Tag Archives: elevators

MTA granted eminent domain powers for Flushing LIRR project

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering courtesy of the MTA

The MTA has been given eminent domain powers to move forward with a long-awaited plan to upgrade the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station in Flushing.

The agency’s board voted Jan. 29 to approve the potential use of eminent domain to acquire a one-story building at 40-36 Main St., currently owned by Ou Jiang City Supermarket, an MTA spokesperson said.

It may be a necessary measure in order to continue with a plan to reconfigure the Flushing-Main Street station’s east and westbound entrances.

“We’re hoping not to have to take that step,” said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan, adding that a State Supreme Court judge in Queens would still need to sign off on the use. “We are hoping to negotiate with the building owner to arrive at a way to acquire that property.”

The MTA wants to construct elevators and wide staircases to make platforms more visible and handicapped accessible — a plan long welcomed by local leaders.

“The LIRR’s Main Street facility was built in the 1950s and is in dire need of an upgrade,” said Councilmember Peter Koo.

Koo said he has received multiple complaints from elderly and disabled riders of the station’s dim lighting and lack of accessibility.

Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said the “hideous” blight has also become a nightmarish “dumping ground” for garbage.

“Our community has had to deal with these terrible conditions for way too long,” Koo said. “I’m glad this train is finally pulling out the station.”

Design work is underway, and construction is slated to begin in 2015, Donovan said. It is unclear when the project is expected to end.

The station is not expected to be impacted during morning and evening rush hour commutes, Donovan said, but there may be temporary closures during off-peak hours.

The project was expected to cost $8.5 million in 2012, MTA-LIRR President Helena Williams previously said. MTA officials now say the project’s budget is under review.



New elevators coming to Flushing LIRR

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

The Flushing Long Island Rail Road Station is getting a major “up”grade.

Legislators and transit officials announced plans to install elevators at the station, a major development for the transportation hub.

“As Flushing continues to grow, our infrastructure must grow to match,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky at the press conference on March 2. “These desperately-needed improvements will allow people to travel more easily to and from Flushing and supports the economic expansion that is occurring here.”

Officials expect to award a design contract for the elevator this year, with designs to be completed in 2013 and construction expected to start later that same year. The new project will include the installation of two elevators, one for the eastbound and one for the westbound platform, with elevator machine rooms and entry vestibules. There will also be upgrades to the station’s electrical services, including the replacement of platform lighting, as well as new station signage, warning strips and security cameras.

According to LIRR, the station serves over 2,000 customers on an average weekday so these changes are long overdue. The platform as it is currently constituted dates back to the 1980s and these improvements will bring the station in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Assemblymember Grace Meng, who represents the immediate area, said that the station cannot support the needs of the community as it stands today. Meng recalled a friend having to take a bus east to a more accessible station and then travel back west to get to work in Manhattan.

“Flushing’s LIRR station has long been unable to meet the basic needs of our community,” she said. “The installation of elevators on both platforms will be a great service to those residents who are physically unable to access the LIRR currently.”

LIRR president Helena Williams said that community input had a lot to do with the decision to move forward with these upgrades.

“We’ve been working closely with the community and local elected officials on this project, which we hope will attract additional ridership to the LIRR from the very vibrant and growing Flushing community,” said Williams, adding that the upgrades will come at a cost of $8.5 million in MTA/LIRR capital plan funds.