For the first time since the start of the automobile age, all Main Line street crossings of the Long Island Rail Road in New Hyde Park will have been eliminated starting Saturday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday.
A grade crossing at South 12th Street in New Hyde Park will permanently close Saturday, the authority said in a news release. A pedestrian underpass at South 12th Street is scheduled to open next year. In the meantime pedestrians are advised to use walkways under the tracks at Covert Avenue and New Hyde Park Road.
An automobile underpass replaced a grade crossing at Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park a year ago, and an underpass opened to replace a grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road in August.
"Automobiles and trains have been sharing roadway space in New Hyde Park since the dawn of mass motoring," the release said. "That will come to an end on Saturday."
"The transformation will improve safety by eliminating a potential point of conflict between motor vehicles, pedestrians, and trains," the release said. "It also means the permanent end to a long-term nuisance to neighbors — the sounding of train horns, ringing of bells and flashing of bright red lights as trains approach, along with traffic backups that can occur when the gates are down."
The closure represents the final of three crossings of the LIRR’s Main Line to close as part of the railroad's project to add a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville.
According to the news release, "As trains approach the station in New Hyde Park, the crossing’s gates are in the down position 32% to 42% of the time in the AM and PM peak hour periods. The need for grade crossing elimination is further illustrated by the fact that there was a total of six fatal crashes at grade crossing locations in the LIRR Main Line corridor between 2007 to 2017."