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Village Meets with MTA/LIRR to Address Flooding Issue

Possible Solutions for Drainage Discussed

MTA/LIRR and Mineola representatives recently met to discuss a possible solution to the flooding that takes place during heavy rainfall near the Mineola Train Station and its intermodal center. Mineola Mayor Jack Martins was at the meeting, but details of the meeting are unknown at this time.

Martins has discussed the flooding issue at recent board meetings as follows.

Martins said flooding has been a topic of discussion for years and both parties are looking for a potential solution. There has not been much flooding in Station Plaza North, but there has been along the southwest side of Winthrop University Hospital.

“I know that the railroad has already retained engineers to study the drainage issues in the area and I will look forward to the Railroad providing the resources necessary to address the issues in that area,” Martins said.

The notion of using taxpayer money to fix the flooding issue is not something the Village Board wants to utilize. Martins feels the Railroad has a responsibility to remedy the situation.

“That’s how I feel and that’s how it should be,” Martins said. “I’ve told them a few times that I loathe the idea of using taxpayers money to foot the bill of the drainage issue. It’s an area that’s exclusively used by the MTA and LIRR for access to the usage of their facilities like the train platform. They have a responsibility to absorb these expenses. It’s incumbent on them to realize the commitment the village has made towards the railroad and reciprocate with addressing those issues accordingly.”

The Department of Public Works recently completed the finishing touches on Station Plaza North. Martins said the flooding issue was the next phase of the project that needs immediate attention.

The entire station, as is the plaza and the railroad facilitates the entry for train riders into and out of Mineola. Obviously, not all people who use the station are Mineola residents. So it’s logical that the taxpayers of the village should not foot the bill, right?

“Absolutely they should foot the bill,” MTA rider Mary Scheleberger said outside the train station. “I work around here and take the train. It’s a monsoon sometimes when it rains and it’s unsafe.”

Mayor Martins said the village has an ongoing relationship and dialogue with the LIRR since the station sits in Mineola. Both parties are aware of the fiscal crisis the MTA is currently engaged in with its huge budget deficit. Whether or not a compromise comes of this is uncertain.

“[Their monetary woes] do not negate the decision that they have to make,” Martins said. “They are aware of the nature of the flooding that takes place in that area. I understand the railroad has taken steps to have the area evaluated for purposes of coming up with a solution to the flooding issues that are there. We are both working on it and I appreciate their feedback and concern.”

One of the bigger problems, according to train-users, is the elevator that gives users access to the intermodal center. It has been said that over two feet of water can build up in that area at times of heavy rain.

“It’s a disaster,” Michael Rowan of Roslyn said. “Sometimes me and my friends carpool to work in Queens. Other times we drive to the station and go park in the intermodal center and take the train. But if it rains, good luck getting out of that elevator without getting drenched.”