town of Woodbury has only 10 to 15 percent of the riders. It shouldn't have 65 percent of the parking spaces."