Can Curbing Car Use Ease Pollution On L.I.?

Jun 16, 2016

Drivers navigate near the Long Island Expressway in Queens, N.Y., in 2015. Traffic congestion nationally is greater than ever before, according to a report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX Inc.
Credit Frank Franklin II / AP

Earlier this year, the American Lung Association gave Suffolk County an ‘F’ in air quality. Michael Seilback, vice president of public policy and communications with the American Lung Association of the Northeast, says it’s mostly due to the amount of cars on the road.

Since then, several local communities want to get commuters off the road and on to the Long Island Rail Road. Multiple projects are in the works to build apartments near train stations, and Seilback says the county’s build-up of housing around railroad stations will help improve air quality.    

“We are seeing communities that are starting to relook at our areas and say, ‘Can we make our area look more like Manhattan, not in the sense that we need a big, huge city but that we can walk to where you need to go.’”

The Cornerstone, a 42-unit apartment complex near the Farmingdale train station, is scheduled to open this month. This will make nearly 200 new units within walking distance of the station.

Huntington, Ronkonkoma and Wyandanch have similar projects on the table.

Seilback says taking the train is cleaner than sitting in rush hour traffic.