Port Washington, NY - September 30, 2014 - MTA Long Island Rail Road plans to erect a temporary extension to an existing pedestrian bridge at Port Washington Station over a four-day period beginning Thursday, October 16 and finishing up on Sunday, October 19. The project will have no impact on train service.
When completed, the bridge extension, an idea proposed by the LIRR and approved by the Town of North Hempstead, will restore pedestrian access to the Haven Avenue side of Port Washington Station. The need to restore Haven Avenue access became important following the emergency closing in April of one of two existing pedestrian bridges. The bridge leading to the Haven Avenue side was closed after the Railroad found that elements of the concrete structure had deteriorated beyond repair.
To carry out the four-day work plan, the LIRR will have to close the Haven Avenue parking lot all day on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19 to accommodate the large construction equipment needed to do the job.
“I would again like to thank State Senator Jack Martins, State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, and Town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio for their input and cooperation in making this project a reality,” said LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski. “This temporary extension addresses customer concerns about access between the parking lot and the platform for the foreseeable future.”
State Senator Jack M. Martins said: "I want to thank the LIRR for their focus on safety and their willingness to meet the community's needs by expediting this project. This project is very important to ensuring that Port Washington commuters get the best quality service. I appreciate the LIRR's quick commitment to work with local leaders to make this a reality.”
Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel: "The temporary pedestrian bridge extension at Port Washington Station to restore access to the Haven Avenue Side is a welcomed solution. The meetings with my town and state partners in government in conjunction with President Nowakowski and the LIRR staff were constructive and productive, which, I believe, will soon be evident to the commuters."
North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said: “The commuters at our busy Port Washington train station will certainly benefit greatly from this new pedestrian bridge. This project has been a great example of a cooperative effort between many levels of government and the LIRR and it has resulted in a very positive outcome, which addresses both the safety and quality of life for our commuters.”
Town Councilwoman Dina M. De Georgio said: “I am pleased that the LIRR heard my community and that pedestrian access to Haven Avenue will be restored. I look forward to working with the LIRR on future projects at the station.”
The temporary structure is being built with modular, pre-fabricated materials and, once installed, will result in six fewer parking spaces in the Haven Avenue parking lot.
4-Day Work Schedule
The LIRR said the project construction schedule is as follows:
- Thursday, October 16 – LIRR workers and contractors will set up a work zone that will require an area of 10-12 parking spaces.
- Friday, October 17 – Preliminary staging work continues
- Saturday, October 18: The Haven Avenue parking lot will be closed to accommodate the heavy construction equipment needed to erect the bridge extension.
- Sunday, October 19: Closure of Haven Avenue parking lot continues until the work is completed.
- Monday, October 20: The Haven Avenue parking lot will be reopening to commuters and the new bridge extension will be ready for their use.
The footprint of the new stairway will take up the space now used for six parking spots, an area approximately 16 feet wide by 46 feet long including the stairway and landing area at ground level. New lighting will also be installed in the area.
Crafting a Long Term Solution
For the long-term remedy, the LIRR is continuing to talk to Town of North Hempstead and community leaders about a plan that would extend two tracks at the station and replace the two pedestrian bridges as part of a larger project to improve LIRR service for Port Washington while updating the station and getting it ready for the opening of East Side Access.
Once East Side Access is complete, the LIRR plans to give Port Washington commuters a choice of services, with direct trains to Grand Central Terminal joining continuing direct service to Penn Station. But, in order to do so efficiently, the LIRR needs to be able to store more trains at Port Washington station so they are in the proper location for the beginning of the morning rush hour.