Wednesday’s Headlines: Confusing New Station Name Edition

A platform in the new LIRR portion of Grand Central (inset shows a sign indicating that Long Island Rail Road trains will finally come to Grand Central). Photos: Dave Colon
A platform in the new LIRR portion of Grand Central (inset shows a sign indicating that Long Island Rail Road trains will finally come to Grand Central). Photos: Dave Colon

Welcome to Grand Central Madison, which is not the main train station in the capital of Wisconsin, but the name for the soon-to-open Long Island Rail Road concourse created deep under Grand Central Terminal as part of the MTA’s long-delayed, way-over-budget “East Side Access” program.

The new terminal will open to the public in December and will allow the MTA to send dozens of trains to the East Side instead of to Penn Station, though it’s unclear what commuting patterns will be like in the post-pandemic world.

On the plus side, the MTA says that having the ability to send LIRR trains to the East Side will allow the agency to add dozens of more trains a day. The question is: will they be serving existing commuters or will the new service create more riders out of people who currently drive? If it’s the latter, maybe that $11-billion investment will pay off. (The Wall Street Journal offered some storm clouds on that particular horizon, as inner ring commuters are returning to the office far more readily than the Nassau and Suffolk crowd.)

But does the facility really need two names?

Our friends at Second Avenue Sagas felt the two-names-one-station thing was yet another missed opportunity for the MTA to integrate the LIRR and Metro-North, which will now both serve Grand Central (though most suburbanites think of Grand Central only for the northern burbs and Penn Station only for the eastern and Jersey suburbs).

Almost everyone covered the baby naming ceremony — the Daily News, amNY, Gothamist, Streetsblog’s Dave Colon — though, surprisingly, not the Times, even though the Gray Lady’s investigative reporter Brian Rosenthal burnished his reputation with his famous story about why the project was so damn expensive.

In other news:

  • Was it lost in the shuffle? The Times did a roundup of all the legislation that’s stalled in Albany, but didn’t bother to mention speed cameras or the other parts of the so-called Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act, most of which is also pending approval.
  • It didn’t take long for The Hell Gate‘s vaunted integrity to crack. But we’re all crazy from the heat.
  • We so appreciate that the Times finally started covering the city’s abject failure to provide bus riders with speedy service, but we wish Ana Ley’s story was a bit more cognizant of the principal source of slow buses: cars. The language of her piece is purposely muted, with phrases like, “When buses are slow…” or “So when the bus is late…” as if this kind of thing is the fault of the bus or its driver. And at one point, Ley seems to blame bus passengers for their plight, suggesting that none of this would be a problem, except that “low-income people who do not have cars.” Why not blame the real villains in Queens? Ley does point out that in Queens, “people who can afford a car tend to drive,” but only glancingly. For some reason, the Times completely mutes the equity issue that Mayor Adams has vowed to fix.
  • A man was hit by a car driver and all the Post can think about is that he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
  • One of the busiest stations on the Upper East Side is getting a long-overdue renovation. (Upper East Site)
  • We were pleased that the Times reviewed Jody Rosen’s book, “Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle,” and enjoyed that writer Charles Finch, a driver, admits the world will be better when we get rid of cars.
  • The Times continues its campaign to normalize cycling (yay!), but only as a niche tourist thing on well marked, truffle- or coconut-scented paths, not as a daily commute for thousands of its local readers. Even when doing a story about businesses moving to Brooklyn, the Times finds a way to make cycle commuting sound weird.
  • The Brooklyn Paper covered the crackdown on cyclists in Prospect Park.
  • No one covered the state Senate’s passage of Andrew Gounardes’s bill to extend New York City’s speed cameras from merely 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays to 24-7 service, but our old man editor was watching the fireworks (including lies by soft-on-speeding Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza) and had full coverage here.
  • We were happy to see the Daily News editorial page publish an op-ed from Sara Lind of our sister company, Open Plans (with Logan Phares of Open New York) about the need to change city zoning rules that require developers to include parking in projects even if they don’t want to.
  • Oh, and speaking of Open Plans, if you don’t get your ticket to the big Open Plans/Streetsblog gala on Thursday, June 16, you risk missing the event of the season. Click here for info.
  • And, finally, the Mets are kicking ass on the field (what was that? Seventeen hits last night?!), but the front office is also scoring with bike advocates. (Jim Burke via Twitter)