Residents & riders have grown tired of the filthy mess in & around the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Hicksville station. The mess has become such a problem it led to Woodbury resident Doug Plotz to write Newsday. Speaking of Newsday, Gwen Young has a complete report about the situation:
The Hicksville train station is a disgusting mess. The conditions are beyond horrible. The station and outer lots have been overrun by garbage and pigeons. Every day commuters have to walk over and under dead pigeons and their droppings. The Town of Oyster Bay blames the LIRR, the LIRR blames the town. Can you help?
– Doug Plotz, Woodbury
We called the LIRR Tuesday afternoon and showed them the video we’d taken June 20 with Doug Plotz. (See newsday.com/watchdog.)
The next day, LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said, “After watching Newsday’s video, we dispatched a spray-wash team to the Hicksville station at 8 a.m. this morning to address the problem. We will also be increasing our inspections at Hicksville and performing additional spray washings as needed.”
The station is supposed to be power-washed once a week, Arena said. “The problem perhaps got away from us a little bit.”
Unfortunately, the pigeon mess in the overhead netting designed to keep them away from the ducts under the trestle poses a bigger problem, Arena said.
Power washers can’t be used there because the pressure would damage the ductwork. That job most likely will be hired out because it has to be done by hand, he said. That’ll take time.
In the past two years, the LIRR has spent more than $200,000 on pigeon deterrents, such as the netting, and plan to do more pigeon-proofing in Hicksville. “It is a persistent problem,” Arena said, “and the solution is something we haven’t figured out yet exactly.”
Commuters can report station and train-related problems to the LIRR by calling 718-558-8228.
While the LIRR is responsible for areas under the trestle, the commuter parking lots that Plotz also complained about are owned by the Town of Oyster Bay.
After viewing the video on Thursday, town spokeswoman Marta Kane said, “A full crew will go out to clean every nook and cranny of the lots” at about 3 a.m. Friday.
Friday afternoon, town spokesman Jim Moriarty reported, “They did an extensive cleanup and they’re going to continue to stay on top of it.”
Commuters with complaints about problems in Oyster Bay parking lots can call 516-677-5757.
Meanwhile, Watchdog reader Jonathan Slomka, of Woodbury, e-mailed us a copy of a letter he sent to the Nassau Department of Health about the pigeon problems. In part, he wrote, “I would be very surprised if this doesn’t represent a significant health hazard to the many commuters forced to walk through this area on a daily basis.”
Based on his letter, officials went to the station Thursday, spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain said. “I can’t tell you we’re not concerned,” she said. “Obviously, we want to protect our residents as best we can. … We are working with the railroad to correct the problem and to eliminate the problem. They’ve indicated to us they’re working to fix the situation.” Apparently, the railroad wasn’t given a deadline, but Laurain said, “We go back to make sure what’s said to us and what the steps are to fix it are being done, that the situation is rectified.”
Anyone with concerns about health issues at LIRR stations in Nassau can call 516-227-9715.
I can’t believe that the conditions at this station have not improved since I originally lived on Long Island. I recall going through that station many times during the initial 6 years I lived on the island & seeing tons of feces in & around the station mostly coming from pigeons. I did not see as much trash but the feces was enough for me to be disgusted & outraged. There is no excuse for any station, much less a major one being in such condition.
xoxo Transit Blogger