MTA Announces First New Staten Island Railway Station to Open in More than 20 Years

Jan. 23, 2017
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently announced the upcoming opening of the new Arthur Kill station, the first new Staten Island Railway (SIR) station built by the MTA since the private rail line was incorporated into the MTA network
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently announced the upcoming opening of the new Arthur Kill station, the first new Staten Island Railway (SIR) station built by the MTA since the private rail line was incorporated into the MTA network in 1971, which opens Saturday morning. The Arthur Kill station and its new parking lot, located on Arthur Kill Road between Lion Street and Barnard Avenue in the Tottenville area, replaces the Nassau and Atlantic SIR stations that will be demolished. The Nassau station primarily served the Nassau Smelting factory, which closed in the 1980s. The two older stations were small, with short platforms that did not adequately accommodate the railway’s modern fleet.

The MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program includes $386 million of investments and improvements to Staten Island Railway. They include replacement of the car fleet and three new power substations to increase supply to the line, allowing for service flexibility and reliability. Capital investments also include rolling out countdown clocks at all SIR stations, track replacement, radio system enhancements, and station repairs.

More than 16,000 customers ride the Staten Island Railway on an average weekday, which has 29 miles of tracks linking 22 communities on the borough, from the southern shore in Tottenville to the northern terminus at St. George that connects to the Staten Island Ferry.

“The new Arthur Kill station offers more transportation options to Staten Island residents by giving motorists the choice to leave the driving to us and take Staten Island Railway,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “This station reinforces the Governor’s commitment to all parts of our transportation network. We know our customers here want more choices, and we are working hard to improve their options.”

The new station is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and serves as a park-and-ride stop for customers who can leave their vehicles in a new 150-spot parking lot across the street or as a transfer point for connections to the S78 bus route. The station platforms accommodate SIR’s fleet of four-car trains and allow boarding at all doors, as compared to single-door boarding at the Nassau and Atlantic stations. In addition to the new parking lot, the Arthur Kill station has customer amenities such as benches, surveillance cameras, Customer Assistance Intercoms, and bicycle racks.

“This new station has been a long time coming but it well worth the wait,” NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim said. “The new station allows us to move Staten Island transportation another step into the future along with other major projects like the rehabilitation of the St. George Terminal, the recent reopening of the improved Grasmere station, new rail cars and bringing real-time train arrival information to all stations.”

The station’s design maintains the historic feel of the neighborhood yet incorporates the color scheme and architecture of the Staten Island Railway. The overall design emphasizes use of resilient materials and simple structural forms. The northbound and southbound platforms are connected by an overhead structure that is accessible via platform staircases and ramps and both towers of the structure and the connecting overpass are covered by canopies and enclosed with windscreens, providing shade and protection from inclement weather. New LED fixtures provide brighter and environmentally friendly lighting to supplement natural lighting through transparent windscreens.

The artwork in the windscreens at the top of both towers and in the overpass was designed by artist Jenna Lucente and commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. “Tottenville Sun, Tottenville Sky,” consists of 28 large-scale laminated glass panels featuring a mix of wildlife and landscape scenes that are unique to the area’s geography and community.

The towers’ glass panels are laminated blue with foreground images of indigenous wildlife and framed with an intricate design that pays homage to neighborhood architecture. The background of each panel features a landscape, either natural or urban, of the neighborhood. These narrative scenes include the southern shoreline of Staten Island, the Outerbridge Crossing and historic area buildings. The blue color represents the sky and the evening commute. The glass panels that line the overpass form four sets of triptychs laminated in yellow, which represents sunlight and the morning commute. One set forms a view of the Outerbridge Crossing from Arthur Kill Road with egrets in the foreground; another features the historic Conference House. Altogether, the panels represent the past, present and future of Tottenville and all that call it home.

“Staten Island’s first new train station in two decades deserves a delightful piece of art that elevates it beyond a station stop, and Jenna’s artwork is a thoughtful interpretation of the area’s natural beauty and a study of its historic significance, ” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design. “A commuter waiting for his train can look up at the towers or the overpass, and depending on the time or the angle of the sun, see something that he may not have seen the day or an hour before. Each scene in each panel is a reminder of the nature around us and also what we are capable of creating.”

Designing the station artwork was particularly poignant for Lucente, an artist and educator who grew up in the Castleton Corners section of Staten Island. Lucente earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University (N.Y.) and a master of fine arts degree from Queens College, City University of New York. She was born in Brooklyn and currently lives in Delaware.

“Staten Island will always be home to me, and the artwork at the new Arthur Kill Station has great personal significance. My understanding, interpretation and connection with Staten Island will always be here through this artwork. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to share this vision with the public, and my fellow Staten Islanders,” Lucente said.

In preparation for the station, New York City Transit relocated eastbound and westbound stops on the S78 bus route to locations directly in front of the station and the parking lot, allowing for quicker and better access for transferring customers. New bus pullouts at the curbs were also created for easier and safer loading.

Funding for the $27.4 million project was provided in the 2010-2014 MTA Capital Program. Lessons learned after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 resulted in design changes to improve storm resiliency that added to the construction timeline. Resiliency-related infrastructure enhancements include raising and improving the tracks, storm-proofing storage facilities and the electrical distribution and communications systems, and installing a heavier-duty drain system with underground detention tanks and perforated drain pipes for controlling water runoff and limiting soil displacement. The landscaping included native plants such as grasses, trees and shrubs, and permeable features to reduce storm runoff. Fencing, concrete curbs and gravel berms were installed to control soil erosion.