Tag Archives: LIRR

MTA service for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

From Wednesday, November 27, through Sunday, December 1 the MTA will operate on special schedules because of Thanksgiving weekend travel demands, according to the transit agency.

New York City Subways and Buses

New York City subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day. The closest subway stations to the start of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are the 1 at 79th Street and the C at 81st Street. There will be additional service on the 42nd Street Shuttle as well as increased early morning service on the 1 line. A number of bus routes will be impacted by the parade, and details will be provided at www.mta.info under “Service Status.” On Friday, November 29, service will operate on a weekday schedule with some exceptions listed at mta.info.

Long Island Rail Road

The Long Island Rail Road will provide extra trains on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 27, with extra afternoon eastbound trains to handle the expected getaway day rush home. On Thanksgiving Day, there are extra trains to get riders to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and extra trains them from the event. On Friday, November 29, there will be a regular weekday schedule with off-peak fares. There will be extra trains on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

For more information, please click here.

Metro-North Railroad

Off-peak fares will be valid throughout the entire four-day period, and train schedules are adjusted to better serve more customers. On Wednesday, November 27, Metro-North will operate 20 extra afternoon trains departing Grand Central between noon and 4:10 p.m.

On Thanksgiving Day, Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is also expanded outbound service starting in the late morning and continuing until mid-afternoon for customers traveling to suburban destinations. There is expanded evening service for customers returning to New York City.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Metro-North will run fewer morning rush hour trains but more midday trains. Regular Saturday and Sunday schedules are in effect with extra trains on November 30 and December 1.

For more information, please click here.

Staten Island Railway

On  Wednesday, November 27 there will be extra trains added earlier in the afternoon beginning at 2:31 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.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, SIR will operate a Saturday schedule, while on Friday, trains will run on a regular weekday schedule.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

Routine maintenance and temporary construction work at all MTA Bridges and Tunnels crossings will be suspended beginning noon on Wednesday, November 27, through early Monday morning, December 2.

For more information, please click here.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph.
Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 34. Breezy. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Benjamin Britten: The Complete Cello Suites

Celebrate the 100th birthday of Britain’s greatest composer with three suites for solo violoncello performed by Lost Dog cellist Emily Brausa at St. Joseph’s Church in Astoria at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Mayor Bloomberg to sign bill banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21

Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to sign landmark legislation Tuesday banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21, making New York the first large city in the country to prohibit sales to young adults. Read more: NBC New York

Stop-and-frisk actions down 80 percent compared with last year

The number of street stops under the NYPD stop-and-frisk policy has plummeted 80 percent in recent months compared with the same time last year, and officers are recovering fewer weapons, according to police department data obtained Monday. Read more: AP/CBS New York

LIRR-Amtrak deal to enhance East River service

Improved maintenance of the East River tunnels used by Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road is in the works following a deal brokered by Sen. Charles Schumer and Amtrak. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Parents opposed to Common Core stage nationwide protest

Parents opposed to the new Common Core standards in schools staged a nationwide protest Monday. Read more: CBS New York

Oxford dictionaries name “selfie” the 2013 Word of the Year

Michelle Obama shared one with her “first dog” Bo, Hillary Clinton tweeted one with her daughter Chelsea. Now “selfie” — the smartphone self-portrait — has been declared word of the year for 2013, according to Britain’s Oxford University Press. Read more: NBC New York

Jamaica Station celebrates 100 years


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the MTA

The bustling Jamaica Station recently celebrated a century as the transportation hub of southeast Queens.

“We celebrate the 100th anniversary of Jamaica Station assured that it will continue to play a strategic role in the future of mass transit in our region,” said Thomas Prendergast, MTA Chair and CEO.

The station opened in 1913 and today takes in 150,000 daily commuters and is the transfer point for 10 of the LIRR’s 11 branches.

Jamaica Station was completely rehabilitated a decade ago, including the addition of the AirTrain terminal. Looking towards the future, the LIRR’s century-old headquarters building on Archer Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard is going to be restored.

“We hope, with this restoration, to be here at least another 100 years,” said Helena Williams, LIRR President.

The station building is home to the oldest railroad in the country still operating under its original name. In the coming years, the MTA and LIRR are planning more than $300 million in infrastructure improvements as part of the first phase of the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project. This phase will create a path from the station to Grand Central Terminal and East Midtown for the first time, among other additions.

The MTA Police Honor and Color Guard, railroad officials, MTA members, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) and local elected officials joined the 100th anniversary ceremony on October 23.

Carlisle Towery, GJDC President, said the station has been “key” to the organization’s efforts to revitalize the downtown Jamaica area.

“We look forward to the next 100 years of progress,” he said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 48. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: We Are What We Are

Actor Bill Sage and director Jim Mickle will participate in a discussion and preview screening of We Are What We Are, a reimagining of a Mexican movie about a reclusive family that practices violent, secret rituals. Museum of the Moving Image at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps could be calling 911

A South Queens volunteer ambulance corps has lost its main source of income and could be calling 911 if the owner of a collapsed neighboring building doesn’t fix the dangerous eyesore. Read more: New York Daily News

Lhota blasts de Blasio’s ‘unfortunate’ early socialist activism

Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio found himself on the defensive Monday, after his Republican rival Joe Lhota attacked him for supporting Nicaragua’s former Sandinista government and honeymooning in Cuba. Read more: CBS New York

Report: 2 LIRR employees plead guilty to fraud scheme

Two more Long Island Rail Road retirees pleaded guilty to charges of disability fraud just as before their trial was set to begin, according to a published report.Read more: CBS New York/AP

NY wants to crack down on fake online reviews

A perfect hotel? An amazing restaurant? Teeth whitener that leads to romance? Read more: NBC New York

Obama to address Iran, Syria in UN speech

President Barack Obama on Tuesday is expected to signal his willingness to engage with the new Iranian government if Tehran makes nuclear concessions long sought by the U.S. and Western allies. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Clear. High of 75. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play

Get up, get out and come play with Nickelodeon! Youth ages 6-14 will be joined by Nickelodeon characters and talent to participate in NYC Shape Up’s Dancercize class. Takes place at the Roy Wilkins Recreation Center (177th Street and Baisley Boulevard) from 4 to 5 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Parents up in arms over broken bottles, condoms, bags of drugs and bums in Astoria playground

The Astoria Heights Playground is more dumping ground, thanks to bums who leave broken beer bottles, condoms and plastic bags with remnants of cocaine and heroin all over the place. Read more: New York Daily News 

Joe Lhota picks new team of rainmakers for New York mayoral campaign

Trailing in the polls — and in campaign cash — Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is overhauling his fund-raising team with less than seven weeks before Election Day, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News 

Sources: Aaron Alexis etched messages into shotgun

he gunman in Monday’s Washington Navy Yard massacre left behind two short phrases etched into the side of his shotgun, sources told CBS News Read more: CBS New York/AP

Plan to go ahead for new train cars on Metro-North, LIRR

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday approved a nearly $2 billion contract for new cars on the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road lines. Read more: CBS New York

Digital kiosks coming to New York City subway stations

There’s a new alternative coming for subway riders who miss having someone in a token booth to answer all their questions. Read more: ABC New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 66. Winds from the NE at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Charlie & Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure

Charlie & Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure, a bilingual English/Spanish exhibition through January 12 at the New York Hall of Science, follows a boy named Charlie as he works on a book report about kiwis, a flightless bird found in New Zealand. Learn with Charlie how kiwis evolved by unraveling puzzles, playing games, and exploring computer interactives. Free with museum admission. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens native identified as alleged D.C. Navy Yard gunman

A Queens native is connected to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday that left more than a dozen people dead, federal authorities said. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Police: Man tried to sexually assault girl, 10, in Queens

A 10-year-old girl told school officials in Queens that a man tried to sexually assault her as she headed to school Monday morning. Read more: CBS New York

NYPD increases security after DC shooting

The shooting in Washington, DC is having a ripple effect in New York City. Read more: ABC New York

LIRR ads target crossing-gate safety

The Long Island Rail Road is running a new ad campaign designed to get the attention of motorists and pedestrians who ignore flashing crossing gates. Read more: NBC New York

Bill Gates stays atop Forbes list of America’s richest

Life is good for America’s super wealthy. Forbes on Monday released its annual list of the top 400 richest Americans. While most of the top names and rankings didn’t change from a year ago, the majority of the elite club’s members saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets. Read more: AP

LIRR train hits, kills dog, injures owner near Woodside station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A dog was killed and his owner injured when a Long Island Rail Road train struck them east of the Woodside station Friday morning.

The man was walking his pet without a leash along the tracks around 10 a.m. when a westbound train originating from Great Neck hit the animal and grazed the owner’s hand, said an MTA spokesperson. He initially refused medical treatment, but was later taken to Elmhurst Hospital and treated and released.

Trains were delayed for about 45 minutes on the Port Washington Branch.

The owner was issued a summons for trespassing, said the spokesperson.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear. High of 84. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday Night: Clear in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Low of 68. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WNW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Symphony Orchestra: Viva Verdi & Friends

The Queens Symphony Orchestra will perform Viva Verdi & Friends, celebrating the bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth, on the St. John’s University Great Lawn at 7 p.m. The show will include selections from La Traviata, Falstaff, Aida, Rigoletto and more. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two people struck and killed by LIRR train

Two people were hit and killed by an LIRR train in Queens. Read more: ABC New York

City to move forward with plans to install beachfront restrooms near Arverne by the Sea

It’s a tempest in a toilet. When the city announced Monday that it is moving forward with plans to install public bathrooms along the beach in Arverne, the news generated less opposition than it did in the past. Read more: New York Daily News

Gov. Cuomo signs LIPA reform bill, promises ‘competent’ new utility

The Long Island Power Authority is now under new management. Read more: CBS New York

Woman accused of leaving 4 kids in car while gambling in Queens

Brooklyn woman was arrested this past weekend and charged with leaving her children – the youngest just 9 months old — and her middle school-age brother in the car while she went off to gamble. Read more: CBS New York

U.S. soldier braces for judge’s verdict in WikiLeaks case

U.S. soldier Bradley Manning could learn on Tuesday whether he will face life in prison without parole when a judge renders her verdict on charges that he aided the enemy when he released 700,000 classified documents to the website WikiLeaks. Read more: Reuters 

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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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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