Tag Archives: Long Island Railroad

LIRR Mets-Willets Point Station getting $9.7 million makeover


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Long Island Rail Road ‘s Mets-Willets Point Station will be getting a $9.7 million renovation that calls for, among other things, an elevator to ease access from the platform to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the National Tennis Center and Citi Field, according to the MTA.

The funds come from the MTA and plans are currently being made for the project to be completed by 2016. The MTA hasn’t made a decision about the designs for the additions. But the plans are being designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by installing tactile warning strips at the edges of the platform and constructing new staircases with guardrails and handrails. An MTA spokesman said that designs will be complete by 2015

“The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road are committed to doing our part so LIRR customers with disabilities can attend the U.S. Open, Mets games and other special events that come to Flushing Meadows Park,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said.

The renovations also include the extension of the platform to accommodate 12-car trains, a new canopy fully covering the platform, and new lighting and communication systems.

The Mets-Willets Point Station, located on the railroad’s Port Washington Branch, is strictly a special events station, open only when the Mets are playing or the U.S. Open is underway. The station was opened in 1964 for the 1964-65 World’s Fair but it was built without special accommodations for people with mobility impairments.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Elmhurst community grows garden next to LIRR tracks for over 20 years, agency unaware


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Updated Friday, July 25, 12:20 p.m.

 

Something is growing in the Long Island Railroad’s backyard.

But the MTA said it was unaware of hundreds of feet of community gardens snuggled against the railroad tracks in Elmhurst, mere feet from moving trains and in plain view of commuters looking out from train windows.

Elmhurst residents living down 47th Avenue between 76th and 82nd streets have been keeping the gardens, growing everything from flowers to vegetables for more than 20 years, according to one of the urban farmers, who declined to give his name.

These gardens are found behind the apartment buildings lining the avenue and are cared for by residents of the buildings.

The resident said he has been coming to the gardens to pick vegetables for the past 10 years as he picked a zucchini and hot peppers to bring home.

There is only one entrance to these gardens: through a hole cut through a fence that separates the buildings from the tracks.

Although surrounded by garbage, couches and tire rims, the vegetable and flower gardens are well kept. Residents have developed a path to allow visitors to move around the gardens.

One resident said he sees one or two people come in and out of the gardens every morning.

Community Board 4 said it was not aware of the gardens but that residents in the communities surrounding Elmhurst tend to take vacant plots of land and turn them into something useful, mostly gardens.

When asked about these particular gardens, which are on MTA/LIRR property, an LIRR spokesman said there are no records of any formal authorization given to residents at that location.

According to the spokesman, the MTA has a policy that allows individuals and entities to enter into “year-to-year agreements to maintain gardens on MTA agency property, subject to certain requirements.”

The LIRR instructed The Courier to “have [the gardeners] call our real estate person, John Coyne.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that an MTA spokesman declined to answer questions directly regarding safety.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens Village LIRR station gets a makeover


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Assemblymember Barbara Clark

The Queens Village Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station received a multi-million dollar makeover, which is just the beginning in improving access to stations throughout southeast Queens.

The current station building, opened in 1924, was renovated through an $8.5 million project and features two new elevators, one serving the eastbound platform and the other serving the westbound platform. The building was repainted, new signage was added, as well as a new fire alarm system. The platform waiting room was redone and improvements such as new railings and lighting were made.

“The improvements we’ve been able to achieve here are a direct result of New York State’s ongoing commitment to support the MTA Capital Program,” said Helena Williams, LIRR president. “Our infrastructure needs continual reinvestment to stay in a state of good repair, and our customers here can attest to how much of an improvement they’ll experience throughout this renewed station.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

MTA fare hikes begin this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA's Flickr

MTA fare hikes that will increase MetroCard prices across the board will take effect on Sunday, March 3.

In addition to raising the base fare from $2.25 to $2.50, monthly, weekly and express bus rides will also go up, and the MetroCard discount will change from 7 percent off with every $10 purchased to 5 percent off with every $5 spent.

Long Island Railroad, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway tickets, Access-A-Ride fares, and MTA bridge and tunnel tolls will increase in early March as well.

Starting Sunday, the MTA is also introducing a “New Card Fee,” where riders will have to pay $1 each time they buy a new MetroCard at a machine or station booth. To ease that burden, the transit agency recently announced that customers can refill their MetroCards with a combination of both unlimited-ride time and pay-per-ride dollar values.

“This card is the most flexible MetroCard ever offered and the best way to avoid paying the $1 New Card Fee by refilling and reusing your current card,” said MTA interim executive director Thomas Prendergast. “We produce almost 160 million MetroCards each year at an annual cost of nearly $10 million. Many of the cards often end up as litter in the system, so by refilling your MetroCard, you’ll reduce expenses and help the environment.”

But saving the earth isn’t enough for riders that need to shell out more cash in an economy where pay raises are few and far between.

“It’s difficult because [I will be making] the same money,” Lilliana Napolitano of Flushing said about the fare hikes.
Donna Reid of Jamaica, who just read heard about the fare hikes this week, was unaware how much more she has to pay, and didn’t know that unlimited rides were increasing.

Even though Reid saves money by buying a monthly MetroCard to take the bus, she will have to spend an extra $8 every 30 days.

She also didn’t realize that straphangers will need to pay extra for each new MetroCard.

“I don’t see why they have to be charging [a New Card Fee],” while people already have to pay taxes,” she said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

‘The Americans’ are coming to Bayside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Frank Ockenfels/FX

A new FX series, “The Americans,” will be shooting an upcoming episode in Bayside and will be setting up in the area this week for the  shoot, according to the Bayside Village BID.

The show, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m., is about the marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected president, and stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

Scenes will take place at the LIRR Station, located off of Bell Boulevard, and inside a number of other area locations. Television crews will be setting up and parking equipment from 10 p.m. Wednesday, January 3o until late on Thursday, January 31. The following locations will have no parking during those times:

  • Bell Boulevard from 39th Ave to 42nd Avenue
  • 41st Ave from 212th Street to 214th Place
  • 40th Ave from 214th Place to 215th Place
  • 214th Place from 39th Ave to 40th Avenue
  • 215th Street from 39th Ave to 40th Avenue

All of those streets will be open to vehicular traffic. The municipal lot located on 41st and 214th Place will be open. If you have any further questions please contact the production company directly. Their contact information is located on the signage along the streets listed above.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.

 

MTA Thanksgiving weekend service


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Starting Wednesday, New York City buses and subways, and area regional trains will operate on special schedules for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Subways and Buses

On Thanksgiving Day (November 22), subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule, with additional service on the 42nd Street Shuttle for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also, some bus routes will be impacted by the parade.

On Friday, subways and buses will run on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.

LIRR

There will be additional LIRR trains on Wednesday, November 21 and Thanksgiving.

On Friday, it will operate on a near-normal weekday schedule, but off-peak fares will be in effect from Thursday through Sunday.

During the four-day weekend, riders can also use the Family Fare discount, where children aged five to 11 are just 75 cents, and parking will be free at many stations.

The LIRR will continue to run extra weekend trains for six holiday weekends, through December 30.

Metro-North

Metro-North will operate extra trains departing from Grand Central on Wednesday, beginning at 1 p.m.

On Thanksgiving, it will run on a holiday schedule with extra morning service into the city and extra late morning and early afternoon trains out of NYC for those attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day.

On Friday, Metro-North will operate on a Saturday schedule with extra service during a.m. and p.m. peak times. Thursday through Sunday, off-peak fares will be in effect, and parking will be free at many stations.

There will also be extra weekend trains on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson Lines through December 30.

Staten Island Railway

There will be extra SIR trains added on Wednesday, 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.

Bridges and Tunnels

Routine maintenance and temporary construction work at all MTA bridges and tunnels will be suspended starting at noon on Wednesday, November 21, until early Monday morning, November 26.

 

MTA announces fare and toll hike proposals


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Today the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially announced its proposals for the fare and toll hikes that are planned for March.

The agency said that the increases will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

The MTA is considering four options that would increase bus and subway rides.

On October 10, the New York Daily News published those options ahead of time. Though the MTA would not confirm whether those were its actual proposals, the ones it revealed today did reflect the ones the paper released.

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

If the base fare stays the same, the cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

There are also four proposals for express buses. Again, two would keep the base fare, which is currently $5.50, and the two others would raise it 50 cents. The options would also have similar trade-offs for MetroCard discounts and unlimited rides.

Most of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets would go up by 8.19 to 9.31 percent, said the MTA.

These hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares and that is one too many said public transportation advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, following the MTA’s fare proposals announcement.

“Blocking or reducing the fare increase is possible, if we get more help from Albany,” said Straphangers spokesperson Gene Russianoff. “One promising plan is to generate new revenue by both raising and lowering tolls on city bridges and tunnels in line with where there is the most and least congestion.”

The proposals that the MTA announced Monday would raise the tolls for many area bridges and tunnels. Though E-ZPass customers would still pay less than other drivers, everyone will be paying more.

Those increases include raising the tolls for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from $4.80 to $5.30 for E-ZPass holders and from $6.50 to $7.50 for other drivers.

Tolls for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would go up between 12 and 33 cents, depending on whether the driver has an EZ-Pass or is a Rockaway resident.

In November, a month before the MTA votes on how it’s going to raise tolls and fares, the agency is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums. It is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

“The public will have significant input into our decision-making process. In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement. We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”

Thanksgiving Weekend Mass Transit Schedules


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, mass transit will be running special schedules between Wednesday, November 23 and Sunday, November 27 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

MTA

Trains and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving.  On Black Friday, service will operate on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.  There will be less service, especially during rush hour and no Limited Stop service on the Q6, Q25 and Q65.  For more information visit www.mta.info

Long Island Rail Road

Additional trains will operate today, Wednesday, November 23, and on Thanksgiving.  There will be nine extra trains today departing Penn Station between 2:10 and 3:48 p.m.

Twenty-two extra trains have been added on Thanksgiving for those attending the Parade or visiting their families – including nine extra westbound and 13 extra eastbound trains. The extra east bound trains will depart Penn Station between 11:33 a.m. and 2:03 p.m.  Cars will also be added to select trains to accommodate holiday travelers.  Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire weekend.  For more information visit www.mta.info/lirr

Metro-North Railroad

Extra trains on will begin departing Grand Central at 1 p.m. today.  During the evening peak several trains will be combined or eliminated due to decreased ridership.  On Thanksgiving Day, Metro-North will operate a holiday schedule with extra morning inbound service for those going to see the Macy’s Parade.  There will also be extra late morning and early afternoon outbound service.

On Black Friday, Metro-North will operate a Saturday schedule with extra service during the morning and evening peaks. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire four-day holiday weekend.  For more information visit http://www.mta.info/mnr/