LIRR To Add More Cameras On New Trains

In what will be a huge blow to the privacy rights of many, the MTA Long Island Rail ROad has announced it will be adding even more cameras on its new car fleet that is scheduled to debut in 2018. Here is more via Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday:

LIRR officials upped the ante on rail security Monday and said they will increase the number of cameras to be installed in passenger compartments aboard their newest fleet of trains.

The change in specification was outlined for 236 M9 electric train cars, expected to begin rolling out in 2018. The Long Island Rail Road originally planned to outfit its new trains with seven cameras, six in the passenger compartments and one facing forward.

Now, officials say new cars will have 10 cameras, including eight inside passenger compartments — two more passenger cameras than the six originally outlined. The trains also will have a camera, with audio capabilities, in the engineer’s cab.

The passenger cameras will include: two in each vestibule (totaling four), two in the main passenger area, and one at each end of a car. The LIRR and its train manufacturer, Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., have not agreed on a price for the change.

The LIRR, which separately is moving forward on a project to retrofit most existing electric trains with cameras, indicated those older trains will have the same specifications. The plan marks the first time cameras are being installed on the railroad’s cars, officials have said.

Jim Allen, the LIRR’s director of new rolling stock, said the new number of cameras is necessary to get “100 percent coverage” of the train. LIRR officials have said the cameras will aid investigation of crimes and other incidents onboard trains, including customer slip-and-fall claims.

“We want to see every person that comes on or gets off the train, as well as the pockets of seats within the train,” Allen said at a Manhattan meeting of the MTA Board’s LIRR Committee.

In another change, video footage captured by the cameras will now be stored for 30 days, instead of the originally planned seven.

“Any cameras that go beyond that [NTSB recommendation] seem to go beyond pure safety and they’re now venturing into what your views of security are,” Ballan said.

Board member Charles Moerdler said he was “troubled” by what he believes is an invasion of LIRR riders’ privacy.

“You cannot travel on a train without a camera on you,” said Moerdler, who urged the LIRR to be transparent with its customers about its plans. “I do think you need to give the public notice that Big Brother is watching.”

Click here for the complete report.

Once again we have the excuse of safety & security to disguise the fact that Big Brother is once again here to further infringe on our civil liberties especially in terms of privacy.

I am 100% against this plan to have cameras in the passenger areas as we know at some point, the footage will be used for no good regardless of the claims that it will be closely guarded.

The agency should be able to install technology that would help enable it in any potential accident investigation without infringing on the privacy of the engineer as he or she does the job they are paid to do.

Hopefully riders will rally against the false tales of safety & security as their civil liberties will always be more important regardless of the spin that Big Brother supporters will throw your way.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 06-19-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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Bx5 Weekend Service Extended To Bay Plaza

Starting this September, MTA NYC Transit will extend weekend service on the Bx5 from Pelham Bay Park to Bay Plaza. Here is more on the change:

Beginning September 6, 2015, MTA New York City Transit will extend weekend Bx5 bus service from Pelham Bay Park to the Bay Plaza Shopping Center. The extension on weekends will provide a “one-seat” ride for South Bronx customers who currently do not have direct access to the Plaza.

“The MTA continuously works with communities and area stakeholders to address new and emerging transit needs,” said New York City Transit President, Carmen Bianco. “As a result of keeping close watch on changing ridership trends and listening to our customers, this service enhancement will improve weekend service and provide South Bronx residents with a direct link to a major business and retail destination.”

The Bay Plaza Shopping Center is a major destination for shoppers throughout the Bronx. A part of the shopping center, the Mall at Bay Plaza, was expanded significantly in August 2014, bringing new jobs and more shoppers to the area. Extending weekend Bx5 service to the Shopping Center will serve the growing needs of those working and visiting the shopping center.

Currently, the Bx5 bus route provides daily local bus service between Hunts Point in the South Bronx, operating primarily along Southern and Bruckner Boulevards, Bronx River and Story Avenues, White Plains Road and Lafayette and Castle Hill Avenues, to its terminus at the Pelham Bay Park 6 line subway station.

On weekends, Bx5 service will continue after stopping at its current terminal at the Pelham Bay Park 6 station and proceed along the Bruckner Expressway/New England Thruway to its new terminal at the Bay Plaza Shopping Mall.

Bay Plaza is also directly served from the northern and central sections of the Bronx by the SBS Bx12, Bx23, Bx26, Bx28, Bx29, Bx30, Bx38 and Q50 bus routes, all stopping within or adjacent to the Plaza.

The extended route will result in increased bus operating costs of $300,000 annually

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B26 & Q58 Route Change To Start June 28th

A route change for the B26 & Q58 in Bushwick & Ridgewood will go into effect on June 28th. Here are the complete details:

In an effort to address safety concerns and improve the flow of traffic in the area, effective Sunday, June 28, 2015, MTA New York City Transit B26 and Q58 buses will be rerouted in Bushwick and Ridgewood. The NYC Department of Transportation will establish a new traffic pattern, prohibiting right turns from Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street, in an effort to make the intersection safer for both motorists and pedestrians. Both MTA New York City Transit and the NYC Department of Transportation are jointly committed to creating the safest bus routes to protect both bus customers and pedestrians.

Wyckoff Avenue, Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street is a six-point intersection, with two subway lines above, six bus routes, and a high volume of pedestrians, making it one of the most challenging and complex intersections in the city. Since 2009, there have been two pedestrian fatalities at this intersection, and three pedestrians severely injured from 2009-2013.

In July 2014, DOT implemented a street safety improvement project at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue and Palmetto Street. Following the pedestrian fatality in October 2014, NYC DOT and MTA NYC Transit reviewed the intersection to further improve the safe operation of B26 and Q58 buses. The route change will restrict right-turning bus movements (northbound Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street), which will improve safety for all road users.

Currently, the B26 and Q58 routes share a last stop and terminal on Wyckoff Avenue. After leaving the terminal, both routes turn right from Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street to enter the Ridgewood Bus Terminal. With the safety improvement, NYC Transit is rerouting the B26 and Q58 routes along Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood Place and Palmetto Street, effective Sunday, June 28. The existing shared stop and terminal on Wyckoff Avenue at Palmetto Street would be discontinued, and the new B26 last stop and terminal would be located on Palmetto Street, far side of Wyckoff Avenue, with the new Q58 last stop and terminal located on Palmetto Street, near side of Wyckoff Avenue.

The new B26 and Q58 bus routes will operate as follows:

B26 Eastbound: Buses will operate on the existing route to Wyckoff Avenue, then make a left turn on Putnam Avenue, right on Ridgewood Place, right on Palmetto Street to stand on Palmetto Street, midblock, between Myrtle Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue.

B26 Westbound: From the bus stop on Palmetto Street, buses will make a left on St. Nicholas Avenue to the existing route.

Q58 Southbound: Buses will operate on the existing route to Putnam Avenue, then make a right turn on Ridgewood Place, right Palmetto Street to stand on Palmetto Street, near side of Wyckoff Avenue.

Q58 Northbound: From the bus stop on Palmetto Street, buses will make a right on Cypress Avenue to the existing route.
NYC Transit is continuously working with communities in order to address transit and safety needs in their neighborhoods. Elected officials and community leaders were notified of this upcoming reroute, and appropriate signage will be posted at all affected bus stops.

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Buses Replace Port Washington Trains

Riders of the LIRR’s Port Washington line this weekend will see buses replace trains for part of the trip & have service reduced from every half hour to every hour due to construction. Here are the complete details:

Some 18,000 MTA Long Island Rail Road customers who travel on the Port Washington Branch during the weekend of June 20-21 will face service reductions while contractors demolish the 115 year-old Colonial Road Bridge in the Village of Thomaston near Great Neck Station.

Bus service will replace trains between Port Washington Station and Great Neck Station from 12:04 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 continuing through Sunday, June 21 until train service is restored at 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 22. At the same time, service on the entire Port Washington Branch will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly during that time period.

The weekend work is part of the LIRR’s $45 million Colonial Road Improvement Project which kicked off in March when the bridge, which spans the tracks in the Village of Thomaston near Great Neck Station, was closed to vehicular traffic. Colonial Road will be closed for one year while the LIRR builds a new bridge, makes significant improvements to drainage problems at track level by building a new retaining wall, and extends an existing pocket track to improve operational flexibility.

LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski said: “Approximately 18,000 customers travel the Port Washington Branch every weekend, so we wanted to get the word out early about the shuttle buses between Port Washington and Great Neck as well as the reduced service branch-wide. We urge customers to allow extra time for travel on the Port Washington Branch the weekend of June 20-21 or use the LIRR’s Oyster Bay Branch or the Main Line as an alternative. The LIRR is making a major infrastructure investment in the Port Washington Branch, one that customers will greatly appreciate in the form of more reliable rush hour service.”

Eastbound to Port Washington:

Port Washington Branch service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly. Passengers traveling to stations Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will get off the train at Great Neck and board buses or vans to their final destinations. Passengers will arrive up to 25 minutes later usual depending upon destination.

Westbound to New York:

Port Washington Branch service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly. Passengers boarding at Port Washington, Plandome or Manhasset will board buses or vans up to 25 minutes earlier than normal for Great Neck where normal train service will resume.

Many Port Washington Branch trains will operate on alternate tracks and platforms – so customer should also play close attention to platform signage when departing.

The entire project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. The LIRR’s construction plan was developed in close consultation with Village of Thomaston and local residents as well as neighboring villages in the Great Neck area, the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County, as well as the New York State Department of Transportation. While most of the Colonial Road Improvement Project is being carried on weekdays during off-peak hours, the demolition work will run continuously, day and night, from the start early Saturday morning until train service is restored after 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 22 in time for normal Monday morning rush hour service.

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