Tag Archives: LIRR

MTA to expand service, make improvements


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons

Ridgewood subway riders can rejoice as the M line will be making stops to Manhattan on the weekends again.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the MTA will make improvements and expansions throughout the city to bus, subways and Long Island Rail Road service with state funding.

“For the second year in a row, the state has invested in significant enhancements and expansions to our state’s transit system that will improve the experience of the eight million commuters who use the MTA,” Cuomo said.

The enhancements are possible because of state aid from the 2013 Executive Budget, cost-cutting measures by the MTA and fare hikes. The agency will spend $7.9 million annually on new bus and subway services and another $5.9 million to improve track and station cleaning, increase controllers to manage numbered line service and add more security cameras.

Chief among the enchantments is the restoration of weekend service on the M line, which currently runs from Metropolitan Avenue to Myrtle Avenue stations on weekends. The route will be extended to the Essex and Delancey Street station in downtown Manhattan.

Presently, riders trying to travel to Manhattan from Ridgewood are forced to transfer to the J train on Myrtle Avenue. The service upgrade will reduce transfers and shorten waits for 37,000 weekend customers, according to the MTA.

“Extending weekend service of the M line will mean easier and faster commutes for residents travelling for work or for pleasure,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “Investments in public transportation are crucial to the city’s economic growth.”

As part of the improvements the agency is planning to reduce wait times for G train riders by speeding up service from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays from every 10 minutes to every eight minutes.

Queens buses will also see more service. The MTA will restore weekend service to the Q31 bus, which runs from Jamaica to Bayside, and Sunday service on the Q77 will be established.

The enhancements also include $2.6 million in service add-ons for the Long Island Rail Road, including restored service in both directions every half hour from Ronkonkoma to Port Washington.

 

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Commuters angry about upcoming LIRR service cuts


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The upcoming cuts to peak weekday Long Island Rail Road service in Bayside have left commuters outraged, yet the MTA said the brief inconvenience will result in long-term improvements.

From July 22 to August 16, the LIRR will cancel five rush-hour trains including the westbound 7:55 a.m. train from Little Neck and 8 a.m. train from Bayside to Penn Station. The cancellations are due to construction on the East Side Access mega-project in Sunnyside.

The cuts have left Austin Shafran, candidate for the City Council District 19, calling on the MTA to provide alternatives during the construction period that would leave commuters with a 46-minute gap between trains.

“The MTA’s unnecessary and irresponsible decision to cancel service will force even more people onto overcrowded trains, turning a difficult situation into a dangerous ride for commuters,” said Shafran, who began gathering signatures on Wednesday, July 17 to send to the MTA. “Northeast Queens is already a transit desert, yet facing the hottest month of the year, the MTA is further taking away vital access to mass transit that commuters rely on.”

In a letter to the MTA, Shafran suggested temporarily converting the 7:47 a.m. express train from Great Neck to a semi-express train stopping at Little Neck at 7:50 a.m. and Bayside at 8:01 a.m.

However, according to Aaron Donovan, MTA deputy director for external communications, the LIRR will provide a train 33 minutes earlier and 12 minutes later from the peak hour trains. He also said in the long run, the construction will help bring less congestion and delays.

“In the end, this will make things easier by providing a new destination in Manhattan on the east side under Grand Central,” said Donovan. “It will help decongest a very critical part of our railroad. The work associated with this track outage will help provide a new route so that Amtrak and the LIRR will no longer interfere with each other in Sunnyside.”

 

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MTA to provide extra service for All-Star Game festivities


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

The MTA will provide extra service during MLB All-Star Game festivities on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16, according to the transit agency.

LIRR Port Washington Branch trains will provide service every half hour -– and more frequently when necessary — to the Mets-Willets Point Station. For more information, visit, www.mta.info/lirr.

When necessary, there will also be extra No. 7 trains, which stop at the Mets-Willets Point Station right next to Citi Field, and special super-express No. 7 trains after the last out of the Home Run Derby and All- Star Game, with trains stopping at 61st St.-Woodside, Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, 42nd St. Grand Central, 5th Avenue-Bryant Park and Times Square-42nd St.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the morning, then overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 81. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Tuesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 66. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Making Books Sing Presents “My City Park”

When Milo learns that his favorite city park will be torn down for a shopping mall, he seeks the help of his two best friends, Odessa the Owl and Bucky the Squirrel. “My City Park,” a 45-minute educational performance for children ages 3-10 at the Astoria Library at 3:30 p.m., features puppetry, original songs and audience participation to illustrate the importance of shared community resources. Space is limited and available first come, first served. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Widespread LIRR delays after train derails in East River tunnel

A Long Island Rail Road train derailed inside an East River tunnel Monday evening, causing frustrating delays and cancellations for commuters at a packed Penn Station during the height of rush hour. Read more: NBC New York

City’s grad rate takes slight dip as state remains flat

For the first time since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, the city’s high school graduation rates fell slightly for students who graduate both in June and August. Read more: NY1

Ridgewood manufacturers don’t want Industrial Business Zone because they’d rather build apartment complexes

A group of cash-strapped property owners in Ridgewood is opposing a proposed manufacturing-only area because it would restrict them from converting their buildings to apartment complexes, their lawyer said. Read more: New York Daily News 

2 Rikers Officers Charged With Dealing Drugs to Inmates

Two New York City correction officers have been arrested after investigators said they were caught dealing drugs to inmates. Read more: NBC New York

Mistake on grave marker makes Koch appear younger than Bloomberg

Late Mayor Ed Koch was already a partner in a New York law firm when Mayor Michael Bloomberg was just a year out of college – so few would guess that Koch was actually the younger man. Read more: CBS New York

Supreme Court: Ariz. citizenship proof law illegal

States can’t demand proof of citizenship from people registering to vote in federal elections unless they get federal or court approval to do so, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision complicating efforts in Arizona and other states to bar voting by people who are in the country illegally. Read more: AP

 

MTA Memorial Day weekend service


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by MTA / Patrick Cashin

The MTA will make the following service changes for the Memorial Day holiday weekend:

NYC Subways and Buses

MTA subways and buses will operate on Sunday schedule on Memorial Day.  Subway customers are reminded to use the A, C, D or Q instead of the D, and the J instead of the Z. Some subway routes are shortened and some of the changes are due to weekend work that extends through Monday.

As a reminder:

  • Q trains run between 57th Street-7th Avenue and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue
  • J trains run between Jamaica Center and Chambers Street
  • L trains run between Rockaway Parkway and Lorimer Street only, with no service to Manhattan, due to tunnel work.
  • M trains run between Metropolitan Avenue and 57th Street/6th Avenue F Station to replace the L.
  • 5 trains are suspended this weekend due to track work.  Take 2 and/or 4 trains instead.

Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR will provide additional early-afternoon train service from Penn Station on Friday, May 24 on the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Montauk, Port Jefferson, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma Branches.  In addition, due to the overwhelming response, the LIRR’s new Cannonball – set to depart at 4:07 p.m. from Track 19 at Penn Station on Friday and travel express to Westhampton Station – is expected to be at full capacity with every seat in coach class taken along with the allowable number of standees.  So please get there early to allow extra time for boarding.

For more information, click here.

Metro-North Railroad

Beginning at noon on Friday, May 24, Metro-North will offer extra early afternoon departures from Grand Central Terminal on all three lines – Hudson, Harlem and New Haven.

For more information, click here.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend all routine maintenance work beginning 1 p.m. on Friday, May 24, through the end of the morning rush on Tuesday, May 28, to accommodate motorists traveling throughout the busy travel weekend. Motorists can ease their trip by using E-ZPass.

Staten Island Railway

MTA Staten Island Railway will operate its “Early Departure Get Away” schedule on Friday, May 24.  This schedule means extra SIR trains will be added earlier in the afternoon beginning at 2:30 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m. The Early Departure Get Away service plan on SIR is also available on Wednesday, July 3 (before Independence Day), Labor Day weekend, Christmas and New Year’s.  It will also operate on the day before Thanksgiving.

 

 

Town hall highlights transit issues in northeast Queens


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Idle buses and a lack of adequate service are some of the transit problems plaguing northeast Queens, residents say.

About 25 people aired their grievances to bus, subway and LIRR officials during a town hall meeting on Thursday.

“I think we can all agree that we are under-serviced by mass transit in this district,” said State Senator Tony Avella.

Some residents said they were outraged at buses that park for as long as an hour with their engines running along the service road of the Clearview Expressway near Bayside High School.

The MTA said it would find a different location for the vehicles to park, according to Joseph Raskin, the agency’s assistant director of government and community relations.

He encouraged residents to call the MTA with the time of the incident and bus number to further curb the problem.

“We take that very seriously,” Raskin said. “We do not tolerate [drivers] leaving their busses running. We will take care of it.”

Leaders from St. George’s Church on 135th Street and 38th Avenue in Flushing said an increasing number of buses end their routes right outside the church. The vehicles, they said, were re-routed to Main Street between 38th and 39th Streets.

“We’re surrounded by buses that are idling and blocking traffic,” a church representative said.

Raskin said the move was due to the popularity of the Main Street station in Flushing. He called it “by far the largest transfer station in our whole system.”

Many commuters also argued for a free transfer from the LIRR to the subway at Penn Station.
LIRR official Bob Brennan said the agency might not be able to supply that service.

“Over 80 percent of our customers transfer to the subway,” he said. “Quite frankly, as most of you know, the MTA is on an austerity budget. Things like that cost money.”

Rider Al Matican said he wanted the MTA to implement a pilot program that would install sliding doors between platforms and rails in subway stations.

“The most important thing is saving lives,” he said. “Making the yellow lines bigger won’t stop someone from pushing you off the platform. If an elevator door was missing, it would be fixed right away.”
Raskin said the MTA was looking into the sliding doors and “a lot of different solutions to stop this from happening.”

“It’s a huge capital investment [but] it’s going to be addressed,” he said.

-BY LUKE TABET

 

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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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New train engines to improve Queens air quality


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi's Office

Antiquated, high emission train engines have been a great concern for residents in the industrial areas of southwest Queens. But now, an upgrade is on the way.

Freight trains passing through areas of Community Board 5 and 9 have been running past residential homes for years, causing the track’s neighbors to question any potential health risks.

“This is a quality of life issue,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES).

CURES has worked feverishly to ensure upgraded locomotive engines for the area, and through work with Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and a coalition of elected officials, managed to secure $3 million in this year’s legislative budget to upgrade engines.

“This is the first win in what will be an ongoing fight to protect the health of countless families in Queens,” Hevesi said.

“With New York State’s recognition that outdated trains can be severely damaging to communities they pass through, we have taken the first step toward fixing this problem.”

The funds will kick off a pilot project that will upgrade the first of a number of antiquated, high- emission trains.

The trains, owned and leased by the LIRR, are currently equipped with “archaic” 1970s engines, and operate throughout the city and Long Island, carrying waste and cargo near residents’ backyards, schools, parks and beaches.

However, after the upgrade, there is expected to be an annual reduction in nitrogen oxide, a known byproduct of diesel engines, by up to 76 percent, or 120 tons of emission over 10 years, according to Hevesi’s office.

After years of work advocating for modernized engines, Parisen said that she and the other members of CURES are “ecstatic” simply because they no longer need to convince agencies and the government that the upgrade needed to be done.

“They all acknowledged that this needs to happen, now it’s just a matter of how we’re going to do it,” she said.

The allocated $3 million is going to the LIRR and the MTA, Parisen said, and they are going to upgrade however many trains they can with the amount.

“The locomotives now are doing the most damage to the most densely-populated areas,” she said. “We need to make sure the neighborhood gets the best locomotive possible.”

The coalition plans to continue petitioning the state until all necessary fleet upgrades have been completed, said Hevesi’s office.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


 TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Overcast in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 55. Winds from the ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 41. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Marking Spaces: New York City’s Landmark Historic Districts 

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Law, enacted by then Mayor Robert Wagner on April 19, 1965, protects the city’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. One of the best manifestations of the New York City landscape and the impact of landmarks is the Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art. The new exhibition “Marking Spaces: New York City’s Landmark Historic Districts,” will have yellow flags placed on the model to identify the 109 historic districts throughout the five boroughs. On view through June 2. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own 

 7 Injured in  fire in Astoria, Queens

Seven people were injured late Sunday afternoon when a fire broke out in an Astoria, Queens apartment building. Read more: CBS New York

Man caught riding Long Island Rail Road train through Queens

Talk about a crazy commute. A reckless rider was spotted on top of a Long Island Rail Road train in Queens Sunday morning. Read more: New York Daily News 

Schumer opposes possible concealed weapon addition to gun control bill

As Washington lawmakers prepare to vote on expanded background checks for gun purchases, Senator Charles Schumer warned Sunday that a possible Republican amendment to a federal gun safety bill could force all states, including New York, to recognize all other states’ concealed-carry laws. Read more: NY1

9/11 memorial charging reservation fee

Visitors to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum must now pay a $2 service fee to reserve passes online or by phone. Read more: Fox New York/AP

New York’s ‘assault weapon’ registration to begin

Key measures of New York’s tough new gun law are set to kick in, with owners of guns now reclassified as assault weapons required to register the firearms and new limits on the number of bullets allowed in magazines. Read more: AP

Tight win for Chavez’s heir spells uncertainty for Venezuela

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro won Venezuela’s presidential election by a whisker but now faces opposition protests plus a host of economic and political challenges in the OPEC nation. Read more: Reuters 

Transit changes for the holiday weekend


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

On Good Friday, March 29, all New York City buses will follow a regular weekday schedule, as well as following a regular Sunday schedule on Easter (March 31).

The Long Island Rail Road will follow a regular weekday schedule on Good Friday, but will add eight additional trains between 2:08 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. Three additional trains will run on the Babylon branch, three on the Port Jefferson branch, one on the Port Washington branch, and one on the Far Rockaway branch.

The additional trains are as follows:

Babylon Branch
• 2:29 p.m. express to Lynbrook, then all stops to Babylon.
• 3:00 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Rockville Centre, then all stops to Babylon.
• 3:31 p.m. express to Rockville Centre, then all stops to Babylon.

Port Jefferson Branch
• 2:08 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, then all stops to Huntington.
• 2:32 p.m. stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, then all stops to

Huntington.
• 3:24 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, Westbury and Hicksville.

Port Washington Branch
• 3:40 p.m. stopping at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Great Neck.

Far Rockaway Branch
• 3:48 p.m. express to Locust Manor, then all stops to Far Rockaway.

All road closures will also be temporarily lifted by 1 p.m. on Friday, March 29, in anticipation of a early rush hour.

For more information on service changes, visit mta.info.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with rain. High of 41. Windy. Winds from the NE at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible. Monday night: Overcast with snow, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 34F with a windchill as low as 27. Breezy. Winds from the North at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70% with accumulations up to 2 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: BubbleMania 

From March 25 to March 31, at the New York Hall of Science, enjoy the humor and spectacular science of comic bubble-ologist Casey Carle, who has been featured on The Science Channel. See how science can turn the ordinary soap bubble into something extraordinary. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the show. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Spring storm heads towards New Jersey, Long Island

A spring storm that buried parts of the midwest in snow is now dropping a sloppy mix on part of our area. Read more: ABC New York

N.Y. State Senate Holds Sunday Session To Advance Budget Bill

New York state lawmakers were expected Sunday to take much of the week to pass the $135 billion budget they negotiated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. CBSNewYork/AP

LIRR resumes normal service after derailment, but broken rail suspends branch

The Long Island Rail Road has resumed normal service Monday after a week of disruptions due to a derailed freight train and a broken rail that suspended service on the Port Washington branch. Read more: ABC New York

Hundreds rally for gay rights at Washington Square Park

Elected officials joined hundreds of demonstrators in Greenwich Village on Sunday afternoon for a march and rally for gay marriage rights. Read more: CBS New York

Ellis Island Museum not likely to reopen in 2013

The National Park Service says the Ellis Island Immigration Museum “will not likely be open in 2013″ as damage from Hurricane Sandy is repaired. Read more: NBC New York

NY Mayor Bloomberg predicts success for expanded gun checks

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicted on Sunday that pressure from the American public would eventually force the Congress to expand background checks for gun buyers, even though the measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Read more: Reuters 

Anger over parking rate hikes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Department of Transportation (DOT) could be taking extra money out of commuters’ pockets this summer.

The organization made a proposal to increase fares up to 233 percent for municipal lots, and residents aren’t looking to pay up.

Councilmember Donovan Richards held his term’s first press conference outside one of those lots at the Rosedale Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train station, where commuters travel day in and day out, paying to park in the lot.

“This is attacking our pocketbooks, our expenses and this is just something that we cannot tolerate,” said Alfred Osbourne, Rosedale resident and permit holder at the LIRR lot, who is still recovering from Sandy. “I have other bills, and now to get hit by this? It’s unsustainable.”

Richards said that this increase is “unwarranted,” and “nothing but greed.” Although no numbers are finalized, the increase would go up from the current $110 monthly rate for parking, said Osbourne.

“We cannot afford these steep increases that they are proposing,” said Richards. “Considering the current economic climate facing working families in my district, this . . . increase would disproportionately affect residents.”

State Senator James Sanders, Richards’ former boss and mentor, also attended the press conference to voice his support for his prior chief-of-staff and opposition to the proposed increases.

“What will this increase result in?” he asked. “A better maintained area? Will it be safer? [Is the DOT] putting up signage or walkways? I would argue no.”

Sanders said he will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Richards on this issue. The two suggested alternative means for the city organization to get the money it needs, such as cutting from corporate subsidiaries.

“Look at them before forcing everyday citizens to take it out of their pockets,” said Richards.

However, a DOT statement said that the parking rate adjustment is the first at the Rosedale lot in many years.

“Bear in mind that there are only 12 permit holders at this lot, and that their effective daily parking rate is increasing from approximately $1.15 to $1.40, still well below the market rate for parking in this area,” said the statement.

The DOT also said it received no comments on the rate from Rosedale permit holders.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 50. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Keely Garfield Dance – Telling The Bees

The custom of telling bees after their beekeeper died was believed to keep them from absconding or dying and encourage their affiliation with a new beekeeper. This tradition assumes a reciprocal relationship between animals and humans, between past, present and future and between the lines of life and death. Performer Keely Garfield forages links between the waggle and round dances of the honeybees, their industrious, cooperative societies, the sweet results of their toil and the sting of breakdown in our own organizing principles. Runs from March 13-16 at The Chocolate Factory Theatre in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Arrest in connection to bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire

A Brooklyn man was arrested in connection to the two bodies found in a brush fire in the Spring Park Preserve last week, authorities have announced. Read more: The Queens Courier

Dangerous billboard hangs over Queens Boulevard, leaves neighbors furious

A deteriorating and potentially dangerous sign hangs over Queens Boulevard, and a neighbor has been complaining that no one has taken action to prevent a potential tragedy. Read more: CBS New York

Ewww! MTA says elevator at Woodside, Queens LIRR constantly breaking down on account of urine

This elevator is more than just a wee bit slow. A lift at the Woodside, Queens, LIRR and subway complex is constantly breaking down from damage caused by people peeing inside it, officials said Monday. Read more: New York Daily News

Two city Sandy rebuilding projects to receive full federal funding

Four post-hurricane rebuilding projects, including two in New York City, will now be fully funded by the federal government, to the tune of more than $1 billion. Read more: NY1

Black smoke as morning fails to bring new pope

Cardinals in secret conclave failed twice on Wednesday morning to elect a new pope, as black smoke over the Sistine Chapel showed ballots on the first full day of voting were inconclusive. Read more: Reuters

David Wright drives in 5 as Team USA rolls Puerto Rico

Gio Gonzalez gave Team USA its best start yet, and David Wright provided a big finish. Read more: CBS New York

 

LIRR riders say no justification for fare hikes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

MetroCard holders are not the only ones pinching pennies now that fare hikes are in effect.

Starting on Friday, March 1, monthly, one-way, round-trip and 10-trip tickets all went up an average of 8.2 to 9.3 percent for Long Island Rail Road riders.

On the first full work week of higher fares, LIRR commuters in Queens questioned why they are paying more to ride, but are not receiving better service.

“I don’t know how [the LIRR] can justify constantly increasing prices,” said Kevin Gilmartin, a New Jersey resident who has been regularly taking the train from Penn Station to Queens to do millwork projects in the borough for around five years.

Gilmartin knows that taking the train is cheaper than driving, but said with ridership up, the MTA should be lowering prices, not increasing them.

For Nina Rahn, a Bayside resident who commutes to her retail job in Manhattan about four times a week, the fare hike adds up to around $50 more per month.

“I didn’t get a raise at work, so it’s like paying another bill,” said Rahn.

She is also shelling out more cash to ride the bus to and from the train station since MetroCard fares also recently increased.

Agreeing with Gilmartin, Rahn said that if she’s paying more, she wants to see improvements, such as extra trains or fewer signal problems, but those things likely won’t happen.

“Where does the money go?” she said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 46. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 32. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Sixth Annual Panorama Challenge NYC Team Trivia Game

At the Queens Museum of Art, participate in the world’s only geographical trivia-based game night involving the world’s largest architectural model The Panorama of the City of New York. This challenge involves audio clues and laser-pointers highlighting assorted NYC landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks and more. $10 suggested donation with all proceeds supporting the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two charged with murder, kidnapping for deadly South Richmond Hill fire

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in conjunction with the South Richmond Hill fire that revealed one man bound and shot. Read more: Queens Courier

Metro-North, LIRR fare hikes go into effect

The first round of MTA fare and toll hikes went into effect Friday morning. Read more: CBS New York

City Council wants Albany to give tax relief for Sandy homeowners

Homeowners who decide to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy may find that they are paying for the privilege. Read more: NY1

Breezy Point residents still planning Wounded Warriors event

Residents in Breezy Point are committed to hosting their annual Wounded Warriors event despite all the storm damage. Read more: Fox New York

Man arrested at LaGuardia after switchblades found in carry on, authorities say

Authorities at LaGuardia Airport arrested a man Wednesday that they say had three switchblades in his carry-on luggage. Read more: NY1

Obama to hold budget talks with congressional leaders

A fiscal deadline all but blown, President Obama says he once again wants to seek a big fiscal deal that would raise taxes and trim billions from expensive and ever growing entitlement programs. Read more: ABC New York/AP