Grade Crossing In Mineola To Soon Be Gone Forever

The dangerous rail grade crossing located on Roslyn Road in Mineola will soon be gone forever. This comes as great news to many who know how dangerous this crossing is. The grade crossing is no stranger to near or actual tragedies as many probably remember how 37 year old Michael Artale was struck and killed by a LIRR train after walking around the gates. A near tragedy occurred recently when a woman mistook the LIRR tracks as a road & started to drive down them before getting rescued seconds before a train hit & destroyed her car.

Here is an article about the plans to remove the grade crossing courtesy of Newsday:

More than a decade before 37-year-old Michael Artale was struck and killed by a train after he walked around the lowered gates at Roslyn Road, state officials had talked about eliminating the Mineola grade crossing.

Now, nearly a decade later, work to eliminate the crossing is well under way and should be complete by this summer, state officials said.

“Why it took so long ticks me off,” said Robert Kessler of Mineola, a friend of Artale’s. “It would have saved his life.”

Just last Thursday, the crossing nearly claimed another life when a 63-year-old Floral Park woman accidentally drove onto the tracks. She was pulled from her car just moments before it was crushed by a westbound Long Island Rail Road train.

Eliminating a grade crossing is neither cheap nor easy. The Mineola project has a price tag of $24.3 million, and the work itself has been a massive undertaking, state officials said, requiring excavation under existing tracks for a new roadway and the installation of a 365-ton steel railroad bridge.

While it’s illegal to walk or drive around lowered gates at grade crossings, dozens who have done so have died or been injured all across Long Island in the past decade.

State officials said the project will eliminate such dangers at the site and improve traffic on Roslyn Road. Approximately 200 LIRR trains and 16,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day, officials said.

Barbara Bodner, who has lived near the grade crossing for the past seven years, said vehicle traffic has gotten worse, sometimes backing up four blocks to Westbury Avenue.

“When I first moved in they were talking about it,” she said. “I’ve seen people walk across when the gates are down.”

The new roadway under the bridge is scheduled to open at Roslyn Road by the end of next month, state officials said. The entire project, which includes removing crossing gates and adding sidewalks, drainage work and landscaping, is to be complete by summer.

In 1998, the Herricks Road crossing in Mineola – once called the most dangerous at-grade crossing in America by the National Transportation Safety Board – was eliminated. In 1982, an accident there killed nine teenagers.

According to the LIRR, although the new bridge over Roslyn Road includes space for a third track, which the railroad said is needed to expand capacity on the main line, the elimination of the grade crossing is not part of the third track project.

LIRR officials said that project could lead to the elimination of up to five other grade crossings in Westbury and New Hyde Park.

This grade crossing should have been removed years ago if you ask me. The completion of this project can not come soon enough!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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DOT & MTA Hope To Ease Holiday Gridlock

This past Thursday AMNY ran a brief article about the Department Of Transportation (DOT) & the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)  implementing an anti-gridlock plan starting later this month. Here is the brief article courtesy of AMNY:

To prevent holiday traffic meltdowns, the Department of Transportation and the MTA will implement an anti-gridlock plan later this month, officials announced Thursday.

The agencies are asking commuters to hop out of their cars and use mass transit on the following dates: Nov. 16, 21, 28 and Dec. 7, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21.

To accommodate extra straphangers, New York City Transit is ramping up service on Thanksgiving on the No. 1 train and 42nd Street shuttle for riders heading to the parade.

Additional service on the E, F, Q, and Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 6 lines also will be running on weekends between Dec. 8 and 23. Weekend subway construction and upgrade work will be scaled back during the holidays.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also offering MetroCard deals for specific events. For more details check mta.info/metrocard.

And as a present to history buffs, vintage trains will roll on some lines from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays in December. Transit officials said details will be released later.

Leave it to these two agencies to announce that a plan will be announced later. What a waste……… although the vintage train appearances should be a welcome site to many railfans such as myself.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Should We Be Surprised?

I know I’m not when New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue broke the news that three MTA board members skipped every public hearing on proposed fare and toll hikes. Here is the entire article courtesy of the New York Daily News:

Three MTA board members are total truants; they skipped every public hearing on proposed fare and toll hikes.

Andrew Saul, Donald Cecil and Susan Metzger failed to attend any of eight public hearings the Metropolitan Transportation Authority held during the past 10 days.

Some board members attended only one hearing, including Nancy Shevell, who didn’t show up at sessions held after her relationship with Paul McCartney became public.

Millions of daily subway, bus and commuter train riders will pay more if the increases are approved by the board next month. Drivers using MTA bridges and tunnels also would be affected.

“Membership on the MTA board is a privilege, not a right, with awesome responsibilities,” fumed state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens). “Members who can’t drag themselves to even one fare hike hearing to face the riding public not only shouldn’t be allowed to vote for a fare hike, they shouldn’t be on the board at all.”

Metzger, of Orange County, Wednesday vowed to review hearing transcripts.

She was out of the country last week on a vacation she and her husband starting planning more than a year ago, she said. Saul and Cecil didn’t return messages.

Saul, the CEO of a women’s apparel company, is a board vice chairman and head of the finance committee who regularly attends monthly meetings at MTA headquarters.

Saul also is a candidate in next fall’s Republican primary in the 19th Congressional District. It encompasses Putnam County and parts of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties.

More than 100 state legislators have urged the MTA to delay to mid-April the hikes, set to take effect in February.

They hope to get Gov. Spitzer and their colleagues to give more funds to the MTA so riders are spared.

Before the hearings, Saul told the Daily News he would oppose a delay because Albany couldn’t be counted on to provide additional funds.

Wednesday, he released a statement indicating he might have a change of heart.

“I have never said that I was in favor of an MTA fare increase at this time,” he said, adding he would at the very least “review all viable options that allow the MTA to continue improving and providing services to its riders in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Cecil is chairman of the Westchester County Board of Transportation.

A founding partner of a large investment management company, he has been active in several charities and established a scholarship fund for low-income Westchester County students.

Metzger formerly owned an engineering company, heads the Orange County Planning Board and has been active in environmental issues.

I agree 100% with Queens Democratic State Assemblyman Rory Lancman, maybe these three should not be on the board. I will cut a tad bit of slack if the vacation was legitimate. One can’t just reschedule planned vacations like that on a whim. However the other two seem to have absolutely NO excuse for missing all of the hearings. I could see maybe one or two as things happen but every single one!

The lack of attention from these individuals on such hearings just underscores why the MTA is not liked by many especially the majority of the riding public. How can they not expect to think that the bigwigs at the MTA have no idea how to relate to the working class who depends on the system day in & day out.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Multiple Rider Report Card Grades Are In….

This past Friday, the MTA issued a press release with partial results for the 2, 3, & Times Square Shuttle’s respective 2007 Rider Report Cards. Currently the MTA does not have the full results posted on their website. I have seen the full results posted elsewhere. However I feel a sense of responsibility to my readers to wait until the MTA officially posts the results before claiming what I read elsewhere is 100% factual. When they post the full results, I will have a detailed breakdown as well as my personal analysis of the grades earned. In the meantime, here is the entire press release courtesy of the MTA:

The 2 line connects the Wakefield section of the Bronx and Flatbush, Brooklyn. The 3 line runs between 148th Street in Harlem and New Lots Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn. The 42nd Street S shuttle connects Times Square-42nd Street and Grand Central-42nd Street. Riders who took part in MTA New York City Transit’s Rider Report Card survey issued an overall grade of C for the 2, C- for the 3 and B- for the 42nd Street S shuttle.

Of the 70,495 report cards that were distributed along the 23 and S lines between October 1st and 4th, 5,124 were returned for the 2 line-3,429 by mail and 1,695 via the web; the 3 line received 2,373 responses-1,692 by mail and 681 via the web; and the S received 380 responses-139 by mail and 241 via the web.

2 line customers gave their lowest grades of D+ to “Adequate room on board at rush hour,” “Station announcements that are easy to hear,” and “Station announcements that are informative.” Their highest grades of B- to “Lack of graffiti in subway cars,” “Ease of use of subway turnstiles,” and “Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines.”

3 line customers gave their lowest grades of D+ to “Adequate room on board at rush hour,” “Station announcements that are informative,” Train announcements that are easy to hear,” and “Train announcements that are informative.” Riders on the 3 gave a B- to “Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines.”

S riders on the short shuttle trip between Times Square and Grand Central gave their lowest grade of C to “Adequate room on board at rush hour,” “Cleanliness of stations,” “Station announcements that are easy to hear,” “Station announcements that are informative,” and “Train announcements that are easy to hear.” Higher marks of B were given to “Minimal delays during trips,” “Lack of graffiti in stations and subway cars” and the “Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines.”

The top three priorities for riders on the 2 and 3 lines were “Reasonable wait times for trains,” “Minimal delays during trips,” and “Adequate room on board at rush hour.” Customers on the S shuttle listed “Adequate room on board at rush hour,” “Reasonable wait times for trains” and “Cleanliness of stations” as their top three areas for improvement.

Full Rider report card results can be found on the web at www.mta.info. Rider Report Card information is currently being tabulated for the B, E, A, C, F lines and the Rockaway Park S shuttle. Rider Report Cards were distributed along the 1 and G lines this week. Last week, riders on R and V lines were asked to grade service and next week, the Rider Report Card will travel to the NQW6 lines and the Franklin Avenue S shuttle.

Hopefully the full results are posted today so I can break them down.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Police Search For A Man Who Shoved An MTA Motorman To The Tracks

According to Bobby Cuza of NY1, the police are searching for a man who pushed a MTA motorman to the tracks. Here is the brief article on the incident courtesy of NY1:

Police are searching for the man who pushed an MTA motorman onto subway tracks.

According to police, a motorman waiting on the shuttle platform at Grand Central Terminal was pushed onto the tracks a little before 9 last night.

The motorman was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition with injuries to his left arm, back and legs.

His attacker is described as being about 35 years old, clean-shaven, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds.

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