Tag Archives: A train

Hamilton Beach boardwalk officially opened


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The final stone has been set, and the brand-new Hamilton Beach “boardwalk” has opened.

The 2,000-foot-long cement walkway now provides access for Hamilton Beach residents to travel a direct path from the neighborhood to the Coleman Square train station. Before the reconstruction, the now-cement path was a boardwalk with wooden slats.

The boardwalk was in disrepair for many years, with some boards missing and rusty rail, but it was usable. But once Superstorm Sandy hit, the fragile boardwalk was further damaged and deemed too dangerous for the public to use.

Following Sandy, the city dragged its heels on repairing the boardwalk because of a dispute over who actually owned the land beneath it. The city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) claimed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority owned the land, while the state-run MTA insisted it was the city’s land and responsibility.

Councilman Eric Ulrich then pushed for repairs to be done immediately by the city and the rightful owner, DCAS, took over the project.

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

“This is an issue our office has worked on with DCAS and the Hamilton Beach community for a long time,” Ulrich said. “In an area with limited ways in and out, the boardwalk is a main route connecting many people to the Howard Beach A train station. Residents will once again have easier access to transportation — but the boardwalk is just one part of the neighborhood that needed repair and we aim to fix them all.”

Repairs started back in May and were finished last week. The new “boardwalk” is now a cement path with a stone embankment descending to the water. The walkway has a new fence and guardrail.

“As a whole this is a positive step [for Hamilton Beach],” said Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “It is great that we have another way out of Hamilton Beach that is safer for residents to get to the businesses in Coleman Square and the train station.”

Hamilton Beach is a small portion of Howard Beach and is separated from the rest of the neighborhood by canals and waterways. There are only three ways out of the neighborhood, one being the boardwalk, which was out of commission for the past two years.

“I am glad to finally see that Hamilton Beach is finally getting some of the attention that it desperately needs from the city,” Gendron noted. “This is a great step forward.”

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Hamilton Beach boardwalk project close to completion


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The final steps of the new Hamilton Beach boardwalk are being constructed and it could be opening up soon.

The “boardwalk,” which will now be a cement path connecting Hamilton Beach to Old Howard Beach, has been fully paved and railings have been installed, according to Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office, which is overseeing the plans.

The main portion of the project has been done by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). The last remaining portion of it, which is to add the ramp connecting the train station to the boardwalk, has to be done in partnership with the MTA since they own that portion of the land.

Work started on the path in May and was scheduled to finish by the end of September, but building the ramp has prolonged this process.

“There are a couple of little things left to be done,” said Redmond Haskins, a representative from Ulrich’s office. “But the large portion of the project is completed.”

There is no set date for the opening as the office is still trying to figure out the plans with the MTA.

The boardwalk stretches about 2,000 feet and is used as the main walkway for residents in Hamilton Beach to get to and from the A-train station in Old Howard Beach. It was in disrepair for many years but became totally unusable when Superstorm Sandy hit the area.

Since 2012, residents have had a longer and more dangerous walk to the train because they have to travel on a street without a sidewalk to get out of the neighborhood.

The MTA did not immediately respond for a request of comment on the issue.

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Ozone Park A train stations to be fully repaired by the end of September


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The A train will soon pull into newly renovated subway stops in Ozone Park.

The 88th Street and 104th Street stations, on the Queens-bound side, are expected to reopen at the end of September, after about five months of repair work, according to an MTA spokeswoman. The repairs and replacements being made at the stops, which were started in May, are part of a $39 million capital project for five designated stations along the A line on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park.

The scope of work being done at the stops includes repairs or replacements of mezzanine-to-platform stairs; mezzanine floors, doors and windows; and interior and exterior walls, the spokeswomen added.

Furthermore, each station will be painted, canopied, have better lighting in the mezzanine areas and have its railings replaced. The MTA has also worked to add new artwork to each of the stations with the help of the MTA Arts for Transit. The artwork will be displayed on the platforms’ windscreen walls.

The capital project called for station renewals of these two stations along with 80th St.-Hudson St., Rockaway Boulevard and 111th St.-Greenwood Avenue.

The MTA did not immediately give a timetable for the completion of the other three train stations.

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Woman pepper-sprayed on A train in Howard Beach: report


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via MTA Flickr: Marc A. Hermann/ MTA New York City Transit

BY SALVATORE LICATA

An altercation between two women on the A train at the Howard Beach stop this morning, led to one being pepper-sprayed, according to a published report.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., on the Manhattan-bound train, the argument broke out which led to the victim being sprayed with the substance, the New York Post reported.

The entire train was evacuated and 18 passengers were treated on site for eye irritation, officials said.

“Anytime there is Mace or pepper spray in an enclosed area like that, you have to remove people from the immediate location,” police officials told the paper. “So the train was evacuated as a precaution.”

There have yet to be any reports of an arrest and one person was sent to Jamaica Hospital for further evaluation, officials said.

 

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Repairs begin on Hamilton Beach boardwalk after Sandy damage


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

The city is finally repairing the boardwalk connecting Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach after Superstorm Sandy made it dangerous to use.

“No one from the city wanted to step up and take responsibility,” said Roger Gendron, the president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “But [Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office] kept going and going to get this done.”

While Ulrich’s office pushed for the repairs, which began on May 15, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) is ultimately responsible for doing the work since it owns the property, according to the councilman. But the department wasn’t quick to admit ownership and instead they told the community that the MTA owned the land. The two debated ownership, causing a delay in repairs.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for more than a year,” Ulrich said. “We kept going back and forth with DCAS. We were relentless. The city has to accept responsibility for its property and we’re here to make sure that happens.”

When the flooding hit the area, Gendron explained, the boardwalk became uprooted, and now, the once-straight boardwalk curves and drops in many spots. The boardwalk also sustained damages to the individual planks. Construction workers were observed by Gendron on Tuesday, May 20, working on the site.

Hamilton Beach is a small sliver of Howard Beach and is separated from the rest of the neighborhood by canals and waterways. In an area with less than a handful of ways in and out, the boardwalk is used as a main walkway for people going to and from the Howard Beach A train station.

“Anytime we lose any way out of Hamilton Beach, it hurts,” Gendron said.

Gendron and Ulrich both said that this repair is just one among many things that needs to be fixed.

“It’s just one part of the community that needed repairs and we aim to fix them all,” Ulrich said.

DCAS did not respond to comment requests before press time, and no completion date has been set by the department. When the project is complete, according to Gendron, the department will replace the wooden planks with a concrete walkway and new railings.

 

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Fares suspended on Sandy anniversary for A train riders in Rockaways, Howard Beach


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Amy Hausmann

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that A train riders in the Rockaways and Howard Beach will ride for free all day on the anniversary of Sandy this Tuesday.

R train riders in Brooklyn also won’t need to pay October 29.

“These free rides are a thank you to the MTA riders in the Rockaways in Queens and those who use the R train in Brooklyn for taking the hardships of the storm in stride and for their understanding in the months since,” said Cuomo.

According to the governor, there will be no charge for MTA riders entering stations on the A  line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula, and stations on the R  line between Bay Ridge-95th Street and Court Street from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

 

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Resorts World Casino operators want to buy Aqueduct Racetrack subway station naming rights


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

Resorts World Casino is looking to stake a claim on its subway stop.

The Aqueduct Racetrack station was recently established as a year-round stop on the A-line after a $15 million upgrade. Now, casino operators want to buy the station’s naming rights.

A Resorts World spokesperson said the group has had “some very preliminary conversations with the MTA” about the matter, but “nothing more at this point.”

Prior to the renovations, the subway stop was an antiquated facility that only operated on race days. Now, the racetrack station allows the A train to pass through 24/7 from the Rockaways up to Inwood. Additionally, a SkyBridge walkway connects the stop to the casino through an enclosed, temperature-controlled path.

 

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Resorts World Casino welcomes full-time subway stop


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

This “one-of-a-kind destination” now has one-of-a-kind ease of access.

Resorts World Casino celebrated the grand opening of the $15 million subway station at the Aqueduct Racetrack, complete with a walkway to the casino.

“By plane, train or automobile, the excitement of Resorts World Casino is now accessible to all,” said Edward Farrell, president of Resorts World. “We built the station because we want it to be more convenient and we expect it to grow.”

The racetrack subway stop will allow the A train to pass through 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the Rockaways up to Inwood. Now nearly all Manhattan residents will be able to use the train to get to and from Resorts World in less than an hour. A SkyBridge walkway connects the stop to the casino through an enclosed, temperature-controlled path.

Prior to the renovations, the subway stop was an antiquated facility that only operated on race days. After its multi-million dollar makeover, the stop now meets all city safety codes and has elevator and stair access on both sides.

Calling Resorts World Casino “a great neighbor,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo the subway stop’s new addition continues the gambling center’s positive relationship with the community.

“[Resorts World is] a world-class partner in this community,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. “They made an investment for the benefit of the entire community.”

Transportation to and from the casino also includes the Q37 bus and a shuttle between the facility and Jamaica Station. Later this year, there will be shuttle buses from Manhattan as well.

“I’m very proud and thankful we were able to pull this off,” Farrell said. “This is a very local, homegrown place.”

 

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Suspect arrested for trying to rape woman at Howard Beach subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Brooklyn man has been arrested for the attempted rape of a woman at the Howard Beach-JFK Airport subway station after he allegedly stalked the victim during her commute.

The 42-year-old victim first encountered the suspect, Melvin Adams, 37, when she boarded the subway at the Beach 90th Street stop around 2 a.m. Thursday, said cops. He sat next to the woman and tried to chat with her, then followed her when she exited the train at the Broad Channel station.

Police said he continued to harass the victim as she waited for the northbound A train.

He allegedly tried to put his arm around her, ignoring the victim when she told him to stop.

Following her onto the A train, he asked her for money, but the victim told the suspect she didn’t have any.

When she got off at the Howard Beach-JFK Airport stop, the suspect followed the victim onto the platform, grabbed her, threw her against the wall, then attacked her.

Adams has been charged with attempted rape, robbery, a criminal sex act, sex abuse, forcible touching and harassment, according to police.

 

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Temporary A train service suspension between Euclid Avenue and Howard Beach Wednesday


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

There will be no A train service on Wednesday, July 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Euclid Avenue and Howard Beach because of emergency track work, according to the MTA.

Free shuttle buses will be available as alternatives.

Shuttle buses marked “Express” will operate in both directions nonstop between Euclid Avenue and Howard Beach.

Shuttle buses designated as Local will stop at all A  stations between Euclid Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard, then make stops at Aqueduct (Racino), Aqueduct-North Conduit Avenue and Howard Beach stations.

Customers heading to Rockaway Beach are advised to take:

  • the Q53 from the Woodside 7 subway station or from the Roosevelt Avenue E /F/M /R subway station
  • the Q52 Woodhaven M subway station
  • the Q35 from Flatbush Avenue 2/5 subway station

Rockaway Ferry service extended for at least six more weeks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Though the A train is returning to the Rockaways tomorrow, the ferry is still going to continue, at least until July.

Rockaway Ferry weekday service between the peninsula and Manhattan has been extended for the next six weeks, with the possibility of continuing through Labor Day weekend, city officials announced Tuesday.

The ferry will also start an additional one service run in each direction every Saturday and Sunday, from July 4 through Labor Day, and will now also stop at Beach 108th  Street.

“The continuation of the weekday service will give Rockaway residents another transportation option, and the expanded summer weekend service will make it easier for visitors to get to the Rockaways, bringing additional economic activity to the beaches throughout the summer season,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The service will be extended through the end of the summer “if ridership remains strong,” according to officials.

After Sandy damaged the A train and cut off service past the Howard Beach/JFK Airport stop, the city provided several transportation options for residents served by the portion of the subway that was no longer running.

One of those options included ferry service between Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways, and Pier 11/Wall Street and East 34th Street in Manhattan.

Even with the return of full A train service, there is support to make the ferry permanent, including from Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder

A petition he started to keep the boat running gathered 2,000 signatures in three days.

 

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MTA plans upgrade to Lefferts Boulevard A train station


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

It could be a big lift for subway riders.

MTA officials are planning a partial revamp of the Lefferts Boulevard A train station, including the installation of an elevator.

The nearly 100-year-old station does not have any handicap accessibility at present. Along with the elevator, the MTA’s plans include new stairs and a new roof on the platform.

The project comes at the cost of several parking spots. A bus stop will be relocated within the parking lot to accommodate the new stairs.

“In addition to the elevator, this is going to give everyone more of an outlet,” said MTA representative Joe Raskin.

However, some residents are concerned that the elevator will entice vandals.

“We have a problem at night where people hang out, urinate,” said Richmond Hill South Civic Association President Margaret Finnerty. “How are you going to control that?”

Raskin said the MTA will prioritize safety and work with transit police to make sure the station stays safe.

“If there is a situation like that that develops,” he said, “it’s going to be a matter for the transportation bureau of the NYPD to have people there as a proactive thing. And we would work with them on that to make sure they know about the situation.”

The project will be awarded to a contractor on September 30, according to Vinod Patel, acting design manager for the MTA.

 

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MTA cuts shuttle service to Sandy-ravaged Rockaways


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of MTA

Local and citywide leaders say the MTA is throwing the Rockaways under the bus.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio joined with Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder and Councilmember Donovan Richards in Far Rockaway on Friday, April 19 to decry the decreased shuttle bus service to the Sandy-affected peninsula.

A train service to the Rockaways last ran on Sunday, October 28 as the city buckled down for the storm, which left rails across Jamaica Bay severely damaged.

Since then, buses have run from the Howard Beach-JFK Station to the peninsula.

But on Monday the MTA cut bus service from 94 to 75 runs per weekday.

De Blasio contrasted the cuts with the transit authority’s new Cannonball train, a streamlined shuttle to the Hamptons. He said people with high incomes would benefit from the new train while low- to middle-income Rockaway residents would suffer from the cost-saving measure.

“The MTA can’t throw the Rockaways under the bus,” he said. “If it can expand service for Manhattanites weekending in the Hamptons, then it can afford to do right by hard-hit families in the Rockaways.”

Train service within Rockaway returned in December with the restored H train. It runs from the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station to Beach 90-Holland.

“This shuttle service provides an essential lifeline with the rest of New York City for our residents in one of the areas hit hardest by Sandy,” Richards said. “If anything, what we really need is more buses during peak morning and evening hours.”

Goldfeder, who has advocated for faster train service to the peninsula, noted that south Queens residents already have one of the city’s longest commutes to midtown. With families still reeling six months after the storm, the service cuts would be another blow, he said.

“Our communities are still struggling to rebuild from the damage caused by Sandy,” Goldfeder said. “And the last thing they need is to be nickeled-and-dimed for service that is crucial to helping them recover.”

The MTA, however, said the service, while decreasing, is shifting to streamline travel in and out of Rockaway.

“We’re actually improving service for the vast majority of customers who use the shuttle,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

There will be more shuttle buses running during rush hours, and decreased service during slower hours, he said.

Oritz said the Cannonball train follows a route that has been in operation for the past century. He added that the only recent change was making the train leave from Penn Station instead of Hunters Point.

 

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Rockaway Beach line restoration gets federal support


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Terence Cullen

Proposed revival of the Rockaway Beach LIRR Line has gotten some federal backing.

Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Gregory Meeks are all-aboard for restoring the 50-year-defunct line in a new form, which would effectively link Rego Park to Ozone Park via mass transit.

Together with Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, they have sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, asking for federal money from Sandy for restoring the line.

“What this rail line would do, if completely restored, would intersect on five or six different points, giving people options,” said Goldfeder, who’s pushed rail restoration since coming into office a year-and-a-half ago.

“If you try and drive on Woodhaven Boulevard or Cross Bay Boulevard in the morning or afternoon, our streets are jammed.”

Meeks, who began representing the Rockaways in January, said this was needed now more than ever as the peninsula and its residents try to rebuild.

Jeffries, representing Ozone Park and Howard Beach, said south Queens commuters have one of the longest trips to Manhattan, and LIRR service would reduce the hour-plus commute to Midtown. It is, he noted, one of the longest commutes within NYC, “perhaps rivaled only by some in the southern part of Staten Island.”

Because neighborhoods such as Woodhaven have expanded closer to the tracks since train service ended in June 1962, many are concerned about a rail line right next to their home. But officials say they’ve explored new ways of silent transportation, such as a monorail, to reduce noise.

Trains could stop at the Howard Beach-JFK A train station in Coleman Square if the line is revived.

Commuters going to Rockaway would transfer to the A train, which is expected to be up and running later this summer.

A rail line, however, is not the only plan on the table for the three-mile strip.

The Queensway, a nature walk, has been the counterpart proposal to the plan and would be similar to the Highline in Manhattan. Andrea Crawford, a founding member of “Friends of Queensway,” said she didn’t believe the LIRR would be a practical way of transit – suggesting instead implementing rapid bus transit or improving A train service.

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association are for better north-south transportation in Queens and reducing traffic on Woodhaven Boulevard, said communications director Alex Blenkinsopp. Because the rail line would run so close to homes, however, they are against this type of development.

WRBA hosted a town hall meeting on the LIRR line and the Queensway last September, but ultimately decided to urge the city to clean up the abandoned, overgrown strip of land.

“They’re not even trying to convince Woodhaven at this point,” Blenkinsopp said. “They seem to have decided that they need to railroad us, rather than attempting to address our concerns.”

 

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New hours for free Rockaways “H” train


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Beginning tomorrow, the free “H” subway shuttle, which started running in the Rockaway Peninsula  after Sandy damaged the “A” line’s connection to area, will have new hours.

The “H”  line, from Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue to Beach 90th Street, will operate from 4:55 a.m. to 9:25 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 4 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

From Beach 90th Street to Far Rockaway-Mott Ave, it will run from 5:10 a.m. to 9:40 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekends.

These changes were made to accommodate ongoing work along the line to restore full subway service in the area.

To connect to the rest of the city’s transit system, riders can still take a free shuttle bus from the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station to the Howard Beach/JFK Airport stop, where they can get the “A” train.

 

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