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Meeting Minutes Jan. 21, 2016


A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 PM on January 21, 2016 in the 10th floor conference room at the Metro-North Offices – Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue, New York City.

The following members were present:

Randolph Glucksman
Wilhelm Ronda
Neal Zuckerman

The following members were on the phone:

Francena Amparo
Francis Corcoran

The following members were absent:

Richard Cataggio
Rhonda Herman

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Bradley Brashears -PCAC Transportation Planner
Orrin Getz -NJ-ARP
Richard Schulman -Concerned citizen

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for the January 21, 2016 meeting was approved. The minutes of the November 12, 2015 meeting were approved.

Chair’s Report

Randolph Glucksman gave the Chair’s report. The written Chair’s report is attached to these minutes.

Francis Corcoran stated he spoke to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s Chief of Staff, Georg Oros, about filling the Westchester County seats on the MNRCC. Mr. Corcoran said that he has one resume of an interested potential member and that he may have another soon.

Old Business

William Henderson said that he has spoken to Metro-North and they are receptive to refreshing the Council’s posters that were placed in the information center in each Metro-North station. The old poster is dated and needs a redesign, and Angela Bellisio of the PCAC staff is working on a new poster.
This is a good opportunity for an update, as the train pictured on the old poster is now used only as spare equipment on the New Haven Line.

New Business

Mr. Henderson asked what issues the members think that the Council should address in the coming year. Mr. Glucksman said that he would like to return to the practice of having speakers from Metro-North appear at the meetings. Mr. Henderson said that we need to make sure that a sufficient number of members attend meetings if we ask Metro-North staff to brief the Council, but that the addition of new members would help with this concern.

Mr. Glucksman said that the Council should hold a Meet the Council event to let riders know about the Council and to hear their concerns. It was agreed that the event will be held at Grand Central Terminal in May on regular scheduled meeting day. Orrin Getz suggested that the MNRCC also hold a Meet the Council event at Secaucus to speak with West of Hudson riders. He said he has a good set of contacts with New Jersey Transit and would be glad to help with arranging the sessions.

Neal Zuckerman asked if it would be good to make Metro-North personnel available to the riders at the events, as the Council members will be. He said that the events may function better when they have only the Council members present, and the consensus of the group was that having Metro-North staff there could result in confusion about the role and identity of the MNRCC.

Mr. Zuckerman also said that the Council should have a multi-year plan to hold events throughout Metro-North territory so that riders from across the region would have an opportunity to share their concerns with the Council members. Mr. Henderson asked whether the members had a preference between holding freestanding events and reaching out to riders in coordination with other events, such as had been done with the Grand Central Centennial. Mr. Zuckerman said that there are pros and cons holding a freestanding event, and that one place where the Council might gather input is the upcoming fare hearings.
Mr. Henderson added that staff is working on a joint effort with Metro-North to increase awareness about grade crossing safety, but need to get Metro-North to respond to our requests to hold a meeting to discuss a plan. Mr. Henderson said that PCAC staff had been working with the acting Chief Safety Officer at Metro-North, and that a new permanent Chief Safety Officer had recently joined the Railroad.

Mr. Glucksman said that he had attended a NYMTC meeting where Marc Albrecht of the MTA had put forward an amendment to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which caused some consternation among the representatives at the meeting. Mr. Getz said that Ed Day is the only voting member of NYMTC from the West of Hudson region and that he will be using his position to push for greater attention to the needs of this region.

Mr. Glucksman said that he will not be at the Council’s February meeting and that a fall date may be good to hold a Council event in Secaucus.

Mr. Getz said that he would like to give Mr. Zuckerman some comments about system safety, noting that he has seen what NJ Transit has done and is appalled by what has been done at Valhalla by the New York State Department of Transportation. He said that the state has not lived up to its responsibilities with regard to traffic signalization near grade crossings, and that he expects that there will be some discussion of issues with unintended acceleration and shift patterns on the SUV model involved in the Valhalla accident.

Mr. Zuckerman asked the members if there are issues that they would like raised in the upcoming MTA Board and committee meetings. He said that he will be raising the issue of the large number of incidents involving trespassers on the rails. Mr. Getz said that he would like Mr. Zuckerman to highlight the issue of the small part of the Capital Program that is devoted to Rockland County. He said that he had spoken to Veronique Hakim when she was the NJ Transit Executive Director about improvements to the Suffern station and she said that NJ Transit would be willing to discuss a joint effort with New York.

Mr. Zuckerman said that the Chairman had appointed a MTA Board committee to accelerate elements of the Capital Program and that this committee includes Board members Metzger, Pally, and Schwartz.

Mr. Glucksman noted that NJ Transit is putting charging stations into its facilities and that this could be a good idea for Metro-North.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

William Henderson
Executive Director