By Larry Penner
In June 2016, the Long Island Rail Road closed the Little Neck Station east end pedestrian overpass bridge for safety reasons. The structure was removed Sept. 16.. A new replacement pedestrian bridge was installed Dec. 3. How disappointing that no canopy was included for both the new pedestrian bridge and staircases. Why did commuters have to deal with this inconvenience for six months? It created a safety hazard at the nearby Little Neck Parkway grade crossing with riders having to cross before grade crossing gates came down to avoid missing trains.
The LIRR has a very sophisticated yearly annual schedule for management of capital improvement projects along with assignment of LIRR employees, track outages and procurements to insure maximum efficiency of resources. Why didn’t the LIRR coordinate demolition of the pedestrian bridge with procurement of a new bridge … to coincide the same or following weekend with the installation of a new replacement bridge? The LIRR should follow New York City Transit “Fast Track” program. LIRR commuters deserve nothing less.
Why didn’t the LIRR coordinate purchase of a simple prefabricated overhead canopy along with procurement of a new prefabricated pedestrian overpass bridge? Both could have been installed during the same weekend. For a few dollars more, this would have provided riders with protection from rain, snow, sleet and ice. It would also extend the useful life for both pedestrian overpass bridge and staircases.
The original pedestrian overpass bridge and stairs were installed in 1989. Since that time, riders due to inclement weather, have had to periodically deal with slippery and unsafe conditions when using this passageway to access the eastern end of the westbound platform. When the safety crossing gates go down at Little Neck Parkway, this is the only way to reach Penn Station-bound trains.
Metro North always includes a canopy with installation of any pedestrian overpass bridge or staircases. Don’t LIRR commuters deserve the same consideration as their Metro North counterparts?