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Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
217th Street along the north side of the rail tracks, where the LIRR has set up a work site.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has initiated a “major cleanup” of the controversial Bayside work site, community leaders reported on Monday.

Christine Haider, chairperson of Community Board 11, said the board has received an update from the LIRR regarding the active work site, located between 216th and 220th streets along the north side of the LIRR Port Washington Branch.

Residents who attended the community board’s last meeting spoke out about the quality of life concerns the work site imposed on the community, including diesel fumes emitted from idling trucks, and alleged that the workers at the site were not being good neighbors.

“We told the [LIRR], it’s just unacceptable what they’re doing,” Haider said. “The diesel engines, all of it.”

LIRR representative Hector Garcia updated the community board on the situation through a letter that Haider read aloud during the March 6 meeting.

“The LIRR will begin a major cleanup of the yard and will be ongoing for the next six or seven days,” according to the March 1 letter.

A crew will be on-site to remove dead trees, branches and debris, the LIRR spokesperson also said.

“There will be some reconfiguration of equipment and materials stored on the site to improve aesthetics,” Garcia wrote. Workers will also paint over graffiti vandalism at the location.

The cleanup work will be done using trucks and equipment during the day, Garcia stated. Work will continue on the weekends and the work site will remain until further notice.

With no mention of the idling diesel engines in the letter, a board member asked Haider if the advisory body had raised the health concerns of the diesel engines to the LIRR.

“Their response to that was not what we would liked to have heard,” Haider said.

“I will follow up with them on the diesel engines,” Haider continued. “It’s wrong. But we just have to get on top of them, get on top of them, and see what we can do. [The fumes] are no good for you.”

Henry Euler said the board’s Environmental Committee will discuss the diesel fumes at its March 22 meeting.

“Diesel fumes are really very bad for you, and really very bad for your health,” Euler said.

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