After investing $105 million for construction of the new Long Island Rail Road Elmont UBS Arena Station, some key elements are still missing. There is only one portable Porto Potty to accommodate hundreds of UBS fans adjacent to the one outdoor shelter for those waiting for the shuttle bus to the arena.
If you have the urge to go, it has to be shared by both men and women. It is also inaccessible to those wheelchair-bound. If there is a line to access this one and only option to relieve yourself, how many riders are not going to wait, but urinate or defecate on the platform, mezzanine, or elevator? Why is there no permanent bathroom with both urinals and stalls with separate facilities to accommodate men, women and those physically disabled as part of the LIRR Elmont UBS Arena Station?
Most LIRR stations provide such basic accommodations. You better have a strong bladder upon exiting the train to hold out up to 20 minutes by the time you are able to enter the UBS Arena and find a bathroom to relieve yourself. LIRR stations usually have waiting rooms with seating. They are heated during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. Why does the Elmont UBS Arena Station just have a bare bones mezzanine whose only purpose to afford fans the opportunity to access both the southeast-bound and northwest-bound platforms when traveling to and from the UBS Arena?
Bathrooms, seating areas, air conditioning and overhead space heaters could have been easily accommodated on the mezzanine level. There is only one elevator serving each platform providing access to the UBS Arena via the mezzanine. What happens if one or both are out of service due to mechanical issues? Many wheelchair-bound people will have a difficult time attempting to navigate the accompanying handicapped ramp.
Why wasn’t a second elevator installed on both the eastbound and westbound platforms? This could have provided increased capacity to accommodate disabled patrons. Was all of the above a cost-saving measure in reduction of project scope on the part of the MTA and LIRR to keep the price tag from growing beyond $105 million? Perhaps the MTA and LIRR were afraid of an invasion by nearby homeless people moving into the facility..
The westbound platform has a total of five benches to accommodate 20 riders. The eastbound platform has a total of three benches to accommodate 12 riders. There are no provisions any place at the station to accommodate advertising, which could generate badly needed revenue. You can count on one hand the number of parking spots allocated for Elmont and other nearby communities that are being used by commuters on any given weekday. .
There are only five bike racks on the north side and none on the south side to accommodate those who wish to cycle to the facility. When it comes to disposal of newspapers, beverage containers, garbage or other waste, there doesn’t appear to be any options for recycling. There are only a limited number of garbage cans on the platform levels. Are riders suppose to carry all of this refuse on to the train or into the UBS Arena? This contradicts the MTA commitment to support a cleaner environment.
There is plenty of surplus property on the north side of the station that could have been used for drivers to drop off potential commuters.
There is an absence of trail blazer signs in the surrounding communities to direct people to finding the station. The source of funding for the new Elmont UBS LIRR Station comes from the Empire State Development Corporation transferring $105 million from their budget to the MTA. This financed the new Elmont UBS LIRR Station. The developers put in $30 million up front and the state $75 million.
The developers are in the process of making yearly payments, without interest, to reimburse the state over the next 30 years. The developer ended up with an interest-free loan. Could Elmont or other nearby community small business person get the same sweetheart deal? They would have to go to a bank and pay interest charges.
Commuters, taxpayers, transit advocates, MTA funding agencies, elected officials, local neighbors and UBS Arena patrons deserved better. Clearly, investing $105 million for the new Elmont UBS Arena station did not come anywhere close to delivering all the previous promises made by the MTA, LIRR, elected officials who promoted this project and other project advocates.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former Director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.