Ronkonkama Train Station
Ronkonkama, Long Island, New York
completed 1997

The following article was printed in the March 18, 1996 issue of New York Construction News.

The Ronkonkoma Station in Brookhaven, L.I., designed by Richard Henry Behr Architect of Armonk, N.Y., is nearing completion of its third phase of construction. Starrett Corp. and HRH Construction Co. were the developers and construction managers for the project. The Ronkonkoma Station was a design/build competition awarded to the development team and directed by Mr. Murray Smith of the Starrett Corporation. It is an excellent example of public/private partnerships in developing a high quality project, on schedule, and within prescribed budgets.

The urban planning philosophy was established through a series of design workshops sponsored by Mr. Robert Paley and Ms. Wendy Feuer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ( MTA). These workshops included not only the various agencies and the local community, but also the developers, architects and construction managers. The station portion of the project is reminiscent of historical stations on Long Island with many of the architectural forms coming from these historic stations.

The Station House uses rich materials, including slate roofing, exposed wood framing, wood interior finishes, brick walls and floor. Copper weather vanes, wooden cupolas, and other architectural details accentuate the Station House. Extensive use of benches, landscaping, bike racks, and Bomanite/brick paving crate a commuter plaza that ensures a friendly aesthetic environment for the commuters. A symbolic clock tower accentuates the plaza. The entire project is well lit with architectural lighting throughout to safeguard the 24-hour commuter facility.

This $20 million internodal transportation project is considered a model project for future transportation centers of the MTA and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The overriding client mandate was to develop a friendly, efficient station to serve the commuter ridership of the LIRR. Ronkonkoma Station is the second busiest station of LIRR with 14,000 riders per day.

This third phase includes a new station house, a headquarters for the LIRR Police, ticket facilities, waiting rooms, and a 1050 car continual ramp double helix commuter garage. For regional and local bus systems there is a bus drop off for regional and local bus systems, bus service from MacArthur Airport, taxi stations, overhead walkways for pedestrians, commuter drop-offs and a commuter plaza with extensive landscaping.

This plaza also features artwork designed by Alice Adams and sponsored by MTA’s Arts for Transit program. There is in addition a major graphics/signage program, as well as a retail center serving the ridership. The entire project has been designed for handicapped accessibility. The project also includes the rebuilding or extension of various local streets to serve the traffic needs of the project.

Features of the 1,050 space commuter parking garage include a Debit Card computer system for revenue collections, and an enclosed long span steel pedestrian bridge which links the garage with the commuter train platforms as well as the commuter plaza. The double helix design of the garage provides quick and easy commuter access to parking. Extensive use of rich color and masonry shapes has produced an interesting and refreshing project.

Future phases of the project, underway at this time, include a day care center, additional retail, and office buildings.

Cooperative construction management by Jeff Bossard of the LIRR and Robert Germano of HRH Construction has produced a high quality complex project ahead of construction schedules and within budget, a task not easily done in today’s complex agency/construction environment.

This project has demonstrated that public/private partnerships can produce high quality interesting projects within budget and on schedule. The unique design quality of the Ronkonkoma Station will be a source of pride for the community and for its commuters for decades to come. The economic effect of this project on the surrounding area has stimulated significant additional private investment.

As a working model for future stations of the LIRR/ MTA, this project shows that high quality inter-nodal station for the commuters, can be successfully developed in public/private partnerships, that are both friendly to the commuter and a source of pride for the community. Good management, new technology, and historical architectural forms have been successfully integrated to produce this outstanding project.