The steel-laden Jamaica Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station is about to become more colorful, and hopefully more convenient, for the millions of passengers who pass through there each year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that the LIRR approved a $64.9 million renovation contract that will include the creation of a new platform and additional passenger service tracks at the heart of the LIRR system.
The new platform will be closer to the Jamaica AirTrain station, located immediately adjacent to the LIRR stop, and would service tracks normally used for freight. Bringing passenger service to these tracks would allow the LIRR to easily reroute trains and support additional service on the Atlantic Terminal line to and from Downtown Brooklyn. Ridership on this line has grown since the opening of the Barclays Center, which is now home to the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Islanders.
“More tracks and platforms mean fewer delays,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “It will help speed up what LIRR customers have come to call ‘the Jamaica Crawl,’ introduce new services such as Wi-Fi and USB charging stations and build on our ongoing commitment to renew, enhance and expand every aspect of the MTA.”
The new platform will also have glass-enclosed, heated waiting areas and colorful stained glass installations on the station’s westerly bridge and staircase created by artist James Little. Customers waiting at the new platform will also be able to utilize charging stations for their phones and have access to free Wi-Fi.
The MTA is currently in the process of streamlining track configurations at Jamaica, a project that began in 2010, to also reduce delays and make it easier for trains to switch between lines. This project, and the renovations to Jamaica station, are expected to be completed in 2019.
“The Jamaica station project, in particular, will help make traveling easier and more convenient for both Queens residents and for the many visitors who transfer to the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica after they take the AirTrain from JFK Airport,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “Important transportation projects like these will help guarantee that Queens will enjoy prosperity and an increased quality of life for many decades to come.”
Cuomo also announced a $121 million project to renovate the Hicksville LIRR station in Nassau County, which is the busiest station east of Jamaica.
“Revamping these two heavily trafficked transportation hubs will provide better, faster and more reliable train service for LIRR riders,” Cuomo said. “Time and time again, transportation investment has a ripple effect of progress and economic growth on the surrounding community.”