Cuomo Calls To Revitalize Penn Station With $3 Billion Plan

Encore: January 07, 2016

This segment has been updated to include additional statements from NY Gov. Cuomo.

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“Looks like the seven levels of hell.”

That’s how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described Penn Station at a transportation event Tuesday. The Democratic governor repeated his calls for an overhaul of the transit hub to transform the facility’s “bleak warren of corridors” into a “world-class transportation hub.” The project, known as the Empire Station Complex, calls for more space and natural light, and includes revamping the historic James A. Farley Post Office located across the street.

Cuomo announced a $3 billion plan in January at Madison Square Garden, located above Penn Station.

Mitchell Moss of the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management says the upgrade would address congestion at the station, which serves more than 650,000 commuters a day.

Moss said the hub is overwhelmed by traffic from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, NJ Transit and Amtrak.

“The Penn Station Experience is really difficult because there’s not enough space for the people who are coming both on a regional basis, on a city basis as well as coming on an interstate basis,” Moss told MetroFocus Host Jack Ford. “So we’re going to really create a whole new waiting room experience in the old Farley building and we’re going to connect it through the new entrance way, which is going to be made possible by the governor’s willingness to find a way to get [James Dolan] and Cablevision to surrender the old feeder at the Garden as part of the entrance,” he said.

Dolan is the chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company and CEO of Cablevision.

But Cuomo’s proposal isn’t the first time riders have been promised an overhaul of “one of the busiest transit halls in the Western Hemisphere,” The New York Times noted earlier this year.

According to the newspaper: “The announcement was a blow to two of the city’s most prominent developers — Related Companies and Vornado Realty — who the state selected 10 years ago to transform the post office building into what was to be called Moynihan Station, after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who first championed the idea in the early 1990s.

“The developers, who had sought a tenant before closing on the deal, had proposed several plans, including moving Madison Square Garden within the walls of the post office, which would have enabled them to build a glass mall and skyscrapers over and near Penn Station. But ultimately, there was no progress.”

Moss, who has testified before Congress on transportation issues and served as an adviser for previous New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said he’s confident the job will get done this time.

“This one will happen, and the reason it is going to happen is because the governor has convinced Cablevision to give up part of the space of Madison Square Garden for a new waiting room and an entrance to bring light in the building,” he said.

Moss says one positive sign is Cuomo’s 90-day deadline for developers to submit proposals.

Watch the governor’s full presentation below.


MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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