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New York Gov. Hochul unveils her vision of Penn Station project

Hochul's plan would allow for the expedited reconstruction of the existing station.
Photo – MTA/Gov. Hochul/Twitter


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday unveiled her version of a plan to restore Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

The governor's plan prioritizes reconstruction of the existing facility. Station expansion and the Gateway Project initiatives, both of which the governor supports, will continue on federally established timelines, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) press release.

Hochul's plan would allow for the expedited reconstruction of the existing station, 60% of whose users are New York City Transit subway and Long Island Rail Road riders.

The new neighborhood plan comes after several months of collaboration and more than 100 meetings with community stakeholders, government agencies, and elected officials to improve on past plans and establish a new way forward, officials said.

The plan announced yesterday will also be subject to further public review and today's announcement is part of a larger public process that remains ongoing, they said.

"This plan puts New Yorkers first, delivering the rider-focused transit experience and great neighborhood they deserve. Investing in Penn Station means investing in New York's future as we recover from COVID and build a more sustainable, livable city," the governor said.

Hochul's plan scales back an earlier plan by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo that involved allowing 10 towers to be built in Midtown Manhattan, with money from that development to finance the construction of nine additional track, five platforms and other infrastructure improvements, The New York Times reported.

Hochul's new proposal still achieves the necessary revenue while notably scaling down the previous plan, although details were not spelled out in the press release.

Key features of the new proposal include:
• a single level, double-height train hall that doubles passenger circulation space on the new public level from approximately 123,000 square feet to approximately 250,000 square feet and eliminates the congested, cramped and crowded passageways in existing Penn Station;
• a 450-foot long sunlit train hall that is the size of the Moynihan and Grand Central's halls combined;
• simpler navigation;
• clear sight lines to exits and entrances; and
• 18 additional escalators or stairs and 11 additional elevators to platforms.

The plan also would shave off 1.4 million square feet of development from the previous plan, decrease heights for proposed buildings and provide new design controls to protect views of the Empire State Building along 33rd Street.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/4/2021