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LIRR to install lactation pod at Penn Station

A private space for breastfeeding mothers, known as

A private space for breastfeeding mothers, known as a lactation pod, will be installed in Penn Station by this fall, LIRR president Phillip Eng announced Monday. The pod, made by Vermont-based Mamava, will be in the LIRR's customer waiting room. Credit: Mamava

The LIRR will open its first private breastfeeding space for nursing mothers this fall, the railroad announced Monday.

Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng announced at a Manhattan meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s railroad committee that the agency will install the “lactation pod” inside its Penn Station waiting room.

“When customers request a change that we can accommodate, if we can do it reasonably, we will make that change. I’m glad that in this case we were able to find a way to put this in place relatively quickly,” Eng said in a statement. “I hope it makes traveling with us easier and more pleasant. I hope it will let more New Yorkers choose the LIRR as a form of travel.”

The lactation pod, designed and manufactured by Mamava of Burlington, Vermont, will include bench seating, shelves, mirrors  and dual-outlet USB ports. The pod will be available to nursing moms on the go upon request of the railroad’s waiting room attendant .

The unit costs $24,500 and has a width of 9 feet, 5 inches, depth of 5 feet, 4 inches and height of 7 feet, 3 inches, officials said. It can accommodate more than one person at a time and also is wheelchair accessible, according to the Mamava website.

Eng said the railroad will look for opportunities to install similar breastfeeding spaces at other stations, depending on feedback it receives from customers.

The presence of lactation pods has been growing. They already are in use across the country at some airports, Amtrak stations, athletic facilities, universities and municipal facilities such as libraries.

LIRR officials said they began looking into installing a lactation pod at Penn Station upon the suggestion of state Assembs. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) and Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows).

“I am thrilled and thankful that President Eng and the Long Island Rail Road are moving forward with this initiative, which will provide families with the peace of mind knowing they will be able to properly cater to their infants’ needs on the go,” Jean-Pierre said.

The LIRR also announced Monday that it was the recipient of the American Public Transportation Association’s 2019 Gold Award for Safety, the nonprofit organization’s highest honor for safety.

The award was in recognition of the work performed by the LIRR’s Right of Way Task Force — a partnership between the LIRR and MTA Police to reduce risks along 500 miles of track. The task force combats incidents involving trespassers, debris on the tracks and other dangers by performing inspections, responding to calls and analyzing trends.

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