The opening of the West130 apartment complex in West Hempstead could bring good news for all train commuters in West Hempstead and Malverne.
Since 2010, there has been no weekend service on the West Hempstead branch of the Long Island Railroad, which includes stops in West Hempstead, Lakeview, Malverne, Westwood, Valley Stream and Hempstead Gardens.
But speaking exclusively to Patch last Friday, Long Island Railroad President Helena Williams said the , which is slated to open this fall at the site of the old Courtesy Hotel, could prompt the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to rethink the service cuts.
"We are very conscious of the fact that West Hempstead weekend service was cut in 2010," Williams said. "I've been monitoring the development activity that's going on along the branch, because it's clear that as that development activity takes place and new residential housing is going in that there may be a greater demand for weekend service."
Williams explained that the service had been cut due to "low ridership," but said "if we have the opportunity to grow the ridership, then we'll revisit the issue of weekend service."
Mill Creek Residential, the developer of the 2.7 acre, 150-unit apartment complex, has been marketing West130 as a "transit-oriented community" as it is located steps from the West Hempstead Long Island Rail Road station. The station still has weekday service -- currently a total of 29 trains (16 eastbound, 13 westbound to Penn Station -- but Mill Creek has reached out to the MTA asking them to consider restoring the weekend trains. Maria Rigopoulos, of Mill Creek Residential, stated back in March 2011 that they had explained to the MTA how they were investing in the area and bringing in new residents that will most likely be train and bus commuters, but MTA's fiscal problems were far too big at the time to consider reversing any of the service reductions.
Perhaps that has changed though as an enthusiastic Williams stated Friday about the apartment complex, "It's an exciting opportunity for a real walkable community and one of the things that will be really attractive is train service ... so we're ready for those discussions!"
Have you missed the weekend service on the West Hempstead branch? How happy would you be if it was restored? Tell us in the comments section.