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Apartment Complex Could Prompt LIRR to Restore Weekend Service

LIRR President Helena Williams says she's monitoring ridership on West Hempstead branch in regards to development at old Courtesy Hotel Site.

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.

LaVerne Thomas-Roberts August 03, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I would love to see the weekend service restored. Quality of life would be greatly improved by restoring this service as it would allow more freedom to travel to see family and friends and to have activities to attend instead of feeling trapped at home because of limited transportation. I live very close to the line, walking distance and other lines can be difficult to get to. Sometimes it is just easier to stay home and suffer than to go through other means of getting places. PLEASE, reconsider and restore the weekend service.
Jonathan Ezor August 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Tara, Thanks so much for staying on this story as you'd promised! Keep it up--we desperately need weekend service restored, for existing as well as new residents. {Jonathan}
PB684 August 07, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I would be very happy if weekend service was restored on the WH line! My daughter commutes to the city for school and very often has to travel back in on a weekend. Currently I have to drive her to Valley Stream if she needs to travel on those days and it can be very disruptive to my schedule. It would also be great if the number of trains was increased so that they came a bit more often but I guess that is too much to hope for!

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