State Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik (D-Flushing) is pushing a plan in Albany to renovate the Flushing Long Island Rail Road station and have trains stop there more frequently.
The legislator hopes to have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority set aside funding for the station in the agency's next five-year capital project plan, which is currently under discussion.
"The whole site needs a face-lift," Grodenchik said. "The landscaping is horrendous."
The proposal is still in the planning stages and does not yet have a price tag, Grodenchik said. The assemblyman said he was hopeful the MTA would provide the funding, but he did not have a sense of whether the agency was likely to approve it.
If okayed, the project would continue the LIRR's plan to repair many of its dilapidated stations.
Most of the LIRR stops in northeast Queens have undergone renovations recently.
Over the last several years, the Bayside and Broadway stations have had major overhauls. The Auburndale stop is in the final stages of work, and repair work on the Murray Hill station, considered one of the dingiest in all of Queens, is expected to begin soon. The Little Neck and Douglaston stations also have been renovated.
The stations all fall in the district of state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), one of the most powerful Republicans in Albany, who secured millions of dollars for their overhaul.
The final stop in downtown Flushing, however, does not fall within Padavan's district, and Grodenchik has taken the lead in the fight for funding. John Gallagher, a spokesman for Padavan, said the senator would work with Grodenchik to obtain the money.
Grodenchik has requested that trains stop more frequently at the Flushing stop. Rush-hour express trains currently stop at Bayside and Great Neck but not at Flushing even though Flushing is a major transit hub.
It takes about 15 minutes for LIRR trains to get from Flushing to Penn Station, while the trip on the nearby No. 7 subway line takes closer to 40 minutes. But the No. 7 subway, which is cheaper to ride, is often crowded during rush hour.
"[More frequent stops] could take some pressure off the 7 line," Grodenchik said.
A repair plan would also provide handicapped access to the station, Grodenchik said. The platforms can only be reached by separate metal stairways, which are quite steep.
Commuters waiting on the Flushing platform Tuesday morning applauded the proposal to have more trains stop at the station.
"There are two Bayside trains for every one of these," said Tara McCaffrey, who commutes from Whitestone to Manhattan.
Others noted the poor condition of the station.
"Yesterday it was really, really filthy," said Kathy, a Flushing resident. "Something has to be done about it. There is so much garbage it's disgusting."
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
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