MTA To Open New SI Railway Station

Tomorrow, the MTA will be opening the first station ever built by the agency since the former private railroad was incorporated in 1971. Here are more details on the opening of the Arthur Kill Station:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the upcoming opening of the new Arthur Kill station, the first new Staten Island Railway (SIR) station built by the MTA since the private rail line was incorporated into the MTA network in 1971, which opens Saturday morning.

The Arthur Kill station and its new parking lot, located on Arthur Kill Road between Lion Street and Barnard Avenue in the Tottenville area, replaces the Nassau and Atlantic SIR stations that will be demolished. The Nassau station primarily served the Nassau Smelting factory, which closed in the 1980s. The two older stations were small, with short platforms that did not adequately accommodate the railway’s modern fleet.

The MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program includes $386 million of investments and improvements to Staten Island Railway. They include replacement of the car fleet and three new power substations to increase supply to the line, allowing for service flexibility and reliability. Capital investments also include rolling out countdown clocks at all SIR stations, track replacement, radio system enhancements, and station repairs.

More than 16,000 customers ride the Staten Island Railway on an average weekday, which has 29 miles of tracks linking 22 communities on the borough, from the southern shore in Tottenville to the northern terminus at St. George that connects to the Staten Island Ferry.

“The new Arthur Kill station offers more transportation options to Staten Island residents by giving motorists the choice to leave the driving to us and take Staten Island Railway,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “This station reinforces the Governor’s commitment to all parts of our transportation network. We know our customers here want more choices, and we are working hard to improve their options.”

The new station is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and serves as a park-and-ride stop for customers who can leave their vehicles in a new 150-spot parking lot across the street or as a transfer point for connections to the S78 bus route. The station platforms accommodate SIR’s fleet of four-car trains and allow boarding at all doors, as compared to single-door boarding at the Nassau and Atlantic stations. In addition to the new parking lot, the Arthur Kill station has customer amenities such as benches, surveillance cameras, Customer Assistance Intercoms, and bicycle racks.

“This new station has been a long time coming but it well worth the wait,” NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim said. “The new station allows us to move Staten Island transportation another step into the future along with other major projects like the rehabilitation of the St. George Terminal, the recent reopening of the improved Grasmere station, new rail cars and bringing real-time train arrival information to all stations.”

The station’s design maintains the historic feel of the neighborhood yet incorporates the color scheme and architecture of the Staten Island Railway. The overall design emphasizes use of resilient materials and simple structural forms. The northbound and southbound platforms are connected by an overhead structure that is accessible via platform staircases and ramps and both towers of the structure and the connecting overpass are covered by canopies and enclosed with windscreens, providing shade and protection from inclement weather. New LED fixtures provide brighter and environmentally friendly lighting to supplement natural lighting through transparent windscreens.

The artwork in the windscreens at the top of both towers and in the overpass was designed by artist Jenna Lucente and commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. “Tottenville Sun, Tottenville Sky,” consists of 28 large-scale laminated glass panels featuring a mix of wildlife and landscape scenes that are unique to the area’s geography and community.

The towers’ glass panels are laminated blue with foreground images of indigenous wildlife and framed with an intricate design that pays homage to neighborhood architecture. The background of each panel features a landscape, either natural or urban, of the neighborhood. These narrative scenes include the southern shoreline of Staten Island, the Outerbridge Crossing and historic area buildings. The blue color represents the sky and the evening commute. The glass panels that line the overpass form four sets of triptychs laminated in yellow, which represents sunlight and the morning commute. One set forms a view of the Outerbridge Crossing from Arthur Kill Road with egrets in the foreground; another features the historic Conference House. Altogether, the panels represent the past, present and future of Tottenville and all that call it home.

“Staten Island’s first new train station in two decades deserves a delightful piece of art that elevates it beyond a station stop, and Jenna’s artwork is a thoughtful interpretation of the area’s natural beauty and a study of its historic significance, ” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design. “A commuter waiting for his train can look up at the towers or the overpass, and depending on the time or the angle of the sun, see something that he may not have seen the day or an hour before. Each scene in each panel is a reminder of the nature around us and also what we are capable of creating.”

Designing the station artwork was particularly poignant for Lucente, an artist and educator who grew up in the Castleton Corners section of Staten Island. Lucente earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University (N.Y.) and a master of fine arts degree from Queens College, City University of New York. She was born in Brooklyn and currently lives in Delaware.

“Staten Island will always be home to me, and the artwork at the new Arthur Kill Station has great personal significance. My understanding, interpretation and connection with Staten Island will always be here through this artwork. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to share this vision with the public, and my fellow Staten Islanders,” Lucente said.

In preparation for the station, New York City Transit relocated eastbound and westbound stops on the S78 bus route to locations directly in front of the station and the parking lot, allowing for quicker and better access for transferring customers. New bus pullouts at the curbs were also created for easier and safer loading.

Funding for the $27.4 million project was provided in the 2010-2014 MTA Capital Program. Lessons learned after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 resulted in design changes to improve storm resiliency that added to the construction timeline. Resiliency-related infrastructure enhancements include raising and improving the tracks, storm-proofing storage facilities and the electrical distribution and communications systems, and installing a heavier-duty drain system with underground detention tanks and perforated drain pipes for controlling water runoff and limiting soil displacement. The landscaping included native plants such as grasses, trees and shrubs, and permeable features to reduce storm runoff. Fencing, concrete curbs and gravel berms were installed to control soil erosion.

Congressman Dan Donovan: “The new Arthur Kill station will positively impact Staten Islanders who live and work in the area. Quicker and better access to the SIR is important to our community, especially since thousands of people rely on our railway system every day. Projects like this are why I fought proposed cuts to federal NYC mass transit funding.”

Borough President James Oddo: “We welcome any and all improvements to our public transportation network. I am pleased that this brand new, state of the art, and modern facility is opening to better serve South Shore residents. The Staten Island Railway is a lifeline for many Staten Islanders to get to work and school, and those commuters will have a better experience with the opening of the new station.”

State Senator Andrew Lanza: “The long-awaited opening of the Arthur Kill Railway station is great news for Staten Island Railway customers. The new station is sorely needed and will finally offer local residents and visitors the kind of services and amenities that they deserve. I thank Governor Cuomo and MTA Chairman Prendergast for this investment in Staten Island’s transportation infrastructure.”

NYC Councilman Joseph Borelli: “This is an exciting announcement that I’m glad to be a part of. Commuters in the Richmond Valley-Tottenville-Charleston area have been waiting a long time for a replacement for the old Nassau and Atlantic SIR stations, which makes this especially gratifying. I appreciate the efforts of the Staten Island Railway and I look forward to the remainder of the nearly $400 million in capital investments in the SIR that are slated to go online over the next several years.”

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MTA To Hold Canarsie Tube Repair Workshops

Just a short time ago, the MTA announced that it along with the NYCDOT will be holding public workshops to discuss potential service plans while the Canarsie Tube is under repair. Here are the details:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) today announced a series of jointly held interactive public workshops next month to engage communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn that will be affected by the previously announced repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel on the L line.

The full closure of the Canarsie Tunnel’s two tubes will not begin before January 2019, providing time for a thoughtful development of service alternatives.

During the workshops, MTA and NYCDOT will provide information on the Canarsie Tunnel repairs and to solicit community feedback on possible alternate travel options during the planned 18-month closure.

Representatives from MTA and NYCDOT are also using the sessions to gain input for traffic modeling and analysis currently being conducted as service plans to minimize impacts are developed. Representatives will also be available to discuss construction impacts, ADA issues, and bus and subway service as it relates to the closure.

The public is strongly encouraged to participate in these workshops, which are expected to solicit meaningful input on alternate travel options for customers who will be affected by the repairs.


The Canarsie Tunnel was one of nine underwater tunnels that flooded during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, all of which required extensive rehabilitation and repair. The Canarsie Tunnel suffered extensive damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls throughout a 7,100-foot-long flooded section of both tubes. Bench walls throughout those sections must be rehabilitated to protect the structural integrity of the tubes.

During the 18-month rehabilitation process, the MTA will also make significant improvements to stations and tunnel segments closest to the river. New stairs and elevators will be installed at the Bedford Av station in Brooklyn and the 1 Av station in Manhattan, and three new electric substations will be installed, providing more power to operate additional trains during rush hours.


Community workshops have been designed to help the MTA and NYCDOT develop service alternatives and mitigation proposals tailored to the affected neighborhoods. Each workshop will be structured to allow public participation on a rolling basis as people arrive in order to solicit ideas from the greatest number of people.

The workshops are intended to help MTA and NYCDOT better understand preferred alternate travel options for impacted customers. They will also solicit community input on alternate solutions such as increased bicycle use, shuttle buses and ferries, and to generate other suggestions.
The MTA and NYCDOT is also working with community boards, elected officials and the public to develop alternate service plans, which will be in place at least one year ahead of the 2019 closure.

The workshops will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on the following dates:

February 9, 2017: Eastside of Manhattan
Town and Village Synagogue
334 East 14th Street, New York

February 16, 2017: Williamsburg
The Williamsburg HS for Architecture & Design
257 North 6th Street, Brooklyn

February 23: Westside of Manhattan
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
328 West 14th Street, New York

March 2, 2017: East Williamsburg/Bushwick
Progress High School
850 Grand Street, Brooklyn

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Service Diversions 01-19-17

I have just updated the Service Diversions for the upcoming weekend through the end of next week.

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

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MTA Testing New Vacuum Systems

Photo courtesy of the MTA

The MTA is continuing its never ending battle to keep subway tracks clean by testing out prototypes on new vacuum systems. Here is more about that bia the official press release I received from them:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it is testing two prototypes of powerful – but portable – track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next. The new units are part of the MTA’s ongoing Track Sweep initiative, which is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, in the process improving the station environment, and reducing track fires and train delays.

“Testing these new technologies is a key part in our plan to get the tracks cleaner, and keep them cleaner over the long haul,” said MTA New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim. “Once we’re sure that these units are effective we’ll be ordering additional units to deploy across the system.”

The first unit is currently being tested, while the second will be deployed within the next two weeks. The prototype units are both powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries with a battery management system that protects the batteries and load from over current, and both can be moved from station to station on a conventional revenue train. The tests are scheduled to last approximately 30 to 45 days. Assuming the successful completion of the tests, the MTA will move aggressively to acquire and deploy additional units.

The test of the two portable vacuums is focusing on two corridors of track:

• In Manhattan from Lexington Av/53 St E, M on the Queens Boulevard E, F line to W4 St-Wash Sq A, B, C, D, E, F, M on the Sixth Avenue B, D, F, N and Eighth Avenue A, C, E lines, which is a chain of 15 stations.

• In Queens along the Queens Boulevard corridor from Jamaica-179 St F to Queens Plaza E, M, R, which is a chain of 20 stations.

Operation Track Sweep (view video here: is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, and, in the process, improve the station environment, and reduce track fires and train delays. Phase 1 of the effort, which focused on establishing a more aggressive schedule for cleaning tracks at stations, launched in June 2016. Phase 2 followed in September, and involved 500 workers removing trash and debris from the tracks at all of the system’s stations.

Operation Track Sweep’s four complementary phases are:

Phase 1

In June 2016, the MTA implemented a new cleaning schedule that reprioritizes stations based on the amount of trash usually removed, and increases the frequency of track cleaning. The MTA now cleans the tracks at 94 stations every two weeks, up from cleaning tracks at 34 stations every two weeks.

Phase 2

In September 2016, the MTA launched an intensive two-week, system-wide cleaning during which more than 500 workers removed trash and debris from the tracks at all of the system’s 469 stations – more than 10 miles of subway station track.

Phase 3

The MTA has begun testing two powerful – but portable – track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next.

Phase 4

In addition, the MTA has ordered a trio of powerful new track vacuum trains, with the first train arriving in 2017, followed by the second and third, which will arrive in 2018.

The MTA is also purchasing 27 new refuse cars to move debris out of the system more quickly and support the new expanded cleaning effort. The cars are equipped with special railings to secure and transport wheeled garbage containers that are collected at subway stations.

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MTA Reaches Deal With TWU Local 100

Thankfully for the sake of riders throughout the region, the MTA has reached a deal (pending MTA Board approval) with Transport Workers Union Local 100.

Based on the initial terms of the deal, I feel it is safe to say that the union won this round of the never ending battle between the heavyweights as they see decent pay increases while not having to dish out more for health care or deal with work concessions.

Here is more on the deal via a report by Dan Rivoli of the New York Daily News:

The city’s transit workers union reached a tentative deal on a new contract with “solid” raises, the labor group’s chief said Monday.

The deal for the 28-month contract — arriving hours after the current contract expired Sunday night — includes two raises of 2.5% over the first 26 months, plus a $500 bonus for the final two months for 38,000 subway and bus workers, according to two sources.

“We won a tentative contract with solid raises and other strong economic gains, moving transit workers well ahead of inflation and greatly improving their quality of life,” John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, said in a statement.

The TWU had been fighting the MTA on the size of the raises. The union wanted a raise higher than the 2% hikes the authority brass had sought to keep wages in line with the rate of inflation, citing the improved economy.

TWU, MTA fail to reach agreement on raises as contract expires

Ultimately, there were no concessions, changes to work rules or higher benefit co-pays, according to a TWU spokesman.

Click here for the complete report.

As is to be expected, some are already voicing doom & gloom on the deal echoing sentiments that the TWU got too good of a deal & riders will be the eventual victims who have to fit the bill. These feelings are coming from the Citizens Budget Commission. Danielle Furfaro of the New York Post has more on this angle of the story:

The new contract between the MTA and its workers costs too much money and will lead to higher than expected fare increases, a government watchdog group claimed on Tuesday.

Citizens Budget Commission officials say they believe the workers got too good of a deal and that riders are going to have to pay for it.

“New Yorkers should welcome the news of 28 months of labor peace on the subways and buses, but it comes at a price,” said CBC president Carol Kellermann. “The settlement is more generous than the MTA’s financial plan provides and may require higher fare increases than planned or more borrowing to support the capital program.”

The newly-inked contract with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 will give the workers two separate raises of 2.5 percent over 26 months and then a $500 bonus for the last two months, said sources. The new contract runs until May of 2019.

The new contact will also leave in place other perks, including higher pay for nighttime shifts, overtime after an eight-hour day instead of a 40-hour week, and a cap on part-time employees.

“The MTA doesn’t have the flexblity to work around these things, so they are paying more for workers hours than they have to,” said CBC researcher Jamison Dague.

Click here for the complete report.

As I opined earlier, the TWU definitely won the battle with this contract as they got pretty much every main sticking point they wanted. However to solely blame them for the costs of it is unfair considering they just want a fair living wage in what is one of the most expensive cities/regions to reside in throughout the entire world.

The real culprits are the bodies of government both city & state who continuously shortchange the MTA in terms of the funding it needs for the strongest level of operations from infrastructure down to being able to properly pay employees. So instead of looking down on the working class, how about looking up at the people behind the curtain running the show!

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