By Jessica Lau
MTA and state officials recently announced a $65 million renovation project for the Jamaica station of the Long Island Rail Road that will include new platforms, tracks and cosmetic improvements to the 103-year-old station.
The new platforms will be closer to the Airtrain at Jamaica Station. A new track will allow the LIRR to reroute trains and add service to and from the Atlantic Terminal in downtown Brooklyn. A second track will run between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, while a third track is planned on the main line from Floral Park to Hicksville.
The renovations are part of a sweeping $27 billion, five-year capital investment by the MTA. Other planned improvements involve glass-enclosed heated waiting rooms with enhanced Wifi service and USB charging stations.
Officials said part of the renovation will involve connecting with Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. When completed, shuttle trains will depart every seven and a half minutes during rush hour and every fifteen minutes during regular hours between Jamaica and Grand Central stations.
“I think that’s amazing,” said Alexis Williams, a York Freshman. “The LIRR doesn’t come as often as a regular train would so if you miss your train you will be waiting for a while before another one comes. Keeping that in mind, charging your phone while you wait and using the WiFi while you wait is extremely convenient.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo joined local officials to announce the proposed renovations in late September. “Revamping these two heavily trafficked transportation hubs will provide better, faster and more reliable train service for Long Island Rail Road riders.” Cuomo said.
New York-based artist James Little will be designing brightly-colored art glass installations to liven up the drab environment for riders while they wait. Digital display boards showing the maps, arrival times, transport updates, local events and digital advertising are also planned.
“I think the changes will be beneficial to me and others taking the LIRR, usually my ride is an hour and wifi is always a plus when I get work done on my laptop,” said Dupah Gobin, the vice president of York’s Student Government Association.
The new Jamaica station and tracks are stated to open in 2019 giving customers new improvements to be excited about.
“I think it’s great to have these new improvements especially the heating rooms and USB ports.” saids Jeff Hicks, Social Work major at York who usually takes the LIRR to Brooklyn and Penn Station.