I poked around today on the MTA's website and in addition to the new June 11th MN timetables I found the following:
A link to the story, including the photos is: http://www.mnr.org/mta/news/newsroom/beacon.htm
Beacon Celebrates Train Station Improvements
Beacon Station Entrance photo
Beacon Station walkway photo
Beacon Celebrates Train Station Improvements
The City of Beacon has a new gateway at its MTA Metro-North Railroad station, which has been redesigned, expanded with new parking, canopied, and landscaped to create a welcoming place for arrivals and departures to this growing city on the Hudson River.
Metro-North officials, along with dozens of stakeholders from city, county, and state governments and agencies that participated in a two-year planning process, recently commemorated completion of the $9 million Beacon Station Parking Expansion and Access Improvements project.
The project at Beacon Station added 365 new landscaped parking spaces on the east side of the station, and an additional 600 spaces were rehabilitated. With this expansion, the waiting list for parking permits at the station, which at its worst point numbered 700 people, has been eliminated.
"Metro-North is pleased with the collaborative process that led to the construction of this beautiful new station plaza and expanded parking lot with improved access," said railroad President Peter A. Cannito. "The railroad intends to be an active partner in the Beacon community's renaissance for years to come."
The station serves more than 2,000 railroad customers a day, a majority of whom come from Orange and Ulster counties on the west side of the Hudson River by crossing the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. With ridership growing, the City of Beacon and Metro-North have worked together to find innovative ways to address the growing demand for parking at the station, and over the past decade more than 1,265 parking spaces have been added at a combined cost of $20 million.
A new peak-hour ferry service from Newburgh to Beacon that began a year ago—and now carries about 150 people a day—helped reduce demand for parking. In addition, shuttle buses to area Park & Rides also carry 100 people a day, making Beacon more popular with residents of Orange and Ulster counties.
"These parking and access improvements to the Beacon train station is great news for local commuters," said State Senator Stephen Saland, who secured $1 million in funding for this project. "Improved pedestrian and motorist access at Beacon will make commuting more convenient and enable visitors to take advantage of surrounding communities and cultural attractions of our region. I am pleased to have secured funding for these improvements which will have a positive impact on our local economy."
A highlight of the beautification project is a new landscaped plaza with a gracefully arched translucent glazed canopy that takes advantage of natural lighting. There's a drop-off area where cars can pull out of the flow of traffic. A separate pull off for buses also improves traffic flow. The entire plaza is dotted with benches, information kiosks and numerous bike racks for cyclists.
The project has crystallized a new sense of place enhanced by designated crosswalks, sidewalks and new directional signs to area attractions that make it easier and safer for pedestrians to navigate. In one case, a dirt path shortcut up a hill to West Main Street has been replaced with a lighted staircase. The staircase even has temperature sensors which turn on heaters to melt ice. This is the first such installation on Metro-North property and if it is effective and reliable the technology may be employed elsewhere on the railroad.
"The Beacon Railroad Station is the southern gateway to Dutchess County" said Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus. "Plans to increase its significance and augment its potential as a hub are exciting. Dutchess County looks forward to a fruitful partnership with Metro-North as it makes improvements on the site to better serve our residents and welcome the many visitors to our area."
"The rebirth of Beacon's waterfront has taken a huge step forward with the completion of these train station improvements," said Beacon City Administrator Joseph Braun. "The station is a welcoming gateway to the city for travelers that also brightens the daily lives of residents who commute."
Environmentally and recreationally friendly initiatives at Beacon include three dedicated extra-long parking spaces on the riverside of the station for boat trailers' use on weekends. On the east side of the Station (North Lot) Metro-North has designated reserved areas for future expansion of the Riverfront Trail. An hourly car sharing rental program that uses a hybrid gas/electric vehicle also is available at the station.
Traffic improvements include a new, wide entrance lane to and from Beekman Street that allows for two-way traffic and reduces traffic on local roads. A new dedicated right turn lane with signal timing changes at the intersection of 9D and Beekman Avenue improves the evening rush hour exodus. The Station roadway within the lot was redesigned for better circulation.
The project, which began in December 2004, also included new lights, signs, paving, landscaping and drainage improvements and was completed on time.
Extensive planning efforts involved the cooperation of numerous participants including the City of Beacon, Dutchess County, New York State, and the Beacon community including Scenic Hudson, Dia:Beacon, The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Long Dock Beacon and the Beacon Arts Community Association art center, to name a few. The planning process for this parking lot established the foundation for a longer-term Beacon Station Master Plan for Smart Growth.