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Meng, Stavisky, Kim and Koo Announce Update on Flushing LIRR Improvements

Oct 31, 2014
Press Release
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Queens) today received answers to their letter asking for an update on the status of planned improvements to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station in Flushing.
 
In the response to the four lawmakers, LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said that progress continues to be made on the design and property acquisition for the project. Construction is set to begin late next year. 
 
According to the correspondence, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plans to acquire needed property on Main Street this January, and expects the existing tenant there to move out in July. The land is needed in order to construct elevators and stairs that will make the station handicap accessible.
 
Nowakowski also told the lawmakers that half of the design submission is expected to be completed early next month, and that the full design and final bid documents will be completed in February. He said that part of the project’s design concept includes constructing the new westbound station entrance on Main Street. He added that the construction award is slated for this summer.
 
Congresswoman Meng said, “The rehabilitation of the Flushing LIRR station has been a project for which I’ve advocated ever since I was in the State Assembly, and I’m pleased that plans for the upgrades continue to move forward. While I wish that we would have seen more progress by now, it is critical that the LIRR stay the course and speed-up the process where possible. The Flushing stop is in dire need of renovations to its appearance, access and safety, and it must finally become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These needed improvements are essential to serving the needs of the growing population in Flushing, and I will continue to make sure that the LIRR stays on track with it.”
 
State Senator Stavisky said, “Flushing is long overdue for the promised renovations to the LIRR Main Street station, including the installation of elevators to finally make the station handicap-accessible. With our growing population and the influx of new businesses to the area, these improvements are more important than ever for downtown Flushing. And as the city proceeds in its bidding process for the development of adjacent Municipal Lot 3, the need to improve the LIRR Main Street station now is even greater. I urge MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski to make good on their promise to complete this project as expediently as possible and hope to see a new and improved LIRR Main Street station soon.”
 
Assemblyman Kim said, “I'm very proud to continue the hard work and advocacy of Congressmember Meng in the Assembly. When she served in the state legislature she was a tireless fighter for this community, and for the last two years, I have continued that fight in Albany on behalf of our constituents. As a member of the Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee that oversees the MTA, I will stay on top of the rehabilitation efforts of the LIRR station on Main Street. This is a project that hundreds of my constituents, particularly senior citizens, have asked for years and we hope to see the completion soon.”
 
Councilman Koo said, “Although I wish the project could be completed sooner so that we are able to serve our disabled constituents and provide them equal access to the Flushing LIRR station, I am pleased that there is a clear timeline in place for when it will finally come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our community has had to deal with these terrible conditions for way too long. It is time for this facility to meet the 21st century, so I’m glad this train is finally pulling out the station.”
 
The Flushing LIRR station improvement project is expected to cost approximately $8.5 million. In addition to new elevators, staircases and ADA compliance, planned upgrades include new platform railings, better lighting, improved markings and enhanced safety measures. Construction for the 2015 project was previously delayed due to unavoidable legal proceedings.
 
The letter from Nowakowski was in response to joint correspondence Meng, Stavisky, Kim and Koo sent to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast this month that called for a quicker timeline for the project. Meng also spoke in-person to Prendergast and Nowakowski about progress to the Flushing stop when she met with them last week to discuss the reopening the old LIRR station in Elmhurst.