Written by Michal Pinto Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
The Village of Great Neck Plaza announced that construction is nearing completion on the Middle Neck Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Enhancement Project (TEP), a downtown economic revitalization project to enhance and improve the business district along North Station Plaza. The project limits are from Middle Neck Road at North Station Plaza to Park Place, encompassing the Great Neck train station circulation drop off/pick up area north of the ticket building. The goals of the project are to improve pedestrian safety, bicycle parking facilities, and the appearance of streets and sidewalks at the train station, which is a major gateway to Great Neck Plaza and the entire Great Neck peninsula.
The village has had a long-term lease with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which allows local control of the circulation area and parking spaces within the Great Neck train station. The two-hour metered parking at the station is important for patrons of the retail stores on North Station Plaza and Bond Street as shopper parking during the day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., it is used by restaurant patrons and other night-time activities in the downtown area. Under the terms of the lease, the Village is obligated to maintain this area. Prior to the reconstruction it had inadequate and unsightly concrete and asphalt sidewalks running behind the Chamber kiosk and along the parking spaces. There were no benches for seating and a less than desirable site circulation arrangement to direct pedestrians and vehicles accessing the train station. Additionally, the bicycle racks were haphazard, spread out in several poorly located and unprotected areas of the station.
The improvements accomplished under this NYSDOT-administered TEP reimbursement grant, that started reconstruction in the spring, have replaced the plain, cement sidewalks with new brick sidewalks throughout encompassing the village’s brick standard. It also removed high, obstructing planter boxes along North Station Plaza, which impeded bus passengers and pedestrians, and replaced them with attractive new at-grade tree pits and benches with a wider sidewalk and new brick pavers to assist in improved pedestrian safety and access. The crosswalks incorporated ADA compliant ramps and there are now more visible pavement crossings and directional arrows to provide for improved pedestrian and vehicle access throughout.
The wide entrance lane opposite Bond Street was narrowed and aligned better with striping for traffic calming, and the access arrangement for vehicles improved within the train station, as it has been more clearly delineated with new pavement, striping and highly visible pedestrian walkways. Through the installation of new brick walkways, it has created a connection to the existing commuter parking lot situated to the east, which is under the jurisdiction of the Great Neck Park District.
The station parking area was reconfigured and new asphalt pavement was provided throughout. A new concrete pavement area was installed with new bicycle racks and an overhead canopy to improve bicycle parking facilities. Fully compliant ADA widths were provided for the handicapped parking spaces and there was no loss of public parking in the number of parking spaces that existed prior to implementing the new plan.
The sidewalks around the train station building were widened to better accommodate pedestrians, handicapped accessibility and create more room for pedestrians to stand, circulate and access the train station facilities. Additionally, improved bicyclist facilities have been provided to service this mode of travel.
Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender stated regarding this significant revitalization effort: “We are pleased that we met our goal of providing improvements to calm traffic and enhance pedestrian and bicyclist activities in this busy hub area of our village. We have upgraded the area with new and more aesthetic sidewalks, increased directional signage and ramps, provided more visible crossings, as well as installed additional site amenities, such as benches, trees, plantings, site lighting, bicycle racks and a beautiful public art mural.”
The funding source is federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) funds administered through the New York State Department of Transportation of $522,800, and local village match of $130,700, which has spanned a four-year period over the various stages of the project, from initial scoping and preliminary design through to construction. The RBA Group is the design engineering firm who worked closely with the Village through all stages of the project; H&A Landscape of Long Island is the contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of November 2011.