LIRR Angers Some Bellerose Residents

Some residents that reside on a block in Bellerose Queens are upset at the LIRR for chopping down trees on transit property behind their homes. The residents are especially miffed as they feel it not only takes away their barrier to the noise & wind, it also devalues their properties. Cristian Benavides of Pix 11 has more:

Families along Superior Road by the Bellerose train station for the Long Island Rail Road are angry that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had trees cut from behind their backyards.

“I’m enraged,” said Paul Quinn. “The value of the properties must’ve gone down $40-50 thousand.”

In a letter, the MTA told residents that they needed to manage the vegetation along the train tracks.

The letter says they would “identify and remove” overgrown trees, but families say the crews sent by the MTA just arbitrarily cut everything down- with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

“I said I want some evidence of the species you’re removing because the letter says specific species the man told me we were just told to take everything,” said Janet Schebendach. “There’s nothing to block the sun, there’s nothing to block the wind nothing to block the noise.”

The families say they are exploring legal remedies since they feel their homes have devalued due to the MTA cutting down the trees.

Click here for the complete report.

While I understand the complaints of the residents, I don’t feel they have much of a case considering the trees cut were on transit property & not of the homeowners.

The safety & well being of the rail road trumps their personal desire to have trees to help insulate noise or block views. If these things were such concerns, they should not have purchased homes right next to railroad tracks. This is typical NIMBY action at work.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

Uber Price Gouges During Snow Storm

Every storm these days gets a catchy nickname on social media. The one that surprisingly walloped the tri-state area on Thursday was pegged “Snovember”. While the name is cute & catchy, the chaos that it caused the evening commute was anything but that.

While many meterologists were wrong about the forecast (shout out to Byron Miranda of Pix11 who was not), the end result ended up being many agencies throughout the tri-state area who were inadequately prepared. However this post will not focus on that but instead the classless actions of Uber.

One of the biggest commuter nightmares Thursday evening centered around Port Authority Bus Terminal where thousands upon thousands were stranded by not enough buses or drivers being around. Riders were urged to seek alternative methods & many considered an Uber ride home.

The thoughts of taking a warm & comfortable ride home were dashed for many though when the agency engaged in pure price gouging. Many riders were saying rides from Manhattan to nearby locations in New Jersey were running near or over $200.

I heard from numerous people through text & direct messages on Twitter about their horror stories of prices being 3x – 10x more than usual during the chaotic commute home on Thursday. One person shared how what is normally a  7 minute drive at most & runs about $6-10, they were offering prices of over $70.

I called out the agency on Twitter (@TransitBlogger) with this tweet:

Absolutely disgusting that you are price gouging people trying to get home in this storm. Charging $200 to get out of Manhattan to go to NJ is inexcusable!

They responded with a 100% spin aka PR response:

Here to explain! Dynamic pricing takes effect when a lot of people in the same area are requesting rides at the same time. This means that rides will be more expensive. Adjusting the price attracts more driver-partners to an area so everyone can get a ride.

I responded with:

I know about that but let us be honest, it is price gouging no matter how you try to spin it. $200 is inexcusable. Even the $100 another user mentioned from 161st to Hell’s Kitchen is inexcusable.

Now I was not surprised by their silence after my last response as they had no legitimate argument. I know they are notorious for price gouging even on regular days as I have experienced it first hand on multiple occasions which is why I passed up on using them in those instances.

They can try & spin it with their technical term of “dynamic pricing” but anyone with a clear conscious knows they were wrong for doing that in the middle of an unexpected bigger storm. What if it was an emergency, would they do the same thing? Knowing them, probably so as they have shown that the mighty dollar trumps doing what is right.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

LIRR Opens 3 Renewed Station Buildings

Earlier today, the MTA Long Island Rail Road announced that it will be opening 3 renewed station buildings. The buildings will be located at the Brentwood, Deer Park  & Northport stations. Here are more details via the press release the agency sent me:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road officials today announced the opening of the first phase of three newly renovated railroad station buildings – at Brentwood, Deer Park, and Northport — bringing modernized touches to improve the customer experience for more than 11,000 daily weekday riders.

These three stations are part of more than 100 projects that are slated to transform the railroad, part of an unprecedented $6.6 billion state investment. View a comprehensive list of these transformative efforts, from LIRR Expansion Project (“Third Track”), to Moynihan Train Hall, and the recently completed Double Track Project, at

“The LIRR is working hard to deliver better and more reliable service, but — as demonstrated by these station improvements — we’re also paying attention to every aspect of the customer experience,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “These upgrades were built and put in service in less than a year, which illustrates how the MTA is delivering projects  faster and at a lower cost than in the past.”

“Ensuring a great customer experience is at the center of everything we do at the LIRR. Customers deserve to have upgraded facilities when they use our system — and these station renovations are giving them just that,” LIRR President Phillip Eng said. “We’re excited to continue our modernization efforts to truly make the LIRR the 21st century system it can be.”

Artwork was commissioned that references each community and enhances the architecture and beauty of these stations at Brentwood and Deer Park. Details on the artists and their respective works of art can be found below.

Brentwood and Deer Park Stations

Brentwood and Deer Park station houses, both located along the Ronkonkoma Branch, were fully renovated and upgraded with a host of customer-facing improvements. Platform improvement construction continues at both stations. Brentwood serves about 2,900 daily weekday customers, while Deer Park serves approximately 6,200 daily weekday customers.

Finished upgrades include:

  • Improved ADA accessibility: a new ADA-compliant bathroom at each location.
  • New architectural finishes: New terrazzo flooring, bronze storefronts, wood ceilings and exterior brick decorative walls, a new information wall, signage and stamped concrete sidewalks.
  • Customer-focused amenities: new benches, USB charging stations, technology counters, digital information screens, and bicycle racks.
  • Energy efficiency: new LED lighting.

Further upgrades to come:

  • Improved ADA Accessibility: ADA-compliant ramps to be complete by end of year.
  • Staying connected: Free public Wi-Fi; USB charging stations can also be found throughout the station and along the platforms by end of this year.
  • Getting information: Digital information display totems, as well as new speakers for more clearly audible announcements by end of this year.
  • Safety: New CCTV Cameras, railings, benches, and refreshed pedestrian overpasses by end of this year.
  • Customer comfort: Customers at these stations will be able to take shelter from inclement weather under new structures built on the platforms by Q2 2019, as well as new trash receptacles.

Northport Station

LIRR’s Northport Station, on the Port Jefferson Branch, was built in 1927 and currently serves approximately 2,335 customers each weekday. The station building’s renovation incorporated historical restoration, to preserve the station’s history while providing modernized features and upgrades.

Finished upgrades include:

  • Improved ADA accessibility: Renovated current ADA-compliant bathroom, added a second ADA-compilant bathroom.
  • Complete renovation of the station building’s interior and exterior.
  • Customer-focused amenities: New benches, improved wayfinding signage, Wi-Fi, and LCD display screens.
  • Paver rehabilitation and sidewalk replacement.

Further upgrades to come:

  • MTA Arts & Design permanent artwork.
  • Better information: Electronic information display totem.

Art installation details:

At Brentwood:


The Guardian Angel, 2018

Laminated glass

Fabricated by Tom Patti Studio

Armando Mariño’s artwork The Guardian Angel is inspired by the historic development of Brentwood and its present as a community. Featuring richly colored flowers from the country of origin of many of Brentwood’s residents, such as Mexican Dahlias, Peruvian qantu, and Salvadorean Flor de Izote, as well as native flowers of Long Island. A guardian owl representing Brentwood’s idyllic past protects the garden.  Mariño feels the art serves as a metaphor for cultures living harmoniously, and he used bright, alluring colors and brushwork as an invitation to “discover the beauty of life that needs to be preserved… [flowers] always come back after a hard winter like a reminder that there is always hope for a better future.”

At Deer Park:


Deer Park Dahlias, 2018

Laminated glass

Fabricated by Tom Patti Studio

William Low is a painter and illustrator based in Huntington, Long Island. His scene of vibrantly colored dahlias in a pastoral field for Deer Park station creates a contemplative space in the station waiting room. The large scale flowers shift the viewer’s perspective, providing an experience of childlike wonder at the natural world.

The artwork is derived from the local area’s botanic legacy: Central Park was first landscaped with ornamental trees and shrubs that had been grown in Deer Park, and the town was well known for annual dahlia festivals. The area is still a floral site, with several wholesale nurseries near to the station. Deer Park Dahlias acknowledges this specific, but not widely known, aspect of the community.

Low’s signature style uses classic painting techniques to depict city and nature scenes with shimmering sunlight and evocative color. Drawing from real life observations, his work conveys personal experience as shared memory. He has won numerous awards including four Silver medals from the Society of Illustrators, and has illustrated several beloved children’s books. He is currently the principal in Cobalt Illustration Studios, and is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

MTA To Buy Grand Central Terminal

The other big news to come out of the MTA meetings on Tuesday was the agency announcing that it plans on purchasing Grand Central Terminal along with the Metro North’s Harlem & Hudson lines.  The total cost for these purchases is $35M & was approved by the financial committee & will be put to the full board on Thursday for what is expected to be an immediate approval.

The agency had currently been paying $2M a year to rent the terminal & its tracks. However they felt with the interest rates at low levels, it would be a good time to just purchase it as compared to renting it through the end of its lease in 2074.

Also taking ownership of the Harlem line to Dover Plans & the Hudson line to Poughkeepsie will help give it better control in maintaining the infrastructure along with being able to get some profits from residential & commercial properties built near the tracks.

In my opinion, the deals make complete sense & should benefit the agency in the short & long term which makes it a complete win-win, a rare thing for the much maligned agency.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

Subway Delays Down By 10,000

At Tuesday’s monthly MTA transit committee meeting, NYC Transit was able to report that subway delays were down by 10,000 for the second month in a row. My good friend Greg Mocker of Pix11 has more:

There was some good news Tuesday at the monthly transit committee at MTA Headquarters.

Sally Librera, who heads the Department of Subways, says the transit agency met the goal to reduce delays by 10,000 for the second month in a row.

Officials credit the Subway Action Plan and targeting specific maintenance and improvement areas.

Riders say the system remains busy.

MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford acknowledges there is more work to do.

“Every month we do move the ball down the field,” Byford said.

They make a detailed presentation at the regular committee meeting each month based on arrival statistics and reports.

The October 2018 weekday On-Time Performance is listed at of 70.3 percent and that is the the highest since August 2015.

Click here for the complete report.

While the NYC Subway has a ton of issues it still needs to address on a daily & long term basis, it would be wrong to not give kudos for showing improvement. Hopefully the agency can knock down the delays even further as we head into the holidays as a painless commute can be the best gift of all!

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries: