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Meeting Minutes May 16, 2013



A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 pm on May 16, 2013 in the 5th floor Board room, MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City.


The following members were present:

James F. Blair

Randy Glucksman

The following members were on phone:

Rich Cataggio

Frances T. Corcoran


The following members were absent:

Rhonda Herman

Neal Zuckerman

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson              -PCAC Executive Director

Karyl Cafiero                         -PCAC Research Associate

Rodney Chabot                    -CT Rail Commuter Council

Barry Adler                            -Concerned citizen

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for the May 16, 2013 meeting was accepted and the minutes of the April 18, 2013 meeting were approved.

Report on the Grand Influences Events

Karyl Cafiero said that for the Pelham Street Fair there will be two spaces available for the MNRCC near the station.  The station will not be open on June 23, but the tour that the Council is sponsoring will address the role of the station in the development of the community.  The Street Fair’s hours are from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Ms. Cafiero will also be representing the MNRCC in the Getaways event that will be held in Grand Central Terminal next week and will be distributing brochures on the Council and the three Grand Influences events there.

Jim Blair asked if there were any remaining chocolate engines that were given out at the Parade of Trains and said that this might be a good item to hand out at the Pelham Street Fair.  Ms. Berger commented she has concerns about the heat that might make it difficult to distribute these items.

Randy Glucksman asked who would distribute the brochures.  Ms. Cafiero said that she will hand them out at the Getaways event, they will be available at the Grand Influences events, and that they are also available through Metro-North.

Mr. Blair asked who will be conducting the tours.  Ms. Cafiero said that a local guide, Mario Caruso, would lead the Pelham and Yonkers tours, while for Brewster the Putnam County Historian Dennis Castelli would serve as the guide.

Chair’s Report

Mr. Glucksman gave the Chair’s Report.  A copy of the Chair’s Report is attached to these minutes.

Mr. Glucksman said that he had attended the Parade of Trains in Grand Central Terminal.  While the event was popular and very crowded, it was well organized and Metro-North should be commended for making it run smoothly.

Mr. Blair wanted to know if it would be fair to ask MTA Director of External Communications Adam Lisberg about other external communication issues at the upcoming PCAC meeting.  Bill Henderson replied that he would consider it fair, although not all communication with riders falls under Mr. Lisberg’s responsibilities.  He said that the MTA does a good job of getting the word out when there is a service issue, but that obtaining some of the information that is available from the MTA and its operating agencies can be daunting.

Board Report

Mr. Blair noted that there was no Board meeting since the last MNRCC meeting, and so there will be little to be report.  He said that he has discovered that Metro-North has proposed building a station at Woodbury Common in the past and that these attempts have been rejected.  These decisions influenced Metro-North’s commitment to develop the Harriman station, which provides an alternative to a station at Woodbury Common.  At this point, Metro-North does not have available funds to build a station at Woodbury Common that is up to their current standards.

Richard Cataggio remarked that this is accurate.  He wanted to make sure that Randy Fleischer has contacted the correct person at Simon Properties with regard to a potential station at Woodbury Common and said that he will call his contact at Simon Properties and make sure they have been in touch with Mr. Fleischer.

Mr. Blair also stated that there recently was a 25th anniversary celebration of Kawasaki’s operation at Yonkers.  This event was encouraging as there were many people in attendance and Kawasaki has been a very good car builder for MTA.  At the event there was talk of Kawasaki moving more car manufacturing into New York State.

Mr. Blair also noted that he had a conversation with Tim McCarthy at Metro-North about the North White Plains parking project.  The contract has not been finalized, but is expected to be completed soon.  He said that he had mentioned the need for better signage directing people into the Harmon station and that the present signage off of Route 9 is poor.  Mr. Blair also noted that he also raised complaints about the maintenance of the men’s restroom at Grand Central Terminal and the question of why there is no men’s restroom on the Terminal’s main level.  He said that Mr. McCarthy has committed to get back to him on these issues.

Mr. Blair noted that the March service expansion had gone well and that there are now over 200 M8 cars in service.  Rodney Chabot said that he had seen a M8 numbered 9325, so by his estimate there are over 225 M8 cars now in Metro-North’s possession.  He said that riders like these cars and the quality of the ride that they provide.

Mr. Blair said that Metro-North President Howard Permut had issued a memo in the aftermath of a serious right-of-way fire that outlined a new way of cleaning the right-of-way.  Under the new procedures, cleaning would take place with increased frequency and would not be put off until winter.

The current Mileposts featured a list of historic items, one of which stated that in 1994 Metro-North dropped “commuter” from its popular name.  Mr. Blair suggested that in view of the changing ridership on the Railroad, the Council might want to consider a similar name change to more accurately reflect its representation of all riders.

The Council held its elections for officers to serve terms ending in May 2015.  Randy Glucksman was unanimously elected Chair and Neal Zuckerman was unanimously elected Vice Chair.

Old Business

Mr. Glucksman said that he wishes to disclose for the record the nature of his employment with a consultant that does some work on Metro-North and MTA projects.  He stated that the nature of his work does not involve making policy and that, on those occasions where he works on MTA projects; he does so as a technician and not as a policy maker.

Mr. Glucksman commented on the Waterbury Station.  He pointed out that the station has lots of rails lying around the station area.  Mr. Chabot responded that some of the tracks near the station belong to the Pan Am Railways, which was formerly known as Guilford Rail.

Mr. Blair said that the unofficial count of visitors for the Parade of Trains is 35,000 on Saturday and 25,000 on Sunday


The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

William Henderson

Executive Director