MTA Statement On Subway Homeless Issue

Most of us living in & around NYC know how clueless Mayor Bill de Blasio is based on his countless actions during his term. This continues to be the case when he tried to steer the blame for the NYC Subway homeless issue on the MTA even though handling it is out of their control. MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota just released a statement that was sent to be by the MTA:

The Mayor was asked about the homeless sleeping on the subways and one of his first words in response was “MTA.” New Yorkers get the Mayor is making every attempt to distance himself from the Transit Authority, but they aren’t fools. The fact is that since 1995 the NYPD has been the police force charged with enforcement in the subway system.

The MTA board gave Mayor Giuliani the authority to consolidate the Transit Police within the NYPD, giving the City primary jurisdiction. That’s a fact. Recently, the MTA has repeatedly asked the NYPD to help the expanding number of homeless people in the system find shelter outside of the trains and stations.

The NYPD needs to enhance its homeless outreach efforts in the subways. We all know that homeless people need help; clean shelters, job training, mental health services, and leaving them on the trains is degrading for all. The response is not to defend or excuse the presence of the homeless, but to get them the help they desperately need.

Every New York City Mayor since Koch has realized this except our current Mayor. We again are asking the NYPD to step up their presence and increase enforcement and the city must stop running from its responsibility. We hear from subway riders all day long and their opinion is unanimous: Mayor, fund the subway repair plan and get the sleeping homeless off the ‎trains. It’s the Mayor’s job.

I am not surprised at the idiocy from de Blasio has he truly has a strong chance to go down as one of the worst mayors NYC has ever had. He has continuously showed that he has zero issues with letting his narrative reign supreme over actual facts & reality.

His statement trying to put the blame on the MTA for this issue even though it is out of their actual control proves that. Great job de Blasio, no one can deny that you are consistent even if it is at being a flat out fool.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Starts Seasonal Fight Against Leaves

The MTA has announced the beginning of their seasonal fight against leaves. Here is more via the press release I was sent:

Autumn may be a time of natural beauty for our region, as green foliage gives way to hues of yellow, orange and red. But for the region’s railroads, colorful leaves signal a return to heightened concern over the impact that fallen leaves have on railroad safety and operations.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the official start of leaf-fighting season, with crews from the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and the Staten Island Railway operating work trains that spray water jets to clear tracks of slimy leaf debris. Windy wet weather predicted for tonight may nevertheless blow leaves onto the rails, creating isolated locations with slippery conditions.

A specialized Metro-North work train sprays water at high pressure, and specially equipped highway/rail trucks use rail scrubbers to remove crushed leaf residue from the tracks. On-board Metro-North diesel passenger trains, “sanders” automatically drop sand onto the tracks to help improve traction and reduce wheel slippage. On the LIRR, a specialized train then applies a traction gel onto the freshly cleared rails that allows train wheels to maintain traction, even in the presence of crushed leaf slime.

For video of the LIRR’s leaf-fighting train performing a demonstration: https://youtu.be/_C0oz4JjbfE

For still photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9NsAAh

During autumn when falling leaves land on the running rails of MTA tracks, they can be run over by trains, compacted by the weight and crushed into a gelatinous, slime-like substance that reduces the normal amount of adhesion train wheels have on the rails. This creates a condition known as “slip slide,” which prevents trains from stopping normally when engineers apply the brakes. To ensure safety, the railroads institute slower speeds for trains passing through an area where an engineer has reported slip-slide conditions, which can cause train delays.

“Anyone who has ever driven a car and tried to brake on a patch of ice knows something of what it feels like for a train engineer who applies the brakes to a train on a patch of rails coated in liquefied leaf residue,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “As autumn begins we turn our attention to fighting leaves that have fallen on our tracks, but throughout the year we work to combat vegetation along the rails.”

The first step to reducing these delays for the LIRR, Metro-North and the Staten Island Railway is to trim or remove trees and vegetation alongside the tracks, either through railroad personnel or by hiring outside trained and licensed vegetation management contractors. About two thirds of the leaf matter that interferes with railroad operations on Long Island comes from invasive species such as ailianthus trees, black locust trees, Norway maples, and bamboo.  In the region served by Metro-North, the majority of the leaves come from oak, sugar maple and birch trees, and sumac.

The Long Island Rail Road alone plans to engage contractors to trim back vegetation along 80 miles of track in 2018 and 94 miles in 2019. Bushes and trees on LIRR property are subject to removal, and tree branches extending onto railroad property may be pruned as well.

But despite those continuous annual efforts, of course it’s impossible to completely prevent leaves from falling onto the tracks. So each fall, the LIRR, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway use the specialized trains to spray jets of water to push leaves from the rails, and either scrub the tracks clean, as on Metro-North, or, as on Long Island, apply a mixture known as sandite, a traction gel that has the consistency of pancake batter and provides improved traction.

The MTA has programmed its newest commuter railroad cars – the M7’s and M8’s – to allow their braking systems to better adjust to slip-slide conditions, and train crews and dispatchers communicate continuously to identify slip-slide problem areas where trains need to slow, and where the specialized leaf-fighting trains may need to travel next.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North To Make Upper Harlem Line Improvements

The MTA Metro-North Railroad has announced it will be making improvements along the upper portion of the Harlem Line this weekend. Here is more via the official press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that crews will perform critical work between Wassaic and Southeast this weekend, October 20-22. Metro-North crews are renewing the Cornwall Hill Road grade crossing in Patterson, replacing the crossing surface, rails and ties. Elsewhere along the tracks, crews will cut brush and weld rail joints.

To accommodate this track work, after 10 p.m. on Friday, October 20, buses will replace trains at all stations between Wassaic and Southeast. Normal train service will resume with the first scheduled train of Monday, October 23.

Service details are below:

Southbound:

Starting with the 11:28 p.m. departure from Wassaic on Friday, October 20, and for all departures on Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22, buses will substitute for trains from Wassaic to Southeast, making stops at the following stations: Tenmile River, Dover Plains, Harlem Valley-Wingdale, Pawling and Patterson. Bus service will operate 15-30 minutes earlier than normally scheduled train times.

Northbound:  

Starting with the 8:52 p.m. departure from Grand Central on Friday, October 20, and for all departures on Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22, trains from Grand Central to Southeast will connect with bus service at Southeast. Buses will make each train’s stops at: Patterson, Pawling, Harlem Valley-Wingdale, Dover Plains, Tenmile River and Wassaic. Customers should allow for later arrival times.

For a bus and train schedule, customers can visit:

http://web.mta.info/mnr/pdf/Wassaicbus102017.pdf

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Increases Service At Melrose & Tremont

Metro-North riders at the Melrose & Tremont stations can rejoice as the agency has announced an increase in service. Here is more via the official press release I received:

The MTA advises customers that Metro-North Railroad’s new October 8 schedule includes permanently increased service levels at the Melrose and Tremont stations on the Harlem Line.

In an effort to build ridership and provide Bronx residents with more convenient travel options, on October 2, 2016, Metro-North implemented a pilot program that increased service at the Tremont and Melrose stations from a two-hour frequency to hourly frequency during off-peak and weekend travel times.  The service day was also extended, with earlier inbound service on weekdays and significantly later outbound service on weekdays and weekends.  During the pilot period, overall ridership at the two stations increased by 81%, with an increase in weekday ridership of 67% and an increase in weekend ridership of 101%.

With the success of the pilot program, and after a public hearing about the schedule change, the increased service at Melrose and Tremont is now permanent.

“We continually strive to find ways to improve and enhance our service,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Acting President of Metro-North Railroad. “We’re pleased that increased service at Melrose and Tremont has become so popular. Expanding service at Melrose and Tremont stations not only benefits customers who commute to Grand Central Terminal, but also the Bronx residents who reverse commute up to Westchester County and Connecticut.”

“Expanded service at the Melrose and Tremont Metro-North stations is not only a benefit for the commuters in the surrounding neighborhoods, but for the entire borough and, in fact, the entire region,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.  “I am proud to support this expansion, and I am grateful to the MTA for listening to the numerous Bronxites who asked for this additional service at the recent public hearing.”

Details of increased service at Melrose and Tremont stations are below:

  • Weekday inbound service is now available from 5:51 a.m. to 12:47 a.m.
  • Weekday outbound service is now available from 5:38 a.m. to 1:20 a.m.
  • Weekend inbound service is now available from 6:44 a.m. to 12:44 a.m.
  • Weekend outbound service is now available from 6:25 a.m. to 1: 20 a.m.

I know many riders who use these stations who will be excited about this. These stations have long been underutilized but that should definitely change for the foreseeable future.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR To Replace Post Avenue Bridge

The MTA Long Island Railroad will be replacing the Post Avenue Bridge this weekend. Due to this work, buses will substitute for trains between Mineola & Hicksville along with other service changes. Here are the complete details via the press release I received:

During the weekend of October 21-22, workers using cranes and a movable industrial-grade hydraulic lift will remove the 103-year-old Post Avenue Bridge and roll a new pre-assembled one into place. To facilitate the bridge swap, the Long Island Rail Road will need to suspend train service between Mineola and Hicksville for 48 hours. Buses will substitute for Port Jefferson Branch trains and some Ronkonkoma Branch trains.  Most Ronkonkoma Branch trains will operate over the Babylon Branch and reach Hicksville via the Central Branch.

“We’re working hard to minimize the impacts that our customers will experience during the 48-hour period where service will be disrupted, and we’re working equally hard to get the word out to all our customers well in advance of the work,” said Patrick Nowakowski, President of the Long Island Rail Road. “This location is of central importance to the railroad, figuratively and literally, and all branches will be impacted in some way. Anyone thinking of using the LIRR on Saturday, October 21, or Sunday, October 22, should pick up a copy of our special timetables.”

Copies of all branch timetables, and an overview of the bridge work and service changes, can be found at this link:

http://web.mta.info/supplemental/lirr/postavenuebridgeinstallation.htm

The new bridge, which carries the Main Line over Post Avenue at the Westbury Station, will result in long-term improvements to service. It will be 13 feet wider than the current span, offering enough space for the future Main Line Third Track. The new bridge will be two feet, two inches higher than the current bridge, allowing trucks of up to 14 feet to safely pass underneath. The current bridge’s height left it susceptible to strikes by overheight vehicles, causing delays to trains while inspectors determine the structure’s stability and safety.

Port Jefferson Branch and Ronkonkoma Branch customers riding the LIRR during this weekend should plan for an additional 40 to 60 minutes of extra travel time, or should consider traveling on alternate branches, including the Montauk Branch or Babylon Branch.

Specifics for service changes on the weekend of Oct. 21-22 are detailed by branch below.

Port Jefferson Branch

  • Port Jefferson Branch/Ronkonkoma Branch Special Timetable is here:
  • http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/10-21%20to%2010-22-2017%20-%20KO%20&%20PJ%20-%20Appendix%20P.pdf
  • Buses substitute for trains between Hicksville and Mineola for the entire weekend. Buses are scheduled to allow for 10 minutes of transfer time at both stations in both directions. LIRR customer ambassadors will be at both stations throughout the weekend to assist customers making the connection.
  • Trains between Huntington and Port Jefferson will operate every two hours.
  • Service between Huntington and Penn Station will operate hourly.
  • Carle Place and Westbury will be served by buses.
  • On Friday night, Oct. 20, some trains will operate on adjusted schedules: Passengers on the 9:29 p.m. train from Huntington will change trains at Hicksville to continue west. The 9:41 p.m. train from Port Jefferson will be replaced by a bus that will leave up to 22 minutes earlier than normal.

Ronkonkoma Branch

  • Ronkonkoma Branch/Port Jefferson Branch Special Timetable is here:
  • http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/10-21%20to%2010-22-2017%20-%20KO%20&%20PJ%20-%20Appendix%20P.pdf
  • Buses substitute for trains between Hicksville and Mineola during the overnight hours. Buses are scheduled to allow for 10 minutes of transfer time at both stations in both directions. LIRR customer ambassadors will be at both stations throughout the weekend to assist customers making the connection.
  • Bethpage customers will use buses between Mineola and Hicksville.
  • Between 7 a.m. and midnight on Saturday and again on Sunday, customers from Farmingdale through Ronkonkoma will travel to and from Penn Station by train with no transfers; trains will be rerouted via the Babylon Branch.
  • Trains will operate between Ronkonkoma and Greenport, on adjusted schedules. On Friday night, Oct. 20, one train will operate on an adjusted schedule: Passengers on the 10:11 p.m. train from Ronkonkoma will change trains at Hicksville to continue west. Passengers traveling on the 9:39 p.m. train from Greenport will board and arrive at normal times.

Babylon Branch, City Terminal Zone, Far Rockaway Branch, Hempstead Branch, Long Beach Branch, Montauk Branch, Oyster Bay Branch, Port Washington Branch, West Hempstead Branch

  • All eastbound and westbound trains will operate on adjusted schedules.
  • Most connecting train times to and from western terminals have also changed.

Impact to Motorists

Post Avenue will be closed between Railroad Avenue and Union Avenue between 8 p.m. on Friday, October 20, and 6 a.m. on Monday, October 23. Motorists are advised to take an alternate route during this period. The marked detour will take motorists nine tenths of a mile east, to cross the railroad at School Street.

Northbound Auto Detour

Motorists looking to travel northbound on Post Avenue would turn right at Railroad Avenue and travel for one block, to School Street, to make a left, followed immediately by another left onto Union Avenue for a two-block drive back to Post Avenue to make a right and continue northbound.

Southbound Auto Detour

Motorists looking to travel southbound on Post Avenue would turn left at Union Avenue and travel for two blocks, to School Street, to make a right, followed immediately by another right onto Railroad Avenue for a one-block drive back to Post Avenue to make a left and continue southbound.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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