MTA Plans To Meet Residents’ Demands

Over the last number of years, residents of the Bay Ridge Towers have been fighting to get something done about the fencing problem around the property. The property which is located at the northern end of Bay Ridge, has train tracks that go under & around it. The issue concerning many residents is that there is a hiding space for homeless people amongst others underneath the propertys’ deck. The space is easily accessible due to a hole in the chain link fence. After years of battling, a new & stronger fence is being put in place. Jake Mooney of the New York Times has more on the story:

FOR at least four years, Barbara Grebin and fellow residents of Bay Ridge Towers, a pair of 30-story co-op buildings at the northern tip of that Brooklyn neighborhood, have been fighting to seal off access to the train tracks that run under the complex’s parking deck and alongside its foundations.

The space under the deck, they and local officials say, is a cavernous hidden shelter for groups of homeless people, easily accessible by climbing through a hole in a chain-link fence and descending a rocky slope. There is ample room under its high ceiling to sleep in a dark corner or make a fire.

But the Long Island Rail Road, which owns the tracks, has always maintained that their security is the responsibility of the private freight company that leases them. That company disagreed, the fence around the tracks remained inadequate, and the homeless people kept coming. Which is why Ms. Grebin was not expecting much from a meeting at the co-op on the subject in May.

“I’m thinking, here we go again — I’m going down there, I’m going to hear a whole lot of nothing,” she recalled.

What she got, to her surprise and delight, was word that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which controls the L.I.R.R., would meet residents’ demands by putting up a new, stronger fence and increasing patrols of the area. The shift was announced in a news release from Gov. David Paterson, who cited concerns about rail security.

The president of the railroad, Helena Williams, in a letter to the local community board, insisted that the tracks were the freight line’s responsibility. But the agency will make the changes, she added, because it “strives to be a good neighbor.”

Regarding the territorial disputes, she said in an interview, “From the community’s perspective and the railroad’s perspective, these issues are secondary to the fact that we need fencing.”

Residents of neighborhoods along the railroad’s tracks frequently request fencing, she said, but she described the circumstances at Bay Ridge Towers as unique. Efforts to find homeless people under the buildings and persuade them to go elsewhere had failed, she said, and the site is tricky, from a security perspective, because it is both next to New York Harbor and on top of the Buckeye Pipeline, a conduit for aviation fuel that federal authorities said was the target of a failed 2007 terrorist plot.

“If the homeless have access,” Ms. Williams said, “then other unauthorized people can have access.”

According to Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, the organization that arranged the May 13 meeting, some residents greeted the news with a standing ovation, and one woman cried with joy.

Ms. Grebin, a 66-year-old retired administrative assistant, said she was “astounded” at the agency’s about-face, adding, “I was delirious that day.”

Now, she said happily, she is wondering if there is another cause she can focus on. “We’re a co-op,” she said, “and if something’s going on that we don’t like, we make a stink.”

Lets hope the new fencing will be installed in a timely manner & helps keep trespassers off the property & tracks.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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A Train Service Alert

The MTA has posted a service alert regarding train service. The service alert reads:

Due to ongoing switch problems at the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue Station, please expect delays in service on the trains at this time.

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Woman Killed After Being Struck By A Q Train

Sometimes stories slip through the cracks & this one qualifies for that distinction. My sister e-mailed me the story of a woman who died after being struck by a train. She wondered if I had heard about the story to share on the blog. I did not so, I thank her for the unfortunate story. Here is the brief report on the incident courtesy of WCBS 880:

New York City police say a woman has been struck and killed by a subway train in Brooklyn.

Authorities say the woman was hit by a southbound Q train shortly before 3:30 a.m. Thursday at East 16th Street and Beverly Road in the Flatbush neighborhood.

Police are investigating but don’t suspect criminality.

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman says southbound service on the Q line is operating on the N line between DeKalb and Stillwell avenues.

I have not heard or read any other details as to how this unfolded. If I come across more, I will post about it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA NYC Transit Honored

Just a short while ago, the MTA issued a press release to announce an award that was earned by the bus division of MTA NYC Transit. The safety award was given out by the New York State Public Transit Association and the Bus Association of New York. Here is the full press release courtesy of the MTA:

Providing safe and reliable surface transportation for the 2.4 million daily passengers who rely on bus service in the five boroughs is New York City Transit’s Department of Buses primary goal. Today, one of the Department’s key managers was recognized for an industry-leading commitment to safety, receiving the 2008 Senator Norman J. Levy Bus Public Transportation Safety Award. The award, sponsored by the New York State Public Transit Association and the Bus Association of New York, was presented today by PTSB member John S. Delaney at the New York State Public Transit Conference in Utica.

Patrick Sullivan, General Manager of Road Control for MTA NYC Transit and MTA Bus, received the award for his dedication to reducing fatalities, pedestrian accidents and injuries that result from accidents and bus collisions.

“Pat Sullivan is truly an industry safety innovator,” said Joseph J. Smith, Sr. V.P. of Buses at NYC Transit. “Pat and his team have charted a clear course for this department to follow in our ongoing efforts to ensure that we are providing the safest service possible both for our employees, customers and pedestrians,” added Smith.

Prior to his current position, Sullivan was Chief Officer of Safety and Training between 2005 and 2007. In that position he initiated a multi-pronged approach to safety that resulted in a 71-percent decrease in fatal accidents in 2007. Utilizing training, safety awareness, equipment enhancements and direct in-service intervention techniques, Sullivan and his team were able to achieve significant safety improvements.

In addition to a reduction in fatal accidents, Sullivan and his assembled team of mangers from across the bus division also produced a 29-percent reduction in pedestrian accidents as well as a 19-percent reduction in injuries as a result of bus collisions during the same period.

Among some of the team’s achievements was the creation of a Unified Task Force of managers from each division and borough to come together to conduct focused safety blitz campaigns on Bus Operator performance; facilitated invention and/or modification to mirror improvement to eliminate blind spots while simultaneously pursuing new lighting systems which are being incorporated into new bus procurements; created a Hybrid Deceleration Program to reduce the take off speed of the Hybrid equipment which contributed to a spike in customer injuries on these model buses, and; worked with the Office of Corporate Communications to produce BusTalk cards for display on buses, as well as development of Take-One materials to educate customers on how to prevent injury while using our system, including a targeted public outreach to Senior Citizens (which accounted for 80% of the fatality incidents).

According to Sullivan, the true recipient of this award is really the NYC Transit and MTA Bus operators. “They have the toughest job of all, driving a bus day in and day out in New York City is no easy task,” said Sullivan. “We gave them the tools needed to improve their safety performance and fortunately they accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion,” added Sullivan.

“Patrick Sullivan and the staff and management who support him at MTA New York City Transit deserve to be commended for their success in making improvements that have saved lives,” said NYSDOT Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn. “Mr. Sullivan spearheaded changes in driver training, supervision and equipment that have made the city’s transit system safer for passengers, pedestrians, bus drivers and other motorists.”

The Public Transportation Safety Award program was initiated in 1996 to recognize both individuals and public transportation systems that have demonstrated excellence in developing and promoting safety initiatives for their systems. Award categories are leadership in transit safety, excellence in transit safety and transit system safety.

Transit Blogger salutes the men & women who helped the bus division earn this award!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Bus Service To Replace Service On Port Jefferson Line

The MTA issued a press release earlier this afternoon to announce that bus service will replace normally scheduled weekday midday trains on the Port Jefferson line between Kings Park & Port Jefferson for a little over 2 months. During the scheduled times,  the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will be replacing over 14 miles of track ties along with refurbishing the Lawrence Aviation Rd. grade crossing in Kings Park. Here is the full press release courtesy of the MTA:

The MTA Long Island Rail Road will provide bus service in place of trains on the Port Jefferson Branch between Kings Park and Port Jefferson from Monday, June 16 through Friday, August 29 when major track work will affect four eastbound and four westbound midday trains.

Working weekdays after the morning rush, the LIRR will be replacing track ties over 14 miles of track between Kings Park and Port Jefferson. The Lawrence Aviation Road grade crossing in Kings Park will also be refurbished. Westbound customers will depart on buses up to 20 minutes earlier than regularly scheduled trains. Both westbound and eastbound customers should expect up to 20 minutes additional travel time.

Off Peak Service Changes

Eastbound

Customers on the 8:54 AM, 10:24 AM, 11:54 AM and 1:24 PM trains from Huntington to Port Jefferson will transfer to buses at Kings Park to complete their trips for stations Smithtown, St. James, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson.

Westbound

Customers for the 10:10 AM, 11:37 AM, 1:10 PM and 2:37 PM trains from Port Jefferson will board buses up to 20 minutes earlier than their regularly scheduled trains at stations Port Jefferson, Stony Brook, St. James and Smithtown and transfer to trains at Kings Park to complete their trips.

Customers should pick up a copy of the June 16-September 1 Port Jefferson Branch timetable at their station or at all LIRR terminals. They can also contact the LIRR’s 24-hour Travel Information Center in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR, in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR or in New York City at 718-217-LIRR. The Travel Information Center’s TDD number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022. Customers can also consult the LIRR’s website at www.mta.info.

Hopefully the buses being used to carry passengers are coach buses. I remember dealing with what some call “bustitution” years ago on the Ronkonkoma line. Coach buses were used to bring passengers to the Hicksville station. I must admit we made good time to Hicksville & the ride was comfortable. If I recall correctly, we got there faster by bus compared to the normal train service.

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