LIRR Construction Raises Concerns Among New Hyde Park Residents
NEW HYDE PARK, NY – Last month, at the Village of New Hyde Park’s bi-weekly village board meeting, residents expressed concerns about how the LIRR 3rd Track Task Force Project, to build an additional track and bridge connect the station to external parking on Covert Ave., is negatively affecting their homes. Residents revealed various concerns, including lack of garbage removal, noise complaints, and miscommunication from the New Hyde Park project manager, Judy White.
At the meeting, Covert Ave. resident Parul Patel presented a double-sided document of complaints to the village board of trustees and Mayor Lawrence Montreuil.
One of the most pressing concerns Patel expressed was lack of communication with White and 3TC, the construction company hired to do the work.
They haven’t told us anything about “planning or pre-planning so we can’t even propose solutions,” said Patel. Other concerns were garbage pickup, mail delivery schedule changes, and damage resulting from construction vibration and noise.
According to Patel, White told her family that their driveway would be blocked for 10 days starting on January 17. However, the project team closed access to their driveway on January 15 and it stayed blocked for 28 days.
Neither White nor the 3TC responded to repeated requests for interview.
Another Covert Ave. resident, Seema Shah, complained that there was no set plan for garbage pickup or package delivery, and that there were “piles of debris” in her driveway. “I have to be so careful,” she said. “It’s a safety hazard.”
Other residents complained that vibrations from the construction were causing the walls and ceilings of their homes to crack. According to Patel, White told the residents that if there was damage to their property, they would have to file a claim through their own insurance and that their insurance company would be reimbursed by 3TC.
Residents also expressed concern that the north end of Covert Ave. is now too dark at night and dangerous for drivers due to the construction.
“We’ve been working with our electrician in the village as well as 3TC,” said New Hyde Park Trustee Rainer Burger, acknowledging the problem. “We told them it’s a dangerous situation and we need to get that corrected.”
Montreuil and the Board of Trustees were sympathetic to the residents’ concerns and explained that 3TC is planning to carry out this initiative as a 6-month long project when it had initially been designated for 12 months. To stay on schedule the crew is sometimes working 24 hours per day.
“I can’t imagine someone trying to sleep through all of that construction, with the trucks and cranes,” said Montreuil.
Aaron Donovan, deputy communications director for the MTA, said that this project is using “innovative construction methods and practices to keep the impact of construction as minimal as possible.” These include, according to Donovan, creating and implementing a community noise vibration and air quality control monitoring program, street cleaning, and door-to-door outreach to residents.”
As a pre-condition to the construction, the MTA put a $20 million community benefit fund in place during the initial planning process of the project to compensate for the construction. The communities along the railroad who are impacted are given funds to implement improvements and $170,000 was recently awarded to the New Hyde Park Fire District to accommodate the temporary fire house on the south side of Covert Avenue.
The New Hyde Park Board of Trustees holds bi-weekly meetings that are open to the public. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 18 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.