The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) completes renovation of Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station, as part of New York City Transit’s (NYCT) Re-NEW-vation campaign. Also, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) advances Kensington transit-oriented development (TOD) with rezoning approval; Amtrak plans $13 million project at Union Station in Meridian, Miss.; Keolis joins Latinos In Transit as business partner; and the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) W Line marks a milestone with 10 years of service.
The New York MTA on April 25 announced that crews have completed renovation of the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center (B,Q) subway station in Brooklyn as part of NYCT’s Re-NEW-vation campaign to bring targeted resources to rebuild components of the station within a 55-hour window.
According to MTA, the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center BQ re-NEW-vation included several station enhancements with crews replacing broken tiles, repairing stairway treads, replacing burnt bulbs and adding additional LED light fixtures, securing loose floor tiles, repainting sections of the ceiling, and removing outdated signage. In addition, crews scraped, primed, and painted the entire station. Security cameras were also added to the platform.
With 13 station re-NEW-vations announced last month, NYCT says it is on track to complete 34 stations by the end of June, with a goal of 50 re-NEW-vated stations by the end of 2023. Thus far in 2023, NYCT has completed 16 re-NEW-vations.
Stations are selected based on planned weekend outages to minimize impact to customers, and following initial deep cleanings and repairs, routine and specialized cleaning will maintain this level of cleanliness.
“I am thrilled to welcome and B and Q train customers in Brooklyn to their Re-New-vated station,” said NYCT President Richard Davey. “Completing yet another station demonstrates our commitment to providing customers a faster, cleaner, and safer experience in the transit system. By bringing real, tangible improvements to stations that are already impacted by planned work, we are both speeding up customer’s journeys and making the stations they use visibly better and more pleasant.”
MARTA, along with DeKalb County, announced April 26 that they will advance a TOD Master Plan for Kensington rail station on the East/West Line after the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved rezoning the area to support mixed-use development.
According to MARTA, the rezoning of the 35 acres that make up Kensington Station to MU-5 (mixed-use very high density) keeps with the community’s vision for TOD at the station as defined in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative Plan and the 2050 DeKalb Unified Plan that was adopted late last year.
Last June, MARTA and DeKalb County kicked off the TOD master planning process with an interactive website, community meetings and stakeholder engagement. The Kensington TOD Master Plan includes affordable senior and workforce housing, and a new headquarters for the Housing Authority of DeKalb County (HADC).
“We are grateful for the support of the DeKalb County Commission and this vital rezoning designation,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “We are now ready to solicit developers to work with MARTA and DeKalb to turn the undeveloped and underused property around the rail station into a community hub with affordable housing and neighborhood amenities.”
“We have worked alongside MARTA in developing this TOD master plan and it is exciting to help achieve this milestone,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry. “This type of development with convenient access to transit builds strong, connected communities.”
“I have long supported MARTA and the important role it plays in community development,” added DeKalb County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw. “The Kensington TOD will provide affordable housing and other amenities while reflecting the diversity and spirit of our county and serve as a catalyst for the planned revitalization of Memorial Drive.”
More information about the Kensington Station Master Plan is available here.
Amtrak has requested permission to make improvements to its Union Station facilities in Meridian, Miss., which would involve city-owned property, according to a report in The Meridian Star.
According to the report, Amtrak Senior Public Relations Manager Marc Magliari said the project would “involve renovations of two train platforms and would include new canopies, signage and electrical connections. The new platforms would also be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to help disabled travelers navigate the platforms more easily.”
“Care has also been taken to make sure the upgrades work with the Meridian Railroad Museum’s section of rail line as well,” Magliari added.
“This is a project that Amtrak has asked us to participate in, basically just allowing them to come in and do the work,” said Community Development Director Craig Hitt, who, according to the report, told the Meridian City Council that Amtrak had requested permission. “Some of it will be done on city property, but they will be covering all the costs.”
According to the Meridian Star report, Magliari said “Amtrak hopes to begin the project, which is expected to cost about $13 million, by the end of the 2023. The upgrades will be done in stages to avoid interrupting service to the Meridian station while construction is underway.”
While travelers will still be able to use Union Station, “maintaining service does require some sacrifices,” said Magliari, who added that Amtrak “enjoys a working partnership with the City of Meridian, and the upgrades to the station are an example of the transportation provider’s commitment to the region.”
The phased approach, he said, takes longer, and the project is not expected to be complete until 2025, according to the report.
According to the report, in addition to improving passenger rail service in Meridian, the upgrades will also “put the Queen City in a good spot as discussions around a proposed service line along the Interstate 20 corridor continue.” The proposed route would open new travel options throughout the southeast with passenger service running from Atlanta, Ga., to Dallas, Tex.
Together, Latinos In Transit and Keolis will “leverage their broad industry networks to create opportunities for education, mentoring, and professional development among multicultural employees, industry professionals, and those seeking employment,” the rail operator said.
As part of Keolis’ partnership with Latinos In Transit, two Keolis employees will be nominated to enroll in the Latinos In Transit Leadership Academy. This program supports 35 participants in exploring management practices, finance, procurement, labor relations, and regulatory compliance as they relate to the public transportation industry. Additionally, Keolis will partner with Latinos In Transit to develop new workforce development opportunities specific to future leaders from Latino populations across the United States.
According to the company, Keolis has long been committed to advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) for its own people, passengers, and valued partners. This new partnership, the company adds, “further extends the commitment Keolis has made for this journey to increase opportunities for underserved populations.”
“We are very proud to call Keolis a partner in our efforts to promote DEI in the transportation industry,” said Latinos In Transit Board of Directors President Alva Carrasco. “Together we plan to build new relationships with organizations that create workforce development opportunities for minorities. As an industry, we need to develop innovative partnerships to help build a steady pipeline to careers in transportation.”
“Our Keolis teams care deeply about increasing the visibility of underrepresented groups within the business and the broader industry,” said Keolis CEO David Scorey. “Critical to that work is recruitment, retention, and providing a pathway for career development that extends across all levels within our business. This partnership will help us to further improve on the processes we already have in place.”
RTD on April 26 celebrated the 10-year anniversary of W Line opening, which has since carried approximately 36.7 million customers and traveled an estimated 18,986,000 miles.
What began with a ceremonial “pulling” of the old Associated Railroad trolley tracks in May 2007 in Lakewood, evolved into the 12.1-mile connection from Golden in Jefferson County through Lakewood to Denver. The line, RTD says, was the first to open of the FasTracks expansion in 2013. The celebration kicked-off with the RTD Color Guard and the Colorado School of Mines Marching Band and a performance by the Ambassadors of Gospel. Thousands of people waited to take the first ride on that sunny spring day.
The W Line features the signature 6th Avenue bridge, which was preconstructed along the side of the highway and then rolled out over the highway into place over a period of 14 hours. This innovative method of installation, RTD says, saved the public months of traffic impacts by way of lane closures. Other key features along the line, include unique art installations and nearly 36 relay houses wrapped with art designs for customers to enjoy while they ride the train.
Today, RTD says, customers can easily access education centers like Red Rocks Community College and Auraria Higher Education Campus, and large employers like the Federal Center, as well as entertainment and sports venues like Empower Field at Mile High and Ball Arena.