New scaled-down transformation announced for Penn Station

Local News

MANHATTAN — Get ready for a more grand Pennsylvania Station. 

Over the next four to five years, the busiest train at hub will be transformed. That has been a work in progress for years. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday a smaller-scale project will cause less of a disruption while allowing for a transformation. 

”I told my team, take a harder look at this plan. What can we do differently than what has already been recommended, proposed, or dictated to be happening under the past administration? I said, let’s talk to the community, let’s focus on New Yorkers’ priorities,” she said. 

It was a major piece of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s infrastructure vision. 

There will still be some demolition required south of the station. The new office and residential buildings will help finance the project. There will be fewer of them. 

Acting MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber promises a more grand space at Penn. 

“This area could be as big as the Moynihan Train Hall and Grand Central put together. We take out the back of house space, mechanical room, offices and make it just for passengers,” he says. 

The scope of the project was reduced with input from neighbors and businesses. 

Alex Washburn is executive director of Grand Penn Community Alliance. 

“Make this station great and investment will follow it; the people are happy and there’s livability and function,” he said. 

Here are some of the specifics:

  • Adds ~8 acres of public space, including a 30,000-square foot plaza comparable in size to Rockefeller Plaza
  • Requires community facility spaces that will prioritize much-needed social services for the neighborhood, with a particular focus on New Yorkers experiencing homelessness
  • Creates underground loading/unloading for MSG, taking trucks off the street
  • Expands new underground corridors to connect with Herald Square subway lines
  • Nearly doubles the existing entrances to Penn Station from 12 to 20 and requires developers to add additional subway entrances
  • Widens sidewalks throughout the neighborhood and recommends that 31st, 32nd and 33rd Streets become shared streets that prioritize pedestrians
  • Adds protected bike lanes and bike parking while reducing vehicular parking

Before the pandemic, 600,000 people passed through. By 2038, that number is estimated to be 890,000. 

The Gateway Tunnel Project under the Hudson River will add capacity for NJ Transit and Amtrak. 

Long Island Rail Road rides will have more options when the East Side Access project opens by December 2022 and brings LIRR service to Grand Central. 

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