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MTA Joint LIRR/MNR Committee Meeting: TOD, Suburban Bus Connections, Crime, & Orrin Getz

Good afternoon, I’m Bradley Brashears, Planning Manager at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). We are delighted to see that Bob Paley and his team are working hard to expand transit-oriented development in the suburbs. Today, this committee is receiving information regarding an agreement between the MTA and Mill Creek Residential Trust for the next phase of a new Westbury TOD project, which will ultimately transform a parking lot into a mixed-use development. This will not only bring the MTA much-needed revenue but help revitalize Westbury and provide much-needed housing in walking distance to the train station. That will help get drivers out of cars. It’s a win-win-win.  

We also want to make a plug for improved connections and fare agreements at region-wide commuter rail stations with suburban bus operators. Improved coordination between the MTA and suburban agencies is crucial if we truly aim to mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing riders with more long-term flexible and affordable options. Every day is Earth Day!

On the downside, while nothing like the horrific tragedies that have been seen on the subway, total major felonies are expanding on the commuter railroads. The lion’s share goes to grand larceny. So far in 2022, there have been 14 more incidents than this time last year in 2021 for Metro-North, and seven more for LIRR. We look forward to hearing from MTA Police on what is being done to reverse this trend. As the MTA is trying to get people back on board, riders need to know that they will be safe no matter the severity of the crime.

The PCAC and MNRCC would also like to thank the MTA, and Cathy Rinaldi in particular, for celebrating our dear friend Orrin Getz at the Nanuet Station last Thursday. The event was well attended by senior leadership, Board members, elected officials, family, friends, and members of the media. Orrin fought tirelessly to improve conditions for Metro-North commuters, especially those in the farther reaches of our region, like those West-of Hudson. Now, when riders wait for an express train, made possible by Orrin, they will be able to thank him as the gaze at the plaque that bears his name in the beautiful new platform shelter. Thank you, Orrin, and thank you MTA.