Everything old is renewed again. That revised version of the often used expression certainly applies to the MTA Long Island Rail Road's Flatbush Avenue Terminal which marks its 100th Anniversary on April 1 and, at the same time, is in the midst of a major renewal project.
The MTA's Atlantic Terminal is part of a major downtown Brooklyn transit hub. MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot G. Sander said, "A 100th anniversary is a good time to assess the importance of a transportation facility to the people it serves. The LIRR's Flatbush Avenue Terminal along with the many MTA New York City Transit subway lines that go through this facility has made this complex a very important one for our customers and the MTA."
On April 1, 1907, the Flatbush Avenue passenger station (as it was then called) opened at noon for LIRR customers. The station was the final piece of an eleven-year Atlantic Avenue improvement project. The work included installation of more than five miles of tracks on a combination tunnel/elevated trestle that took the Railroad from downtown Brooklyn to the (then) less populated outskirts of the City (Brooklyn was a separate city at the time). This, by the way, is still part of the LIRR's route from Jamaica to Brooklyn.
Moving ahead one hundred years, thanks to the MTA Capital Program, the Railroad's Brooklyn customers can look forward to a new facility just like their great-grandparents had, but with 21st century amenities.
The Atlantic Terminal Improvement Project is a two-phase renovation. Phase One, begun in 2002 and now essentially completed, included the construction of a new entry area to MTA New York City Transit subways along with a temporary LIRR ticket office.
The LIRR Terminal also received new platform lighting, a new public address system, improved ventilation, along with new signage and passenger information systems.
LIRR Acting President Raymond P. Kenny said, "Our Brooklyn customers certainly deserve the improvements made over the past several years at the Flatbush Avenue Terminal. Taking into consideration the strides we've made over the past 100 years, I look forward to the completion of this project."
Work on Phase Two began in 2004 and continues today. This work includes the construction of a distinctive street-level entry pavilion, new concourse-to-street level stairs, a permanent ticket office, customer waiting area, a police facility, restrooms, and granite floor tile throughout. A new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system is also in the works, in addition to better lighting. A new Arts for Transit work will also be installed. Final architectural finishes will be coordinated with the developer of the overbuild project, the major commercial and retail development to be constructed above the LIRR Flatbush Avenue Terminal.
The new Entry Pavilion will face the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Hanson Place with new sidewalks, granite benches and canopied entrances leading to both the LIRR and New York City Transit subways. The Pavilion will be a 115-foot wide and 65-foot high curved structure with limestone trim and overhead skylights that will allow natural light to fill its interior, stairs and lower atrium leading to the LIRR's new ticket office and customer facilities. The budget for the LIRR work is approximately $116 million.
Approximately 25,000 LIRR customers use the Flatbush Avenue Terminal daily.