Hempstead Town officials deride LIRR strike plan

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and elected officials urged the MTA to go back to the drawing board for a better strike contingency plan on June 24, 2014 at a news conference at the Bellmore LIRR station. The MTA's proposal in the event of a strike calls for commuters to gather at the Bellmore, Seaford and Freeport stations, where shuttle buses would take them into Manhattan. Nassau officials said that plan is inadequate and potentially disastrous for Hempstead Town. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

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Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and other council members Tuesday derided an MTA strike contingency plan to bus LIRR commuters, saying it would have a devastating impact on the town and demanding that the agency devise a more equitable and workable plan.

"The MTA plan calls for 'herding' . . . commuters from over 30 stations along the Babylon . . . and its connecting line . . . into three already crowded stations in Hempstead Town," Murray said at a news conference at the Bellmore Long Island Rail Road station. "[There], they will board shuttle buses bound for subway stations in Queens."

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She added that there are only about 3,775 parking spaces at the Seaford, Bellmore and Freeport train stations, and said the flood of additional cars into these communities "would be devastating," and possibly drive businesses out of business.

Monthslong negotiations between the MTA and its unions have failed to produce an agreement, and a strike could occur as early as July 20.

The MTA, in a statement, said the agency "continues to work closely with local government partners on Long Island to develop a strike contingency plan, which we will release when the plan has been finalized."

"Realistically, there is no way to replace the Long Island Rail Road and the service it provides. . . . Our top priority is reaching a fair and reasonable settlement to avoid a traffic nightmare that would paralyze Long Island. We hope LIRR customers will make clear that they want the unions to negotiate a deal and stop the threats."

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