Tag Archives: A train

Op-ed: Time to relieve side effects of A train project

| oped@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo


I have long advocated for improving transportation for families across Queens as the best way to meet the demands of our growing population and boost economic activity in the borough. I have called for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line as the most cost-efficient way to improve commutes for tens of thousands of families and take cars off our clogged roadways.
Also, I recently met with Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia in Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Hamilton Beach to inspect roadways where our families have long asked for improvements.

That’s why I’m always willing to support the work done by the MTA, DOT or any other agency to improve infrastructure and make our commutes safer and more efficient.

However, with any large infrastructure project we need to take steps to ensure minimal impact to our homes and local businesses whenever possible.

Recently, I’ve been contacted by families and store owners along Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park that have been forced to deal with a traffic nightmare as a result of the ongoing Liberty Avenue Line Station Renewal Project, which is currently rebuilding A train stations between 80th Street and 111th Street.

For almost a year, NYC Transit has been storing construction equipment on Liberty Avenue and 84th Street. In one area, this equipment covers about 12 car lengths along the avenue. Not only do these materials take up valuable parking spaces, but they have also created a dangerous situation as cars swerve into oncoming traffic to pass. I’ve even spoken to local business owners who have had company vehicles hit by oncoming traffic. They come into work every day wondering if they and their employees will make it safely through the workday. This is unacceptable.

I’ve written to NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco urging the state agency to minimize the amount of equipment stored on this busy roadway. Our families and local businesses should expect some inconvenience as work progresses on the stations. But we should not accept any situation that hurts our local economy and puts our families’ lives at risk. By being smart about how we improve infrastructure in the community, we can ensure that our families stay safe and our local businesses remain strong.

Goldfeder represents the 23rd District encompassing Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Lindenwood, Broad Channel and Rockaway.


Man jumps to his death at Howard Beach A train station

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/Far Rockaway

Updated 1:47 p.m.

A man jumped to his death Monday morning from the platform of a Manhattan-bound A train at the Howard Beach-JFK Airport station, it was reported.

Police and EMS units received a call about the incident at 8:19 a.m., according to officials, and they responded to the scene shortly thereafter. Service was suspended from Rockaway Boulevard to Beach 90th Street until 10:46 a.m. Free shuttle buses were provided during that time.

The man has not been identified and the investigation is still ongoing.

Later, the MTA suspended A train service from Euclid Avenue and Ozone Park-Lefferts Boulevard in both directions due to switch problems. Service between Euclid Avenue and Broad Channel was also suspended in both directions.


Cable theft causes A train shutdown in south Queens: MTA

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ad Meskens

Updated 1:55 p.m.

Limited service is back on the A line in south Queens Wednesday morning after crews worked to repair damage caused by the theft of nearly 500 feet of copper cables powering the tracks.

According to the MTA, the train troubles were discovered at about 11:22 p.m. Tuesday night, when a Manhattan-bound A train suddenly lost power just north of the Howard Beach-JFK Airport station. The MTA dispatched another train that pulled behind it, allowing some 150 passengers in the disabled train to safely walk back to the Howard Beach platform.

Upon investigation, crews reportedly discovered that copper cables which supply power to the third rail were missing. Signals and other related equipment were damaged due to the interrupted electrical equipment.

Photo courtesy MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann

Photo courtesy MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann

The cable theft caused a commuting nightmare during the morning rush hour Wednesday. The A line was entirely shut down between Rockaway Boulevard and Broad Channel, and shuttle buses were brought in to transport thousands of affected riders to the nearest working subway stations.

The MTA also noted the disruption made it impossible to dispatch trains stored at the Rockaway Park yard for morning rush hour service, thus reducing service along the entire A and C lines between upper Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some A trains were forced to terminate at Euclid Avenue in Brooklyn, the normal C train terminus.

MTA crews made emergency repairs to restore limited service by about 10 a.m. Wednesday, but the authority indicated the line would again be shut down tonight for further repairs. Shuttle buses will again replace A trains between Rockaway Boulevard and Broad Channel during the disruption.

Photo courtesy MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann

Photo courtesy MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann

“This morning’s service disruption was directly caused by the theft of cable from along the subway right of way,” MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said in a statement. “We are working closely with the NYPD Transit Bureau to help them investigate this crime and identify the culprits responsible.”

Click here for up-to-date information on MTA service.

In the wake of the shutdown, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder called for an immediate investigation and the MTA to beef up security along the A line.

“Families in southern Queens and Rockaway have some of the longest commute times in the entire city. On a normal day, our roads, trains and buses are stretched to capacity. Outages like this have devastating consequences for families simply trying to commute to work or school,” Goldfeder said in a statement. “I am alarmed by reported security breaches along the A train and the failure to put in place effective alternative travel plans for our families. I demand a full investigation by the MTA to ensure that this never happens again.”


Goldfeder calls for improved safety measure under A train underpass

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

New and additional street lights are needed for a poorly lit underpass in Ozone Park that is “potentially dangerous” for residents to walk through at night, said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

“This dark and dangerous underpass poses a threat to the children and families in the community and is a welcome sign for criminal behavior,” said Goldfeder. “Our families deserve to feel safe walking in their own neighborhoods and I’m urging the Department of Transportation to immediately install lights to help give every resident the peace of mind they deserve.”

The pathway Goldfeder is singling out is between 99th and 100th streets on Rockaway Boulevard, which passes under the elevated A train tracks. He said that the current fixtures that provide light do not work and that even when they do, they wouldn’t provide adequate lighting for the area. He has written to the Department of Transportation in hopes that they will fix the problem that he calls “troubling and dangerous.”

“When I arrive home every night from work, I use the pathway to get to my house,” said local resident Shaki Kar. “There are no street lamps there and it’s dark and covered in litter and graffiti. I know people who have gotten robbed there in the past. I feel very unsafe.”

The assemblyman encouraged the agency to work with the MTA, which owns the tracks, to perform any necessary maintenance at the site.

He said that the area is home to many local businesses and is also near two public schools – M.S. 137 America’s School of Heroes and John Adams High School – making the situation particularly dangerous for students walking home from school.

“No one should have to fear for their safety while walking home at night,” said Goldfeder. “We live in a great community where people feel safe to live and raise a family. When problems like this underpass arise, it’s important to address them as soon as possible and maintain the quality of life we enjoy.”

As of press time the DOT did not respond for a request of comment on the situation.


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.”


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.


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.


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


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.



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.




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.



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.



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.”





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.



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.