An “early morning” Metro-North Railroad commuter noticed some potentially hazardous and certainly unsightly things at Scarsdale train station, which the anonymous rider sees prior to heading to New York City and upon returning home five days a week.
The “concerned Scarsdale commuter” wrote a letter to Scarsdale Village, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and The Scarsdale Inquirer March 23 pointing out some things others may have noticed or have concerns about, too.
First on the list is “the concrete platforms upon which passenger stand alongside the tracks are in the process of crumbling.” When trains go by, the writer said it creates “dangerous vibration to the platforms.” The writer also claimed that MTA “workers” “confidentially” told him “they were ordered to install wooden support structures under platforms to prevent their sudden collapse.”
Next up referred to a “needless” fenced off work/staging area from improvements being done by Westchester County to the trails along the Bronx River Parkway, most notably featuring an “abandoned” and “dilapidated truck, without license plates,” which is leaving “an eyesore to the beautiful setting alongside the Bronx River… now beginning to look like a junk yard!”
Finally, the “many green Spanish tiles on the sloping roof” of the station that a bus crashed into and got stuck under Nov. 25, 2020, has not been repaired.
“The impending collapse of even one section of the platform requires immediate replacements, not band-aides [sic],” the writer concluded. “I ask you to order emergency action to replace the platforms before a tragedy occurs, with potential injuries and loss of life.
“Esthetically, there is no reason for the MTA’s work areas in and around the Scarsdale station to be allowed to destroy the bucolic nature of this village.”
Scarsdale Deputy Village Manager Robert Cole and a spokesperson for the MTA addressed both issues in interviews with the Inquirer.
The MTA has been working with Scarsdale Village on plans for nearly two years to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by adding an elevator tower to the Bronx River side of the station.
“We are updating plans to perform major renewal and upgrading at Scarsdale, including platform reconstruction and the construction of an elevator that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” MTA spokesperson Meredith Daniels said. “Safety is at the core of Metro-North; while the station renewal plans advance, we are regularly inspecting the existing platforms to ensure that they remain safe, and making any temporary repairs and renewals as deemed necessary.”
Daniels said there is “no timeline established yet, but the ADA announcement should be made fairly soon.”
Cole said the village and the MTA have a “good working relationship” and any inspections and repairs of the platform are done by the MTA. “What we do is reach out to them and we ask them questions,” he said.
Cole said the village and MTA continue to work closely on plans for the elevator tower and he expects that work to begin “within the next two summers.”
“From a village perspective we’ll want to provide a lot of public notice on that, so we’ve encouraged Metro-North to keep us in the loop on that timing,” he said.
Cole noted that the tower will take up what is now bicycle and moped parking on village land and that the MTA is planning to construct a larger area for those types of vehicles along the fenceline.
“The work is going to be architecturally similar to what’s there because we wanted to maintain the historic look and feel of that area,” Cole said, adding, “They recognize that our station of all the stations along the line is one of the most historically significant ones, so they have thus far expressed a commitment to maintain that feel throughout the ADA project. Right now it’s still in the planning phases, but people are going to like the results of it, they just probably will not like the disruption.”
Cole said the construction area near the station is on Westchester County owned land and is part of the completion of the Bronx River Parkway trail construction, which is ongoing.
“We are intimately familiar with that location and we are equally concerned about getting it restored as quickly as possible, but at the same time we temper our expectations with the knowledge that on the heels of the completion of that pathway, timing is such that it may well run into Metro-North’s work on the ADA improvements at the station,” Cole said. “To the extent that they are one after the other we may have to deal with the visual impact of that storage area potentially until both projects are done.”
As for the repairs at the depot due to the bus crash, Cole said, that work is underway as the village is handling the repair.
“To have a resident comment on it — I am glad people are aware of the conditions of the building and are concerned about it and staff are as well,” Cole said. “In that particular instance everything is on track and moving in a way that will be responsive to that individual’s concerns, though not necessarily as a result of that because that work was already in process.”