Written by Carol Frank Friday, 02 September 2011 00:00
It is way too soon to critique the new design for discharging and picking up passengers who flow through the transportation hub at the Great Neck’s North Station Plaza, but after receiving a few phone calls from concerned commuters, we made a visit Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. and watched the traffic.
Construction is still under way, but the two lanes are now open. When paving is completed and the lanes are as wide as possible with warning cones removed and when signage makes things clearer for drivers and pedestrians alike, it is predicted that the movement of traffic will be better and safer.
The new configuration has two lanes instead of three. The one on the right side is for discharging and/or waiting for passengers coming in either by train or bus. The one on the left is for exiting the station. According to Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender the former third lane was underutilized. In addition, it was sometimes hard for drivers in the far right lane to get into the exit lane.
Mayor Celender said that the analysis of the station’s parking lot, as it has existed for many years, showed many other problems as well. Pedestrian walkways were inadequate and not clearly marked; there were no benches or bus shelters; there were no protected areas for parking bicycles and the pavement was in poor condition. Another problem was that passengers being discharged from buses had a very narrow strip of room for standing. Certainly, it appears that there will be plenty of space for bus riders to safely wait.
The plan also calls for an aesthetic improvement as well as a safer area. Public art from money raised privately will be on the wall nearest to the Long Island Rail Road bridge.
The cost of the reconfiguration project was slated to cost $725,000. The lion’s share of the project was federally funded at a cost of $511,000. The local share from the Village of Great Neck Plaza was $214,000. There was no funding provided for this project by the MTA. Mayor Celender says that the project is within the budget so far and that things have been moving smoothly.
She added, “We’re anticipating that the project will be substantially complete by H&A Landscape, our contractor, by Sept. 30 in accordance with the awarded bid, weather permitting.”
As we write this article on Friday, “weather permitting” has a more ominous ring.