By Madina Toure
The MTA said it expects to complete the renovation of the dilapidated Flushing LIRR station by the end of 2017.
The $16.5 million project for the Flushing–Main Street station, located on Main Street and 41st Avenue, will include the installation of an elevator for each platform to make the station wheelchair-accessible as well as new staircases, platform railings, better lighting and improved safety measures.
The station is currently accessible only by steep stairs that run up from Main Street on the eastbound side and a rickety metallic staircase on the westbound side that juts off 40th Road.
“We completed the design work in May and now that the design is done, we are looking to award the construction contract by the end of 2015,” Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman, said.
The agency used eminent domain to obtain a property at 40-36 Main St. owned by Ou Jiang Supermarket, where the elevator for New York-bound passengers would be built. The agency is currently awaiting a judicial ruling, which it expects to take place “imminently” and should result in the MTA taking title to the property next to the railroad overpass.
“Once that happens, we’re going to help the owners of the supermarket find a location nearby,” Donovan said.
He said the small food stall that was partially under the LIRR overpass on Main Street was already MTA property. The agency was leasing the site to the business, but when the LIRR needed the space, the lease was terminated.
When the project was first announced in 2012, the MTA said it would cost $8.5 million. That estimate was then changed to $16.5 million, which the agency says is still the expected cost.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) called the 2017 date “progress,” but noted that the project has taken too long compared to other projects such as the Flushing Municipal Lot 3, for which the city has recently awarded a contract for development.
In April, the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced the selection of a development team for the plan, called One Flushing, which includes the creation of 208 affordable housing units.
“We’ve got to make sure that it’s cleaned up,” Stavisky said. “Every time I pass, I see it’s a mess and I think the time is now to start. Everything else in Flushing is improving and under construction and I think it’s time to start on the LIRR.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour