City comptroller declares some LIRR stops unsafe

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Two Long Island Rail Road stations in Queens have been cited by city Comptroller William Thompson Jr. for unsafe conditions that pose hazards to passengers.

Thompson said he was “appalled” by the findings of the audits conducted by his office.

The Broadway and Murray Hill stations on the LIRR’s Port Washington line were listed along with six other New York Metropolitan area rail stations, including those of Metro-North.

The decrepit Broadway station has recently been at issue in a Queens courtroom.

On March 12, a Queens jury ruled against the LIRR and in favor of the family of Kevin Michael Keogh, who was struck by a train at the Broadway station on Jan. 26, 1991.

The jury decided to award the Keogh family $1 million at a trial presided over by State Supreme Court Judge James P. Dollard.

Allison Gayne, a spokesman for Frank Livotti, the lawyer who represented the Keoghs, said he argued that the LIRR’s poor maintenance of the station made the railroad liable for Keogh’s death.

In the latest audit, Thompson said the Broadway station’s problems included a platform shelter with protruding rusty nails, puddles of water, uneven platform sidewalks with pavement gaps, Plexiglas and a metal frame missing from a platform shelter, broken concrete on the platform and broken glass at a staircase.

The Murray Hill station was cited for cracked and crumbling cement, chipped steps, a loose metal plate on the platform, graffiti, a leaking staircase ceiling, fallen tree berries that posed a slipping hazard and a large piece of concrete broken from a support beam.

“Given that the city paid the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over $65 million last year for station maintenance, I am appalled by the conditions cited in these audit reports,” Thompson said. “In order to provide passengers with safe and effective service, the MTA must ensure that the railroads immediately correct all of the problems identified by my auditors.”

Thompson said Metro-North and the LIRR had in response to the audit report described the corrective actions they have taken or plan to take to remedy the noted conditions.

“I question whether the railroads' corrective action plan will be sufficient given the MTA’s history of not correcting conditions cited in previous audits,” Thompson said.

The comptroller’s audits found the LIRR did not correct problems, including damaged cement and chipped and broken stairs that were found by the railroad’s own inspectors as far back as October 1998.

The LIRR said large-scale repairs are under way at the Broadway station.

Alexander Dworkowitz contributed to this story.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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