Local elected officials are teaming up to urge the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to allocate funds toward improving the Lynbrook and Rockville Centre train stations, which they say have been neglected.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky appeared at a Senate transportation hearing on Feb. 15 in Albany and questioned MTA Director Veronique Hakim about the LIRR’s poor performance. He said that Lynbrook and Rockville Centre are long overdue for an upgrade.
“People call my office irate,” Kaminsky told the Herald. “They pay a lot to take the Long Island Rail Road and the stations are crumbling.” He added that his office is right near the Rockville Centre station and he sees the issues there first-hand.
Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA, said that roughly $2.25 million was recently invested in Rockville Centre to fix the escalators at the station, and he has had contact with the senator. “We’ve spoken to Senator Kaminsky about his concerns,” he said. “And we look forward to continuing a productive dialog with him.”
At the hearing, Kaminsky showed images depicting the dismal state of the stations and read a letter from a concerned citizen from Malverne about the poor service.
Kaminsky said that there are enormous craters on the platforms at the Lynbrook station, which fill up with ice during the winter and are dangerous to walk on. He noted that the floors, walls and staircases at the station are in need of an overhaul.
The senator also cautioned that the MTA needs to be proactive about it before an incident happens. “The way government is supposed to work, we’re supposed to spend money on a problem before something happens, not after,” he said.
Kaminsky said he would continue to work closely with Lynbrook Mayor Bill Hendrick and Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray and Assemblyman Brian Curran to get the necessary funding for the MTA to fix these issues. Hendrick added that he has been speaking with Curran about improving the railroad station for more than a year, and hopes to get some of the repair project initiated.
Hendrick said he met with Kaminsky last month to discuss the problem, and that he is working in conjunction with him on a solution. “I’d like to have a new train station eventually,” he said, “but at least clean it up. We’re gonna work hard.”
He added that there are many issues, including leaky roofs on the platform overhangs and problems with homeless people sleeping and urinating in the waiting rooms.
Kaminsky called it “disheartening” that the two train stations weren’t considered for improvements in this year’s MTA budget. “We need to make a case that money needs to be spent on the Lynbrook and Rockville Centre stations,” he said. “I will be relentless about this until they treat it as a priority.”