Long Island’s commuters can expect major modernization efforts at both the Long Island Rail Road’s Hicksville and Jamaica stations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, work has begun on a $121 million initiative to rebuild and modernize the Hicksville station, considered by the agency to be the busiest train station on Long Island. In addition, the LIRR has awarded a $64.9 million contract to create a new platform and tracks at the Jamaica station, the LIRR’s central hub and main transfer point for the railroad.
In Hicksville, the upgrades to the 55-year-old station will include Wi-Fi throughout the station, plus USB charging stations inside an enhanced glass-enclosed waiting room. New platforms will be outfitted with improved lighting and a translucent canopy roof, and aging stairways, escalators, elevators will be improved.
The railroad is also investing in a video security system, audio and digital communications systems, and better signage. The renovated station will also include new laminated art glass installations. Construction at Hicksville is slated to begin later this month, and the station work is expected to be completed by the spring of 2018.
“Revamping these two heavily trafficked transportation hubs will provide better, faster and more reliable train service for Long Island Rail Road riders,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “Time and time again, transportation investment has a ripple effect of progress and economic growth on the surrounding community.”
The formal announcements on both projects were made at the Conference on Sustainable Development and Collaborative Governance held Wednesday afternoon at the Huntington Hilton.
The MTA also announced that the LIRR’s Jamaica station is slated for upgrades that seek to increase the hub’s capacity and usability.
The new platform and tracks at Jamaica station will allow the LIRR to more easily re-route trains, take tracks out of service, and support supplemental train service to and from Atlantic Terminal for customers attending games and events at the Barclays Center. The new platform will also feature glass-enclosed heated waiting areas, as well as Wi-Fi and USB charging stations for riders. In addition, the station will be adorned with brightly colored art glass installations on the station’s westerly bridge, and also on the stairs leading from the new station platform to the AirTrain mezzanine.
The rebuilt station at Hicksville and new platform at Jamaica, slated to open in 2019, are two in a series of the LIRR system-wide capacity improvement projects, which also include an uninterrupted second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, and a third track on the Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville, as well as the East Side Access project to bring LIRR trains into Grand Central Terminal.
Once East Side Access is complete, the new platform at Jamaica station will help to enhance service between Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Jamaica Station, enabling shuttle trains to depart every 7½ minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours, providing a higher level of service than that available under current timetables, according to the MTA.
The projects are supported by the state’s $27 billion MTA Capital Program, according to the governor’s office.
Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s esteemed master planner. More of his views can be found on TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.